caption - title

The story of our precious little girl's 17 months of life with Trisomy 18 (July 4, 2010 - December 15, 2011) and of us, re-learning to live "after Lilly."
"I will praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made ...." Psalm 139:14

Friday, August 31, 2012

Lights out!

Just about an hour ago, my son and I were started by a sudden darkness in our living room.  It was the colored lights on Lilly's tree.  They all suddenly burned out.  :(  The middle section had burned out awhile ago, then earlier this week the bottom section.  Now the top is out.  It was rather sad.  I have to say, I am NOT impressed with pre-lit trees.  The tree instructions said that the lights would last for years and if one burned out, then the others would stay lit.  Hmmmm.  I'm not interested in returning it though, I bought the tree while Lilly was still alive and that makes it special.  So - tomorrow morning I'll get up into the attic, and get out a string of  colored lights we use on our big Christmas tree, and wrap them around Lilly's tree.  The lights definitely add cheer to the tree.

T. made herself a Trisomy awareness/in memory of Lilly T-shirt.  Here is the front:



And the back:



Rainbow Baby and I have our own special t-shirt, from grandma.  It's too tight for us now, but we wanted a picture in it:


Kisses from H.:



I went to my appointment at the birthing center this afternoon.  Everything with new baby seems normal and good.  H. was delighted to help the midwife check the baby's heartbeat.  He held the end of the doppler onto my tummy.  Heartrate was 135 bpm.  T. commented that Lilly's heart was faster.  (And it was - 160 bpm.)  The midwife felt the baby's position - he's head down, but has not started to descend any.  My next appointment is in two weeks - the date the baby is due.  Wonder if I'll be at the appointment or not??!!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Beautiful symbolic butterflies ...

This heart is a bit hard to read, but it says "Trisomy Families touch the hearts of everyone around them forever."  I thought that was beautiful and so true!  I continue to be amazed at the number of people who tell us how much Lilly, and our family, has touched their lives.  I love know that Lilly's life was so far reaching and had so much meaning.  And I can see that in the lives of other Trisomy children who's families I have gotten to know.

I got an email from D.P. who keeps an eye on Lilly's grave when she can.  She said that in driving by the cemetery the day after a storm, she noticed Lilly's wreath had blown over and so she stopped and put it back in place.  I was so thankful!  Because if it was left on the ground, the wreath probably would have blown away and gotten thrown out.  D. shared that when she stopped at Lilly's grave, there were two butterflies fluttering over Lilly and Wendi's stones.  (Wendi is my husband's sister, who died in her teens, and Lilly is buried right next to her.)  The butterflies continued to circle until D. fixed the wreath, then fluttered off together.  I love it!  My children often say that Lilly lives in a mansion in heaven with Wendi and Pop.  (Pop is my father-in-law.)  T. said that the smaller butterfly D. described must have been Lilly, and the larger, Wendi.  Thank you D.!  (I've never even met this woman, but so appreciate her kindness.)


Lilly had the first Trisomy 18 angel story posted on the Trisomy 13 support group - Living With Trisomy 13.  I love the butterfly frames added around Lilly's pictures on the webpage.  You can read her story at:  http://www.livingwithtri13.org/albumlittlefirecracker.html .  I've used the same story for Lilly before.  I just haven't been able to write another summary like that.  Thank you Vanessa for posting Lilly's story!

Speaking of butterflies, Lilly is on a waiting list with Triplet Butterfly Wings  for a special butterfly release and photo in her honor.  This mom, who lost triplets, raises butterflies and then releases them in her special garden (a garden in memory of her own babies).  Each butterfly is in honor of an angel baby and she photographs them as they are released.  Look at her blog and see how beautiful the pictures are.  I recently noticed that this mom makes and donates burial wraps and hats to hospitals. 

My own Lilly Memorial Project, in honor of angel babies, is slowly coming together.  I got another preemie boy outfit off Ebay the other day:



"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God." - 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Friday, August 24, 2012

"How Firm a Foundation"

Today T. asked me to record her playing "How Firm a Foundation" on the piano.  This is her fourth video in the "Lilly funeral music" series she is doing. 


video

I had to fight back tears while recording this today.  (Those tears that "pop up out of nowhere!")  I think "How Firm a Foundation" was Lilly's very favorite song.  My husband discovered this when she was first hospitalized, in September 2010.  When I was holding Lilly and she was upset, I would hold her tight against me and hum this song and it almost always calmed her down. 

