Wednesday, June 30, 2010

from Joan

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arrangements

I took Tuesday off of work to take care of my daughter.

We had our family/maternity pictures taken in the morning. I can't wait to see the final product. Although I typically loath seeing myself in pictures, I always love to see pictures of my kids. Amelia was a champ at getting her picture taken. I wish I could say the same for Mr. Noah. Oh my, I hope he smiled in some of the shots! :)

We had a regular OB visit in the afternoon and again got to hear the sweetest sound,
little Amelia's heartbeat.
I am measuring a bit small...too bad I don't look it! But nothing out of the ordinary, so no additional ultrasounds so far (dang it). I have had some pretty intense contractions this past weekend that had me a bit nervous. Sunday night I tried to stay awake until Tim fell asleep so I could pack a hospital bag without freaking him out. I guess the contractions must have tapered off a bit because I was fast asleep long before he was. Another appointment in a week...

I just realized that as of Tuesday I am 35 weeks and 1 day preggers. That means we officially have less days left with Amelia, than weeks we have spent with her...a factoid I could have gone without knowing.

After our OB appointment, Tim and I went to the funeral home to make some arrangements for our darling Amelia. It was a visit, as you can imagine, that we had been putting off for some time. I wasn't sure if I would even be able to will myself to walk through the doors. Although I can honestly say that making funeral arrangements for my baby girl was the last plan I had intended to make for her, it was not as difficult as I would have thought. It was more surreal actually. I am still thinking to myself - this is not how it was supposed to be, I should not have been there, I should have been shopping for last minute feeding supplies or piling yet another pair of adorable pink baby shoes into my shopping cart, not picking out coffins and funeral programs.

Our hearts are heavy.

And still, we know that we do not walk this journey alone.
We will not grieve as those who have no hope.
We believe that God will wrap his arms around us as he has everyday of our lives.
He will walk with us into the furnace (thanks Jennifer), he will guard and protect us,
he will use us, as he uses our little Amelia,
to show the world
his power
his compassion
and his abundant blessings in all things.

God is good
all the time.


For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Lorrie's Gift

Lorrie is baby Ella's aunt.
Penny sister,
and a virtual stranger,
except she is far from a stranger
in ways that only make sense to those connected
with the bond whose sting has no measure,
whose cry stills even silence,
and whose love flows on,
eternally,
for the children they have loved
and lost.

She wrote our little Amelia's name in the sand
and sent it to me.
I have no words to adequately thank her.

Each special gift we have received for Amelia, and for us
has been so much more than a gift.
It is an expression of love, support and recognition
of the life and miracle we have been given in our precious Amelia.

Each gift, particularly those bearing her name,
is recognition that
she has value
she is loved
and that she will not be forgotten
by you.

As we await the birth of our precious baby girl,
we are so comforted by the smallest of loving gestures.


"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take.
But by the moments that take our breath away."

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Dove


click on the picture to enlarge
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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Rosenblatt

Posted by PicasaThat's us.
the three of us that is,
at Amelia's first and last College World Series...

I find it fitting that this year,
the only year we will be able to take our daughter
to the diamond dreams are made of;
is also the last year that the magic will happen
here at this very spot
on the hallowed ground that is
Rosenblatt.

Looking back...

The first game Tim & I went to
was a CWS game
at Rosenblatt.

Noah's first baseball game
was
at Rosenblatt.

Years from now people
will reflect on the years in Omaha
that the series was held here
at Rosenblatt.

I think, as for me,
I will just remember
that she was here.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Better than a Hallelujah, sometimes.


God loves a lullaby
In a mothers tears in the dead of night
Better than a Hallelujah sometimes.
God loves the drunkards cry,
The soldiers plea not to let him die
Better than a Hallelujah sometimes.

We pour out our miseries
God just hears a melody
Beautiful the mess we are
The honest cries of breaking hearts
Are better than a Hallelujah.

The woman holding on for life,
The dying man giving up the fight
Are better than a Hallelujah sometimes
The tears of shame for what's been done,
The silence when the words won't come
Are better than a Hallelujah sometimes.

Better than a church bell ringing,
Better than a choir singing out, singing out.

Select Lyrics from Better than a Hallelujah - Amy Grant
 
 
I have tried to focus on the joys with this journey
God is taking us on with our sweet little Amelia.
I push away the sorrow, refusing to drown in it,
to let it take me over.
I'm fighting to breathe most days.
 
