Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Transparency. Change.

I'm not good at being transparent. I don't like laying out the cards of my emotions. It's not that I don't allow myself to be sad. Be sure that I have experienced more than a world of sadness, especially in the last 6 months, but God has really been convicting me to not hold tightly to the strings of my emotions.

Ever since Hartley passed away, I have felt so many nudges from God to be ok with my grief. More than that, to embrace the tears that flow, no matter when or where or with whomever is around. Now, can I say with confidence that I have done that? No. I haven't.  I've pretty much stunk at it altogether. It is so uncomfortable to me, I don't like to "go there", I don't want to burden other people with my sadness... Oh the list could go on. But the funny thing is, that gentle nudge from God comes back each time one of those conversations come up that could "take me to that place of deep and utter grief" arises. I think God really wants me to change. Ha... Really.

He's not giving up on me. And you know what... I'm not giving up on me. I KNOW that I KNOW that I KNOW that I need to change. I know that I need to be transparent. I know that I need to grieve openly. I know that no one will judge me or think less of me or avoid me because of my grief. And I really want to change. I want much to be made of Hartley's little life. I want God to use it for good. I want God to change me for the better. I don't want her life to be in vain. I want to be a better mommy for her brother and any future siblings they will have. I want to KNOW that when my life is over, God used my precious baby girl to refine me, and I want them both to be proud.

Here's my issue... I don't know how to change. I don't know how to avoid feeling awkward when people ask me questions about how I'm doing because deep down I'm really sad but I really don't want to be real. It's not that I'm being fake, lying to people, but I'm giving very circumstantial answers. When I say, "I'm fine", I am... I'm just telling you how I am at that instance, not how I am when I'm alone and my mind wanders to her, or when I see someone who is pregnant, or when I see a sweet baby who is about the age Hartley would be right now, or when I think about how things "should have been" or when I think about how things aren't how I planned them to be or...or...or... (the list could go on forever...).

But ya know what, there are some things that I do know. I can change. I believe I will change. And I know that there is only one way to change... through the healing power of God. He is and will be my compass, my guide. His living Word and His gentle nudges will lead me. I need only to... A: surrender (daily, hourly, moment-by-moment sometimes), and B: look for Him. I wish I could say that one of those is going easier than the other, but unfortunately, it won't be. God wants to deepen my faith and trust in Him. So I'm going to have to lengthen my time and frequency with Him. How can I expect to change if I don't make myself available to allow the transformation to take place?

Will you journey with me on this (whoever is reading this, whether I know you or not)? Will you look into your own life and see if God is asking this of you? Will you pray for me as I seek guidance from God? I am praying that whoever is reading this would experience a gentle nudge from our Savior today. Whatever He is wanting to transform in your life, make yourself available to Him and surrender your desires to Christ, that His desire would be your own.

Change is tough. I've traveled further on the road of "change" than I ever cared to, but I know when my fork in the road comes, I'll know better which path He has next because of the change He has brought in my life.

"Bear one anothers burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ." Galations 6:2

Monday, May 14, 2012

Numb, all-over-the map thoughts today.

That's how I feel today... numb. All-over-the-map. A mess. So muddy in my thoughts. That's me right now.  Yesterday was Mother's Day, and the day I was due with Hartley Joy. I don't know why I had to be due with her on Mother's Day. A day that is supposed to be a celebration of the precious little ones who make us mommies and yet I've had two Mother's Days pass laced with the loss of a baby. So many women can relate.  My dear friend, college roommate and fellow mommy to a baby gone to soon, Julie experienced the raw reality of her first Mother's Day without her precious son Timothy.  For us, we didn't look forward to yesterday.  

Can I be real with you? Good. We didn't go to church on Mother's Day. It was more of a last minute decision Saturday night because we ended up spending the night at my in-laws so we would be closer to Hartley's grave. We were planning to go see her and it just made more sense to stay there after celebrating Mother's Day with the hubs family so we wouldn't have to drive across town to go see her (not that I wouldn't drive across the nation and cross the seven seas if I had to because I would!). But, I have to tell you that I really didn't have a burning desire to go to church on Mother's Day because I didn't want to watch some video of all the babies born or see baby dedication or be reminded even more that today isn't what I planned. I don't want to be in a habit of denying reality and truth, but I didn't need more of a reminder that my reality isn't what it was going to look like before January 24th came.  I want to deal with what is my new reality, I want to join God in his plans for my life rather than what my plans are, but it's so hard when what I thought was God's plan to grow our family with the addition of Hartley Joy turned out to be God's plan to grow our family closer to Him with the stillbirth of Hartley.  

