Friday, April 26, 2013

Kisses for Claudie


OK, so I am sure most of you are anxiously waiting with bated breathe since my cryptic post on FB about BIG news coming soon.

Well, here it is and before you get too excited realize YOU are a part of it!

Last night I couldn't sleep because this idea hit me, partly because I am already dreading Claudette's first birthday (first birthdays are a HUGE deal in our family) and partly because I have realized just how many lives my daughter has already touched. My last blog Girls Can be SUPERHEROS TOO! touched on her powerful impact in just two people's lives, but the truth is her reach has been great and could be far greater still. I want for all my children to do incredible things with their lives, in this case I want my child to do incredible things in their death.

So here is where YOU come in:


We will call these random acts of kindness "Kisses for Claudie".

365 of them because frankly the worst part of everyday is the fact that we can't kiss on our little girl. So this will be our way of giving her a kiss at least once a day for the first year of her life.

While these acts are random we do NOT want them to be anonymous or unspoken. Kindness breeds kindness and love grows from other love, so once you have completed your act post a picture, a video or a post on her FB page: In Loving Memory of Claudette Elyse
(Don't have a FB page? Just post as a comment below or email me them.)

I know I might be crazy to think we can do 365 in these in next 7 or so months, but my daughter has never disappointment me yet, so let's not disappoint her. 

SO SHARE THIS POST, THE PAGE, OR tell your youth group, Sunday school class, Girl/Boys Scouts, Retirement home, neighbors or the lady waiting in line with you at the grocery store so we can get lots of people involved!!!

...oh and I almost forgot the most important part of this Kisses for Claudie Project
We would love to have pictures or funny videos of the person's coffee you paid for!

Then on November 29, 2013 we will throw A HUGE birthday party for kids that don't have mommies or daddies and bring them all the gifts that would normally go to Miss Claudie.
 (See I already gave ideas of how you can help: collection of birthday gifts? make cupcakes? donate a jump house for the birthday party?!)
Why are you doing still reading??? Start sharing the LOVE!!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


Lately, I have been thinking a lot about how much a 11lb, 13oz curly-haired little bundle of chub saved so many lives.

I am in awe of my little girl and am inspired by her.

As I was sitting in my hospital bed recovering from the C-section, my dad sat at my feet looking pale as he was writing Claudette's eulogy for the KC Star. I asked what was wrong and he said he had been short of breathe for a few days, but no big deal. Dad had just finished writing my mom's eulogy 6 months previous. Losing his wife of 42 years had taken a toll on him.
 We didn't now how much of a toll.

After much convincing and his stubborn nature being adamant that he finish writing her eulogy, dad WALKED down to the ER of the hospital. Within minutes he was having a heart cath. I quietly heard my sisters talking outside my room. I knew something was up (my sisters NEVER talk quietly). I asked my husband to get me out of this bed and see what was going on. As I waddled to the door I heard things like, "There is too much blockage"..."They can't cath him"... "Bypass surgery as soon as the cardio-thoracic surgeon can do it which would be the following am."

Dustin and I had an important decision to make: cancel Claudie's service or go on with it and know that dad wouldn't be there. The papers had already run by now and more importantly than that I knew we couldn't plan two funerals at once. I looked at Dustin and said let's bury our daughter in case we have to end up burying my dad too. Dustin felt that was the right thing to do.

I can never remember a time wherein I felt more COMPLETELY AND UTTERLY OVERWHELMED.

While my dad endured hours of what we thought would be a triple bypass surgery, we drove around town ordering our daughter's casket, flowers, and planning the services. My sister was giving us constant updates via text. We arrived back at the hospital just in time for the surgeon to update us. "Your father needed a quadruple bypass. He had 2 valves with 90%+ blockage, one with 98%blockage and the final with 100% blockage!!" The one with 100% was just centimeters from the "widow-maker" and even hours longer would have resulted in his death. The cardiologist told me later that there is no way he could have endured the funeral of his granddaughter and even one more day would have most assuredly resulted in his death. He said it was miracle he was at hospital and that everything fell into place as it had. MIRACLE INDEED!

I honestly believed with every fiber of my being when he left to the ER he was going to die. Most men don't live long past their wives and I thought this was it. As the days and weeks went on and he recovered so nicely I began to understand something, the little girl who he had held and wept so loudly over SAVED HIS LIFE!


A few weeks after we lost Claudette, something inside me clicked that I needed to take care of MYSELF or my fate would be similar to my mom's and I would not be here for my children on earth. I had lived 22 years with a disease in which was killing me and I was ignoring it's control over me.

As guilty as it makes me feel to say it my daughter saved my life too!

