Selah has had her fair share of boo-boos lately. Today she got a fairly bad one. She and Mckenna had been playing outside. Mckenna came rushing in to announce, with much intensity, that Selah had a boo-boo. I noticed some blood on her big toe, but she really was not crying at all. I gave the sympathetic " ok?" Mckenna quickly went to action and announced that she would take care of Selah and went off to get her a bandaid. I continued what I was doing. Before long, I found Selah all wrapped up in the living room. Mckenna had nestled her on the sofa, covered her with a blanket and put a bandaid on her toe. I even overheard Mckenna praying for Selah as well. After this was done, Mckenna came to me with a little piece of paper with some scribbles on it. She wanted to make a card for Selah and wanted me to write in words what she had wrote in scribbles. This is what she wanted to say:

"I love you. Don't get a boo-boo. I love you. We play always. We love each other."

Many hours later, Selah started to complain about her toe and was fussing for hours that it hurt. I thought I had better take a look. I unwrapped the bandaid only to find out that she must have stubbed her toe outside because half her toenail had broken off. Poor girl!

I love how much Mckenna loves her little sister.


March 26

The day came and went very quickly, as have the days since then. My dear sister spent most of the day with me and we did what most girls do best - shopped! I needed to get some things for our trip and she was a huge help with making crucial decisions..."this shirt or that one?"

Elizabeth and Helen watched my girls and Ali watched Kels, so we could be together and even have lunch. Thanks so much, friends!

Again, my sweet mom brought me pink roses that evening. And she watched the girls so Dave and I could go out with Joe and Esther for dinner. We had great food (I've discovered that food tastes SO much better when you are with food connoisseurs..and for those who know the Lees, know they are just that!) and great fellowship.

Overall, the day went very well. It is hard for me to believe that Alivia would have been 6 months old. But at the same time, I experienced so much grace this week.

The days since last Thursday have been very busy. I finally decided that I had better get ready for our trip...and that's what I have been doing. It has kept me busy and, for me, that has been a good thing.

Jenni Smith was with me for a good part of Friday. She and Jon also went to Hawaii after they lost Chase. She was able to share some key things with me....everything from where they went, to what they saw, to things that were helpful for her there in her grieving process. I'm so grateful for the time with her and her continued care for me.

Erik and Jerusha were here yesterday giving tips on Hawaii - Erik has taken numerous trips there and knows the Big Island (where we'll be) very well. It helped me get excited for all the wonderful things that we will be able to do and see.

I would be so grateful for continued prayers this week, as I finish up doing a multitude of things to get ready to go, and most of all as I anticipate leaving the girls for a whole week.


A greater wonder

I read this two days ago and could not imagine anything else (besides Scripture, of course) being more applicable to my present struggles and thoughts.

Anticipating the upcoming week (containing another 26th and 2nd) has left me just wanting to be delivered from this trial, to not have to fight so hard, to feel the full assurance of my Savior's presence, and to be pregnant again. But it's clear that the Lord obviously desires to work a greater wonder in me by sustaining me through this pain, instead of delivering me out of it. Oh, may His promised grace continue to sustain my heart and life in the days ahead.

"Gold is put into the furnace because it is gold (Prov. 17:3). It is useless to try to refine rubbish there. A first-rate diamond will undergo more cutting than an inferior one. The great Owner of heaven's jewels uses a sharper cutting machine on the most valuable stones. Our King desires that we may have many facets to reflect the glory of His name.

You often think that Jesus does not care because He has not interposed with a great miracle. Gradually, you are getting poorer, or becoming more afflicted in body. You had hoped for a miracle. My dear friend, sometimes God works a greater wonder when He sustains people in trouble than by delivering them. To let bush burn with fire and not be consumed (Ex. 3:2) is a greater thing than quenching the flame and saving the bush.