From the beginning of my pregnancy with Hartley I thought, "I'll never make it to my due date because Zach came a month early." Wow, I couldn't have been more right. What I didn't know at the time was that I would not only not make it to my due date, but that I would also not get to keep my baby. I hate that. There's no other way to put it. I hate not getting to hold my baby, I hate not having sleepless nights with a little girl who wants to eat every hour, I hate that to go "see her" I have to bring flowers, talk to an expensive piece of granite and by "see her" I don't really get to do that either. A beautiful, perfectly designed piece of granite, nonetheless, but it's just stone. 

Hartley Joy,
Sweet girl, your Mommy and Daddy miss you so much. There is no way around that. We long so deeply to have you in our arms. We don't understand why we received this cup of suffering.  However, we are so thankful that while we are hurting and broken and full of grief, your life has been absent of all those things. You are whole, perfect and have been given a body everlasting. You are rejoicing in the eternal life you have already received, and have a Heavenly Father who loves you even more than we do. Your life and your death is teaching us so much. Because of you, your Daddy and I anticipate Heaven and eternity. Because of you, your Daddy and I value life, no matter how short or long, even more than we already did. Because of you, we are better. We love you girl and cannot wait to meet you again in Heaven. 

-Mommy and Daddy

Hartley's gravestone. The flowers in the vase are from Caleb, Zachariah and me, the flowers on the left are from her Grammy and Grandaddy, and the flowers on the right are from her Mimi and Poppa. She is so loved and missed! 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A Purpose for My Grief.

I have felt so lost on this journey of grief, so empty. I don't know why we lost our daughter, why we are having to travel this road. I have cried that question so many times in my head and out loud without an audible response. Sometimes, though, it seems as though scripture and the quiet whispers of my heart are leading me to deeper understanding...

I know that we are being refined in this process, have a deeper understanding of God, can relate to slew of people we poorly attempted to relate to before but couldn't because we hadn't "been there", and absolutely above all, desire Heaven in a very real way. Aside from the thought of leaving my son, my husband and all of my family and friends, I have no fear to die. In dying I know I will be reunited with my daughter and my Saviour who made it all possible. Gosh, what hope would I have without my Saviour, to know that my time away from my daughter is only temporary: only days, months or years separated now to be together again for all of eternity.

Can I ask, what is your hope, what do you anticipate within the walls of the grief in your life? Do you have any? You need hope... if there is no hope, what is there? How do you go on, what do you believe is the purpose for all this in your life? Can I tell you that this is not God's punishment, but He has a purpose for all of this in your life. There is a greater plan for your grief, for your life.

"As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him."  -John 9:1-3

I pray that the works of God may be displayed in my life through the loss of our daughter, not for our glory but for His.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Change has been the name of the game the last few months. We thought we would have 2, but we only have 1 (here, on Earth, ya know). We thought the next chapter of our life would be adjusting to the reality of more sleepless nights with a little one and instead we deal with sleepless nights as we grieve, question and wonder what the next steps in our life will look like. With all the change comes a lot of questions. I hate a lot of the questions. Maybe even all of them. I don't hate that I ask questions of myself or that others ask me, but I hate that I don't know the answer. And maybe I do know the answer to some of them but I don't know HOW to answer. This is not to say that I don't want you to ask me these questions, but just know that these questions are hard. They suck (sorry, there is no pretty, nice, P.C., ladylike way around this one). And I may struggle to answer. Here is a taste of the chaos that I experience with all the questions:

