angel baby

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Who's at the door?

From our hearts to yours, may you have a Very Merry Christmas!
The holiday had its beginning, but the message has no end!!!

Brian, Catherine, and all our Christmas Lambies!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

It's just SNOW much fun!

Day two of no school (ok, we mean public school....we've still had homeschool...just call me the Grinch!)Check out the cousins' Snowdude....yes, that is a carrot mohawk!!!!
Let it Snow, let is snow, let it snow!!!!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Sounds of the Season!

Kamberlynne at her Christmas Recital with Maryland Conservatory of Music, performing Tchaikovsky's "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy"! It's a little dark, but sounds good!

Such a lovely time of year in so many ways!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Joy to the World...and Hope, and Love

My sweet 10 yr old, Jonah, shared this "joy" scripture last week for family devotional. It was so perfect, he shared it at Mariah's service.

From The Book of Mormon, Alma, chapter 36
"17 And it came to pass that as I was thus racked with torment, while I was harrowed up..., behold, I remembered also to have heard my father prophesy unto the people concerning the coming of one Jesus Christ, a Son of God, to atone for the sins of the world.
19 And now, behold, when I thought this, I could remember my pains no more...
20 And oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I did behold; yea, my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain!
21 Yea, I say unto you, that there could be nothing so exquisite and so bitter as were my pains. Yea, and again I say unto you, my son, that on the other hand, there can be nothing so exquisite and sweet as was my joy."

It immediately brought to my heart and mind a sense of gratitude that though we are in the midst of deep sorrow, what a miraculous time of year it is...I don't just get to remember the coming of Jesus Christ, I get to celebrate it! Every twinkling light, and Christmas wreath, and beautiful carol brings the realization anew that Jesus really did come!

And because of this,
I have beautiful promises concerning this.

Yes, because of this,

I will have this again.

And there will be nothing so exquisite and sweet as my joy.

Even amongst the tears of sorrow now, there are many many tears of hope, joy, and above all, love.

And that is what Christmas is truly about.

Friday, December 11, 2009

A Day of Love for Mariah

(For many of us, our blogs have become like a family journal. I actually have my blog printed and bound in a book at the end of each year. This entry is especially personal, and of that nature, as those of you who know and love us dearly understand the deep sorrow and heartbreak we are experiencing. I record these feelings and events as part of our family journal.)

The book of Isaiah has a scripture about how the Lord can make beauty from ashes. He did that for us yesterday. Amidst the many tears of sorrow and pain, He imprinted on our souls the power of His love, the joy of His hope, and the promise of eternity. It was beauty from ashes.

And it was full of love. So much love we still can't quite understand it. So much love flowing from the very moment our hearts began to break on Monday morning, through our birth experience on Tuesday, comforting us through preparations on Wednesday, and sustaining us through the final goodbye on Thursday. We never imagined how many would be praying for us, crying with us, mourning beside us, and leading us forward. We are filled with awe and gratitude and humility and thanks beyond expression. God is so good. So very very good.

These are Mariah's resurrection clothes. The funeral home called them burial clothes, but they are not. She is dressed in the purest white awaiting the day she is called up to be placed back into my arms, spirit and body reunited for eternity. Fit for a handmaiden of the Lord, these angel clothes were a gift of love from dear family, handpicked and sent across the country within hours to ready my baby for eternity. Such love.

Wrapped in white, Nana filled each stitch and loop of Mariah's blanket with love and hope in yet another manner of hours and sent it across the country to swaddle my baby until my arms can hold her again. This is one of my heart's tenderest pictures. I think my darling daughter looks like a heavenly child, and I can picture her amongst the angels. Auntie Amber dressed her with kisses and lullabies in my place, knowing my Momma heart would fail at the task. Such love.

Arriving at the memorial garden for her service, our eyes were opened in amazement at just how many had been praying and supporting us with their faith throughout the previous days. We turned into the entrance of the lane approaching her gravesite and found it lined on both sides from beginning to end with those who love us and came to support and offer strength. We just had no idea. No idea at all. Such love.

