Harlynn’s Gift To Mama

I’ve really been struggling.

I’m leaving for a business conference, and it’s a high-energy, intense 3-day event. The last day of the event is April 9th, and I leave a room of 1,000 of my new best friends to fly home on April 10th.

Which should have been our daughter’s 4th birthday.

I’ve been wrestling with this, as probably only other loss-parents might understand. And I’ve been wrestling with the fact that I’m wrestling with it.

It’s a little messy in my head with all this wrestling going on. Continue reading “Harlynn’s Gift To Mama”

God Is A Good Gift Giver

gift

“God is a good gift giver.”

Tahni Cullen’s son, Josiah, had typed those words on his iPad. As a toddler, Josiah stopped talking. Tahni wrote a book to explain how autism stole his words, but God gave him a voice. As Tahni spoke at our women’s retreat in 2015, she shared this story, and the incredible profound wisdom from her son Josiah since.

I’ve remembered those words, and her story, frequently since hearing them.

Recently, I was in Dallas, TX with my client to help organize one of his events and participate in the mastermind I’m a part of. It happened to be about 10 days or so after my birthday, and my client and his wife treated me to a very special birthday dinner to celebrate. I have a soft place in my heart for fried catfish. Not just any fried catfish, but tasty, crispy, mouth-watering southern fried catfish. They took me for some fried catfish and hushpuppies (and fried pumpkin pie. My life changed forever!) and as we walked to the restaurant, I noticed Sabrina’s arms were full of gift bags.

I gave her a curious look but kept walking. Sure enough, the gifts that filled her arms were for me.

After we ordered and sat down waiting for our food, I was encouraged to open the gifts. First, a gift my client had chosen himself. A true-blue Nespresso cup and spoon set. About a year ago, he had me try a cup of his Nespresso coffee. Oh my word. People. We’ve been doing coffee all wrong! I took my Christmas bonus check last year and we bought a Nespresso machine and lots of coffee. Nespresso is the besto. Unlike my compliments or praise of it.

As I reached for the next gifts, Sabrina explained, “Holy Spirit led me in picking all this out for you. I didn’t know what to get you, so I just prayed Holy Spirit would lead me, and He told me what to get.”

I had never heard that before. It made so much sense, yet I had never heard – or thought – of asking the Holy Spirit for guidance in picking gifts.

We’re getting closer and closer to the holiday season. Gift giving is about to run rampant again, especially in our nation and day and age of total materialism. The year Harlynn died, my priorities and desires changed and shifted dramatically. That Christmas, when I looked around at our living room piled high with stuff we had just unwrapped, I was completely overwhelmed. We were loved, we were blessed, and we were under a pile of stuff, a lot of which was completely useless to us.

What we, especially as Americans, tend to do when choosing gifts is let our purchase be dictated by price, convenience, and appearance.

Not by guidance from Holy Spirit.

Incredibly curious, I started to unpack the gifts she had felt led to purchase, as she continued to explain, “I got the sense you take care of your family before you take care of you and you needed to spoil yourself some.”

Those words caught me off guard a bit. I hate shopping. It’s no secret. When I do shop, I do it for practical reasons because my husband or my children need something. If I need something (other than groceries, specifically – chocolate) I put it off. Not because I don’t feel like I deserve it or anything, but because shopping drains me so much mentally and I can’t bear to spend my energy spending money for things I don’t know or realize I want or need.

I started pulling out item after item. Jewelry. Gorgeous, bold pieces of jewelry I would have been too timid to buy for myself, but always secretly want to try to pull off wearing.

Boot socks. Fun, comfy, cute boot socks, even. Not the boring, black nylon boot socks I’ve had for three years.

Leggings. Mine had holes worn in them and weren’t even comfortable to wear anymore. These leggings are the most comfortable I’ve ever worn – and I was short a pair of leggings for my trip, so they were also quite timely.

Comfy pants. Y’all, when I say “comfy pants” I mean quite simply: I WANT TO LIVE IN THESE PANTS. They aren’t bulky sweat pants. They’re the coziest cotton I’ve ever slung a leg into.

Pajamas. Comfortable, adorable, warm (I live in North Dakota…) pajamas. I don’t remember the last time I’ve worn actual pajamas.

Underwear. Not just any underwear, but the exact size and cut I wear.

In fact, everything fit perfectly. She had no idea what size I was. But Holy Spirit did.

A gorgeous sweater (when I had just thought, “I wish I had a nice sweater to wear.”) and lovely scarves. Chapstick. Lotion. Hand sanitizer.

