Thursday, August 23, 2012

Just a Little Love Song

I have another week and a half before I'll be on the computer for real, but I wanted to share this. (I know, as if I'm on for 'fake'??) :/

I had told my friend Beka before a spinning class we took together at the gym that when workouts get hard, I just think about Rachel and I can push through cause I can do anything for her.

That first class, during the last big incline, the instructor was encouraging us and said "It's Friday, what'd you come in here for?!"

I of course, thought of Rachel.  I've had a lot of challenging Fridays.

At the next class, I got there late.  And during the last stretch of incline, he said we had 3 minutes left.  He said "Keep going! You can do anything for 3 minutes!" 

I of course, thought of Rachel...  I waited for her heart to stop for 43 minutes...  I can petal a bike for 3. I thought to myself.

When the song ended and he told us to start cool down, my clock on my bike was at exactly 43 minutes.... only because I came in late.  Everyone else was at around 53 or whatever.

And this was the song that came next:

You are the best thing that's ever happened to me sweet girl ♥

I drove a while after class to go to my moms.  I did a lot of thinking and crying and I don't really know what to say about it except I just wish it didn't hurt so bad.  I thought by now I would feel better - and I guess I do.  But I'm starting to feel like a freak that literally every minute of the day I think about her.  Nothing changes it.... not time, blogging or not blogging, talking about her or not talking about her, fighting tears or letting them flow, busy or still.... she's always on my mind. Even when everyone else around me is doing something else and thinks I am too. 

It's a lonely place.... but the lyrics of this song say it all....

Baby, it's been a long day
Things ain't going my way 
You know, I need you here
Here by my side.....
Baby, we've come a long way baby
You know, I hope and I pray that you believe me when I say
That this love will never fade away.

I promised her my love before she was even conceived.  She will get it - wholeheartedly - for the rest of my life.  My love song for her might just be a sad one at times - she's still (one of) the best thing(s)that's ever happened to me.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Going Off the Grid

All right, I've been saying it for a while and the time has come.  We have decided after all the time and energy that went into planning, directing and wrapping up Rachel's 2nd Race, that we as a family are not only deserving of, but in need of rest.

I may cheat a little a post photos from the race when I get the discs from the photographers, but other than that, we are going 'off the grid' - Internet, video games and even talk radio will be out of our lives for a few weeks while we enjoy the rest of the summer as a family and with God. 

I plan to be back here after Labor Day and will bring you all up to date on how God met us in the silence - as we know He always does.  Enjoy the rest of your summer and if you need me.... there are the two die-hard methods of snail mail and the telephone!

Baby Rachel's Legacy
PO Box 454
Rochester NH 03866-0454

Love you all ♥

Matt, Stacy, Desirae, Isaiah, Samuel, Rachel & Asa

Rachel's 2nd Race Results!!

I've been waiting on a few things to announce the final results of Rachel's 2nd Race.

The board for Baby Rachel's Legacy had decided that this year, we would hold onto a bit of the money raised to get us started next year.  This is something we didn't do last year, we just gave all the money made, minus $5 to keep the account open, straight to Options for Women.  It was recommended by a woman at the Charitable Trusts Unit when I was going through the application process to become a non-profit that we not do that again, so we voted this spring and decided that made sense. 

Recently we found out that we only have 27 months from the date we became a non-profit to apply for a 501(c)3 status if we want people to be able to continue to get the tax write off for donations to our now non-profit, "Baby Rachel's Legacy".  The cost of this is $850.  We then decided that we would hold on to that amount and donate the rest instead of saving.   

Well, a couple of weeks before the race, I wrote these goals on my chalkboard:

143 people signed up before the race
243 people there at the event
$12,043 total raised
$ 9,430 total donated.

I also sent out an email to my team with these goals and subject line: Mark My Words :o)

On line registration was due to close at 6 pm on August 2nd and at 5:40, we made it to 143 sign ups.
(last year before the race, we had only 70!!)

We had 211 participants all together and I'm positive that there were another 32 people there that were either helping or came to show support - I don't have an exact number because there is no way to have one, but I'd say it's safe to assume that we had 243 - as a matter of fact, I wouldn't be surprised at all if it was exactly 243 :o)

I added up all the funds that came in to Baby Rachel's Legacy this season - and I hate to say I was wrong on this one, but happy in the direction...  we brought in almost $14,000 this year!  That's a good increase from last year' s!

And when I sat down to see what we had left after all our expenses... I was getting a little discouraged.  We had to get insurance and we bought tables and chairs... there was an increase in the cost of the potties as well as a bunch of extra supplies (now that we know this is really going to be an annual thing) and every $10 here and $50 there really added up.  I was regretting I didn't borrow tables like I did last year... that I had bought so many little gifts for people to show appreciation and to honor their babies... that I had spent so much in advertising....  Until I came to the final number....


