100 Steps

Well this was interesting. Illuminate has been challenging {which I LOVE} since starting it 3 weeks ago, but this one was super challenging. I had to take 100 steps and snap a picture where I ended up. Umm… I live in Houston suburbia. Nothing too fantastic to see ;)

But… here ya go :)

What I did really enjoy about this assignment was noticing the LITTLE things. The things that I might just pass by any other day. I love that these images captured two things. Water. lots of water… and green grass. :)

Have I told you how thankful I am for the rain lately? Because I am.

XO

Sunny Days in September

1. wagon rides. he loves them. but you wanna know something? he eventually throws everything out of the wagon that he might be holding (ie… a sippy cup or toy). he does it without us noticing most of the time, little stinker!

2. fun times with daddy. i wish he could stay this age forever.

3. more fun times with mommy+daddy. i think he could do this forever. and ever. and ever.

4. rockin’ chandelier earrings. they’re cool.

1. look at him talkin’ on the phone all grown-up-like. ummm… where did he learn that!? oh yea, me.

2. see everyone? i don’t have black eyes. ;) it’s one of my shallow pet peeves that i hardly ever talk about.

3. spectacular view from the trampoline.

4. bubbyness on his new trampoline. as we were setting it up he got brave and started walking around on it. oh boy. it’s a good thing we got one of those net things to go around it!

I hope your weekend is beautimous :)

ps- thank you a million times over for your prayers and sweet comments for sweet Nevaeh.

A Message for Peace {by Mattie Stepanek}

FOR OUR WORLD

We need to stop.
Just stop.
Stop for a moment…
Before anybody
Says or does anything
That may hurt anyone else.
We need to be silent.
Just silent.
Silent for a moment…
Before we forever lose
The blessing of songs
That grow in our hearts.
We need to notice.
Just notice.
Notice for a moment…
Before the future slips away
Into ashes and dust of humility.
Stop, be silent, and notice…
In so many ways, we are the same.
Our differences are unique treasures.
We have, we are, a mosaic of gifts
To nurture, to offer, to accept.
We need to be.
Just be.
Be for a moment…
Kind and gentle, innocent and trusting,
Like children and lambs,
Never judging or vengeful
Like the judging and vengeful.
And now, let us pray,
Differently, yet together,
Before there is no earth, no life,
No chance for peace.

Mattie J.T. Stepanek ©
September 11, 2001

Things She Wore and The Sweet Life

One of the most precious gifts we received after losing Jenna was a shadow box of little things we got to keep from her NICU stay.

Things she wore.

I haven’t touched them physically in over 2 years until yesterday afternoon.

The prompt came from Illuminate to explore light in our grief journey and photography.

When I lifted open the shadow box I didn’t feel sad. I was mostly struck with wonder. I kept thinking- Wow, I really had a daughter… So much pink is on this shadow box collage. It’s quite lovely. It makes having a daughter real somehow.

Some of the things she wore were…

prayers of God’s people…

itty, bitty hospital bracelet #1… I actually love that they called her “Babygirl Cox”. Not sure why they did, but again I loved anything that made me feel like a normal mother to a baby girl.

a darling red bow…

hospital bracelet #2…

goggles… (to protect her eyes from the light for jaundice)

I know on your screen this diaper probably looks huge, but it’s not. It’s no bigger than the palm of my hand. And it was big on her.

If I was completely honest I still don’t feel like the fog has completely lifted. I do feel the warmth of the sunshine and healing on most days, but the cloud of doubt, wonder and longing are never too far away. Somehow that makes the sunshine that much sweeter.

Life sweeter.

InstaFriday

This is my first time joining Life Rearranged on the blog party, InstaFriday. It’s just a fun way to share what you’ve been up to using instagr.am or anything.

The bicycle. It’s pretty lovely. I caught this on the way uptown to order Nevaeh’s t-shirts. It’s crazy how a crappy 70′s picture filter can add interest to a boring scene.

Now you chocolate, need no filter to look scrumptious. Kit-Kats were the choice chocolate that day. Too bad they didn’t last longer than a few hours.

More uptown stuff.

The view from my front door. That’s not a cloud. It’s a smoke cloud. Without the fires the sky would be clear blue.

This smoke is now sitting over the entire city of Houston (this was captured two days ago).

This is what happens when disaster strikes. Ozarka + Aquafina make it big.

Love. This is especially sweet because hubby’s been working loooonng hours. Miss him just a tad these days.

life rearranged

Recap {labor day}

visiting jenna. It was a beautiful beautiful day. We don’t take that for granted around here since we’ve had an incredibly HOT HOT summer. It was an awesome day actually. Me and Bubby met Pete there on his lunch break {Pete’s sweet isn’t he? To give up his lunch break to come visit her..}. We got there pretty early though and while I was there Bubby and I walked around. Sadly I found two baby boys not too far from where Jenna is buried, both born and passed away in the 70′s. They were probably buried within a few years of each other. I got to wondering about the mothers of those babies and if they found one another’s child’s marker.

