Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas Ornaments

Merry Christmas to you friend! It seems that Christmas has snuck up on me this year! Less than a week and we will be celebrating together. One of the things I struggle with throughout the year is keeping Callie's memory alive within our family. I want our children to grow up knowing about their sister. This may sound strange to some but to others you may understand that though she is gone, she is still very much a part of our family.
One of the ways that we do this at Christmas is through ornaments. When I was pregnant with Callie we bought a stork carrying a pink bundle. It was only fitting that the following year we continued to buy ornaments. We buy each of our kids a different ornament each year. We also place a teddy bear/animal under the tree for each child. Callie's bear was a bear that came with her coffin. We were presented with it on the day of her burial. Once a year her bear comes off the shelf with all of her other keepsakes and sits under the tree.
For her ornament this year we chose something that looks like a crystal teardrop. Each ornament has special meaning. Corban got a Mr Potato Head ornament since he loves Toy Story. Ellie got a sock monkey ornament with her name on it. Sock Monkeys always make her smile and we are actually doing her 1st birthday in Sock Monkeys!
I still haven't found many consistent ways to honor Callie throughout the year. We've taken blankets to the NICU, donated flowers or other things in her name but nothing that is consistent. It is my hope that someday I find a new tradition that doesn't just happen once a year. But for now I am thankful that Christmas has wonderful meaning for our family of 5. I don't get to buy my daughter many things, but I always look forward to choosing that special ornament for our tree. I hope that if you have suffered loss recently or not so recently that you find special ways to honor your loved one and keep his or her memory alive.
Blessings to you and your family as you celebrate this year!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


This year I have a lot for which to be thankful. I should rephrase that. This year it seems that I am more aware of those things. A lot of changes occured this past year. We had been living with my parents for almost a year after a job loss. Now we are blessed to have a job, a house and to be surrounded by wonderful people. I have a wonderful husband, who gave me a wonderful surprise tonight. I have had the privilege of giving birth to 3 precious children and the blessing of raising two of them every day. As tomorrow approaches I am left sitting here with memories--which seem to be what I am most thankful for--the past.
"Black Friday". Before all the craziness and stampedes occured, my Nanny, my Mom, my Sister and I would all go shopping together. We would get up really early (around 6:00 in those days) and we would bundle up (we were in Indiana) and stand in lines before the stores opened. We'd race through the crowds to get our goodies and tackle the next store. It was such a wonderful time together. Nanny always took lots of pictures. As you can imagine it was quite embarrassing with all of the crowds! I don't look too happy in a lot of the pictures--this just wasn't "cool". Now, my Nanny suffers from Alzheimers. I wish we could go back to those days and share one more outing. We still take her shopping but it sure is different. I am thankful for the memories I have and hope that my daughter has memories like this one day.
This is also the first Thanksgiving without my grandpa, Papa. As my only grandpa, he has a special place in my heart. He always carved the turkey for thanksgiving. He was always waiting at the door when we pulled up and had a warm hug for you. Before the meal he would always have us hold hands and he would express his sentiments. It seems like he could always make me cry--the patriarch of the family speaking his wisdom and thanks for family being together, for health and for love. It wasn't anything profound but simply his heart and positive outlook. It will be a different Thanksgiving without Papa. He is so dearly missed. I am thankful, though, for the years we did have with him.
It just feels like a very different year, as I get older and traditions change. I miss the old times. But maybe what I miss most is the innocence of those days. The days when grandparents didn't age and health didn't fail. I'm not trying to be a "Debbie Downer." I really am thankful. It just seems to me that this year I am most thankful for the memories of the past and the strong heritage of my past that sticks with me.
Happy Thanksgiving.
Give your loved ones a hug and tell them you love them!