This means we can donate $9,430 and have $24 left!  When I saw the number, I knew I had done the right things with the funds, but this begged the question - What about the 501(c)3 application?

I sent out an email to the board members, expecting them to say play it safe and save the money.  And to be honest, I was thinking it made sense, but my heart wasn't there.  I am thankful to have a board for my girl's legacy that cares about what God wants, trusting Him and helping Rachel to reach as far as possible.  The answer I got was let's go for it.... And my heart is at peace with this decision. 

We sat the kids down and told them how God had put this number on my heart and that we can donate that exact amount IF we don't worry about saving for the application fee.  We prayed about it together and our family and the board of Baby Rachel's Legacy are happy to announce that we will be giving $9, 430 (number chosen for Rachel - Go #43!) to Family Builders Ministries this week in Rachel's honor and for her amazing legacy.

Hope does not disappoint us!   Praising God for His faithfulness and His provision - and for putting desires on my heart and making them come true to continue to build my faith in Him.

More photos coming soon...  But this is one we asked Jenna Doughtry to take and it is one of my favorites... not to mention, as she was taking it, she kept accidentally calling me Rachel ♥  Which I love and never correct :o)  The tie in my hair is a piece of Rachel's blanket fabric and I had to make Asa's shirt cause his was WAY too big. 

Thank you to everyone who came out and supported us in this.  You are a blessing to our hearts in ways you will never know.  Thank you.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Safe with You

I guess now that the race rush is over, and before I go 'off the grid', I'm gonna get a few posts in :o)

I was just looking through my race photos from Jenna Doughtry Photography (Thanks Jenna for donating your time and talents - and for getting them back to me so quickly!!) and I saw a photo she took of Rachel's balloons.

My mom bought these pink heart shaped balloons for Rachel's birthday.  They are personalized with "Rachel Alice Aube - December 2010" - the hospital wouldn't let us use them so I have a bunch left and I always have a couple blown up for every big event.  At this year's race, I released one heart shaped balloon and two white ones (representing her bday on the 3rd) and put daisy seeds in them.

I said at her 1st birthday that I know up in heaven they don't care about our balloon releases.  A couple of months ago, (bear with me while I sound crazy) God showed me that she does know about them.  I'm not even going to explain how cause it's so amazing that sharing it would only take from how profound it all was...  but anyway, I noticed that little Miss Rachel wanted to confirm that for me this year....  I suppose that little rainbow on her balloon is just a coincidence :o)  It looks just like the ones I get all over my van from the heart shaped sun catcher Matt gave me.

After I saw it, I immediately heard this song in my mind.... I've blogged about it before, but the line that I heard in my head was -

"Lord make me a rainbow, I'll shine down on my mother.  She'll know I'm safe with you when she stands under my colors"

I listened to this song a bunch of times before never realizing it talks about burying a baby.... but it does, exactly 43 seconds into the song.  Yes, I just noticed that... I'm so a details person - check it out :o)

I have no doubt that my baby girl is safe in His arms.  hearts, rainbows, 43's.....

The song goes on to say "send me away with the words of a love song"

At Rachel's burial, I was not planning it, but it got quiet after our pastor did the committal and I felt the need to fill the silence - everyone was watching us to see what was supposed to happen next.  I blurted out "Matt, let's sing Jesus loves you" and so he told everyone we would sing to her.  So as we left her little body, we sent her away with the words of the best love song ever....

Jesus loves you, this we know - for the Bible tells us so.  Little ones to Him belong, they are weak but He is strong.  Yes, Jesus loves you.  Yes, Jesus loves you.  Yes, Jesus love you, the Bible tells us so.

And so maybe I've been reading it all wrong... maybe all the hearts, rainbows and 43's aren't so much her telling me she is with me as they are her assuring me she is with Him.  After all, I don't really need a reminder she is with me, I know that and feel her in my heart every second of every day.  But to be reminded that she is safe with Him.... now that can come in handy.

Thank You Lord for all the ways that you remind me she is safe with you.

A Special Visit

This is us with my friend Tienne and her family - Her & I met through my blog and although we don't talk as often as we used to, her and her family hold a very special place in my heart.

She is 30 weeks pregnant and traveled from Ohio with her 4 other kids (and 2 more in her heart) to come to Rachel's Race.  It was an honor to remember her 2 babies with her.

They also came to church with us the next morning.  Her daughter is 2 months older than Rachel would be and was wearing a dress with a little daisy on it. Her older daughter was wearing a daisy from Rachel's Race in her hair.  I could just imagine Rachel sitting there with us.   After service, we played on Rachel's Playground together. 