I cried. Right there at the table, I said thank you over and over again and I cried. This wasn’t just someone getting me something for the sake of celebrating my birthday. This was a person walking through a store, praying to be led by God for exactly what I needed and what would lift my spirit. I was completely overcome.

God is a good gift giver.

As you begin, or maybe even finish (over-achievers!) your Christmas shopping this season, pray about the gifts you’re giving. Let God – who has given you multiple gifts – steer your gift-giving for others. You might be as surprised as they are.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. ~ James 1:17

Another Year, Another Chance

Yesterday was my 36th birthday.

Thirty-six years ago, on a Sunday evening, I made my entrance into the world and have been trying to make my mark in it ever since.

Things aren’t exactly where I thought they’d be. I’d go so far as to say my life is nowhere near how I imagined it would – or could – be by this point in my life.

Is that a bad thing? Some would say so. When nothing goes your way, it’s usually a bad thing…

If I’ve learned one thing, it’s this: When you walk with God instead of running away from Him, your life takes on a character you couldn’t orchestrate if you tried.

It’s time for a little birthday introspection.

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I thought by this time I’d be one of the best and brightest office managers in the corporate world.

That’s right, folks. My biggest occupational goal was to be a great office manager. That was after I gave up on my goal to be a teacher, because I discovered I wasn’t so hot on other people’s children. Don’t want to teach? No problem. Be an administrative assistant above other assistants. Boom. Dream life.

What on earth…

Thank the Lord in Heaven, He didn’t hold me to that “dream.” I’m my own boss today. My own boss! I have my own business! I work with a client who treats me like his little sister – which is both charming and sometimes obnoxious – and I love getting to do the work I do every single day. I work from home! I don’t have to wear shoes! I make my own lunch (and breakfast, and dinner) every single day. I get to be a mama to my kids 24/7. If I need to go to the doctor, I’m not required to take two hours of sick time. If I want to go on a road trip, I can work at every stop along the way without having to use up any vacation time. I don’t have a micromanager over me. I don’t have to punch a clock. I do what I love, when I want.

It’s not at all where I thought I’d be at this point in my life. It’s better.

I thought by this time I’d be a mother of four children.

Little did I know, my body isn’t made for having babies. I delivered three, I came home with two, and one is waiting for a heavenly reunion. Our parenting journey couldn’t have gone more haywire. When we were first married, we wanted kids right away. Shortly thereafter, we both decided maybe we didn’t want any at all. Seven years later, Little Miss entered the world via emergency delivery to save both our lives, and the tragedies kept occurring from there. I went from wanting two children to wanting none, to wanting four, to having two of my three babies survive. Barely.

It’s not at all where I thought I’d be at this point in my life. It was incredibly more traumatic. Yet I’m incredibly thankful for my children. All three of them.

I thought by this time in life, I’d own a two-story home in town, and be hosting social gatherings at every turn.

Let me tell you, we’ve learned so much about home ownership and renting. And both come with their struggles. We were fortunate to sell our home when and how we did. It couldn’t have worked out better. But we thought this renting would be a quick pit stop in between residences. Six months has turned into almost two years. This pit stop is the pits. I’ve tried to embrace the positive. I’ve tried to hold on to my Little Apartment On The Prairie gratitude-attitude. But seriously, folks, I want out of this place. Yesterday.

My dreams have changed, though. I don’t want a fancy house in town. I don’t need a heated garage. I don’t even need a paved road. God has shown me the life lessons we can learn on a homestead, and this country-bumpkin wants to return to her roots. I want some land, some chickens, and a big ol’ farmhouse pantry to store my home-canned goods. I want dirt. I want quiet. I want to not be able to hear my neighbors sneeze. Or swear. Or walk. Or drive. Or flush their toilet. I want wide open spaces. And I believe with all my might, God’s going to let us move to just the right space in just the right way in the very near future.

It’s not at all where I thought I’d be at this point in my life. But I’m thankful for the lessons learned, and the dreams reborn.

I thought by this time I’d be a size 6 again. I thought by this time I’d have my BA. I thought by this time I’d be speaking all over the country. I thought by this time I’d be writing my second book. I thought by this time 36 would look a lot different than it does, but I know it’s laying the foundation for a future I can’t even begin to imagine.

So here I am. Another year, another number, another adventure underway. Another prayer our upstairs neighbors use their inside voices. Another hug and sloppy kiss from the kiddos. Another day at my cozy desk in the corner of my living room. Another day to thank Him for the 36 years He’s given me, and the dreams He inspires on a continual basis.