And still,
God has provided strength.
Friends to encourage
and share the tears.
Faith and his word to provide comfort
when nothing else can.
 
But sometimes I think I try a bit to hard
to hold back the tears,
and forget that God loves to hear
both our cries of joy
and sorrow.
 
 

Amy Grant Song



Please remember to scroll down to the music player and hit pause before playing this video. ;)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

EACH morning


The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.
Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin a fresh each morning.
Lamentations 3:22-23

Monday, June 21, 2010

bracelet from Amelia's Grandma

love the part says, "The Lord will carry you"
thanks...xoxo
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Friday, June 18, 2010

Amelia's Moses Basket

Amelia now has a Moses basket.

I never saw the need or practicality of a Moses basket for Noah.
But for Amelia it just seems right.
It felt strange not to have a place prepared for her to sleep.
She does, after all, have her own room in our house.
In it, she has the perfect white little girl nursery furniture
Dresser, armoire, nightstand…

I had been waiting to buy her a crib and glider
until I had the ultrasound results confirming what I was sure I already knew…
..that she was the daughter I had prayed for.

She is.

Tim thought I was crazy-I’m sure of it.

He might still think I’m crazy getting a basinet basket for a baby
that will never be sleeping anywhere but in her parents arms,
but the name Moses basket gives me a certain peace.

Looking ahead I am anticipating the moments where I will have to let go
of her earthy body;
hand it over to our funeral director
hand her over to a transport service
hand her over to God.
I hope in those moments I will feel God at my side.
I hope that I will see her in her Moses basket,
and remember to trust, as Moses’ mother did so many years before me,
that God will keep my baby safe,
and that his plans for her life are so much larger
than her mother could ever envision.



Exodus 2

The Birth of Moses

Now a man of the house of Levi married a Levite woman, and she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. When she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him for three months. But when she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch. Then she placed the child in it and put it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile. His sister stood at a distance to see what would happen to him.

Then Pharaoh's daughter went down to the Nile to bathe, and her attendants were walking along the river bank. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her slave girl to get it. She opened it and saw the baby. He was crying, and she felt sorry for him. "This is one of the Hebrew babies," she said.

Then his sister asked Pharaoh's daughter, "Shall I go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?"

"Yes, go," she answered. And the girl went and got the baby's mother. Pharaoh's daughter said to her, "Take this baby and nurse him for me, and I will pay you." So the woman took the baby and nursed him. When the child grew older, she took him to Pharaoh's daughter and he became her son. She named him Moses, saying, "I drew him out of the water."

Later, when the boy was older, his mother brought him back to Pharaoh’s daughter, who adopted him as her own son. The princess named him Moses, for she explained, “I lifted him out of the water.”
 

Thursday, June 17, 2010

a prayer



We come this morning -
Like empty pitchers to a full fountain,
With no merits of our own,
O Lord - open up a window of heaven...
And listen this morning.

James Weldon Johnson


I love the Lord because he hears my prayers and answers them.
Because he bends down and listens,
I will pray as long as I breathe.
Psalm 116: 1-2

from Ashley & Katie


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special gifts

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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

painful questions

I knew there would be unbearable things with this pregnancy.

Questions to answer.
Awkward conversations.
Uncontrollable tears…in public.
Going to the hospital, leaving the hospital…
without Amelia.
a half furnished nursery.

There are so many things.

Recently I have been asked more and more frequently by friends and strangers, nurses, my boss…
Variations of the same question,
“When are you due?”
Simple question. Innocent question.

Beyond painful question.

Unknowingly, what they are really asking is,
“What day is your daughter going to die?”

I want to scream,
But I swallow hard,
and say,
August 2nd
And then to protect my heart, I stop listening…
just in case I won’t be able to handle their response.

Responses like:
“How exciting!”
or
“I bet you're counting down the days”
or
“Those last weeks felt like I would be pregnant forever”
or
“You are so big, I bet you’ll go earlier than that…”

there is no way of getting around it, it just plain hurts.


and still
the silence hurts
so much more than any words.


Selected verses of Lamentations 3
The thought of my suffering and homelessness is bitter beyond words. I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss. Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!”

The Lord is good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him. So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the Lord.

For no one is abandoned by the Lord forever. Though he brings grief, he also shows compassion because of the greatness of his unfailing love. For he does not enjoy hurting people or causing them sorrow. 