 -"When do we want to have another baby?"... I already have another baby, but she isn't here with me. I want her back. I want another baby right now because sometimes my arms just crave so deeply the warmth and closeness of a sweet baby. My arms are so empty without Hartley. I don't know when we should have another baby because I don't want to replace Hartley. No baby could replace Hartley. Do I need to have some sort of emotional milestone before I have another baby to know that I'll be ok? Will I ever be ok?
 -"How many kids do you have?"... I have 3, but God kept 2 of them. I have one baby. I don't know you well enough to dump all of my emotional burdens on you, so I'll just say 1 to make things easy. I don't want to answer, I don't want to talk about it so I'll just say 1. I'll just ignore that question because I don't want to answer the easy way and just say 1 baby. Do you have any idea what kind of question that is? I feel so stupid for asking other people that question not knowing the heartache they may have experienced like me. I hate this question. And yet, maybe I should be real and answer 3, knowing that God may have ordained this conversation...
 -"How are you doing?"... I'm doing ok. I've been better. How do you think I'm doing? I buried my daughter, I have lost almost all traces of pregnancy. Sometimes I forget that I was pregnant because I don't look like it anymore, never mind the fact that I don't look like I did when I was 21. I wish I could pretend like this didn't happen so you don't have to ask me how I am doing. I feel like you are asking me how I am doing because you want to know that I am doing well because you don't want me to hurt. I'm ok with hurting. I'm ok with being sad. That's kind of a new normal for me. I wish you were ok with me being sad because that is my reality right now. And if I'm doing ok at the moment, don't judge me for having "moved on" because I haven't, I won't and I can't. I don't live in a place of sadness, it's just somewhere I "visit" often, kind of like the grocery store or the mall or the gym or the bathroom (just kind of depends on the day).

 My mind is just all over the place as you can see. But ya know what, I am forced to welcome the chaos. And as I sift through all the chaos, I am slowly beginning to make sense of it all. I don't want to be foolish enough to believe that it will all be wrapped up nice in a box with a perfect little bow any time soon, but it's only just the beginning.

 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heaves are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it." Isaiah 55:8-11

Friday, April 20, 2012

One step at a time.

How perspective can change with our own personal experiences. In the last 3 months our family has been as close to the depths of hell in our own minds, and yet closer to God than we could have ever imagined.

On January 22, 2012, our daughter Hartley Joy Morris, just wasn't moving. I was 24 weeks pregnant and relieved to have made it to "viability" that day and yet I felt as though the sting of death was near. My active little girl wasn't moving; her kicks had always put her big brother's kicks (when he was in utero) to shame! No orange juice (yep) or coffee (yep again) or pushing and prodding her in my belly caused her to stir. The prayers of fear and grief couldn't save her, and I tried that too. Only God could save her. On the 23rd, a trip to the labor and delivery triage and a Maternal Fetal Medicine specialist confirmed our worst fears. And on the 24th, we celebrated Hartley Joy's birthday, mourned her death, loved her so well, and then gave her back. But not without hope. We gave her back, knowing that she is always ours and forever HIS. Forever HIS. And because she is forever HIS and so are we, we have HOPE beyond hell and the grave that we will see her again. Perfect. Whole. And we KNOW that God did save her. He saved her from the sadness and trials of this world. He saved her from hurt. But most importantly He saved her INTO HIS ARMS FOREVER.

So where do we go from here? I have asked myself that, struggled over that, through that and with that thought. Because here's the deal. I'm not. the. same. How could I be? How could you carry a baby, love that baby as your own, begin to dream about life with her and then lose her. Then have to do the unspeakable. Yes, bury her. But before that, go to the funeral home, help fill out her death certificate while the funeral director (bless his heart, really) tries to lighten the mood. Look at caskets that are so tiny that nobody should ever have to look at, let alone BUY and USE. Decide that nobody else really should have to experience that, and in so, choose not to show her casket at the funeral. Decide which pictures to share with the world of our girl that we think is the most beautiful little girl but other people may be bothered by. Then go pick out the best flowers for your baby girl, knowing that these flowers have to fill the void of all those Valentine's flowers daddy won't buy her, the just because weeds, ahem flowers, she will never pick for us, the flowers she will never get for a dance at school, the flower's she will never have at the wedding she will never have. But can I say she had the most beautiful flowers at her funeral!

