I have begun work on a new project.  For a while now, I have felt a little tug at my heart telling me that I should be giving forward.  By this I mean, that I want to reach out to other baby loss families using creativity and crafting.  So, Samantha’s Dragonfly was born.  If you have read my blog before, you know that dragonflies carry an extra special meaning for me.  Like other baby loss families, it’s a special connection to our little ones.

I have begun making hand beaded dragonflies.  In with the little dragonfly is the poem that I wrote at Christmas time about dragonflies and a message about the blessing of a dragonfly to me.  I also have a special greeting card that is designed just for baby loss families as well.  My hope is that I can begin to pass along the blessing of the dragonfly and provide a little extra light for someone.

My dragonflies are donated to a local hospital.  It is the hospital we were at and these special items are added into the keepsake boxes that they give out to baby loss families.  I also send out my dragonflies to people who have experienced the loss of a child.  You can request a dragonfly for yourself or for someone you know as a gift.   I do not charge for the dragonflies, however I do ask that if you are interested in supporting Samantha’s Dragonfly that you consider donating $5 to help cover the cost of supplies and shipping.

Stop by Samantha’s Dragonfly to find out more information and to request a dragonfly please contact me at liz@myinfantloss.com or facebook: MyInfantLoss.Com

 

I know that when we face difficult times in our lives our faith can either be destroyed or strengthened.  I also know that there are a lot of pregnancy and infant loss families out there, as well as those who support them that have lost their faith because of their loss.  While yet, some of those families have gotten a stronger faith because of it.

In all honesty my faith life is still kind of young and growing.  With the death of our daughter there were some things I didn’t want to loose hold of.  I didn’t want to loose hold of God and my faith and I didn’t want to loose the strength of my marriage.  I know full well that both of these things could have tanked afterwards, but from where I sit I feel like they have both gotten stronger.  Yes, my faith has wavered throughout this time and there are times I wondered how God could take away such a young life.  But I rest assured that Samantha is being held in loving arms and being taken care of, she is in Heaven’s Nursery.  As far as my marriage goes, we’ve always had a strong relationship and this experience, I feel, has brought us closer than before.  With my husband and with God, I know I can face the tough spots in life.

I will have to admit that sometimes my praying gets side tracked a little to easily.  Since everything has happened I have tried to make more of a conscious effort to pray.  Sometimes it’s in the morning, sometimes it’s before bed.  But most of the time it is through little bullet prayers throughout the day.  Just a short one or two sentence about whatever is happening at the moment.  There have been many days where I just don’t know what to say and that’s okay.  That is when I say, well Lord, you know what is in my heart even though I can’t find the right words to say right now.  Recently I started doing an ABC prayer.  When I don’t know what to say, but really feel the need to put some words out there, I do an ABC prayer.

I start at the beginning of the alphabet and think of a word or phrase that goes with each letter.  If I come to a letter and can’t think of anything, I move onto the next.  By doing this, I usually have something that pops into mind a few letters later.  If I do skip over a letter I make sure to go back, so that each letter has something.  For example: A-angels, B-baseball, C-creativity.  I use things that are blessings, gifts, important to me, events, or people on my mind.  You will be surprised at what you think of for the letters as you go along.

What do you do to collect your thoughts at the end of the day?  What prayers do you find helpful?  What do you say to yourself to uplift your thoughts and  cares?

 

Spring is here!  Not only does the calendar say it, but so does the weather.  For most of us who are in the northern Midwest Spring coming is a great sign.  This year Spring seems to be showing up a little bit earlier than usual.  It was still Winter when we hit 80 degrees.  What that means for the rest of the season and the seasons to follow, I haven’t a clue.  What I do know is that I love Spring!  Next to Fall, Spring is my other favorite season.

It is a season the brings new growth, hope, warmth, and beauty.  Just watching all the green begin to pop everywhere around me is refreshing.  I now have flowers that are getting ready to bloom and my chives are nearly a foot tall already!  But I love it.  As I am writing this post I am sitting on my patio, listening to some of my favorite tunes and soaking up the sun.  I like to feel the warmth of the sun wash over me.  It brings in a sense of calm.