On the night Lilly died, when the paramedics got through trying to revive her, they left me alone in the ambulance with her.  I carefully redressed her, wrapped her in her blanket, and then held her and found myself rocking her and humming this song.  This time it calmed ME down in a way.  I knew she was with God and was happy to be there.

OK ... enough!  I don't want to cry again.  In the video, the plaque is entitled "The Reunion Heart" and we received it from Giuliana's family shortly after Lilly died.  The words are so sweet:

The Reunion Heart

Since Heaven has become your home
I sometimes feel I'm so alone;
and though we now are far apart
you hold a big piece of my heart.

I never knew how much I'd grieve
when it was time for you to leave,
or just how much my heart would ache
from that one fragment you would take.

God lets this tender hole remain
reminding me we'll meet again,
and one day all the pain will cease
when He restores this missing piece.

He'll turn to joy my every tear
with thoughts of you I hold so dear,
and they'll become my special way
to treasure our Reunion Day.


Finally, here are the lyrics to the hymn "How Firm a Foundation":

How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
is laid for your faith in his excellent word!
What more can he say than to you he hath said,
to you who for refuge to Jesus have fled?

Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,
for I am thy God and will still give thee aid;
I'll strengthen and help thee, and cause thee to stand
upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.

When through deep waters I call thee to go,
the rivers of woe shall not thee overflow;
for I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
and sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

When through fiery trials thy pathways shall lie,
my grace, all-sufficient, shall be thy supply;
the flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.

I think verse 2 is my favorite right now.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

What do a cupcake, rock, and tiny knitted hat have in common?

In the Trisomy angel world, we families have a special bond.  Part of that is including each other's angel children in celebrations and in other ways.  Frequently this is done through balloon releases.  I continue to be amazed at the creativity of some families!

This adorable Lilly cupcake was made by Mia's mom.  If I recall correctly, she had about 70 cupcakes representing other Trisomy angel's at a birthday/memory celebration for her angel Mia. I think Lilly's mouse is just too cute!  (The mice were made out of fondant icing.)


The family of angel Dominic is making a memory rock garden for their son.  They are adding the names of other angels on rocks in his garden.  You can see Lilly's rock in the lower right area of the photo.  I thought this was another really creative idea.

It is such a heartwarming feeling for us when someone acknowledges our angel children.  One mom said that just hearing her son's name made her feel so good.  So I appreciate being able to be a part of the Trisomy angel community.  Of course we all wish we still had our special children, but since we don't, it is good to have each other for support when we need it. If you are in need of support I encourage you to reach out!

A Trisomy mom posted a link to a website called Recover From Grief.  (http://www.recover-from-grief.com/)  I've only had a few minutes to check out their website, but see they have a lot of good ideas and resources on it.


One more special thing I wanted to share today is this adorable tiny little Kaia Angel Hat ornament.  I received it from Kaia's mom along with a beautiful card.  I printed out my favorite picture of Kaia to keep tucked into the card.  (I have a box of cards from other Trisomy families.)  I am going to hang the little ornament hat on Lilly's memorial tree.

I know that it helps in the grief process to both give and receive things. 

I hope that today's post isn't even relevant to most of you reading this.  But I like to continue to post on memory ideas because it is very helpful to some - including my own family.  I appreciate those of you who have referred people specifically to this blog to check out these ideas.  We all grieve differently, but hopefully people can find an idea or two that will help them.

"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing." - 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Monday, August 20, 2012

Yuck - new ad bar at top

Sadly it seems that this blog, along with any other through blogspot/blogger now have ads that we can not control across the tops of our blogs.  I dislike ads anyway.  But I've seen a couple now that I just find plain offensive.  :(

If anyone knows if there's a way to get the ads to go away - please share it with me!

UPDATE:  Several people now have told me they don't see the ad bar.  I see them on this blog, and any other blogspot blog I look at.  So I'm wondering if there is some setting on my computer I can get rid of.  Hmmmm ....

FINAL UPDATE:  Problem solved!  I wanted to share this in case any of you suddenly have this problem.  I was getting those banner ads across the top of any page of this blog, and on the blogspots of others.  A friend suggested that it was malware.  So I ran my anti-malware program (a free one called Malwarebytes anti-malware) and it found some items.  I deleted them, restarted my computer, and poof! the banners were gone.  I was so happy!  And honestly I'm surprised the fix was that easy.  :P

I'm glad Lilly never had to deal with any viruses or other computer issues!



