Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas 2013

I'm grateful to my mom continues to tend to Luke's grave when we're so far away and can't do it ourselves. We were at least able to see this sweet little tree she left when we were there to visit in January.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Life is Precious: Part Two - Babies Don't Have a Voice

Today I can't stop thinking about abortion. For a many months now it has been on my mind off and on. I started this post last spring when I buried a lifeless bird I found in my yard. My thoughts turn again to abortion because of a radio show I heard yesterday, addressing the current issues in the supreme court surrounding Obamacare and mandating the abortion pill.

There are so many things to say on this topic and so many differing opinions. It doesn't seem necessary for me to defend every one of them, yet I want to share some of my honest thoughts I've had.

Wishing for Life vs Taking Away Life
I am heartbroken to think that there are mothers of babies who choose to end the life of their babies when they are only partially formed. How have these woman come to a place so far removed from the recognition of life that their hearts have failed them to love their babies enough to give them life? I can't understand it. I am part of a community of women that would do anything to be able to put life back in to their babies. Anything! But we can't and so we mourn and grieve and sorrow the loss of our sweet, precious children. And on the complete opposite end of the spectrum there is another, I hate to call it this but it is indeed a -- community of women. These woman are choosing to end the life of their babies.

Babies are Slaughtered
I hate to get vulgar here, but this is a truth and when I learned of it I was mortified, sickened, and so saddened for these mothers who would choose to do this. I knew abortions happened, but maybe I chose not to think about it. If I didn't think about what was actually happening it was just a word. Abortion. But as I learn more about it, though I'm afraid to learn too much because my tender heart can't handle it, I am horrified by what is happening. Yes, I think early abortion is just as bad as late-term abortion because that is life. Life growing with potential. Life that is a baby and a child, now matter how formed he or she is yet. What is most sickening to me is late term abortions. I didn't know this happened. I didn't know.

Google it. It doesn't take long to see the results. I didn't need to look much further than the first add.

Screen shot taken May 6, 2013; search term "late term abortion"
Do you see what that says. 24 weeks. 24 weeks?! I was astounded when I first saw that. 24 weeks?! Some babies born that early can survive with intense NICU care. And it's legal to kill those babies? I hate that "pro-choice" campaigners will hold banners of zygotes proclaiming "this is not a baby." I'd like them to also hold pictures of a 24-week old baby and claim "this is not a baby." They couldn't. They couldn't do it, because no one would believe them! 

photo from
That is clearly a baby.

And I believe that at any stage of a "fetus's" life it has just that LIFE. It is a creation of God and has a spirit. "For I, the Lord God, created all things . . .spiritually, before they were naturally upon the face of the earth" (Moses 3:5).

This popular blog post about a woman's change in position also shares some pretty graphic details of late-term abortions. Mortifying. Just mortifying. Until recently I had never thought through what was actually happening to these babies. I used to think it was terrible that many Chinese people who could only have one child would either chose abortion or abandonment for their female children. How terrible, I thought. What a terrible society, I accused them to be. Little did I know my society was equally as terrible. Most recent available data states that "in 2008, approximately 1.21 million abortions took place in the U.S (source)" and "worldwide, there are estimated to be more than 40 million abortions per year (source)." And even worse one blogger who reached out to many women who chose abortion writes, "their stories all shared one thing in common, none of them made their decisions lightly and none of them regretted their decisions." Not to say there aren't mothers who regret abortion, I know there are, but thinking especially on the ones that have no regret.

I mourn. A journal entry from May 2013:
I do weep for the loss of them that die. Several nights ago I knelt and wept for the loss of the precious lives of all the babies that are aborted. I am astounded that there is a community of women that are so selfish and heartless that they do not acknowledge and honor the life growing inside of them. It is especially astounding for me to learn about late-term abortions. By then not only is the gender apparent, but you have felt the baby move. I wept for the wickedness of this crime. I wept for this evil that is abounding in our nation.
Women's Rights vs Children's Rights
I know "woman's rights" can appear to be a sticky issue, because if government can mandate which babies can and can't be aborted (say instances of rape or incest where it would not by appropriate for the woman or even child to suffer the pregnancy) than the government might start making laws about how and when and where women can give birth. And for me that is concerning because I am passionate about mom's being able to choose their birthing experience, but that is not as concerning as the massive slaughter of unborn children who don't have a voice.