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine on us — so that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations.    ~ Psalm 67:1-2

Happy birthday, Babe!

birthday

As you all know, I’m crazy.

About my husband, I mean. Crazy about my husband. Slow down.

Almost 16 years ago, this shy, handsome fellow stepped out of his car to meet me for the first time. He’s been letting me disturb his life ever since.

birthday

I’m so thankful for a special day each year to celebrate him for who he is. Not just celebrating him as a dad (though he’s the best there is), not just celebrating he’s still married to me (but seriously, phew!), but celebrating the day God brought him into this world and filled his spirit with dreams, (way too much) logic, tenderness, and just enough stubbornness to be my match.

Yes, on September 30th, some number of years ago, Hubs – or as some of you know him, Brent – was born. Say it with me: Happy birthday!

So the entire rest of this special birthday week (all three days of it), I celebrate you, Babe.

I celebrate your commitment. You stand behind your word, you do what you say you will, and you know your word is just as valuable as your intentions. Your promises are as good as gold, and I love your dedication to me, to your kids, and to your God.

I celebrate your sense of humor. My favorite thing is making you laugh, and sometimes even if I make you laugh by screwing up, it’s worth it to to see you put your hand over your chest, and raise your eyebrows as your shoulders heave from laughing.

I celebrate your values. You’ve overcome things in life that would turn others to the dark side. You, however, used them as stepping stones instead of road blocks, and you’ve based your priorities and placed your values on what matters. You have tremendous discernment in determining what does and does not need space in your life, and you go after them with the right intentions.

I celebrate your sacrifice. The kids and I always know we’re loved and appreciated by you, you work your tail off to provide for us, and you sacrifice your time and interests to make sure we’re all nurtured in the ways we need it. How many times have you come home from work to see a look on my face (or a twitch in my eye) and you simply hand me the car keys and kiss my forehead? You do so much for me I don’t repay, you do so much for the kids they can’t repay, and you never hold it against any of us. You simply keep sacrificing. I can’t tell you how much I admire your selfless expressions of love for us.

I celebrate your friendship. Not just with me, though you are the best friend I’ve ever had. The friendships you’ve maintained for the majority of your life are with people who know the real you, and see you’re a friend they want to keep by their side. I’m not alone in noticing your attributes. Your friends will attest to these same character traits I’m celebrating here, and I can tell you they celebrate them all with me.

I celebrate your practicality. Yes, I said I celebrate it. Just for these three days, though, because most of the rest of the year it drives me bonkers. It is, however, one of your traits that makes you you, and there have been multiple occasions it’s helped me determine some of life’s most elusive answers. So let’s celebrate it. One time.

I celebrate your strengths. You have so many. In addition to the obvious physical strength you harbor (opening jar lids, carrying our Costco contraband, holding the kids and their belongings, and anything else I can stack in your arms), you have tremendous mental strength as well. I especially love when both come together to kill a spider (or a moth, or some other ferocious, disgusting creature with more than four legs). When you set your mind to something, though, you dig in. Even if you don’t like it, you want to see it through. You’re tougher than me, in so many ways, and I celebrate you for that.

I celebrate your quirks. Maybe I should say I celebrate your uniqueness. Quirks like leaving wet towels in the living room, or leaving dirty dishes on the counter cannot – and will not – be celebrated. But I celebrate how very different you are from me, and how very uniquely God created, gifted, and assigned you. And you are so very gifted, Babe!

I celebrate, most selfishly, He assigned you to me. For life. There is no one else strong enough to carry me through the darkest days of my life. No one else brave enough to walk beside me and pull me back in when I started to chase a wild goose or two. No one else patient enough to remain tender and still when I simply needed time and assurance. No one else crazy enough to handle my quirks, bad habits, or snark, and still want to give me a kiss each night and an “I love you” before bed.

Today, and every day, I celebrate you. Happy birthday, Babe. I love you, I’m so grateful for you, and I’m blessed to have married my hero. Here’s to your next year, and everything you’ll accomplish.

Starting with not leaving wet towels in the living room.

35 Facts About 35 Years

It’s my birthday soon. I’ll be 35. I was planning my week and saw that my birthday was coming up. I actually spaced it. 35.

Gulp.

I remember being a kid and wishing upon a star to skip the kid life and skip straight to being 21 years old. Why on earth would I want to wish that precious time away? Now I’m 35, finding stray grays, finding my way in life, and wondering if it will ever slow down.