Monday, September 13, 2010


We recently moved to Georgia for my husband's new job. It is such a blessing that the Lord provided this opportunity for us. There wasn't really much keeping us in our current town. My parents lived there when we moved there a few years ago, but my Dad's job has them travelling a lot so they are rarely home. We loved our church home, and it was a great place of healing for us in the past year, but we were ready to move on to our next adventure. One thing holding me there was my daughter's grave. I know she isn't there. When I've gone to visit it feels so empty and silent. I know she is in Heaven, but this is the last place we were together.
A book I recently read and identified with, "I Will Carry You" by Angie Smith expressed it very well, "I know she isn't really in there; it's just that her knees are, and I would have loved to kiss them after she fell. I need to mourn the loss of the arms that cannot wrap around me here. Braided hair, a wedding dress, her first wiggly tooth. They are deep within the ground, never to be mine. I needed to feel that loss, and I did."
When we knew we were going to move I told Matt that I would like to visit Callie, alone--(with no kids--I specified). And it didn't happen. It isn't that I didn't remember because I thought about it every day. It just didn't happen. Oh there were reasons. But I wonder if I invented those reasons because I'm not good at good-byes. What I do know is that I wish I would have gone to see her one last time. It might not make sense to you if you haven't experienced loss, but I have deep regrets about this. I should have done whatever it took to see her. Sometimes with everything and everyone else screaming for my attention the silent ones get overlooked. And she is silent. My heart isn't. But she is. So for now, I will wait until we get back and go and visit my silent daughter and be silent with her.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Connected at the........heart

Hello friend. You know when you have a close friend some say you are connected at the hip? I recently felt connected to someone at the heart. When you experience loss in some form or another a sensitivity begins to happen. There are topics, phrases, questions, etc. that touch the forbidden or closed part of your soul. Recently I was on a social networking site and a comment was made that touched that forbidden piece of my heart. I didn't respond to the comment but read through others' comments and saw a comment that stated what my heart felt. I sent a message to this person, who I didn't know, and did my best to encourage her. I could tell from her statement that she had experienced loss. I didn't know the details, nor did I need to, but I could hear her heart's cry. A few emails were exchanged and I was able to connect with this woman. Isn't it amazing how our hurt connects us and binds us together? I found out that she had heard of our sweet Callie and had been praying for us during that time. She also heard of Corban's struggles when he was born. How amazing it is when we find that we are more closely connected than we realize! You never know how you are going to be used in someone's life. Remember to always be faithful and follow through on the Lord's leading! Who knows what it will mean!
Blessings to you friend!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Happy 3rd Birthday

Another year has passed and we cannot imagine what our life would be like with Callie turning 3. I'm sure she would have as much spunk and energy as her little brother and sister do! This year we faced a new challenge as Corban is becoming more aware of things. He doesn't fully understand but we wanted to begin to lay the foundation for him, to learn about his big sister. We took him to the store and let him pick out a balloon to send up to sissy and he carried it out to the cemetary. He looked all around in wonder at the stuffed animals, balloons and flowers all around babyland. Through his innocent eyes it looked like a child's playland when in reality, as an adult, it is a horribly sad sight. We parents who have lost our child know that each balloon and stuffed animal represents a shattered dream. A child we had in mind when we bought that stuffed animal will never know it's softness and comfort.

We walked to Callie's grave and brushed away the grass and debris and Corban wanted to help us and feel the stone. Then we told him that this is sissy's stone, and it is her birthday. We sang "Happy Birthday" to her and he let her balloon go. As he waved bye bye and blew her kisses, I know that this is the beginning of his understanding. I know he doesn't truly know what is going on yet but I hope that the foundation has been laid.

Happy Birthday to my sweet firstborn daughter. Another year has passed without you here and yet it feels like time has stood still in some regards. I look forward to the day that my family is complete and we are all together again.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Live Life to the Fullest

A week ago yesterday, my Mama and Papa came over to meet my daughter, Ellie, for the first time. She is their 6th great-grandchild. They made the 3 hour trip and we enjoyed visiting together while they each got their time with her. It was a nice afternoon and we got pictures of the "first meeting" with the great-grandparents.

If we had known then what we know now we may have done things differently that day. On Monday my Dad told me that my Papa had died suddenly. It was quite a shock to all. He was actually out golfing, which is something he loved to do. He was a wonderful man who enjoyed life and lived it to the fullest, even up to the moment of his death.