It's funny to me that there are just 2 of us in this photo and so many kids.  We are truly blessed.  But as we took that picture, I know we both realized we were missing 4 more...  so dearly loved and missed.

This is by far the biggest blessing I've had in a very long time.  Thank you Tienne for making the haul - you will never know how much it means.

When I finish my book, you will also see that Tienne helped me get the start of it....

Thanking the Lord for the friendships that have kept me going thru this trial.  These are the gifts that can never be taken away.

Waiting on a Victory Dance

I wrote this post a few days ago and never posted it.... been a rough week for me.  I'll post the results from our 2nd Annual Baby Rachel's Legacy 5K soon.  It's good news :o) 

On Saturday, my friend Lisa posted on my facebook wall that the USA was at 43 medals as of August 4th.  "Go Team Rachel!" she wrote.   I don't have cable and don't watch TV really, so I was completely unaware of how the Olympics were going and thought it was cool, but didn't think much of it.

Well, this morning I was at the gym listening to my MP3 like usual.  I have only ever watched what was on TV twice since I've been going.... I looked up and was drawn to the facial expressions of this athlete on TV.  I realized it was the Olympics.  I watched as they gave playbacks of his other wins and interviewed him.  I couldn't hear the words, but I could see the satisfaction on his face.  Then all of a sudden, it showed him kicking a wall.  I'm blind, so I squinted to try to read what was scrolling across the bottom of the screen.  I could see a few words... 'horrible end to a great day' stood out and I figured out that he had injured himself.

So here he was at the Olympics, he had won the world championship before and was going to attempt to run and jump hurdles despite his injury.  I took the plug out of my MP3 and hooked it into the speaker for the TV so I could hear.

The determination on his face was obvious and as the race began, he looked like he was going to make it.  He leaped the first hurdle and caught his foot, falling and rolling on the ground.  His hand immediately grasped his injured tendon. 

He got up and hopped on one foot out behind the stands.  He stopped, the disappointment more painful than his foot.  He turned around, hopped back out to the track and hopped down the side of the track until he got to the last hurdle, hopped across to his lane, leaned down and kissed his hurdle and hopped back to the sidelines where his opponents greeted him to help carry him along.

I am not even one single bit invested emotionally in track or the Olympics - and I was full blown crying on the elliptical machine.  As they did replay after replay talking about how his injury had ruined his ability to finish the race, they said something along the lines of  "he cleared the 42 inch hurdle and just couldn't quite make it over" 

Kinda like my girl.  Another inch.  Another minute.  Another race....

I couldn't help but see the symbolism for me in what the news is calling a 'tragedy' for the 'greatest hurdler of all time'....  It was as if I watched him fall, I felt the pain of Rachel's diagnosis.... 

I watched him get up and run off to the side, I felt the desire for it to all be a bad dream like it was yesterday....

I watched him come back out and hop on one foot - no way to hide that he was way to deny he couldn't succeed in the way he wanted.... no way to change what his destiny for the race was....No way to change the fact that he had been left in the dust to lose alone and to have to watch everyone else keep going.  I remembered the very moment I made the decision to get through my challenge - my pregnancy with a terminally ill baby, even if I had to hop on one foot, and I felt the determination to not waste Rachel's 'race' well up in my heart and soul.... 

I watched him go back to his lane to kiss his hurdle... the one he had hoped to finish strong at, but could not get to - or over - and I felt the pain of having to walk away from my girl at her open grave.

I watched him hop back to the side where people met him to encourage him - the very people he was competing against held his arm up as if he was the champion and the crowd cheered as if to say "it's okay" - people literally crying for him, knowing how disappointed he would be and how little control he had over his injury... knowing that he did the best he had with what he had been given....
And I was reminded of how many people have helped carry me along this path, some holding me up when I didn't see the point and reminding me of my strength - God's strength - when I feel weak. 

He still lost.  He still will always hate that competition.  It will likely change the entire course of his career - his life.  His injury is real and no matter how much he wants it to go away, it's just not. 

But I have to say, it was a beautiful thing watching him lose the way he did - He was all heart, nobody could deny that.

I don't usually say I'm proud of myself cause it just sounds lame....  but I'm gonna say it.  If I can be proud of the athlete from China for putting his whole heart into a race, I can be proud of myself for putting my whole heart into my baby girl.  I did everything I could and more and will for the rest of my life for a little girl that the doctors said - and even some of our very own friends and relatives said - was not worth the effort.  People would ask "They are MAKING her carry that baby to term?!" as if I was being forced or else why would I bother?  Someone in my family actually said "Can it even be considered a baby if it doesn't have a brain?"  Well, he is any less an athlete because he can't use his foot? 