In a day and age where woman and even men are putting their foot down in defense of "their choice," the late James E. Faust summarizes it so clearly: 
One of the most evil myths of our day is that a woman who has joined hands with God in creation can destroy that creation because she claims the right to control her own body. Since the life within her is not her own, how can she justify its termination and deflect that life from an earth which it may never inherit?
Avoiding Consequences by Choosing to End Life
I seriously was disgusted and appalled by the sound clip of President Obama I heard yesterday while listening to the radio. President Obama admits himself that he doesn't think women should have to experience the consequence of choice to be sexually active in this disgraceful comment, "I've got two daughters. 9 years old and 6 years old. I am going to teach them first off all about values and morals. But if they make a mistake, I don't want them punished with a baby." 

Obviously our society (or many people in it) believe babies are seen as a punishment and people shouldn't have to experience that. Isn't this terrible? I could go on and on about how sad of a commentary this is on general beliefs in the world today, but no need. It just makes my heart hurt for how our hearts have truly turned away from morals, family, life, and responsibility.   

In Defense of Choosing Abortion
The post I mentioned above about interviewing women did state:
"Women do not enjoy having abortions, they do not use it as birth control. All of them felt that they were not ready to be mothers and that if they were to have a child, it would not have a happy life and they wouldn’t have been able to provide them with the love or opportunities they felt a child deserved."

So I try to see that side. It does't change the fact that in my heart I know it is wrong to take the life of another. Even if it is motivated by "love," because to me this is actually selfish. Selfish, to choose not find a way to give that child the best whether that's accomplished by making personal changes in one's life or by choosing adoption.

Be a Voice
I am grateful for social media and for the people who have shared things like the article Why My Support for Abortion Was Based on Love…and Lies (if you haven't read it you should!). And this video of the woman who survived abortion

Elder Dallin H. Oaks urges us to do something about the children suffering (from many terrible things in addition to abortion). He says, "Children need others to speak for them, and they need decision makers who put their well-being ahead of selfish adult interests . . . We also need politicians, policy makers, and officials to increase their attention to what is best for children in contrast to the selfish interests of voters and vocal advocates of adult interests."

So even though this is a heated topic and one with many taboos and many differing opinions and many differing "solutions", I've realize I can no longer hold my tongue and I have to act. Even if that is just sharing information that might influence one woman to choose to give her child life.

If you believe unborn children deserve a chance at life please join me in saying something too! 

It can be as simple as signing this petition for a current supreme court case. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Missing Luke

I din't even think about what day it was yesterday. Today I got on facebook (which I hardly do anymore) and noticed that people were posting and sharing things related to infant loss, because yesterday was October 15.

Yesterday I was thinking about Luke. I missed him. I longed for him. I missed my little boy who I don't have in my life right now. Yes, I can hardly handle caring for one child and my life with two, would bring on so many more challenges, but that's not what it's about. It's about missing Luke and wishing he was a part of our family here and now in a physical way. I know he's part of our family and hopefully he is watching after us in ways we don't even know about, but I still miss him.

So I drove along the freeway with my little bundle of joy sleeping in his car-seat and tears in my eyes.

Missing you my little boy.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Words Cannot Convey

I suppose this early morning is the quiet that I’ve been looking for. Life with a baby lends its self to a very occupied day. Mornings often start before I do (Hello 5:15 am), nap times are filled with my “to-do” list which often just includes things like “shower” and “feed me.” I, of course, wouldn’t have it any other way. Jeremy is my world and I am happy to devote my life to him right now. Yet it doesn’t change the fact that I need just a little more quiet time. Time for me. Time to think. Time to write. And time to reflect.