I was reminded of a quote from "Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium".

Mr. Edward Magorium: [to Molly, about dying] When King Lear dies in Act V, do you know what Shakespeare has written? He's written "He dies." That's all, nothing more. No fanfare, no metaphor, no brilliant final words. The culmination of the most influential work of dramatic literature is "He dies." It takes Shakespeare, a genius, to come up with "He dies." And yet every time I read those two words, I find myself overwhelmed with dysphoria. And I know it's only natural to be sad, but not because of the words "He dies." but because of the life we saw prior to the words. [pause, walks over to Molly] Mr. Edward Magorium: I've lived all five of my acts, Mahoney, and I am not asking you to be happy that I must go. I'm only asking that you turn the page, continue reading... and let the next story begin. And if anyone asks what became of me, you relate my life in all its wonder, and end it with a simple and modest "He died." Molly Mahoney: [starting to sob] I love you. Mr. Edward Magorium: I love you, too. [picks Molly up, sighs heavily] Mr. Edward Magorium: Your life is an occasion. Rise to it.

Papa's life was an inspiration and he touched countless lives, as was evidenced by his memorial service today. He will be greatly missed here on earth, but his legacy and life will not be forgotten. I hope that I rise to the occasion of my life. It would be wonderful if even half of the remarks made today about my Papa, Ray Boyd Cluxton, could one day be said of me.

Saturday, March 13, 2010


It has been awhile since my last post. Ellie was a month old yesterday. Time flies. I have been thinking of a song that really spoke to me after Corban came home from the hospital. It has spoken to me once again as I've been looking at Ellie. Sometimes I can't take my eyes off of her. She is such a blessing. Even though things get stressful. I get tired and worn out. She still is a great blessing and this is a short season in the grand scheme of things.
If you've never heard the song or even if you have I hope that the lyrics challenge you. I hope that I am able to look at my life and see the losses and disappointments as opportunities to grow and be changed. I hope that I am able to help others through such times.

Jeremy Camp's "Beyond Measure" Song Lyrics
The fog has finally cleared to see,The beautiful life you've given me. To feel the breeze of my newborn's gentle breath. With one to walk hand in hand,To share this life that you have planned. It's like a storybook with dreams That are meant to see every next step is an extraordinary scene[CHORUS]I know that I've been,Given more than beyond measure,I come alive when,I see beyond my fears I know that I've been given more than earthly treasure,I come alive when I've broken down and given you control I've faced a great tragedy,But have seen the works of what you bring A display of faith that you give,I don't know if I will ever understand The depth of what it is you've done inside,But I know that I won't find any worth apart from you Everything that I have Has been given so unselfishly And shown that even when I don't deserve You always show the fullness of your love.

Even though we have faced great tragedy and loss, I can honestly say that I feel that I have been blessed beyond measure. Thank you Jesus for those blessings!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Welcome Ellie Kate Hart!

Our baby girl is here! Ellie Kate was born into the world in literally 30 seconds. We were extremely blessed with a skilled surgeon, Dr. Wheeler, who performed the surgery. It was such an awesome day! We checked into the hospital and found out that a friend who was present at Callie and Corban's births would be able to stay late and assist with Ellie. Gina had switched from the day to the night shift so we thought she wouldn't be there! When I arrived in the operating room she was talking to me and keeping my mind occupied and then another friend came up to me. Amy was one of Corban's primary nurses in the NICU. She took such awesome care of Corban and now she would be in this surgery to take care of Ellie once she was here. It was so wonderful to have friends and people you care about in the operating room to share in this huge event. I was much more relaxed once I knew that Amy had Ellie and was checking her over to make sure all was well. The minute she came out I heard them saying, "She looks like Corban!" Not many people can say that about their delivery!
Well, that is all for now. I just wanted to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers as we entered this day with high anxiety. She has already brought us such joy! I'll post more pictures in the days to come. I must nap now while the children sleep!
P.S. She was born at 7:31 a.m. on 2-12-10. Weight: 6 lbs 10 oz 18 in. long ......and a head full of hair!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