But little Claudie didn't just save my physical life, she saved me spiritually. Through her death, I have come to understand the bounds of death and life and the sanctity of both. She has made Christ more real and heaven more tangible.

***This post was inspired by the fact when I logged on to computer today it said congratulations over 25,000 people have read your blog. But it isn't my blog, it is my little superhero's Claudette Elyse's story written for her from above.

My daughter the SUPERHERO!!!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

How Beautiful

On our wedding day my sweet friend sang How Beautiful by Twila Paris. The lyrics go like this:

 How beautiful the radiant bride
Who waits for her groom with His light in her eyes
How beautiful when humble hearts give
The fruit of pure lives so that others may live

How beautiful, how beautiful
How beautiful is the body of Christ

How beautiful the feet that bring
The sound of good news and the love of the King
How beautiful the hands that serve
The wine and the bread and the sons of the earth

How beautiful, how beautiful
How beautiful is the body of Christ.

We decided on the song because of it's reference to marriage on our wedding day, but for some reason the song kept playing over and over in my head this weekend. I got to witness the body of Christ firsthand this weekend and it was BEAUTIFUL!

We were to have media coverage at the sale that didn't end up coming because the focus of the news all week was Boston (and rightly so). But I there is something I witnessed not just at the fundraiser but everywhere that I wish the media would focus more on, the body of Christ. The acts of kindness, the washing of feet, the pure acts of kindness with zero regard for personal gain. It was inspiring! Everyone has probably seen the image of the FBI agent who brought the family milk that was on lockdown, or the little girls who raised 1000s from a lemonade stand for the Boston victims. I am not sure if these people are Christians or not, but the acts themselves speak for their hearts.

What I am sure of is what happened at our Rummage Sale this weekend and it was the BODY OF CHRIST! It restored my faith in humanity and Christianity. It was awe-inspiring! As my dad said God takes care of the details and when he gives HE freely gives!!

There are dozens of faces behind the scenes and in the forefront that made the sale successful! From my sister who shared and shared our sale daily, to my sister that drove 3 hours just to help, to my other sister who a sale to support the weekend before 1000miles away, to my family members praying and planning from afar, to my mother in law who took the kids so we could plan, to the incredible "church ladies" who baked and organized and baked and organized some more, to my dear friends who sacrificially gave their weekend to us (including someone who gave up her birthday weekend at the lake to help us!), to complete strangers who have met us through our blog and just showed up (one of which who actually cleaned the toilets after the sale with no one even asking!). Then there were my DOZENS of friends who came from miles and miles away just to drop something in our donation box! Don't think I did NOT notice each and everyone one of you (even you who gave us $20 for each hotdog). I could not take the time to thank each of you individually but it meant the world to us! From the $50 cup of lemonade to the $1000 anonymous donation to the person who put the first penny in our piggy bank YOU EACH HAVE CHANGED OUR LIVES!

Through incredible loss, we have seen incredible light! And as I keep hearing from my friends, this child will not just be our child, but it is everyone's child, because you each have paved the path for us to adopt...and yes you can hold and love on the baby when they arrive!

So as my sweet friend posted on my FB page, "there is nothing more beautiful than watching the body of Christ!" THANK YOU BODY OF CHRIST!

Here is the link to the song: How Beautiful

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Buying a Baby

Hey my little Claude-hopper,

Mommy has so much to tell you! As you know we are having a big ole Rummage Sale to buy a brother or sister as Henry says. They can't wait to have their lemonLADE stand to raise money. You should have heard them in Party City picking out stuff for their stand.

So many super exciting things going on that we won't focus on the haters (I mean seriously who knew a rummage sale flier could be offensive).  So let's focus on the L.O.V.E.

So far we have lots of donations to sell. We even got this super darling little vintage cuckoo clock as a donation from a dear elderly lady that you would love as much as she loves you!
Told you it was cute...I wanted to lacquer it hot pink for your room! But I will refrain!


Then we got these great signs! To place around town thanks to Drexel Technologies:
CUTE huh?

Then we my dear friends at Rhea Lana Overland Park donated a dozen rolling racks!!! I swear some of the most generous business owners out there! Plus, as you would have quickly learned after going to gillion garage sales with mommy NO ONE wants to buy clothes off a table! 

And speaking of Rhea Lana. I didn't sell your car seat at the consignment event...perhaps b/c I priced it too high or PERHAPS b/c we are going to MAKE YOU A BIG SISTER BEFORE IT EXPIRES:)

Then the a friend of ours contacted the local ABC affiliate and THEY ARE GOING TO BE AT THE SALE! So thrilling to get the word out on such important topics like adoption and stillbirth! Can't wait to continue to try BREAK THE SILENCE!!