Possibly, the hard suspicion that Jesus does not care takes another form. I do not ask the Lord to work a miracle, but I do ask Him to cheer my heart and apply the promises to my soul. I want His Spirit to visit me so that my pain may be forgotten in the delight of His presence. I want to feel the full assurance of the Savior's presence, that this present trial will be swallowed up in a far greater weight of joy (2 Cor. 4:17). Yet to my regret, the Lord hides His face, and this makes my trial all the heavier.

What a mercy that you can never sink lower than grace! When you come to your lowest point, God interposes. The tide turns when you reach the full ebb. That darkest part of night is farthest from the rising of sun. Believer, be of good courage." - Spurgeon



Mckenna is becoming quite the artist. She just loves to take pencil, marker and paint to paper and come up with adorable masterpieces. We have so enjoyed seeing what she comes up with each times she sits down to draw. I almost feel like I have a window into her little mind and imagination through what she draws.

Just recently she noticed that the ring I wear on my right middle finger has letters on it. She asked me what it said. I told her, "Alivia." She then asked if it helps me to remember her. And then asked if it would helps me not cry as much. A few days after that, she found me crying. I love the way she always comes running over to me, gives me a big hug and holds me tight for a long time. So, this particular time she did that and then said, "mom, I'll go get your ring." I informed her that I had it on and that her hug was helping me so much.

From those interchanges, I think she has come to the conclusion on her own that having things and seeing things about Alivia, helps me. So, she has started to draw pictures of Alivia. She will often bring them to me, saying that I need to keep it close so I can look at them and not be sad. It's so sweet.

Yesterday, I went to get my hair done and Mckenna came along. The lady who does my hair happened to have crayons, pencils and little pieces of blue paper. Mckenna went to work. Before long, she came over to me and showed me these little drawings that she had made. And she explained that they were of Alivia and some with that I won't forget and can remember her. Tears. My sweet, big girl. How I love her.

I think this one is Mckenna and me holding Alivia.

Alivia and me. I love how she always portrays Alivia swaddled up. That's how she remembers her because Alivia loved to be wrapped up tight.



Get ready, get set...

but not quite ready to go yet. After many discussions and much deliberation, Lord willing, Dave and I will be going on our trip to Hawaii in about 1 1/2 weeks. There was much uncertainty about a number of things (is it wise to spend the money after the company paid part?, is it just too much emotionally for me to be around so many people?, how will the girls do?, etc.). But it seems the Lord has provided clarity and direction.

My Aunt Sarah, a very long time friend, who our family has known for 30 years now is giving Dave and I enough Marriott points to stay in the same hotel for the extra 3 nights. I'm still amazed at her generosity!

There are oodles of things for me to do to get everything in place for us to go. I am relying on pure grace to help me, sustain me, and enable me to do all I need to. I have put off most preparations simply because I have not been up to doing anything and because I was not totally sure I was going. I'm still not sure how I'm going to do this, but I am trusting there will be grace each day to take the steps I need to.


No more tears

It's been a fairly common practice for me, having lost so much over the last number of months, to think much of, dream more of and long harder for heaven. I was reading today in Randy Alcorn's book about the new Heaven and the new Earth. It made me swell with anticipation and for a brief few moments my heart felt light. It has been one of those weeks when I feel like I have been carrying the weight of the world and more on my shoulders. It seems like it doesn't take much these days for my heart to be heavy with anxiety. But as I pondered on heaven, I seemed to gain new perspective.

As I was reading, I happened upon Revelation 21:1-4, reminding us that in the new Earth, there will be no more crying. I stopped and thought about that for awhile. I couldn't seem to imagine what that would be like. All the emotion, all of the hurt and pain, every unsettling thought that so often causes my tears to fall...will be NO MORE! I won't have to fight the memories, the fears, the sin. It will be NO MORE. I can't quite seem to imagine, but how I long for it. How amazingly wonderful it will be. It seems so distant right now, so unreal, so foreign. But this is where faith upholds me and reminds me of the truth that is rooted deep in my heart...yes, it's real and one day I will experience the goodness of it. And it couldn't come too soon!


That day

This helped me direct my eyes upward today...

