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!!


I took this photo in Spring, just after I placed the stone & planted the flowers.

My week 2 assignment for my Illuminate class is “Finding Your Light”

It has been nearly 10 months since Samantha joined our world and quickly left it.  In the early days, the light and the hope were dim.  It didn’t help that at that time we were on pace to have one of the snowiest winters in a long time.  Plus, we were headed into the coldest time of the year, my husband and I had just gotten over the flu, our furnace had gone out, and I was having to face going back to work.  So, glimpses of hope and light just didn’t seem near.

As the days went by and we slowly got to move into Spring (which didn’t arrive until nearly the end of April) I was ready for the new growth and the freshness that the season would bring.  The warmth, the green, and the flowers.  Little bits of light began to filter through my every day.  Sure, there were still some darker days, but most of the days were becoming more gray than dark with hints of brightness.

As Summer drew in, I was surrounded by warmth.  Warmth from the sun, warmth from friends, and warmth from family.  Each month from Christmas 2010 until this point we had seen our family.  Whether it was a road trip home to celebrate Easter, a wedding shower and wedding, and birthdays or it was family visiting us we got a lot of family time in.  Raun and I surrounded ourselves with our own little road trips, each other, family, and the things that we hold most dear to us.  Life is to short to just sit back and let the days pass you by.  So, we decided to begin doing the things we truly wanted to do and mixed them in with the things we had to do or responsibilities that we had.  I began to realign and look at the things I truly wanted to be a part of my life and what things needed to change.  By the end of the Summer I was seeing things with more color and brightness.  I found myself more and more thankful for the beautiful things around me.

I took this photo the weekend of Samantha's original due date

As Fall began to roll in so did some changes.  One of the biggest change was my job.  I began to realize that my light had mostly gone out and I knew I needed to make a change.  I gave up my classroom and became a building substitute.  This allowed me time, flexibility, and the ability to take care of what I needed (my family, myself, my photography, and myinfantloss.com).  Giving up my classroom lifted a ton of stress and worry off of my shoulders.  The light outside and inside began to shine brighter.  And when my husband began to see the change, we both realized that I had made the right choice.  Fall is one of my favorite times of years and the colors this year were absolutely beautiful.  The changes in the air and the changes in me led me to spend some quiet time at the memorial wall where Samantha’s name is written.  It was there that colors and brightness really began to pop.  It was there that I got the photos that I submitted to Illuminate and allowed me to get this opportunity to expand on ways to help heal.

Shortly, we will be heading into Winter.  We’ve been lucky this Fall, it has last quite some time.  Last year at this time we already were piled up by snow around us.  The daylight is shorter and the days are getting colder.  So, I am going to have to find other ways to bring light and brightness, as well as color into my life.  Fortunately, Christmas time is one of my favorite times of the year to decorate my house.  It is one of the times of year I go all out.  And aside from the Christmas tree & stockings, most of it I am able to leave up through the Winter.  I am looking forward to warmly lit, wonderful smelling candles that will be glowing throughout the house.  I am looking forward to the twinkling of the tree lights.  I am looking forward to the frost on the trees sparkling in the sun.  I will be spending time with family, continuing on with traditions, and adding in a few new ones of our own.

I took this on October 15, 2011 to continue the "Wave of Light"

I know there will still be some tough days ahead, but I also know that with God, my husband, my family, and my friends I will be able to see more light and make it through those tough days a little easier.  And someday, hopefully those tough and dark days will turn into just mere moments.  And the light and happiness will not just be in moments, but in days instead.



My grandfather turned 95 years old this year.  Our family and a small group of friends helped to celebrate his birthday with a small party, good food, and lots of stories. 

95 years!  Can you imagine all that has been done, seen, and changed in the last 95 years?  Through it all, my grandfather has remained strong in his beliefs and values.  He has a zest for life, never misses a beat, and always has a story to share.  After 95 years, he also has a lot of advice and wisdom to share.  Not to mention a joke or two.  He has done so much throughout his life and hasn’t been afraid to step out of the box to try something new.  He has been a lawyer, to a World War II gunfighter, to being in the House of Represntatives, to starting his own business that is still running today.

Over the years I have learned a lot from my grandfather and I always look forward to my talks with him.   I have great memories from when I was little when we would have family dinners from Arby’s at their house, we would get to have sleep overs where we would play games into the night, and so many more.

Some of the most important things that I have learned I still carry with me today and try to keep them with me where ever my path leads.  First and foremost family comes first.  Even though I live in Minnesota now, my grandfather still checks in on me.  A smile goes a long ways, even towards a total stranger.  Passing a long a smile can make someone’s day, not to mention show a little bit of who you are.  Be a part of your community. It gives you an opportunity to expand your horizons, while providing a sense of accomplishment and value.

I am nearly 30 now, I can’t begin to imagine what the next 65 years will bring in my life.  What I do know is that…as long as I can carry God, my family, my friends, and things that bring true happiness with me always while holding strong to my values I will be headed in the right direction.  I also need to learn from my mistakes and the curve balls that life throws (sometimes hurls) at me, while also being honest with myself and admitting when I can’t go at it alone. 
What words of adivce are keeping you going?  Share your memories and stories below.  I look forward to hearing your story.


This Summer we have been filled with lots of family time, travels back to our hometown of Waukesha, WI, and many celebrations.  To kick off our first trip back home we headed home to celebrate Raun’s sister’s wedding by going to a shower.  I had the opportunity to spend time with a wonderful group of people and had a lot of good conversation.  While we were home we celebrated Raun’s birthday and the birth of my niece, who now shares the same birthday as him.

The next trip home involved a much longer weekend stay.  A nice five day weekend to celebrate.  From the rehearsal, to the wedding, to tons of family we had a busy, whirlwind weekend.  It was a beautiful ceremony.  It was an interesting experience for Raun and I because the ceremony was at the same church we got married at and the reception was at the same place our was.  A little bit like reliving our wedding day, but yet very different (obviously).  So much time with family has been great.  We have seen so many family members; some for the first time, some it has been a while, and some that we get a chance to see on a regular basis.  It was a much needed weekend.

To end our Summer trips home we headed home to celebrate my grandfather’s birthday.  95 years!  But, more to come on that weekend later.  For now, I am thinking about the other happy times from the first part of the Summer. 

My Summer has been filled with weekend trips home, day trips around Saint Paul, and time with the ones I love the most.  How have you spent your Summer?

Leave a comment below sharing your fun times this Summer.

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