So, here I am. Trying to navigate new waters. Finding myself at many crossroads. I know I, and we as a family, need to move forward. But we will never "move on". Moving on, to me, means forgetting. I can never forget. This journey defines so much of who I am becoming and who I will be. I fear that when people who knew me before all this talk to me now they don't recognize who I am now and don't know what to do. You see, I fear this for others because I am dealing with that fear myself. I don't recognize a lot of who I am now and I don't know what to do. Part of me wants SO BAD to be who I was before Hartley because there is a lot less fear and unknown and sadness and grief in naivety. And yet I KNOW I need to be where I am now and not for a minute do I desire to take back every moment I had with my sweet Hartley Joy. So though I may cross that fork in the road often right now wondering which way to go, I know without hesitation the path I must take.

One step at a time, often in the dark, I am trusting God to provide for just that next step. That's where I am right now. And I'm at peace with knowing that I have already and may again walk through the valley of the shadow of death (Psalm 23) in this journey. I can't speak for yesterday, a month ago, three months ago, this afternoon, tonight, tomorrow, next month... I'm not sure. But right now, I'm at peace.

"But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore, do not be anxious, saying 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink' or 'What shall we wear?' But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is it's own trouble." -Matthew 6:30-31, 33-34

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Busy Bag Swap

For all you mommas on Pinterest, I know you are familiar with the concept of the Busy Bag! If not, a Busy Bag is designed to entertain your little one with a simple activity and can fit into a gallon size ziplock baggie (hopefully!). It could be anything from lacing pool noodles and matching shapes to making puzzles and identifying numbers and colors.

I have been wanting to build my own little collection of Busy Bags for Zachariah as he grows and with a little girl joining our family in May, I know I won't have a lick of time later to organize something like this. I have seen other people organize a swap, so I thought "Why not host my own while I have a semblance of free time?!"

Soo... Here's how it is going to work: each participant will make 20 (hopefully we get that many takers!!) of the same busy bag activity. This should streamline the process of you creating and absolutely save on materials.

I have pre-chosen 20 different activities to make sure there is variety. I tried to pick bags that teach a specific concept or can be used creatively AND that will hopefully be affordable ($3 or less per bag for a total of $60 for 20 bags--quite a steal when you end up with 20 different activities in the end).


Want to join the swap?

1. Email me (kamorris05@gmail.com) by Saturday, January 14th and let me know you would like to sign up. Please let me know if you are comfortable with a little bit of sewing, if you don't mind very light construction (chopping small wooden dowels and sanding them), or if you really just want a simple, straightforward bag.

2. Once I have all the spots filled, I will assign everyone a bag, doing my best to match you with a bag fitting your skills and wishes! I will include a link to directions/templates/examples of a completed activity to help you along.

3. Everyone will have a little over a month to complete their bags. We will get together at the end of February to swap.

4. Out of towners are more than welcome to participate, you will just have to cover the cost of shipping and handling via Priority Mail.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

31 Weeks and More Nursery!!

Pregnancy Highlights
How far along: 31 weeks!!!
Size of the baby: A head of lettuce (??--doesn't seem that big, maybe it's an organic one!)
Maternity clothes: Why the heck not?!?... And because he is so low, I can't wear any of the low rise maternity pants I have because they just slide down even lower and my shirts won't cover my belly!
Movement: Lots of it, and he seems to have found my ribs. He's not killing me with the kicks in the ribs because it doesn't happen that often, but I wouldn't put in on the list of my favorite movements of his.
Gender: BOY... Zachariah Hayes Morris!!
Sleep: Haha. The insomnia has set in and despite my exhaustion after work, I have a hard time napping. I am waking up a lot at night, too. Preparation for those sleepless nights have set in I guess!
What I miss: Being able to sleep in any position I please and not having to worry about getting heartburn.
Symptoms: I'm going to be real with you folks... Every morning I wake up with a really dry mouth and feel like I have lots of mucus buildup in my throat. If I don't have a "productive cough", I end up spending 10 minutes gagging over the sink/throwing up until I clear my throat. My husband thinks it's lovely. =)
Best moment this week: All the unexpected time off I have had due to the crazy North Texas weather... I have had lots of time to just relax and enjoy him moving, and lots of time to work on his bedding and room!
Here is an update of his room:
This is a view of his room from the door. You can see his crib and the bedding I have been working on, along with his curtains and one of my faves, the stroller!!
His closet, which I love and envy! When we remodeled the house, we left this closet empty, literally. It was a sheetrock box, so once we cleared the room and closet of junk office stuff was moved, it was off to The Container Store (aka a slice of Heaven this side of eternity) to design and install his closet. Can I just say that it was WORTH IT in every way!!
These are probably going to be used in some way above his bed.
This is going to be the outfit lil man will come home from the hospital in!! The story behind this outfit is this: My dad was in Italy working when we found out we were having a boy. He brought this darling and TINY outfit back for Zachariah. Not only is it special, but I'm not sure it will fit him for long! Let's just hope he doesn't take after his cousin Benjamin... If that's the case, it may never fit him!