Sunday, August 19, 2012

Missing: grave flowers

Today we were able to briefly stop by Lilly's grave to check on it.  The last time we were there was July 4, her birthday, when I brought the flowers in the picture and clamped them onto the large gravestone between Lilly's grave and her aunt's and grandfather's.  Sadly today the flowers were gone. 

That's the second time the flowers have disappeared.  Do they blow away?  Are they taken?  I wish I knew.  But I was glad that her wreath and other things were still there.  They are all things that we pushed deep into the ground, so I guess that's why.

H. stood by Lilly's grave and said "Hi Lilly!  I love you!"  It was so sweet.  I stood there thinking about the missing flowers and what I might do next time to try and make the flowers last longer.  I also thought about grave flowers in general and their purpose, and that reminded me of a quote from Karen Andreola's book Pocketful of Pinecones which sums up what I was thinking perfectly:

"Flowers placed at gravestones are not for the benefit of those beyond the grave.  They are for those left behind." (pgs. 196-97)


We went with my mother-in-law to her church today.  We sang a line of "Jesus Loves Me" that I didn't remember:

Jesus loves the children dear,
Children far away or near,
They are safe when in his care,
Every day and everywhere.

I prayed a thank you to Jesus for taking perfect care of our Lilly right now.  I don't think I'll ever get tired of looking at my portrait of Lilly in the arms of Jesus.  :)

By the way, if you're interested in nature study, the book I quoted above, Pocketful of Pinecones, is an excellent read.  It is a teacher's guide but written as a mother's diary in the 1930s.  The author is well known for her writings and teachings about the Charlotte Mason method of education.   

Finally, if you know a way to really get grave flowers to stay in place, I'd love any tips you can offer!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Multiplying sock monkeys

It all began with Lilly and her Crazy Sock Monkey, a present from her great-aunt on her first birthday:




Then earlier this year, I bought a game called "Where is Sock Monkey?"  T. and H. had a lot of fun playing the game with me and H. claimed the little brown monkey that came with it.  T. ended up falling in love with sock monkeys.  She bought herself a pink one.

Recently T. began worrying that Rainbow Baby did not have a sock monkey like T., H., and Lilly had.  It's funny how God can answer random wishes.  Rainbow Baby suddenly received a sock monkey from one of his grandma's:

 


Now we've got a monkey for each of our "monkeys":


I had a checkup with Rainbow Baby today.  The midwife said he felt like he was in a funny position, though thankfully still head down.  She said that can happen after a breech baby.  (Lilly was breech.)  I had not met the midwife I saw today before.  She was quite interested in talking about Lilly's story and Trisomy 18.  She was amazed that Lilly lived 17 months.  I felt so proud of Lilly telling her that and all about her.

This week as I've watched T. in her many artistic pursuits and writing stories, and H. busy with his math workbooks and hooking up circuits on his own (with batteries, alligator clips, and little lightbulbs), I thought about how different they were.  And how different from them both that Lilly was.  And I am SO curious to know that Rainbow Baby will be like.

All I know at this point, is that he behaves in the womb just like H. did.  Relatively calm, and if I put my hand on my belly when he's moving around, he stops moving.  The opposite of what T. was like.  She was extremely active, and when I'd put my hand on my belly she's push back.  Amazing how they had their personalities from the beginning.  T. is very high energy and interactive.  H. is usually calmer and focused.

I am looking at one of my Lilly "business cards" on my desk.  The scripture I have on it is one that works with all my children.  Indeed it works with every one of us.

"I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made ...." - Psalm 139:14

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Lilly Memorial Project

"My Angel Lilly" - I had those three words embroidered onto my "organizing utility tote" from Thirty One.  (I had never even heard of Thirty One products until this summer, when A.S., woman that I made friends with - because of Lilly! - introduced me to them.) 

This special bag holds many of my Lilly files, things I want at my fingertips.  I keep it right next to my desk.  Memorial ideas, my angel projects, writing ideas, Trisomy information, etc.  I came across the idea to put a filebox inside from a homeschool blog.  It really is a perfect fit!  (I bought an open filebox from Staples, added hanging files, and my file folders.  I love organizing so I think it's just perfect!)