In recognition of my 35 years of existence, I thought I’d share 35 facts about myself. Because strangely enough, there’s nothing on this earth I know more about than me. I’ve been through a lot with myself. Had some hard times. Fun times. Stupid times. And I’ve stuck with me through it all. Kind of. So – here’s to 35 years. And 35 random pieces of info you may – or may not – already know about me.

35 things

  1. When I was in elementary school, I used to write “Rachel Fox” on my papers instead of my actual name. Rachel is my middle name, and Fox is my mama’s maiden name. It sounded suave. Sophisticated. It wasn’t “Valerie Butts”. The adults made me stop writing it, but I think I could have pulled it off as an alter-ego.
  2. I have several OCD tendencies, one of which involves M&Ms. I have to have an even number of them in my mouth – the same number on each side – in order to eat them. If there’s an odd number, I’ll bite one in half to make the sides of my mouth equal. I also eat them in rainbow-color order.
  3. I love to sing. Like really belt it out. Hymns are my favorite to belt. But I don’t, because we live in an apartment with paper-thin walls. I sometimes like to drive to a nearby coffee shop to work, but I’ll take the long way so I can belt out a tune or two on the way. As a kid I used to play out how I would sing in a music video. I thought I needed to practice cause I’d be a rock star one day. I haven’t given up on that just yet…
  4. I have a tattoo. It started out as a tiny heart with a rose through it. It ended up with a cross behind that, an angel wing on each side of the cross, and a pair of wings beneath it. Each wing contains the initials of my grandparents. If I had to do it over again, I probably wouldn’t. But the meaning and the memories involved are very special to me.
  5. When I was 23 years old, I thought I had been exposed to radiation and was going to die a slow and painful death. My husband informed me my “symptom” was a result of eating too many fruity pebbles. Who knew.
  6. My 25th birthday was really hard on me. I was depressed. Something about 25 just sucked the life out of me. I begged my friends not to make a big deal of it. I wanted it to pass quietly and maybe no one would notice my life was over. (ha.) My girlfriends turned it into one of the best birthdays I’ve ever had, though. It was a birthday I’ll never forget, and they made a forever-lasting impression upon my heart that day, letting me know how very much they loved me.
  7. I LOVE motorcycles. My Uncle took me for a ride on one when I was around 10 years old, and I’ve loved them ever since. My husband does not love motorcycles. Yet. I’m still working on him.
  8. One of my fondest memories is snowmobiling in the Bighorn Mountains when it was -34*. Yes, 34 degrees below 0. It was some of the most fun I’ve ever had. Except for when my sister almost drove us off a cliff. As I was yelling through my helmet, “TURN! TURN!” all she heard above the roar of the motor was “wooooo!”  She thought I was living on the edge of adventure, when really my life was flashing before my eyes. After that, Dad, another uncle and I went on a solo ride in this huge bowl – and I’ve never felt so free. It was so. much. fun.
  9. My earliest memory is of taking swimming lessons when I was two years old. I remember standing on the side of the pool, crying. I then remember jumping in and feeling super secure with the kickboard and telling the swim teacher, “this is fun!”
  10. My favorite seasonal candy is the Cadbury Creme Egg. I make myself sick on them every single spring.
  11. I was baptized in the Pacific Ocean when I was 14 years old. It was December 28th. Even the Pacific Ocean is really cold in December. Afterward, my friends and family gathered ’round and sang songs right there on the beach.
  12. Sometimes God speaks to me in audible ways, and sometimes he speaks to me in ways I can’t explain. My husband doesn’t understand it, but after being with me for 14 years, he understands enough to believe me when I tell him “God told me.”
  13. I felt Harlynn kick the morning her heart stopped beating. I was brushing Little Miss’ hair before Brent took her to daycare while I stayed home on bedrest, and I felt her kick me especially strong. I went into labor after that, and only felt contractions. After she kicked me, I giggled and said “good morning, baby girl.” It’s a moment I play over repeatedly. 15 hours later, we’d learn she was no longer alive.
  14. I am a cat person. My husband and children are allergic to cats. My husband is a dog person. I am allergic to dogs. We are now a no-pet family.