What I am probably most excited about is our new shirts and elephant ears we are wearing in honor of you. LOOK at all you have inspired little one!  I am so PROUD OF YOU! Mommy and daddy were just planning on a garage sale and you are bringing a community together. You aren't supposed to know better than your mom.

See ya soon!
Love more than words,

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Heaven is for Real...

So this week has been let's just say discouraging and it's only Wednesday
I will get to all that in a second, first some background:

In early February Dustin and I decided it would be unsafe to have any more biological children despite hearing differently from many doctors. 3 babies lost is too much for us, especially since my type 1 diabetes was the listed as the cause of Claudie's death on the autopsy.
So we decided to started our journey to adoption a bit earlier than planned. We started by going to an adoption seminar. We left feeling defeated! Adoption would cost us somewhere from $30,000-45,000 from this agency!! We knew there were cheaper routes, but they were less reliable as well and after talking to many people and searching many agencies we found most people spend about that and have a couple mom's back out, unless a baby just falls in your lap (SOOO IF YOU HAVE A BABY YOU WOULD LIKE TO PUT IN OUR LAPS LET US KNOW!!!). We don't feel emotionally strong enough to have another baby "loss" so we are trying for the most OPTIMISTIC route. Don't worry, YES we are prepared that we might have another loss.

We asked many adoptive parents ways to raise money. All of them suggested a garage sale or the like. Anyone that knows me knows I CAN DO GARAGE SALE!! So I put the rummage sale into action and got IMMEDIATE great feedback. CLICK HERE IF YOU WANT TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT IT: RUMMAGE SALE FUNDRAISER

At the urging of a friend, we created a page for monetary donations too although the idea of people just handing us money makes Dustin and I both uncomfortable. Within 10 minutes of posting a FUNDRAZR PAGE we have a $5000...YES 3 ZEROS...donation! It was amazing and the ball started really rolling...FAST! A friend of my sister donated a $6000+ furniture set!! The sale was even starting to get local media attention!

We went out for Chinese that weekend and this was my fortune cookie:

I immediately placed in my coin section of my wallet as a reminder to not spend frivolously so we could as my 4 year old says, "buy a baby!"

So flash forward to this week. Sunday (Easter) my husband tells me the basement of the church has flood. All the donations so far are stored in the basement of our church. We couldn't get to the middle area to find out if the donations were destroyed or not at that point.

Monday am (April 1st) I wake up anxious about it. Phone rings. Sister starts with this isn't April Fools and tells me that the person who donated all $6000 furniture set house burned down. I feel horrible. The person donating items is already going thru so much! The family was luckily unharmed.
The furniture was not as lucky.
Tues am my husband gave his two weeks at the INCREDIBLE company he worked. Hard decision since they are basically family at this point.  Long story, but basically you have to go to the money if you plan on adopting right? Later that day, my sister went by to check on the donations in the basement of our church and wouldn't cha know it? Our God is bigger than any fire or flood; the donations were untouched!
Wednesday AM I show up to an appointment I had canceled (another long story but basically all you need to know is I have a dentist and a MD with the same name last name) and then didn't show up at all for another appointment. I was feeling super overwhelmed and depressed b/c I spent the evening before selling her car seat and all my maternity clothes.

As I was sitting at a stop light I see a sign in a the hands of rough and tumble guy that says, "2 kids, no job!" Sounded familiar, but I figured he was a bit worse off than myself, so I reached in my coin purse. I grab a few coins and said, "Sorry, it's all I have," as the light changed wondering to myself what was that little white paper I handed him. As I looked in my rear view window I noticed him reading the fortune. My first thought was to bawl...and I did. My second thought was probably a nice piece of encouragement for him and maybe a much needed ray of hope. I posted when I got home the pic of the fortune on FB and stated what happened.
Immediately, I start getting messages from my friend Mindy. She lost her son, Layton, several months before Claudette and we met from a mutual friend on FB. We have discovered a bizzion things in common. WE both lost our fourth pregnancy at the same age. Both have husbands we call D. We both have the same make and model of mini van. Claudette is buried in this little cemetery in the middle of nowhere really and she happens to drive by it every Saturday on the way to her in-laws. Lots of things...anyway the messages: "LOOK AT FB!" "LOOK AT THE PICTURE I POSTED!" So I did and this is what it said:

Mindy had got this same fortune at a different restaurant at a different time and had kept it too! We both are pursuing adoption now and we can't help think that maybe little Layton and Claudie are helping out Jesus' fulfill our DEAREST DREAMS...and perhaps, Jesus is teaching us to fulfill other's dreams along the way too! I am not sure what it all means, but I do know this it makes me feel like HEAVEN IS FOR REAL!


***If you would like to help the family whose house burned call Libery Bank of Urbandale, IA 515-254-9000 and ask that donations be given to Garwoods!