If you are interested in Thirty One products, the director that I ordered from is named Nikki.  Here is her website: www.mythirtyone.com/nikkihuffman and her email is:  nikkiloves31gifts@gmail.com )

Several files in my special bag are filled with ideas of what I have tentatively called "The Lilly Memorial Project."  Right now, the particular project I am focusing on is an "Angel Family Donation" project.  After seeing little crocheted dresses made by J. of Kit's Muse, I felt strongly like I wanted to do something to bless parents of angel babies.  (You can see my blogpost on Kit's Muse and dress photos here.)

So I contacted L.W., a special woman at UNC Hospital that helped me a lot with scheduling Lilly's appointments, and informed me about different services, etc.  I gave her a list of about a dozen things I was thinking if tucking into memorial boxes for parents that end up not getting to take their babies home from the hospital.  L. was very excited about all my ideas.  I'm not 100% of what all will actually end up in the boxes.  That is except for burial clothing.

I was extremely blessed to already have a beautiful gown to bury Lilly in when she passed away.  It was a vintage Christening gown that I had picked up in a thrift shop 9 months earlier!  You can see pictures here.  I can not imagine the stress of trying to find something beautiful to bury a baby in, right after they died.  It was hard enough for me to focus on gathering pictures for Lilly's viewing and writing my graveside reflections.  The night Lilly died, after we brought her body back into the house from the ambulance, I thought of the dress and had T. run get it.  We held it against her and saw it would be a perfect fit.  I was so thankful.

My goal is to donate 17 boxes, in honor of Lilly's 17 months of life on earth, in December, around the time of her one year "angelversary."

Here are two burial outfits that I bought off Ebay.  The first is a preemie sized dress and bonnet (Christening gown):


And this is a boy's outfit, newborn size:


I plan to include a variety of sizes.

The Lord has brought an amazing thing to pass for me regarding the clothing.  As I was looking at white clothing on Ebay recently, I came across a beautiful little preemie sized crocheted dress.  I clicked into the link and read about the dress and the seller's story.  A young woman had made the dress and wanted to donate it to a hospital but couldn't get a response from the hospital.  So she was selling the dress.  And she asked for suggestions on how to donate to hospitals.  AND - she promised to make the buyer of the dress FOUR more dresses for FREE to donate to the hospital of their choice!  I was so surprised and excited to read this - I really believe it is a "God thing!" 

I bought the dress from J., the young woman.  She promptly sent the dress, along with another she had just finished.  They are absolutely beautiful:


I can't wait to see more!
Because not all the angel babies will be preemie or newborn sizes, I am taking a tip from Kit's Muse and making burial "pouches" too.  These will be for the teeny tiny fragile wee babies.  Here is a sample picture, courtesy of J. of Kit's Muse (she also sent directions):

T. wants to take on the project of crocheting several of these.  Because I have no idea how to crochet, I am going to get her help on the first one, then she should be good to go.  (She can already crochet some.)

I know this is all really a sad topic to think about.  But as my family and I know too well - it is a part of life.  Yesterday marked 8 months in heaven for Lilly.  My husband wore his special Lilly colored tie to work.  We all remembered her - as we do every day.  She is still very much a part of our family.  And I hope that our Lilly Memorial Projects will honor her and bless and touch the lives of others.

One more big project I have been working on is expanding my post "LillyBear's Adventures in Chincoteague" into a little book.  (I have been having so much fun with this!)  I want to sell it and dedicate any money I make exclusively to my Lilly Memorial Projects fund.  I want to make the book available as both an e-book and printed copy.  I have no idea if anyone will be interested in purchasing the book, but hopefully a few will!  

If anyone has ideas on how to self-publish a full color book inexpensively (but good quality) please let me know!  I'm not really sure of the best route for that.

I have wanted to write this post for several weeks now, but for some reason, have just had such a hard time writing it.  But now it's done and I am glad.  For those parents of angel children reading this, I'd love your feedback.  Is there anything that you received from the hospital - or someone else - that was a comfort to you after your child passed away?  Or for that matter - anyone can answer this question that lost someone close.