  15. I used to eat hot dogs straight out of the package on camping trips (or whenever I could get away with it.) Now the mere thought of having a cold hot dog straight out of the package makes me gag a little.
  16. One of my favorite things to do as a kid was camp. We camped all the time. I always swore I would take my kids camping so they could have as many memories camping as I do. We haven’t done it a single time yet.
  17. I used to smoke many years ago. Marlboro Ultra Lights. I smoked for about six years. Now, I’m highly allergic to cigarette smoke.
  18. I haven’t had a sip of alcohol since around 1:00 a.m. on March 1st, 2009. I rarely drank, but when I did, I was a binge drinker. My only regret is ever drinking in the first place.
  19. Once I drove nearly 70 miles with a dead bird on my windshield, until I could get home to have Dad peel it off.
  20. I cracked my windshield when I palmed it to scare a grasshopper off of it. It had been sitting in the H O T sun all day, and I underestimated my Hulk strength. One palm to the grasshopper’s location, and I had a star-crack across the entire windshield. The good news was the grasshopper was indeed scared away.
  21. I once threw a baseball through the rear window of my car. You’re noticing a pattern here…
  22. When I hit a deer with our car (really, the deer hit me) the day before my husband’s birthday in 2005, I brushed the broken headlight pieces off my front bumper. The highway patrolman told me to stop doing that or he’d cite me for littering. (Nevermind the fact half of my car was strewn about the highway already.) He then picked up a piece of my headlight that was covered with deer guts and excrement and threw it in my backseat. I prayed for the opportunity to pour hot coffee in his lap. (I waited tables where he’d stop in for iced tea) The Lord didn’t grant that prayer. (and I’m glad.)
  23. When I worked for the Game & Fish department and they would bring in a bear, they had a contest to see who could guess the bear’s weight. You’d put a dollar in the pot to be able to play, and whoever got the closest, won the pot. They stopped telling me when they brought bears in, because I cleaned them out every time. #sorelosers
  24. I used to have a meticulously clean home. Then I had children.
  25. Danny was my favorite New Kid on the Block.
  26. Roxette’s “It Must’ve Been Love” was my FAVORITE song when I was in grade school. That song makes absolutely no sense to me, but I dig the melody.
  27. I have always been overly emotional. Some people have been gracious in telling me I “have a tender heart”, but I think it’s closer to being exceptionally sappy. I cry at the drop of a hat, and I always have. It’s never been a trait I’ve loved about myself, but I’m learning to embrace it as part of who I am.
  28. I cannot tolerate talking about animals while I’m eating. I have no problem preparing meat or eating meat, but I don’t want to talk about it. My daughter doesn’t understand this and I have to remind her (and Brent) I can’t handle that kind of table talk. Talking about fish, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, or other animals or bugs/insects is strictly prohibited while food is present.
  29. Sometimes food doesn’t have to be present to prohibit conversation mentioned above. I remember a few instances where my sister was trying to tell me stories about goldfish (and there was one about a frog) and I had to stop her. I was getting nauseous.
  30. My first apartment experience involved me cleaning my neighbor’s whiskers out of my bathroom sink every other day. When he pulled the plug in his sink to drain it, the water filled my sink before going down the plumbing. Every other day I had to clean my bathroom up after another man I wasn’t even living with.
  31. Hair grosses me out – when it’s in a drain or on the floor or wherever. Yuck. (especially when it’s someone else’s….like their whiskers in my sink.)
  32. Worse than hair, I can’t handle drool. My son is a champion drooler and it makes my stomach flip a little to watch it pour out of his mouth.
  33. I’ve had one dream and two “visions” of Harlynn since she died. I pray for more every single night.
  34. I’ve been skiing one time. Halfway through the introduction from the ski instructor, I started non-voluntarily skiing down the hill, stuck my arms out in front of me and pushed two unsuspecting victims down the hill with me. I reached the bottom of the hill and stopped when I skied right into the lodge wall. I bummed up my knee, turned my skis in and got my dad’s money back.
  35. Homemade fresh guacamole is my favorite side dish to make, but I never take it anywhere, because we eat it before we have a chance to get a lid on the bowl.