I’ve missed having half a day to sit and think and write about my thoughts and things pertaining to Luke. Perhaps as I continue to improve my daily routines I can allow that to be a part of my life again. Perhaps not a half a day, but some time. Just a little bit of time for Luke.

So this morning I suppose it is a blessing that after an early morning feeding with Jeremy I couldn’t fall back asleep. The house is dark, it is calm, and I can hear the rain outside the window.

The rain. Sometimes it’s more of a feeling that it brings. Reflection. It’s hard to know what feelings to focus on. The details. The facts. It all starts coming back it mind. It never really left my mind, but the rain and the quiet morning bring it back up to the surface.

Wednesday. That was book club day. The day I spent reading to finish the book in time for that evening. The day I noticed Luke wasn’t moving much. He never moved much though. The book club. The friends. The conversation. The laughter. The insights. The talk of birth and anticipation and waiting. The drive home. The long dark drive home. Laying on the couch trying to feel movement. Sometimes he moved more at night. Sometimes. Worry. Concern.

Thursday. The day I knew. Movement –there was none. The day I wept. I showered. I wept. I wandered the house. I wept. My baby! Dear God, what am I to do? I’m supposed to be a mother right now. Why?! What am I supposed to do with my life now. I was paralyzed. I knew he was gone. I sat numbly on the couch. Paralyzed.

Denial. Everything is fine. I’ll serve. I’ll go to work. I go to the church to finish my visiting teaching reports. Evening preparations and summertime BBQ. Everything is fine.

Friday. Denial. Everything is fine.

The prenatal appointment. “You guys, this isn’t good.” Her big, caring eyes told it all as they penetrated my soul. Ultra sound. Doctor. Hospital. Induction. Phone calls. Texts. Prayers. Lots of prayers.

Blessings of angels. Labor. An un-medicated, beautifully strong, quick labor. I prepared for that.

Saturday – the stroke of midnight—we behold my son’s precious body though his spirit no longer resided within.

I did it. My work was done. I gave him a body. The body that one glorious day will be his again.


The pain, the heartache, the emotions rise in me as the rain quiets outside. I can’t dig deeper. Not now. It hurts. It’s time to let it settle again. For a season. The memories are still there. Still as vivid as ever. The details are so clear in my mind. The emotions still sting my heart. It’s still there.

The memory is painful. The journey is hard. The love is strong.


My darling little boy, we regret not being able to know you while you were here. We are certain you are ours forever and that our family has a guardian angel in you. Your second birthday would be next week. Trains? Cars? Planes? I wonder what you’d prefer. I’m thinking of you at this special time of year. I love you little one. Love, your mommy.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Motherhood -- with and without a baby

Life Without a Baby

You can't get anything accomplished
Your mail goes unread
Your bills go unpaid
Your meals go uncooked
Your emails pile up
You ignore phone calls
You sleep --- a lot
You sleep
You cry
You think
You mourn
You yearn
You long
You sleep
You cry
Life moves on without you
You're overwhelmed

You learn, you grow, you overcome
You gather strength from friends and family

You find joy knowing your baby will be yours one day
One glorious day
The future is unknown, but faith brings

Life With a Baby

You can't get anything accomplished
Your mail goes unread
Your bills go unpaid
Your meals go uncooked
Your emails pile up
You miss phone calls
You're awake --- all night
Baby sleeps
Baby cries
Baby eats
Baby sleeps
Baby cries
Baby eats
You're tired
So tired you wonder if you can do this
You're a zombie
Life moves on without you
You're overwhelmed

You learn, you grow, you overcome
You gather strength from friends and family

You find joy in the simple things
Snuggles --- lots of snuggles

Lots of Happiness


I'm so grateful for both of my sons and all of the experiences their lives have brought me. 

Monday, June 24, 2013

9/11 Memorial

I don't know what it is about grief that turns me to the computer to write. It's like my soul can't contain the feelings of heartache so I have to put it somewhere. I guess some people let go of balloons, or light a candle. I write.