My 'race' was more like a long distance race with a 42 inch hurdle at the end.  It was a long, hard run towards a hurdle I so hoped she would make it over.  She couldn't clear that 43rd minute, but I don't regret trying.  I had to get her to the place where she had a shot at it.  And I sat as her proud Mama in the sidelines in that operating room, tears streaming down my face as I silently cheered "you can do it Rachel, you can do it...."  And when I realized she couldn't I just whispered through my disappointment, "It's okay girl... we tried."

The words of Garth Brooks Song, The Dance, come to mind....

"I'm glad I didn't know, how it all would end, how it all would go.
Our lives are better left to chance, I could have missed the pain, but I would have had to miss
the dance......"

So, maybe if I knew she couldn't make it as long as I had hoped.  Or that she wouldn't be miraculously healed.  Or how hard it would be after the race was over when it was time to watch the rest of the world, still invested in the Olympics, while I had to sit it out and care for my injury....

Maybe I wouldn't have shown up for the race.  Maybe I would have played it 'safe' and listened to the doctors.  God put on my heart at the very beginning of this road that Hope (Capital H) does not disappoint us.  I have clung to the truth for 2 years now and will for the rest of my life. 

What's my other choice?  To sit it out?  I don't sit dances out. Never have. Never will.

And I have taken to a new love of running too - even if there are a few hurdles I can't make it over along the way.  This race has forever changed my life.  This loss has reshaped who I am from the inside out.  And maybe I didn't finish strong or win a medal - maybe I don't have the bouncing baby girl I wanted so much in my kitchen this morning, but I know I have lost with heart.  I know that no matter how I have to hobble to the finish line, I will make it.  And when I do, Rachel and I.... we're going to do a victory dance together for Jesus. 

I will always dance for you pretty girl ♥ I will always hope in You Jesus.

Monday, August 6, 2012

BRL 5K Shirts

I posted this on facebook, but wanted to make sure everyone knew....

Good news!! We have shirts left over from Rachel's Race! I had a bunch of people ask me if they could buy them - and you can now! I have a few left in a lot of sizes so message me and I'll mail you one. I will be doing a trip to the post office this week and assume these will go fast, so please let me know asap. $12 each includes shipping!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

2 Years Since D-Day....Her 2nd Race

2 years ago today I learned my girl would die.

Over the past couple of days I found myself continuously in tears.  I would be driving and just burst out crying.  But the really strange thing is that they were tears of gratitude.  Yes, I miss Rachel.  Yes, this is a very difficult day to remember.  A day that forever changed my life.  But I'm just so thankful her story didn't end with her diagnosis.  I'm. so. thankful.

Today we had Rachel's 2nd annual race.  The flow of the day went much better than last year... although I'll admit, not being just 7 months out from Rachel's death, 5 months pregnant for the 2nd time in a row,  having no huge playground builds recently, and no attempted law suits has helped :o)   Last year was harder for so many reasons.

But today.... wow.  Things went well - I felt good and actually enjoyed myself.  I wasn't a ball of nerves when I got up this morning or as I went thru the day.  It was nice.  It's like I might actually be getting better at this running a 5K thing! haha.

Wrapping the day up was the only hard part and that's just cause by the time we got there, everyone was dying from the heat and exhausted.  But there were so many people there willing to help - a couple of the guys even came back to our house and helped us unload while my friend Michelle took all 4 of our kids to her house to swim!  The girls I had helping me were awesome and Matt & I got to actually spend time together this year.  My mother-in-law came, which was a surprise.  A blog friend came out all the way from Ohio and I finally got to meet her and her kids.  And that is just part of the day.  It was just really, really good. 

I will post shortly about the outcome.  I need to connect with the rest of the board for Baby Rachel's Legacy and then I will announce.  I can say that had our expenses not gone up this year, we would have blown last year out of the water!   Because this was our first year running as our own non-profit, we had more start up expenses and also bought some tables and things to add to BRL's supplies.  So, I'm going to give it another week and see if we get any other donations and get the rest of our invoices for today paid (Did I mention they brought a PINK porta potty?!  I've never seen a pink one, it seemed so appropriate - it's the little things ) :o)  And then I will let you know!  I think it's going to be a little less of a donation than I had set for a goal, but all in all I feel like this year was a big success.

Until then, take a look at this.... Thank you Keith Chick of Mister Oz Graphics & Video for surprising me with this awesome last minute footage of our baby remembrance ceremony today. I didn't even know he was going to do this - and apparently neither did he!  He came to see what was happening and Donaldo asked him if he could take video and he snapped right to it!! 

This is for you all my baby loss friends... I love you all!  (please ignore my shaky voice....)

 More info on how ABSOLUTELY AMAZING today was coming soon!! God is so good.

I guess I'm still amazed at how blessed my heart can be on such a hard anniversary.... but that is what God does best... brings beauty out of ashes.