Monday, January 17, 2011

28 Weeks + Nursery Sneak Peek!

Pregnancy Highlights
How far along: 28 weeks (Holy cow-3rd trimester!!)
Size of the baby: Head of cauliflower (I think that one is weird...)
Maternity clothes: Yes please! I tried on a non-maternity t-shirt and it didn't even cover to my belly button. Caleb laughed and told me I looked like I could be on the Faces of Walmart website.
Movement: I feel him move some during the day, but he is most active and pronounced at night. He nearly kicked the computer right out of my lap earlier!
Gender: ALL BOY... Zachariah Hayes Morris!
Sleep: Well, this one is hard to judge since I have never been one to sleep straight through the night, but it does get obnoxious waking up because I need to roll over to the other side.
What I miss: Belly and back sleeping, and being able to eat what I want without having to worry about heartburn.
Symptoms: Heartburn, starting to get "the line" (linea nigra-I think)
Best moment this week: Getting to "rock" Zachariah in the new glider... I prayed for him and imagined what it will be like to have him in my arms doing that!
These are some of the fabrics in his room... The polka dots and blue minky will be used for a pillow and possibly a blanket. The stripes will be his crib skirt. The bumper (which you will see below) is just a simple ivory minky stripe.
The glider and dresser... I'm wondering why we waited to get pregnant before buying this fabulous piece of furniture known as a glider. It's amazing!!
The bed with the bumper.
Hopefully that whet your apetite... I know it has definitely made me more anxious to get it done! I have the curtains and just need to hem them. Once we move the office furniture out of Zachariah's room, we will do a little rearranging and really start finalizing the room (read: put holes in the wall and get some art hung). Soo exciting!!!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

My head is spinning!

My, oh my, oh my! My head is spinning with all the things that need to get done before Mr. Zachariah makes an appearance!! And to top it off, Caleb has officially begun another semester of his MBA which means my access to his assistance has depleted significantly. As he finished the fall semester in December, we began "Project Prepare for Baby" and planned to tackle the major project of painting the baby room, add crown and shoe moulding and finish out his closet. I am proud to say that those things are done. HOWEVER, I am realizing now that those "major" projects are a drop in the bucket when compared to the ever-expanding list of things that will need to be done prior to Zach's big arrival. Oh, and to side track for a sec, if Zachariah continues on his path of growth, it appears as though his big arrival could be up to 2 weeks earlier than we planned.. So, suffice it all to say that while I'm not someone who stresses out about things, I think the zits that have appeared on my face after more than a 12-year hiatus are due to more than just a conflict of hormones!

Unfortunately, I don't have a picture to post tonight... My husband is currently working on some electrical stuff and the hard-drive is not showing up on my network. I guess the power to that is off. Hopefully tomorrow I'll have a belly shot and weekly update! Sweet dreams folks!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Almost 26 Weeks!

Pregnancy Highlights
How far along: Almost 26 weeks!
Size of the baby: A large eggplant (2 lbs)
Maternity clothes: Absolutely on pants, everything else is on a garment-by-garment basis!
Movement: I feel him moving a lot, and most others who touch my belly can feel him too (as long as he is cooperating)
Gender: It's a BOY... Zachariah Hayes Morris!!
Sleep: I toss and turn, but still am getting a good night's sleep.
What I miss: Sleeping without worrying if I'm on the right side or not.
Cravings: If anything, I crave smoothies and shakes. I think it's the fact that it is cold, sweet and smooth!
Symptoms: Still throwing up on occasion, but no nausea (it must be the over-sensitive gag reflex).
Best moment this week: Feeling him move more and more frequently!