Isaiah 25: 6-9

"On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples
a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine,
of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined.
And he will swallow up on this mountain
the covering that is cast over all peoples,
the veil that is spread over all nations.
He will swallow up death forever;
and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces,
and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth,
for the Lord has spoken.
It will be said on that day,
'Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us.
This is the Lord; we have waited for him;
let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.' "


Much on my mind

For the past number of days, Alivia has been much on my mind. I don't think I have intently thought about her as much as I have lately. It's not purposely...she's just in my thoughts. Different sounds remind me of her cry, and it's hard to even see the girls holding a baby doll lately. I had a hard time sleeping last night because I was thinking so much about my nights up with her. And then I would try to remember holding her tiny body, hearing the tiny noises she would make, kissing her head and trying to remember her sweet baby smell...and what it was like to look into her eyes, enjoying her beautiful face. I loved her tiny hands and feet and the way she would hold tightly onto my finger.

She randomly pops in my mind all day long. I love it, but it's emotionally and physically exhausting. Part of me wants to sit down and try to write all these things about her so I can record them...but somehow I can't.

By far the hardest thoughts are the memories of the night we lost her. The flashbacks seem unrelenting at times.

I'm still very weary and each day continues to have numerous difficult moments. I understand now why grieving moms say that months later can be the hardest. I think it's probably true for me as well.

Despite this, my big girls continue to be such a joy to me. This morning I was too weak to do much, so I sat down with the the girls and we watched a movie together. I rarely do this, but it was refreshing for me to have my mind engaged in something else for an, I love holding my girlies. I thoroughly enjoyed having them cuddle up beside me on either side and I frequently would lean over to drop a kiss on their heads.



I love Saturdays....Dave gets to be with us. Today we spent the whole day together as a family and I thoroughly enjoyed it. We had planned about a week ago to attend a St. Patty's Day parade in our area today. However, as hard as this past week was, I was not really looking forward to it. I contemplated staying home and letting my mom and Dave take the girls. But, I knew it would be good for me to get out.

It turned out to be a great time. And I'm so glad I went. It was great to see the girls enjoying the parade - the bag pipes, the Irish step dancers, the dogs and all the candy and goodies that were thrown their way.

After we got home, we grabbed lunch and then headed out on a long outing to a Home Depot about an hour away. It's a long story, but we had to go to that one! It was good for my mind and heart to get out a bit today and have other things to distract me.

On the way home from the store, the Lord brought something to mind that I have been thinking about this past week. With life very challenging lately, I find myself comparing my lot with that of others...not a good idea! It only makes life even more challenging and, for me, leads to a grumbling and ungrateful heart. I must remember that my life has been perfectly carved out by the loving and gracious hands of my Maker. Nothing is wrong, nothing should be changed, this is God's perfect way for me, as hard as that can be to accept. So, I started to ask myself yesterday, "Heather, what do you think you deserve?" I don't deserve the 2 girls I have. I don't deserve my husband, my friends, my family. I don't deserve my home. I don't deserve my clothes, my health, my next breath. I don't deserve my salvation, God's gift of grace, His mercies that are new each day. I don't deserve anything...and I didn't even deserve Alivia. BUT, God allowed me the gift of having her for 5 weeks and 2 days...I didn't deserve that.

So, on the way home today, we were driving through a part of town where many internationals live. The homes were run down and small. Many people were walking in the rain because they didn't have transportation. We even drove by a mom and dad walking with 2 little girls on a big main road, in the cold rain. It was a family just like ours. I, again, was reminded of all that I have that I don't deserve. I have much to be grateful for. Although this doesn't take the ache away from my heart and doesn't make me miss my girl less, it does help provide needed perspective to me. I am an undeserving woman who has been blessed in countless ways. And whatever the future may hold for me, if life gets harder, if the Lord gives or takes away, regardless, I have already enjoyed more blessings than I deserve or could count, the first and foremost being my salvation. I MUST remember this!

"Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.