So here I am tonight. Reflecting. Reflecting on the events that transpired on September 11, 2001.

A few months ago I attended a museum in DC with an exhibit highlighting a particular photographer/journalist's experience that day. When the first plane struck the towers he grabbed his camera and headed toward what would later be called "Ground Zero," even though everyone else was running away. He called his wife once or twice to check in with her and report what he was seeing. It wasn't until his camera was recovered from the rubble that the rest of the story unfolded. He continued to stay, to do what had always been his work and passion, he stayed to capture the story. The final footage depicted the tenderness of first responders helping people as well as the horrors of injured people fleeing from the scene and even jumping from the towers. The last picture showed the other tower, struck already by the second plane, with sunlight glistening through the smoke and debris, moments before the tower collapsed.

That was the last thing on his roll of film.

Tonight I think of him and all of the nearly 3,000 people that were killed that day. I think about how each of them had a family, had friends, had loved ones--whose lives would never be the same. They each had a story that ended that day.

I can't help to think about all the loved ones that were left behind. How many people lost their spouse. How many parents lost their children. How many children lost parents.

Trevor said, "it doesn't seem fair," as we gazed across the enormous fountains that have been constructed in the very spot each tower stood. The fountains are deep and water flows from ground level down the dark stone, and then down another level, to what appears to be a bottomless abyss. The fountains are vast, and powerful, and sullen, and sobering.

It doesn't seem fair that all of these people were victims of such a terrible thing.

Tonight, feeling overwhelmingly grateful to have each other, we think about the families whose lives have been forever affected by this tragedy.

"That could have been me," he states before lovingly taking Jeremy around the fountain. We live and work in Arlington and New York and it could have been us. If it had just been another day, another place, it could have just as easily been one of us.

I don't personally know anyone that lost a loved one that day, but I saw their names in the bronze, I gently ran my fingers across the letters of their names, and I thought of them and their loved ones.

One pamphlet said that the youngest person that died was 2-years-old. This discovery on the memorial informed us otherwise. There was another one I saw that included "...and her unborn child."

My heart is heavy and full of love for these strangers, yet fellow Americans, that have experienced grief and death in the form of a catastrophe that is beyond comprehension.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Life is Precious Part One: The Morning I Buried a Bird

Recently our landlord put down fresh grass seed for us in our back yard. Our little plot of land behind our townhome isn't large, but we're putting forth our most valiant effort to help the grass thrive. We have been diligent at watering it and recently concluded that, though few, the weeds that are present should probably be removed to improve the success of the grass.

After weeding the grass I ripped a big dead weed from between the patio bricks. I looked over and noticed something I hadn't noticed before. What is that on on the bricks? Upon closer inspection I discovered it was a baby bird, laying there --lifeless. It looked too small and featherless to have even hatched on it's own yet. 

How did it get here? What happened to it? Poor baby bird. It's poor mamma.

I felt so sad for this little lifeless creature. This little bird who's life was so short. 

Though small and lifeless, the little bird was quite miraculous. He* had been growing and had wings, and a beak, and little fragile and frail legs . . . now limp. How perfect he seemed and how sorry I was that he didn't get to spread those wings and fly. 

I couldn't help thinking of my baby and everyone's babies whose spirits leave their small fragile and frail bodies sooner than any of us would anticipate. I couldn't help thinking about the aching moms who had so many hopes and dreams for their little ones. But sometimes God has a different plan and our little ones don't live their lives like we envisioned they would. They live them briefly, yet leave more of an impact on anyone than we could have imagined.

I felt like I couldn't just toss him in the trash can that was there right next to the patio. It didn't seem right. So I dug a small hole for him and buried him. I know he was just a bird, but he reminded me of how precious and sacred and glorious life is. He reminded me of the ache and sorrow I and many other mothers face when we lose our little ones. He reminded me of how miraculous and beautiful growth is even if it ends before we would deem it complete. 