I want to do a good job on this project and I'd love to have your prayers about the details, that it would bless others, and honor God.  Thank you!  :)

"And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask any thing according to His will, He hears us: and if we know that He hears us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him." - 1 John 5:14-15

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Angel wishes

Recently there was an online auction to benefit Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep, the free photography service to families of babies that are stillborn or not expected to live long.  (We received this service with Lilly and were greatly blessed by it.)  The auction was put on by the parents of Elizabeth, a little baby girl that lived for 24 days with Trisomy 13.

The auction was a great cause and I found myself drawn to one of the items up for bid.  It was a little bag with angel wings.  There was just something about it that!  I placed a bid, but didn't win.  So I contacted Elizabeth's mama and asked where the bag came from and told her how sweet I thought it was.  She responded it was donated by the support group Living With Trisomy 13.  Like Elizabeth's mama, I recognized the mama that ran this group from the trisomy support group on Facebook.  Her daughter Isabel has Trisomy 13 and is still living!  So I asked her.  She sweetly responded that I would receive a bag for free in the mail, from the woman that was making them.

I was so touched!  I continue to be amazed at the kindness and generosity of people I have met in the Trisomy world.  Lilly blessings continue.  :)

Just the other day, I received the sweetest mini angel wishes bag with a note:  "This angel wish bag was made with love and filled with prayers.  God bless!"  There was also an enclosed letter, which was so touching, it had to have been originally written by a mother that had lost a child:

Dear Mommy,
I know you are feeling very sad, and miss me more than words can say, but please know Mommy, that I will always be by your side, keeping silent watch over you each and every day.
Thank you for all the precious moments that you spent by my side.  I shall cherish forever your tender touches, and the way you lovingly looked at me with immense admiration and pride.
I will always remember your beautiful smile, your silky, soft hair, and the smell of your skin as you caressed me, held me safely, and took such great care of me.
I know it may for you to understand why I had to go, but God had different plans for us.  I met Jesus and everything they say about him is true!  He loves me Mommy, and you too!
He will help you through this; please trust in your faith that we will be together again in our Heavenly kingdom one day.
Any time you think of me, or speak my name into the wind, I shall be there with you, I will reside forever inside your heart.
At night, I will kiss you gently on your cheek, as you drift peacefully off to sleep.
I met new friends and pointed you out.  "Look, there's my Mommy!  Isn't she beautiful!"  They agreed.  I am such a lucky girl to have you for a Mommy.  I chose you well.  I knew before I was born that you'd be the most amazing Mommy ever!
Thank you for everything.  I love you always, and forever.
Lilly

I miss you my Lilly, my beautiful angel girl!

Friday, August 10, 2012

A beautiful lily flower in Lilly's garden:



In memory's lovely garden,
where remembered joy blooms fair,

your memory, dearest Lilly,
is the brightest blossom there.

(I adapted that from an item in the Personal Creations catalog.)

I have not had time to post the details yet, but I am excited that all the details of my In Memory of Lilly Project are coming together.  Lord willing I'll be posting about it in the next few days!

"Let everything you do be done in love." - 1 Corinthians 16:14

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

"Amazing Grace"

T. continues to learn how to play the songs we sung at Lilly's funeral on the piano.  Today's video is of her playing "Amazing Grace."  (This is H's favorite hymn.) 

video


You can see video of her playing "Lily of the Valley" here and "My Jesus I Love Thee" here.
T. continues to be heartbroken over the loss of Firecracker, her fish.  Yesterday she bought a new fish to try and quickly fill the void.  She said it's dumb to be so sad about a fish, when she lost her baby sister and grandpa.  But she just is.  I told her that it is OK to grieve her fish!  She asked me to post a picture of Peacock, her new Crowntail Betta fish:



"Amazing Grace" - by John Newton

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me....
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now, I see.

T'was Grace that taught...
my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear...
the hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares...
we have already come.
T'was Grace that brought us safe thus far...
and Grace will lead us home.

The Lord has promised good to me...
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be...
as long as life endures.

When we've been here ten thousand years...
bright shining as the sun.
We've no less days to sing God's praise...
then when we've first begun.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

You are my sunshine ...

Photo: Lilly and her Daddy at the park.  October 2011.

Yesterday we were able to go boating for the day with my husband's best childhood friend.  We all enjoyed it and we all found ourselves remembering Lilly throughout the day.  Yesterday was the 4th (Lilly would have been 2 yrs. and 1 month old if she were still with us) and, we all remembered that she came boating with us last year.  (You can see pictures of Lilly boating here.)   We remain grateful that Lilly lived for over a year.  She was able to experience all the holidays and annual things we do each year.  It's so good that she's a part of those memories, even if they do make me tear up at times.