Seeing the plants beginning to push through the newly thawed ground and blooms starting to grow makes me remember.  I remember that we too go through a continual growth and blossom period.  Those plants work hard to push through the dirt, striving to feel the warmth of the sun shine down them.  Through life’s daily stresses, struggles, worries and frustration we need to push through to find our warmth, to find our sunshine.

What brings you warmth?  Where does your sunshine come from?

For me…being outdoors, photography, writing, family, and friends.  Share with me below your favorite season, what it means to you, and where your sunshine comes from

 

Honestly this post comes with an inspiration from a sermon I heard.  What are the signs of light, love, and hope that you see?  This is fairly easy when things are good, but what about when things seem to be at their darkest.  How do you find light, love, and hope in the darkness?  The blessings in disguise so to speak.  Light, love, and hope are always around even at the deepest ruts, ravines, darkness, and despair.  They maybe be hard to see or find, but they are there somewhere.  They may be hidden or subtle, but they are there.

It is in these harder, darker, tougher times when we need light, love, and hope the most.  Even though they may be hard to find, we need to dig deep to find them.  Sometimes we may need help to do this and that’s okay.  The help can come from friends, family, church, group, or whatever works best for you.  There will be other times when we can slowly find them and our way on our own.  But even on our own, it is still good to have a little extra backup support every now and then.

Finding my light after Samantha had been tough.  I submersed myself in work, pushing down much of what I was thinking or feeling.  My blog writing was made up of my journal writings from early on-I just transferred them from paper to website.  The idea of new or current content was not something I thought about adding until many months later.  So my emotions, when they would finally surface, came out in tears on the drive to and from work.  By the time August of 2011 rolled around I began to realize what I was doing.

I knew changes had to be made and I needed to find others that I could meet up with face to face that could relate.  My light at that time was to give up my current position at work for something not as full time and flexibility.  It was time to take care of us and me.  At this time, I also began going to an infant/pregnancy loss group and talking about my thoughts.  I also began to write more.

My next ray of light showed up through an Illuminate group.  This became a close knit group of eight of us, who are still able to connect now even though the class is done.  This brought the light of photography back in to play and I remembered how much I enjoyed it, as well as realized that it been a missing link in my life for a little while.  So, I try to incorporate photography more often.

Photography, my groups, my writings, and support have given me the love that I have so needed, which has helped to make my light shine brighter.  With my light shining brighter, I am able to have a renewed sense of hope.  With this renewed sense of hope, I believe that I can move forward with more strength and courage.

So, I want to know…what brings you hope?  What makes your light shine a little brighter?  If you need to, lets dig deeper together to help a little light grow.  Because if that light can grow, so will hope.  What can you do today to help your light grow?

 

 

The draw of nature…more specifically in this case-water, the sounds, the calm.

Being near water and listening to the waves is one of my favorite moments.  it puts me in a mode where everything seems to slow down.  I am able to gather my thoughts, sort through things, meditate, and reflect.  After my times by water I walk away with a sense of peace, open mind, and a renewed energy.

Where is your place that brings you this?  Have you been there recently?  Or is your heart and mind calling you to go?  What would it take for you to go now?  How much benefit would it bring to you?

I ask these questions because after this past week I realized I had not gotten in touch with the outdoors in a while.  The reason?  too busy.  It’s more of an excuse, but with the weather being as nice as it has, it’s a pretty lousy excuse.  After an early day at work, I quickly went home changed, grabbed a few things, and headed down to the river.  It felt good to sit in the sun, watch the waterfowl, listen to the water, and write.

This past Saturday was an absolutely gorgeous day!  80 degrees!  I must say this is highly unusual for Minnesota during the month of March.  A year ago we were still buried in many feet of snow at this point.  Raun and I took the opportunity to hang out down by the river for several hours.