So thinking of how much I didn't enjoy having to bury him and recognizing that someone had to do it, and remembering my mom and her courage when she buried our dog Tuffy when I was in elementary school, and thinking about the horse grave Trevor and I found off a wooded trail several months ago and how much harder it would have to be to bury a horse, I closed my eyes as I scooped the dirt over the little bird's body. In one scoop and some shuffling of the mulch to cover it up it was done. Poor bird. It seemed like his grave was worthy of a marker so I carefully stuck some leaves in the dirt above him. The little leaves even seemed to look feathery to me. I liked that.

Life is precious and fragile and this morning I was reminded of that.

And I wish that is where my thoughts ended, but that will be post for another day  . . . 

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Helping Broken Hearts

Trevor and I have a friend Katie from Minnesota where he served his mission. Katie has a friend who in addition to having Katie as a mutual friend, unfortunately, now has another connection to us.

Her sweet baby girl wasn't moving and slipped quietly back to heaven before she was born. 

I hate having this in common with people. I wish that it didn't have to happen to anyone else. My heart breaks each time I hear about other parents experiencing the loss of their sweet babies.

My friend Katie is an amazing woman. She moved right in to action to help this family. She has set up a blog to help raise money for this family to be able to handle the financial burden of loss. There are items that have been donated for sale as well as an option to just make a cash donation. Any excess in donations will be passed on to Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. 

 Here's the blog for their sweet baby Alice

If you feel like you are able, I know a donation to this family would mean so much to them.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Grieving Cheerfully

I feel like I was prepared in so many different ways for Luke's death. Not that you can ever really be prepared for an unexpected death of a loved one, but reflecting on things, I feel like God truly took me by the hand and lead me to do and learn certain things before Luke's death which helped me later.

Last night I was at a Relief Society class focusing on simplifying things. Many suggestions were shared for a myriad of regular activities women and moms participate in. One woman who I really admire, shared a suggestion she learned from someone else which she has tried to implement.

Laundry. What household task could be more never-ending than laundry? So the suggestion was to make doing laundry an opportunity to reflect on each family member as you sorted through each of their clothing items. Think about them -- their stage of life, things you love about them, etc. She shared how this has really helped her enjoy this mundane task.

As she shared this it brought to memory an insight I had while I was pregnant with Luke. I remember coming to the realization; my life was forever going to be filled with mundane tasks -- laundry, cleaning, cooking, etc. The words of a scripture took meaning in a new way "let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power" (D&C 123:17). I knew my happiness was going to be in my attitude. I recall reflecting on that as I prepared for Luke to join our family.

Oh how I would have given anything to be able to be doing the mundane tasks of motherhood for that baby boy!

And then, just this morning, I realized I guess instead of cheerfully changing diapers or doing laundry I grieved cheerfully. Or rather, am grieving, cheerfully. Grief is so different for everyone, but for me I truly feel like I am able to focus on the positive things.

I will get to raise Luke one day.
Because of Christ, Luke (and all of our family members) will be resurrected one day.
Luke was so perfect that he did not need to withstand that trials and adversities of this life.
The promise of being with Luke is one more reason or incentive to keep God's commandments, so I can be with him again one day.
We have a family member who, hopefully, is looking after us and loves us more than I'm sure we even realize.

These are just some of the positive things that I truly have cheerfully been able to recognize and remember. Grief is different for everyone and even different for each person at different times. I don't expect others to handle their grief in a similar way. Nevertheless, I feel like because I keep these blessings and truths in the forefront of my mind I have been perhaps buffered  from more painful feelings associated with death and have been able to grieve just a little more cheerfully than perhaps what is normal. For that I am grateful.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

17 Months

Time passes quickly in our home. We find ourselves quite occupied caring for your brother Jeremy. The months pass so quickly. I am astounded that it's been 17 months since we were with you. Before we know it, it will be 18 months. The time may go quickly, but our hearts still long for you. We love you and think about you every day. Your brother is lucky to have you to watch after him, I hope that you do some of the time.

Love you! Love, your mommy.