C-Section Update

Hello Friends!
The countdown has been going on this week for Ellie's arrival. The surgery is scheduled for 5:15 p.m. this Friday, the 12th! At my last appointment on Monday the doctor was pleased with how she is doing. We could see her little chest rising and falling as she was practicing breathing. This is an encouraging sign, and we are hopeful that the steroid shot has worked. We don't want to end up with another pulmonary hypertension baby in the NICU, like Corban.
We are confident in our surgeon's knowledge. He is a skilled perinatologist and has provided us with wonderful care! We are trusting in the Lord that this will be a good experience and Ellie will be able to stay with us and not go to NICU or that anything else will go wrong. However, I am saying this in faith....because out of fear I worry that something will happen. I would covet your prayers as Friday approaches. We are so excited to meet our daughter and yet are filled with fear and nervousness.
We'll post pictures and updates once she is here and we have settled.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

An Early Valentine's Gift.....Baby Ellie

No. She isn't here yet. :) I did wrangle a date out of the doctor though! He is on call the weekend of Valentine's we are scheduled to go on the morning of the 13th! I will be 38 weeks on the 14th so hopefully all will go well. I'm so thankful that my doctor is being conservative and using good judgment with my case. He isn't letting my comfort and anxiety sway his decision. He recognizes that we took Corban too early and paid a high price for that. Unless something happens and she comes on her own or something else unforeseen......she will come on Feb 13th. It is still 2 1/2 weeks away but I trust his judgment and expertise. We're praying for a healthy delivery and to be able to keep her with us until we leave the hospital with her. It will be the best Valentine's Day gift ever to have our little girl with us!
I'm not sure I will be blogging again until she is here unless something changes in our situation.
Blessings to you all! I'm sure we'll post pictures once she is here!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Given your history....

This is a phrase that I've heard too many times recently. I'm currently 34 weeks into my 3rd pregnancy. It has been a rather uneventful pregnancy until the past week. At the 33 week mark I turned into a ball of nerves. If you haven't read Callie's story in previous posts, this is the point at which she passed from this life on to a life in heaven. She never moved like my other children. Her movement was so subtle, it could easily be mistaken for gas or hunger pains, due to her small size. So when she wasn't moving a lot one day, I went with the general advice I'd heard...that babies move less the further along you get in your pregnancy. Three days passed until I realized that maybe something was wrong. I ignored every possibly indication thinking it was normal. Now I err on the opposite side, which has resulted in a trip to the hospital both Saturday night and last night. Saturday I was feeling a lot of pressure and pain so I called the doc on call---given your would be best to get it checked out. She was still moving a lot so I wasn't concerned that she was gone...more concerned she was on her way. Last night I had a sharp pain after a movement that I made and suddenly I felt less movement from her. After an hour of drinking ice water, laying on my side and poking her I still wasn't feeling her. I freaked out. We called the doc on call on the way to the hospital and again....given your are doing the right thing. I cried the whole way there thinking that we would be going through the most traumatic event in our lives for a second time. After a couple hours of monitoring we were able to get her heart rate to fluctuate some and I was sent home. All is well thankfully.
It has really gotten me to thinking that people who have never experienced such things just really don't get it. In one moment you are taken right back to the worst day of your life and are suddenly reliving it. You can try to be rational and try to talk yourself out of it....but it doesn't work. When you have a history it is a part of you. You try to learn from it so that you don't make the same mistakes again. My husband's old boss asked (before he fired him) if he was over the death of Callie. Case in point. He just didn't get it. You don't just get over it. It becomes a part of you and your story.
If you are reading this, I would ask for your thoughts and prayers are we continue to progress in this pregnancy for a few more weeks. Emotionally I need some strength. We desperately hope to be able to deliver a healthy baby girl who we can bring home from the hospital with us.

Out of these ashes Beauty will rise And we will dance among the ruins We will see it with our own eyes Out of this darkness New light will shine And we"ll know the joy that"s coming in the morning ...from "Beauty Will Rise"

Blessings to you all!!