The Lord is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
He will not always chide,
nor will he keep his anger forever.
He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.
For he knows our frame;
he remembers that we are dust." - Psalm 103:1-5, 8-14


Handprints, footprints and a lock of hair

Last night Dave and I went out on a date. It was good to be together. We were sitting at dinner and I started to bring up some hard things relating to Alivia, her life, her death. I feel like I am starting to go down paths in this grieving process that I would rather not go...but need to. The thoughts racing in my mind lately have left me an emotional mess and feeling the pain of her death more than ever. It's hard to stop crying for any length of time lately and it's even harder to muster up the motivation to get out of bed in the morning. I just lay there and cry when I wake up...sometimes for a few hours before I get up.

Last night, I asked Dave about something. He had mentioned to me months ago that the kind nurse with us the night of Alivia's death had stamped her handprints and footprints and taken a lock of her hair and saved it for us. It took me awhile initially to recover from the news that this was even available to us. My last memory of Alivia is not a pretty fact, it's a devastating one that plagues me to this day. I chose not to see her or hold her again at the hospital. Knowing that we could potentially have something like this that would be such a real, tangible reminder of her was precious, yet hard for me.

So, l brought it up last night...asked if he knew where these things were. Dave communicated that in the craziness of all that was going on in the days following, they must have gotten lost. And that he tried to contact the nurse at the hospital a number of times, but had not been successful. I was crushed. I felt so overwhelmed that I told Dave I needed to go and we got up and left the restaurant.

I immediately tried to think on other things...we went into a shoe store, then went for coffee. After that we just drove around for a long time, sometimes not saying a word.

Today has been another very tough day. In fact, this week has been one of my darkest yet. It feels like the Lord is stripping me more and more. I don't understand much of anything right now and I've been praying that in my painful grief I would not turn in anger or bitterness against the Lord. I'm blocking out a lot around me, just trying to sustain enough energy to meet the girl's most basic needs and not crumble to the ground.

Lord, make even this...all the things I can't see and don't understand...something beautiful."

Thanks to so many of you for your emails and calls. I'm incredibly grateful. Thanks for the brief nuggets of truth you've sent...most of all, for your prayers.


Many tears

I cried more today than I have in a long time. In fact, there were long spans of time when my face was constantly wet with tears. They fell all throughout the day. I spent two long periods of time laying on my bed, looking out the window, knowing it was so warm outside but inside my heart was so cold. I missed my baby girl so much today. It was one of those days where I had to constantly pray, "Oh God, just help me do the next thing...please." Simply getting lunch for the girls was a challenge. I was grateful there was leftovers for dinner.

The girls saw my tears and knew mom was sad. They don't understand, but Selah would say things like, "you sad about Alivia?" I love the way she says her breaks my heart that I don't get to hear her say it more often. At one point Selah went running outside to tell Mckenna that I was sad (she saw my tears). Mckenna came running inside, jumped in my arms and held me tight. I hugged her long and hard...and cried. I did get lots of hugs and kisses today. I held my big girls so tight so many times. After dinner I went upstairs to just lay on my bed. Dave brought the girls up later and we all laid together...I cried some more.

All kinds of thoughts flooded my mind today. Part of me wished there were someone who could take my place to mother these 2 girls I still have so that I could give up. I'm weary from living, weary of fighting for faith, weary of hurting so bad. At another time today I walked up my stairs in tears thinking, "I just want my life back, I want my light heart back, my girl." It was then and there that I passed by the closed door to her room that she would be napping in....if she were here.

It's hard to remember truth at times like this. In fact, I could barely come up with words to pray today. Reading seems harder than ever. I can't seem to absorb even simple verses. I read them over and over and they seem to run right over my heart instead of to my heart.

My sister sent me the following quote and it was timely. Some have encouraged me to just lay my heart bare before the Lord and tell Him all that is in my heart. That's good, but, quite frankly, that can seem like a daunting, overwhelming task. I don't even understand what is going on in my heart, let alone how to put into words. All I know is that I hurt beyond words and feel like I have met fact to face with this world's greatest sting. So, I was encouraged by Spurgeon's words. I found myself praying, "Lord, there it is....there is my crushed, broken, weary and hurting heart." I'm trusting He knows what is best for me right now, even when I think differently. So, I'm laying my heart before Him, asking Him to help me through this exhausting season, this life of grief that He has called me into.

