Monday, July 21, 2014

What I Can't Come To Terms With...

I picked a winner for the giveaway!!  I wish EVERYONE could have one!  I was happy that it was a sweet friend Amanda...Amanda constantly remembers the lives of so many special little ones who have passed and often generously passes her 'winnings' on to others.  I hope, hope, HOPE she is as blessed with this win as so many have been blessed by her!

We've been back in Florida now for a week.  I spent the week working on eight million things we needed to do for our house in Maryland.  Without detail, it is enough to say that it was expensive.  On my checkbook and my heart.

My heart is the one that's not so easily replenished, and yet...somehow, it always is.  Typically through friends who help, friends who visit, friends who care and friends who understand.  For those things I am very thankful.

In most instances, I'd even say I was blessed.  In fact, I almost ALWAYS say I am blessed.
Blessed by friends.  Blessed with Luke.  Blessed with motherhood.  Blessed with material things.  I never say I'm lucky (unless it's bad luck, and that, I seem to have in spades!) because I don't necessarily believe in 'luck' per se.

I believe things are purposed.


Because here's the thing that I've been regularly wrestling with these days.  I'm talking several-times-a-day-regularly.

To me, saying, "I'm blessed," is to use it in the terms of 'being divinely or supremely favored or fortunate'.

And, without question, I believe that I am.

But...I also think, "So does that mean that orphans are not divinely favored? Or that those who get adopted are more blessed than those who languish, even to the point of death?  Those women who desperately want children but for whatever reason never get to hold them are not  divinely favored? Bu Women whose husbands don't come back from war are not divinely fortunate?  One baby survives NICU and another doesn't, so the family of the survivor is divinely shone upon and the other family gets the crappy leaf picture on their door and is out of favor with God?"

I don't buy it.  I can't.  I can't buy that a God who loves us all (and the Bible is very clear that He does) picks and chooses who has food on their table and who doesn't because He favors one person over another.  Or decides who has running water or clothes and who doesn't because He is showering blessings on them (and conversely, NOT showering blessings on those who don't).  Decides whose baby survives and whose doesn't because He favors one family but shuns the other?

Obviously, it's not as black and white as that, but on the same token, it sort of is.  Why does one woman get 'gifted' with several children and another with none?  Or maybe worse, dead ones?  The one with many children?  Calls herself blessed.  The one with none?  Probably not as easy for her to say that.

I just don't know.  And, I know there are no good answers on this side of Heaven either.

But, I DO know this:  I am no more special than any person on this planet.  And that I live in a country where things are SO abundant and easily accessible is, to me, luck.  Purposed, no question, and a blessing to me, yes....but NOT because I am more favored than someone else.  I find myself more and more uncomfortable saying that I am 'blessed' because I do not ever want to give the impression that I deserve more than anyone else; I certainly don't.  I have a pool in my backyard.  Children all over the world don't even have water to DRINK, for crying out loud....and my kid PLAYS in a pool of it. Daily.  My heart rejoices for the sheer 'blessing' of it but aches for those less fortunate and 'favored' than we are.

So I don't know what to say.  I am grateful, I can definitely say that.  Very, very, very thankful.
But to say that I am blessed because of things I have and that others are not because of the very same things they don't have seems sort of like a quiet way of saying that God gives me more (or less) because He loves (favors) me more (or less).

And that's very hard for me to wrap my head around these days.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Jewelry Keepsakes Review and Giveaway!

 I won’t lie.

Often I hear about the lessons I’ve learned or the friends I’ve made as a result of Matthew (and Trey) dying as blessings to me.  And, they are. But I’d never, never, never ask for those events to preface any lesson or any friendship, regardless of the greatness thereof.

However, life being as it is, I also readily admit that the blessings I’ve been given post-loss experiences are so.abundant.  SO abundant.  And I am very grateful.

One of those has been THIS amazing charm a precious company sent me to review. First, you should know that the personal touch of this company is unreal.  After Matthew died, I bought a beautiful charm with his footprint etched in, and couldn’t believe the compassion and personal work with that company.

Jewelry Keepsakes is another company that does the same—has real people with real hearts working with you and for you as you memorialize your most priceless pictures and pieces of your heart.  My representative through the selection and order process was amazing, and bonus?  Became a friend! Like a “we’d probably get into a lot of trouble together if we lived in the same place kind of friend”!  I can’t tell you how important it is when ordering memorial jewelry that you work with someone who cares and sympathizes. Not to mention, creates BEAUTIFUL jewelry at such reasonable prices.  I sent them my favorite picture of Matthew from our precious Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep photographs and cried upon receipt.

Cried at how beautiful that baby was and how beautifully and carefully his image was on this silver circle I am so blessed to wear on my neck.

We visited Matthew's resting spot in Maryland before we left.  The last time we were there was December, and seeing as where we live now is a good 16-17 hours away, this weekend was probably the last time we will visit in a while.  There, we did what we could do at a grave...dusted away the dirt on the stone; tried to move the phlox so we could see the verse.  We took pictures, and for a minute I thought, "Why?  Why am I taking pictures at my dead son's grave?"  More, I wondered why I was trying to insist my three-year-old-who-just-could-not-understand be reflective and somber when that is  I told John that I didn't even know why I took pictures like that because half the time (more like most of the time), they sit on my computer...devastating if they were ever lost, yet very, very rarely ever reviewed or used.

But...I take them because it is all I can do. I take pictures of just about everything I can because if ever in real life the memory makers are stolen from me, I' Pictures are priceless.

So, when a company does something so beautiful with them...I can't help but be grateful.
Just, grateful.  I’m so busy with a million things these days, and I don’t get to do as many reviews as I have offers, but I have to say—this is precious to me, and I have no doubt, will be to you as well.  In fact, for many, many years, I have wondered what to do with the ashes in my mother's urn.  I know now.  And, remember that amazing picture of Luke and John watching a sunset?  Yeah, an amazing keychain for Daddy too. Though Jewelry Keepsakes focuses on remembrance jewelry, there is so much more available.

Jewelry Keepsakes is offering a charm to be given away to one of you, and is also generously offering a 10% discount if you use the code ALWAYS on their in ALWAYS a mother.  Their idea.   Priceless, right?

The giveaway will last until Thursday, and I’ll announce the winner.  Should you choose to purchase one of your own with their discount, be sure to thank them for their sacred work.  We don’t get to keep much of our loved ones when they depart. Jewelry Keepsakes helps us keep as we can, in a beautiful way, and that is an invaluable gift.
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