I was able to get so writing done and some photography done.  While both were fun, the photography opportunity was amazing.  I would sit down by the water, listen to waves, and wait.  I waited for the ducks and geese to get ever so close so I could catch a photo.  Waiting still, waiting for the sun to peak out made the adventure more fun.

The draw of nature is what brings me satisfaction.  I need to be around, submersed, near it throughout the days.  If I go too long, I notice big time.  The call and desire burn like a flame.  It stays manageable if I have my priorities straight, but when they are off balance that flame is more like a fire.  It is one of my happy places.

What is your happy places?  Where do you go?  What do you do?  Have you checked in there recently?

 

Love is in the air!  Normally for Valentine’s Day we exchange cards and candy.  But this year we decided to try something a little different.  If we are looking for a place to eat we generally don’t choose a fine dining with white table linens.  It’s not us and we don’t feel comfortable there.  Usually to get a five course meal that is the type of place you would have to go.

Raun came across Caribe Bistro, a Caribbean restaurant in the area, that was doing a special for Valentine’s Day.  They were offering a five course candlelit dinner.  It seemed like a place that would fit us well.  I can’t remember the last time we had a candlelit dinner and this seemed like a great opportunity.  The decor was beautiful and brightly colored, not to mention the food was amazing.  But what it made it a great night was spending the time with Raun and having some good conversation, while trying food that we normally do not get the opportunity to try.

I hope you all were able to take a moment to enjoy the specialness of Valentine’s Day.

Happy Valentine’s Day to you all!

 

 

 

I have been struggling with what to write on this weekend for a post.  For whatever reason I was having a hard time deciding what to write about.  So, I decided to turn toward something I know and enjoy…photography.  My passion for photography has greatly grown over the years, but in the past year it has been my way to capture the life around me.  I generally will hide behind a camera rather than be in a photo.  Last year I would find it even more difficult to be the focus of the camera as it was hard to smile on the outside sometimes when I felt like falling to pieces on the inside.  I have learned that there will be good days and there will be bad days, and photography helps me to get through it.  I want to capture all the beauties of the moments around me and use photography as a way to help me heal as well.  Below is a little video I put together with some of my favorite photos I have taken from the past year.

 

 

I wanted to take a moment to share a special poem that I wrote about dragonflies and what they mean to me. Dragonflies have a special meaning to me.  A dragonfly brings a message of comfort and peace from our little baby girl.  A dragonfly helps to give me a connection and way to feel closer to Samantha.  In honor of her, I am passing on the blessing of a dragonfly to you.  It is my hope that it will provide a sense of hope, comfort, and strength.

Dragonflies

By: Liz Lauterbach

Such beauty and grace, delicate and light

Washing calm and peace throughout

Bearer of comfort and strength

A little messenger, dropping by to say hi

Sometimes lingering, sometimes just but a moment

Soaring high, sparkling in the sun

Heavenly connection, closer to you my angel

 

Samantha is a our beautiful little girl who went to heaven on January 27, 2011.  She was 17 weeks old when we experienced a miscarriage.  As parents of a child who went to heaven instead of home with us, we have been finding ways to honor our little girl.  We have been doing different things to honor our little girl.  The sky is the limit of what you can do to honor your little one.  Follow your heart and do what means the most to you.  Do what is special.

 

While at the hospital the nurse made sure that Samantha was weighed, her hand prints & footprints were done, and pictures were taken.  They also made sure we had a keepsake box to take home with us.  That keepsake box has gone from one box to two now.  The next day we were able to press her tiny little hands and feet into clay.

A week later we took part in a memorial service on February 5, 2011.  It was a beautifully done service at Resurrection Cemetery.   Samantha, along with the families of 25 other little one’s gathered on this special day.  Afterwards, we had Samantha’s name written on the memorial wall at the Children’s Memorial Wall and Healing Garden in Resurrection Cemetery.