"When you are in trouble, ask God for help. Ask believing that He is able to give it. Ask expecting that he will bestow it. Do not grieve the Spirit of God with doubts and mistrust. These things will be fiery arrows in your soul to drink away the very life of your strength. However hard the struggle, however difficult the trial, seek the Lord, and seek Him in confidence He deserves. Depend on the arm invisible, the arm omnipotent. Be a scholar in the school of faith. Become proficient in the divine art of prayer and praise.

When you cannot pray in words, go and lay bare your sorrow before God. Just go and show Him your soul. He will see what burdens and distresses you. Then you will prevail with God's bountiful heart. God is not moved by eloquence of words and oratory of tongue, but He is swift to answer the true oratory and the true eloquence of distress.

When you have no strength, when you do not know what to do, just come and lay your problems at His feet. Pray, "There it is, and my eyes are on You." Perhaps you think that is not praying. Let me tell you, this is the most powerful form of prayer. Just set your case before God. Cast all your sorrow and all your needs on Him, and then say, "Lord, there it is." - Spurgeon


The goodness of God

Today was an anxious filled, tough day for me. My soul felt very downcast. I feel like so many of my days I'm just going through the motions, blocking reality out....but then there are also many days when that reality hits hard. And those days leave me exhausted, weary, feeling hopeless, often restless, impatient with the girls, and wanting to give up.

Then, midday a few friends sent emails. It had been awhile since I had received anything from others. They were just another reminder that the Lord knows what I need, when I need it and that He is committed to providing for all that my soul needs.

Debbie P. sent the following quote. I love the simple truth that every baby step I take, every day that I don't give up testifies to God's goodness. Every night, when I lay my head on my pillow, I can be aware of the countless evidences of the preciousness of Christ.

"All experiences of suffering in the path of Christian obedience, whether from persecution or sickness or accident, have this in common: They all threaten our faith in the goodness of God and tempt us to leave the path of obedience. Therefore, every triumph of faith and all perseverance in obedience are testimonies to the goodness of God and the preciousness of Christ...." --Desiring God by John Piper


This....has changed me more

I recently read a post on Molly Piper's blog. One sentence that she wrote at the very end was very applicable to me. I had previously, over the past few weeks, been thinking about how the Lord is using the loss of my precious baby to change me in so many ways...and how I'm not sure I would have changed to this extent if I still had Alivia. It's a hard truth to swallow and I can't really wrap my fingers around it. I can't process in my puny brain how it all works. Not sure I need to or want to. I'm just aware that I miss her and want her back, yet see the incredibly work that the Lord is doing in her absence.

I join the cry, "Lord make it something beautiful."

Molly wrote,

"One of my dear friends through this process (who is older and wiser than me, thank God) shared with me recently about a grief she’d been facing in her life. Something she said really stood out to me. She told me, 'I’m gonna drink this painful cup all the way down, just drain it. And I’m gonna ask the Lord to make it something beautiful.'

I’m at a point where I want to see the beauty of what God has for me here. It means that some days are really hard. It means that I’m going to places in my soul that I didn’t know existed before this. It means that I’m a different person. But I’m getting more comfortable with the Molly who’s been asked to bear this grief. I’m relaxing into the transformation a little more now.

I wish every day that I would get to hear Felicity’s new words, listen to her post-nap singing, change her stinky diapers. Yet I know that losing her has changed me more than getting to raise her would have. That’s a hard reality, but it’s the reality I live with.

Lord, make it something beautiful."



When Kristen Snyder brought me all the beautiful flowers, some of them were in jars, others in vases. One particular vase was actually silver. It was all tarnished, but I polished it up and it was gorgeous. I put it on our living room coffee table filled with white roses....I only wish they would never die...I love them!