Throughout her service, though the tears fell, the peace of the Lord and the truths of eternity soothed our broken hearts. Christian and Jonah each shared a scripture of the Lord's goodness even in sorrow, my dear friend spoke from her mother heart to mine, and the Bishop offered powerful words of truth and comfort. We sang "How Great Thou Art", and marveled that truly our Saviour gladly bore our burdens, even the loss of our precious daughter. Such love.

Darling Rebekah had asked if she could get a white flower to give to Mariah. We got one for each of our baby's brothers and sisters, and they placed them where her tiny body lay on the table before us. Dear Pop had brought white roses for all the family members to place with her, and one by one each said a final goodbye to our sweet little one. Such love.

And then Brian and I were left alone for a few precious moments. Beauty from ashes. Such love.

The service was over, only to be encircled with more comforting words, arms, and faith for hours while we were strengthened by the many who came to a lovely luncheon prepared on our behalf. Such love. Over and over again. Wherever we looked. Pages and pages of names of those who came to share love. A constant reminder that the Lord will take care of us, and He is putting people in our path to strengthen and uplift, nourish and bless us.

It is hard. I've never imagined such pain. Some moments I am sure I will not be able to bear it. And I know it isn't going to end anytime soon. But I will remember how the Lord took this day and made beauty from ashes. And I know He will do it again.

We love and miss you, sweet darling baby Mariah.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Our Angel Baby

Mariah Grace

Early this morning, our seventh child, Mariah Grace, was delivered into our arms stillborn. On Sunday, one week before her due date, I noticed a significant difference in baby movement, though Saturday night, Mariah had been very active. Very early yesterday morning, Monday, Brian and I went to the hospital and they confirmed no heartbeat. We went home to prepare the children, pack a few things, call grandma to come stay with the kids, and receive priesthood blessings by the laying on of hands, then headed back to the hospital to birth our sweet daughter.

Mariah's beautiful little body, 7 lbs 0 ounces, 21 and 1/2 long, was brought into this world at 2:52 am this morning. It was a long and stressful labor, not knowing if we would have a successful VBAC after Rebekah's emergency c-section 6 years ago. The Lord is good, and though things were quite touchy for a while, we were able to birth her without the dreaded c-section. She was born with a very big tight knot in her umbilical cord, and this is no doubt the cause of the problem. We were able to spend 12 precious hours with her, the children were all able to see and touch her, and though our hearts are breaking, there is no doubt that our loving Heavenly Father has a plan for this precious little one, and for us. He will certainly work this difficult experience to our good, and we testify of that truth. He is the same loving God on days filled with joy as He is on days filled with sorrow. We said goodbye to little angel this afternoon, and came home in time for dinner with the children. I count it a sacred day.

Over the last two days, love, faith, and prayer have poured forth abundantly. We can't adequately express our thanks. We have felt your concern and love, appreciated your words of condolence, received of your service, and been strengthened by your faith. We ask that you continue to keep us in your prayers. I don't think I have ever walked a more sorrowful road than this evening when Brian and I picked out a grave site and headstone for our angel baby.

For the many of you who have so lovingly offered service, we are so grateful. I wish I knew what to say to each of you, but instead, I ask that you will allow the Lord to direct you in your service, I just don't have eyes to really see clearly what could be done that already isn't. Brian will be home with us for the remainder of the week, and we hope to spend some good family time together, rest, and recuperate physically and emotionally. Again, we would appreciate your continued prayers on our behalf.We know families can be together for the eternities, and we will hold and kiss Mariah Grace again. Mariah's name is a Hebrew form of Mary, meaning "the handmaiden of the Lord". We know that is where she is, with our Lord, serving Him as a faithful handmaiden. The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

With Love,Catherine

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Sneak Peek for the 38th week!

Ok, I should really be blogging our fabulous Thanksgiving, but look what I saw today at our final ultrasound....
I've never seen a 3D ultrasound with any of my babies before, and it sort of feels like cheating a bit! Isn't it amazing?!?!? Can you totally see her squeezable cheekies, long eyelashes, and that sweet little dimple in her chin?!?!?! Just amazing!

Twelve days and counting! We always go late, but we are praying she arrives sometime between the 14th and 19th so we can be "Home for the Holidays"....please add us to your prayer list!!!!