Who thinks like that? I know. Weird. But I do. I wonder if they found any consolation in knowing their baby boy is not the only baby in Heaven.

with grandpa. Grandpa was just a little thrilled to get to spend some time with Bubby. And Bubby adores him.

the texas drought. It’s real and it’s bad. Pray for rain. Pray for the firefighters. Pray for Texans losing their homes. This is a hideous smoke cloud that has burned down (today) 100+ acres over three counties. This picture was taken on Labor Day, in the evening. Not even thinking about it yesterday, I let Bubby go outside and the air was thick and it stunk like smoke from a fire. Some ash was even falling from the sky. Needless to say we came back in and stayed in!

tiger lilly. He’s a cool cat of our family’s that is super sweet around kids. Bubby had a face-off with him. I think the cat won.

Split Personality.

I am taking part in Illuminate – a 4-week photography class designed especially for bereaved parents to encourage healing through photography. I love it so far. It’s been a nice way to unwind from work in the late evenings, and take time to think about STUFF that feels buried.

This week’s assignment is ‘self-portrait’.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I am split. I don’t feel like I can capture everything I am feeling in one picture. And if I could that would be one fantastically busy picture!

On one hand {pardon the pun} I remember her. I miss her. I long for her. There are are days I cry. And then there are days I cry a lot. But most days I just think about her.

Remembering

But on the other hand I feel like I’ve found what I have always been meant to do. Which means in some twisted fate I was always meant to lose a daughter. I don’t know. But I do feel purpose in life again. I remember just wanting to die. No, really. Like I wanted the Lord to come back, take me home so I can see her again.

Somehow life got sweet again.

Such is Life

Dear Jenna,

It’s my hope that whether I speak to you at the grave, or in my heart that you know I love you. And that you know how much your little presence is missed. Pretty soon October 15th will be here and we try to encourage the world to remember all of you who left too soon.

I think about you every single day.

Some days I wonder what sort of big sister you’d be. Bossy? Sharing? Motherly?

Other days I wonder what it’s like to tote around two kids at the grocery store. I can just see you bouncing up and down in the grocery cart while I try to tame your little brother. Needless to say I wouldn’t go many places without your Dad!

And then a few days scattered randomly here and there I am back at the hospital holding you again. Those days hurt the most.

It’s just another letter to say I love you, miss you beyond words and can’t wait to hold you again sweet girl.

Thank you for being such a gift to me. Thank you for being mine.

Love you,

-Mom

Happy 16 Months + the Magnificent Rainbow

Yesterday we got a lil’ glimpse of Heaven in our backyard. All summer long Texas has been in a serious drought and I kid you not, I forgot what a rainbow in real life looks like. Sad, I know! I couldn’t take my eyes off of it!!!

It was a beautiful reminder of so many things. The clouds were magnificent. The whole sky was like a silent orchestra.

Eh, you can barely see it in this last one but it’s there if you squint. ;)

Happy 16 months baby boy. Love you and so proud to be your mama ♥

ps- be sure to stop by later tonight for the last giveaway :)

xoxo

Life Lately

In a few words life has been happy and sad. I am bursting with happiness from Bubby’s tremendous progress in walking. I was getting worried he’d never want to walk! ;)

He’s almost a pro. Almost.

Happy because I finally got in my beautimous planner that keeps my crazy life a little organized. It makes me feel important too. HA! That was a joke.

Happy because God’s given me some really great friends. Great is an understatement.

Sad that a six year old is fighting an aggressive form of Leukemia instead of starting school like a regular kid this August.

Sad that there are entire hospitals around the world for children, just like her.

This is life lately in an instagr.am-nutshell.

 1. me and princess nevaeh

2. my beautimous planner

3. my buddy. he was wiped out from all that walking.

4. he likes to sport my aviators.

1. more aviator fun {in target might i add}

2. talking, making faces in the car on the way to grandma and grandpa’s

3. totally emptying out my purse while i was skyping {is that a word? oh well, just used it}. awesome.

4. the definition of handsome. like father like son.

1-4 me trying to capture cuteness while he was determined beyond imagination to take.this.hat.off. winter is going to be awesome.

1. me and amy.

2. more funny faces in the car.

3. my purse from africa. isn’t it pretty?

4. yours truly.