Bear with me as this post is another attempt to get thoughts written down as I wrestle through various areas of life right now....actually so many of my posts are just that.

I realize more and more that I don't have anything figured out...except maybe, as John Newton once said, "that I am a great sinner and that Christ is a great Savior."

My times with the Lord have proven to be very challenging for me lately. It seems whenever I go to sit down and read, pray and journal, my mind drifts to my life circumstances, my baby girl and many other things going on in my heart. It can leave me emotional, discouraged, sad and lacking motivation to do anything.

I tried to start back having devotions first thing in the morning, but instead of being refreshed I could barely get up from those times to make breakfast for my family. Or the girls were distracting when they woke up. So, for now I'll probably go back to mid-day devotions, once Selah is down and Mckenna is settled in her room. However, sometimes by the time Mckenna is settled after doing school, Selah wakes up. Thank the Lord for movies!

Sometimes I wonder how well I'm getting fed right now. My mind can be so distracted during messages, reading is still very tedious, and my prayer time is little at best. Devotions are sporadic.

I have found comfort in the fact that the Lord is the founder and perfecter of my faith, NOT me. He knows what I need, when I need and how I need it. And I trust that He will give me the strength, motivation and determination when necessary to read when He knows is best and to sit and pray when it's best. He is my shepherd leading me, not the other way around.

There is a great need, as there always is, to go back to the gospel...more than I have lately. It's there, at the foot of the Cross, that I can lay all my struggles to rest.

There is a very important part that spiritual disciplines take in a Christian's life. But I think, for me, I just need to rest and be content in the fact that they will look very different for me now and for many months ahead. And trust that the Lord will use His Spirit and others to gently lead and guide me.



The past two days have been very hard for me. I lack clarity of mind, am easily confused and overwhelmed by simple tasks. I find myself evaluating many areas of life and am left discouraged. Between how I'm feeding my family, how I'm training the girls, dealing with their heart issues, my heart issues, how I'm conducting our schedules...well, it's lacking. There are so many things I should do, want to do, need to do...but can't do right now.

I made a pot of soup today. Just soup and not much else.

There were a few times today I wanted to go out in the garage and just scream at the top of my lungs. Instead I prayed...and did the next thing.

So when these showed up outside my door today, I was incredibly blessed, to say the least. I opened the door to dozens upon dozens of flowers...fresh roses, carnations, tulips, and daisies. How I love flowers! Kristen, thanks for peppering my house with beautiful reminders of life and of the grace that is sufficient for me.


The making of a snowman

This past Sunday, we woke up to a little dusting of snow...about an inch. But enough for the girls to be so excited and want to go out and play. It was great packing snow and Mckenna quickly figured out how to roll a big ball. She wanted help and Dave went out in his pj bottoms, boots coat and gloves and helped them make a big snowman.


Pink Roses

Thanks, mom, for bringing these last Thursday. I've so enjoyed them!


4 months

Hard to believe another month has passed and we've now been 4 months without our baby girl. I miss her so. I can't help but wonder what life would be like with her. Today, with all the snow, I was able to get out with the girls for a bit...however my mind immediately thought, "if I had Alivia I probably would not be able to get out with my big girls. She'd be napping right now." Seemingly joyous and wonderful activities like playing the snow or even getting sleep can almost to be robbed of their joy because they remind me that I no longer have her.

But God continues to be merciful to me, day in and day out. In my devotions this morning the song, Mercies Anew, came to mind...

Verse 1
"Ev'ry morning that breaks
There are mercies anew
Ev'ry breath that I take
Is Your faithfulness proved
And at the end of each day
When my labors are through
I will sing of Your mercies anew...

Verse 3
And when the storms swirl and rage
There are mercies anew
In affliction and pain
You will carry me through
And at the end of my days
When Your throne fills my view
I will sing of Your mercies anew
I will sing of Your mercies anew"

Alivia, just born, with the hat that "K" made just for her.


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