On the way home we saw the most beautiful rainbow.  My husband started talking about it being a sign from Lilly and God before I knew it I was crying.  Oh well.  I was due for a cry.  I thought of the rainbow too being a sign from Lilly about her rainbow baby brother.  I am finally to the point that I am really looking forward to meeting the little guy, and holding him.  I'm finally over a lot of the fear I think.

Today we decorated Lilly's tree for the month of August.  This month's theme:  sunshines and sunflowers.  (Thanks to T.'s piano teacher for the idea about sunflowers!)  And the tree topper is Lilly's much used sunglasses and hat.  (Which she's wearing in the above picture.)

The kids and I made sunflowers out of glittered scrapbook paper.  The "G. girls" (Emily's big sisters) each made a sunshine out of styrofoam.  T. and I are always impressed with their creativity.  :)

"From the rising of the sun to its setting The name of the LORD is to be praised." - Psalm 113:3

The sunflowers are from a couple bunches of artificial flowers from the craft store.  They're bright and cheery.  I was pleased that for the first year, I was able to grow sunflowers outside, without them dying or the birds destroying them.

This sunshine ornament I made has a song we used to sing a lot to Lilly on it:

You are my sunshine,
My Lilly sunshine.
You make me happy,
When skies are grey.
You'll never know dear,
How much I love you,
Please don't take my Lilly away.

We miss you Lilly sunshine!

It was a particularly sad afternoon for T.  While cleaning out Firecracker's fishbowl (her Betta fish), the fiesty fish jumped out of the net onto the floor.  Though put back in his bowl, he died shortly thereafter.  T. had already made a little coffin for him, though she hadn't planned for him to use it so soon.  We had a proper burial outside, by the bird bath, where T. also has a leopard frog and hummingbird buried.


Friday, August 3, 2012

Sunset peacefulness


"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands." - Psalm 19:1

Photo credit:  Carly Marie Dudley.  To order a photo of your angel child's name in the sand at sunset, go to:  http://namesinthesand.blogspot.com/  To read the story of Carly's stillborn son, and how she came to do these photographs, click here.  (This is the same woman that does the butterflies in the sand pictures, of which I have posted two, here and here.)

Ahhhhhhh ... the above photo is just so beautiful and fills me with peace.  :) 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Postmark from Heaven

If you have received a card from me in the past couple months, it probably had a little red firecracker stamped on it.  That's a way we remember Lilly on our cards or envelopes.  (For anyone reading this that is wondering why - Lilly was born on July 4 and was nicknamed "Little Firecracker" because of her will to live.)

If you've gotten a card "from Lilly" recently, I probably drew a "postmark from heaven" on the envelope.  I was never very pleased with how it turned out though.  Lilly has me help her send cards to family members and other special people occasionally.  ;)

I was very happy to find an Etsy dealer that makes custom rubber stamps!  Her shop name is: StampOutOnline and you can find her Etsy shop here.  She has a huge variety of rubber stamps that can be customized.

We went to another funeral today.  That makes 6 (including Lilly's) in a year's time.  I hope H. doesn't start playing funeral again!  (This was for an elderly neighbor.  A man who survived the Baatan Death March and was a POW in WWII for almost 4 years.  He was full of fascinating stories, including about growing up in Louisiana.  He credits T. with helping to save his life a few years ago when he fell.)  The funeral service was held at the same funeral home that Lilly's viewing was at. T. was so excited to go back to that funeral home.  I was silently dreading it and had a hard time not crying all morning.  But, thanks to God, I got through it OK.  It was hard though - sitting there at staring at the urn up front, where Lilly's little coffin had been.  Remembering how I stood right by it, and greeted so many many people that came to the viewing.  And then at the end, I picked her up and held her one last time.  It was so hard to put her down, knowing I never would hold her again.  Before the funeral, we talked to the man that helped us organize Lilly's funeral.  Such a kind man.  And after, the children and I looked at the birds that the funeral home keeps and enjoyed talking with a woman that works there. 

The service was short, but good.  I really needed to be reminded of the scriptures that the reverend read.  Here is one passage that was an encouraging reminder:

"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” - Revelation 21:1-4