So there you have it. Surprised by anything? Feel like you know me more? Wish you knew me less? 🙂

730 Days of Moments

Two years. Two years, Harlynn. April 9th, we learned you had already left us before we ever got to see your blue eyes, hear your cries….anything. 12:16 a.m. April 10th, you were delivered. And all was silent.

These last two years have become a collage of moments. There is no measurement of time anymore, outside of “before we lost Harlynn” or “after we lost Harlynn”. Just a window where moments come and go – either waiting to be remembered, or forcing their way to the path of reliving.

I don’t have lengthy memories of the sequence, or the exact events – just snippets of moments that tend to replay themselves in my mind since April made its appearance. Moments I can’t forget, nor do I want to. Moments that haunt me, and moments that swell my heart with hope and anticipation of seeing you again.

The moment the doctor said “I’m so sorry.”

The moment my water broke.

The moment the doctor asked your daddy if he wanted to cut the cord, and the nurse asked if I wanted to hold you.

The moment I felt your weight upon my chest.

The moment your daddy held you, longing to startle life back into those lungs.

The moment I kissed your hand. Your forehead. Held your toes.

The moment my OB held me in her arms as I wept. The moment another held my face in her hands.

The moment we had people surrounding us in our hospital room, just to love us.

The moment your sister came to see you, and we had to tell her what happened.

The moment Granny held you in her arms, looking at you so lovingly and shaking her head in disbelief.

The moment I kissed your forehead for the last time.

The moment we had to choose your casket.

The moment my best friend came walking up my driveway, after driving 700 miles to be there for me.

The moment I met Michelle at your visitation.

The moment I placed my hand upon your closed casket lid, knowing you were inside, separated only by a lid of fabric – but we were already worlds apart.

The moment my boss came to the visitation and hugged me, with tears in his own eyes.

The moment your sister yelled at her cousins to be quiet, because you were “sleeping”.

The moment the snow storm caused us to reschedule your funeral.

The moment we walked to the front of the church, and I had no idea how my legs were able to move. I didn’t want to take that walk.

The moment right before we started down the aisle, and I saw Dana’s face, and somehow knew how very loved we were, and how very supported we would be from that point forward.

The moment your namesake, Mr. Harlan, read scripture at your service.

The moment your daddy picked up your casket to carry outside, and released a heart wrenching wail.

The moment we placed your tiny casket in the huge hearse.

The moment we hugged person after person inside that church, and I couldn’t believe so many had come, but I was so glad they were there.

The moment we carried you to the little cemetery riser.

The moment the sun peeked through the clouds.

The moment I had to turn and walk away from you, and I hated myself for not being able to crawl in the ground with you.

The moment we sang in church, and Beth put her hands on my back as I wept.

The first time I tried to go to the cemetery, but couldn’t because of the flood preparation barriers.

The second time I tried to go to the cemetery, and it was the same story.

The third time, and the first time I got to sit by your grave.

The times your sister blew bubbles for you.

The time someone left a care package, from you to us, on your grave. The purple egg with the purple mini koosh ball inside sits inside my desk drawer, and I pull it out every time I need a little smile.

The moment your daddy went out in the cold to take pictures of the brightest moon I had ever seen, because it made us feel a tinge closer to you.

The moment Michelle told me “I think we should start Harlynn’s Heart.”

The moment my friends sat in my living room, to give me a check to start your legacy, and everyone prayed together.

The moment we had a thank-you party, and sent balloons your way.

The first time I spoke to a group about stillbirth, and shared your story. I could hardly talk through the tears.

The first time I had a dream about you.

The first time I felt like I could pray again.

The moment I went with Michelle to help a family grieve the loss of baby Mauriana.

Every moment I’ve been with a bereaved family since.

The moment we met seven other amazing couples at Faith’s Lodge, and the moment I saw my first tick.

The moments – and there are several – when your sister will tell me she misses you.

The moment we got the most beautiful gift, of a frame of four canvased pictures of you.

So many moments. So many memories. So much heartache. So much hope. So many ups, and so many downs. Two years.

Two years.

So tonight, I bought those mini chocolate donuts I constantly craved while I was pregnant with you. I’ll have them for breakfast in your honor. Tomorrow, we’ll take you a cupcake. I even found purple frosting. We’ll sing happy birthday – if Mama can get through it. We’ll send you more balloons.

And not just tomorrow, but forever and always, we’ll be missing you. Loving you. Longing to be with you again.

In the mean time, take a peek down here and see how many people are supporting us. If God lets you scroll through Facebook, get a load of all the profile pictures that are all in your honor, baby girl. We are so loved. I don’t understand it. I don’t deserve it. But I am so beyond thankful for it. Because oh how I need it.

My heart hurts so very much. But it also hopes far more than it did in those first moments after we had to say goodbye to you. When it’s my turn to walk through those pearly gates, I’ll fall down in worship to the One who got me through each of these moments and then some. I’ll praise Him and be completely awestruck by His love and power and then I’ll say, Lord….Where is my Harlynn?

Happy birthday, my love. Not one single day, not one single moment passes without you being thought of, missed, and desperately loved.