The Road Trip {nashville, TN}

It went by way too fast but I am glad to be home. It was such a pleasure sitting down and talking with Angie Smith in person. The whole meet up was extremely last minute for both of us. We checked into the hotel, I popped open my laptop not expecting much and almost died. “KATIE! SHE EMAILED ME BACK AND CAN MEET TODAY!!!” {SQUEAL!!!!!!!}  She is in one word FUN! And she asked about Jenna. Like she really wanted to know all about her. I felt like a puddling mess, didn’t know where to start, umm… I LOVE YOU ANGIE!!!!! We also had the pleasure of meeting all four of her girls, which is why I withheld from begging for a picture with her! ;) I didn’t know how she might feel with a pic since she was holding Charlotte toward the end. Oh well.

Meeting Adrienne and her sweet Bennett was also a gift. He is such a little miracle, and his eyes are strikingly beautiful. I remember when he was born a little over a year ago at 24 weeks or so, and how God has just pulled him through and given him so much strength. Every one of Adrienne‘s kiddos are amazingness in their own ways. If you haven’t seen her blog, you must. She is an amazing mama and Christian.

Anyway… while we were strolling around the Nashville area I was camera happy, as usual.

Target stop… a must! Thank God for Target :)

Aunt Katie & Bubby!

Union station.

This place called Boot Country was having a buy 1 pair get TWO free sale!!!!!! Too bad most of the boots I liked were like $400…

Adorable handmade paper invites… and twine. Wish I could remember the shop name!!

Check out their ceiling deco! How fun would that be to have hanging from a bedroom?

Probably my favorite stop downtown… Hatch Show Print. These artists hand make vintage-inspired posters for events in the area. They use a printmaking method I LOVED LOVED LOVED to do in college. Jealous CITY! This would be my dream job, you know if I didn’t live 827 miles away.

the studio

the cats

Bubby enjoying his goldfish…

Just thought the lettering here was pretty cool.

While we were waiting for 2pm to arrive (to meet Angie!!!) we were killing time in the ADORABLE town of Franklin. Are these angel wings not the coolest thing ever? It’s almost like they are happy accidents of some messy swirls.

My new favorite drink at Starbucks. Blended Strawberry Lemonade. YUM.

Sunset on Thursday… so much PINK! :D

How fun is this picture? Bubby had so much fun with all the mirrors in the dress shop. And so did I!!!

I think Pete missed us… just a bit. I came home to these lovelies :)

ps- Just found out Blissdom will be taking place in Nashville next year… looks like I might have a very nice excuse to visit this beautiful city again soon! Let me know if you plan on going, I’d love to meet you!!! :)

The Place Where Dreams Come True

For me, her garden is more than just a flower bed. Her garden symbolizes so much. It’s actually hard to put into words, but I’ll try.

It represents peace…

love…

hope…

dreams, broken and new.

It is a reminder of beauty and pain.

It is a constant work in progress. If you’ve ever seen it in person, you know that for a fact! ;)

I like to think of it lately as a place where dreams flourish.

I take my cares to this place, though I wish I had more time to spend in her garden. When I am there, usually Bubby is wrapped in his own little world, doing things that little boys do. It’s a nice, though often short- quiet time.

I’m almost glad it’s something that’s never quite done.

I’ve spoken to so many babylost mamas who have thought about starting a garden in their baby’s memory, and if you haven’t I encourage you to give it a try. :) Gardening isn’t everyone’s forte, and if I’m totally honest- it’s not mine either! But when I do make baby steps and actually keep a plant alive (yay me!) it helps this dream build- of a quiet place of peace, built by my two hands for her.


Yesterday I saw one cottontail bunny fly past our yard, out of the garden. I kept watering the flowers and to my surprise, there was another :)

She stayed for a while, but then hopped out of sight. See her hiding behind the arch? :)

If you keep a garden in your baby(ies)’s memory, in what ways has it helped your healing?

xo

Bluebird Tuesday ~ Openings in Heaven

What a quick week this will be! It’s already time for Bluebird Tuesday :)

A few weeks ago this quote was submitted by Jo Mills for a card line idea. It has become one of my absolute favorite quotes.

Hopefully later today Carly and I will be unveiling our card line site {insert supper happy faces here} :) To kick if off, in the next few days I will be hosting a little giveaway from the redbubble site… so please come back or subscribe to stay tuned!

Something good has come of all this. And I am so excited to share it with all of you who have been my support these past two+ years.

If there is a saying, quote, verse or anything that you would like our card line to say, please leave your ideas in a comment, I read each and every one of them.

Sending love & peace,

*The picture links back to the redbubble site where the featured card is available. I would just like to add that I certainly don’t expect you to purchase the card if you submit a quote. I would just love to hear what you would like our cards to say :) We also ask that you respect our copyright wish on all photos and not copy them from the blog or redbubble site.

Splash! Splash!

There’s nothing like a good ol’ splash day.

It has been the perfect weather to do nothing but sit outside on the back porch in the evening time and watch Bubby splash around. We don’t do this near enough!

This post is linked to Kristin’s blog party that celebrates our beautiful rainbow babies. ♥