 

In late Spring I came across Carly Marie and her website.  She lost a little one of her own and now she uses her gift of photography.  She writes names in the sand on Christian’s Beach in Australia and then takes a photo at sunset capturing all the beauty in the water, sky, and your little one’s name.  I decided to have Samantha’s name added to the waiting list and on June 24 (the same day my niece was born and Raun’s birthday as well) I received Samantha’s name photo.  It is truly beautiful!

Shortly after we lost Samantha I had the urge, the need to create a blog and website.  MyInfantLoss.com was created out of this feeling and realizing this is a way I could get our story out there, and hopefully help other’s who are on this path too, as well as connect with them.  Raun had a memorial necklace made for me that: has footprints stamped into a heart shape, Samantha’s initials (SJL) on the back, and two crystals-one is her January birthstone and the other is the July birthstone that represents her due date.  Raun’s mom also gave us a memorial garden stone that in Spring we can make a little memorial garden.  At Christmas time we added a dragonfly, blessing, and poem by me to our Christmas cards.

Many other good things came out of our loss.  Raun began a website talking about living the backyard life-http://www.backyardlifeblog.com.  We now have a completely different perspective on life and we do only what means the most to us.

  

 

Happy New Year!  Today 2012 begins.  With a lot to look forward to in a new year, I want to take a moment to reflect on 2011.  This past year has been a very busy year for us.  It has been filled with firsts, lesson’s learned, travel, big celebrations, and loss.  I have gained a new perspective and met a lot wonderful people.

We had two big celebrations this year.  Raun’s little sister (who is like 22) got married over the Summer.  It has been fun to watch her grow up.  We also celebrated my grandfather’s 95th birthday.  95 years!  Can you believe it?  I can only imagine what it would be like to have been around for the past 95 years.  He has seen a lot of firsts and new things over the years.  I pray that he still has many more birthdays and celebrations to go.  I have learned a lot from my grandfather over the years about family, faith, and values.

This past year we had our first pregnancy.  Something that should bring so much joy and excitement quickly turned when I experienced a miscarriage at 17 weeks.  The result, was a beautiful baby girl who we named Samantha Jean.  She was only here with us a brief while, but her little tiny footprints have left so much behind.  It is because of her I began this website, began to reach out to others in a whole new way, made some new friends and built wonderful relationships, strengthened old relationships, learned a lot about myself and Raun, and began to change the way I look at life overall.

Raun and I have taken the opportunity to travel this past year.  When I say travel, I don’t mean abroad.  We did some weekend getaways to places like Bayfield and Stockholm, WI.  We visited family in both Wisconsin and Missouri.  We enjoyed good travel, great company, of course good food, and many photographic opportunities.

Loosing Samantha has made a lot of changes in my life.  I have begun to fill my life with the things I truly enjoy, to weed out the things that don’t have meaning or interest, step out of my comfort zone, and really put what I value first.  Near the later part of the year I made the big decision to give up my classroom and become a building sub.  It was a tough decision, but it has been one of the best choices I made.  It has brought much needed peace, relief, new opportunities, and rejuvenation.

What will 2012 bring?  I haven’t the slightest clue, but I will continue to hope, plan, and dream.  I hope that we will grow our family.  I plan on continuing to do the things that mean the most to me, spend time with family, connect with friends (perhaps over a cup of coffee), and travel.  I dream to rebuild my photography business and to reach out to others who have experienced a pregnancy loss or infant loss.

This past year I have taken one word with me.  It helped me to get through the tough days, gave me hope, and created a sense of peace.  That word was trust.  2012 brings a new year and a new word, with the help of an Illuminate class I took I decided to make a conscious choice about what word I want to carry me through the new year.  I have been trying to decide between two…strength and believe.  With all that I am hoping for and dreaming for, my word is going to be…believe.  It encompasses so much and with my one word mantra, I will continue to grow and will be able to make it through the year with a strong foundation.  What does 2012 look like for you?  Whatever it may be…I hope your year is filled with relaxation, happiness, laughter, and many blessings.  Happy New Year!  Here’s to a great year!!

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