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Thank You

I'm not sure I can truly express the level of gratitude
Tim and I feel toward each and every person involved in
Amelia's Blood Drives in Glenwood, Omaha
and at Mount Olive Lutheran Church.

So many people came together in loving support of our family
and gave of themselves in such meaningful ways.

Special thanks to Joe & Mary
who wanted to do something special for our sweet little girl.
You did it! 130 donors and counting...
God bless you. My cup overflows.

People gave so much more than blood on Saturday.
We are so moved by your generosity and support.
I find few words where many are needed.
We will cherish the memory of this day
and your gifts of blood, time, creativity, food, love and prayers.

God has used you to make a difference in our lives
and the lives of countless others.

Every single act of love bears the imprint of God.

Thank you without end,

The Lorang and Raabe Families
Tim, Melissa, Noah & Amelia
Larry & Joyce
Rod & Karen

Monday, June 14, 2010

A Gift for Amelia

I have known
since we first began making plans for Amelia’s brief life
that I needed to do something special just for her.
Something only a mother could give.

I don’t crochet. I have never scrapbooked.
She doesn’t need the perfectly coordinated closet
or nursery,
or an amazing 1st birthday party.
I may not get to nurse her or bathe her.
I may never rock her to sleep...

For days I debated.
What can you really give a baby
(other than your entire heart of course?)

This weekend my Mom and I made Amelia’s special gift;
A mother’s song,
to a very special baby.

I knew there was no way I could sing it for her
at her memorial service when that time comes.

So, we went to a studio and recorded it.
My mother and me,
for Amelia.

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Saturday, June 12, 2010

Friday, June 11, 2010

Please give.

So many of you have said to me...
"If there is anything I can do - just ask."
Well here goes nothing...

Please donate blood this Saturday or choose a day in June to honor Amelia with a blood donation.
Just make an appointment, please.

When you give blood, you are giving the gift of life.
Have you really thought about how amazing that is?!?

If Amelia's story has given you nothing else, I hope that it has given you a new appreciation for the life that you have been given and reminded you to treasure it; to give thanks and to give back.

So this month,
We sooo appreciate your prayers,
We love your emails and blog comments,
Cards are great,
you bet I'll take a hug (or two),
But what I really want,
especially this week and month is

your blood.

I have heard that the Omaha blood drive slots are pretty much full...but there are still openings at the Glenwood drive. Call Joe (402-650-8295) to make your appointment at the Mills County YMCA - Glenwood (110 Sivers Road) 8am-2pm

OR contact your local Red Cross and make an appointment. To find out where you can donate, visit http://www.redcrossblood.org/ or call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE (1-800-448-3543).

Top Ten Reasons to Donate Blood

1. You will get free juice and cookies. (I've heard the food, not just snacks, at Amelia's drives will be extra yummy!)

2. You will weigh less - one pint less when you leave than when you came in.

3. It's easy and convenient - it only takes about an hour (7-10 minutes of actual donation time)

4. It's something you can spare - most people have blood to spare... yet, there is still not enough to go around.

5. Nobody can ask you to do any heavy lifting as long as you have the bandage on. You can wear it for as long as you like. It's your badge of honor.

6. You will walk a little taller afterwards - you will feel good about yourself.

7. You will be helping to ensure that blood is there when you or someone close to you may need it. Most people don't think they'll ever need blood, but many do.

8. It's something you can do on equal footing with the rich and famous - blood is something money can't buy. Only something one person can give to another.

9. You will be someone's hero - you may give a newborn, a child, a mother or a father, a brother, or a sister another chance at life. In fact, you may help save up to three lives with just one donation.

10. It's the right thing to do.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The LORD is the stronghold of my life—



Last night, while waiting for quartet rehearsal to begin at
Mt. Olive, I noticed an image in the sanctuary that I hadn't noticed previously.

Maybe I had never noticed it because it is on the Lectern side of the sanctuary (we sit on the Pulpit side...)

Maybe I hadn't noticed it because I wasn't looking.

Or maybe I hadn't noticed it before because God was waiting to show it to me when I needed it most. Waiting to show it to me at a time that I would see it and understand more fully.

I had no amazing revelation upon seeing this image for the first time. I was just a bit stunned.
Only one thought ran through my mind.

Oh my gosh, that’s me.


Psalm 27

The LORD is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?

The LORD is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?
When evil men advance against me
to devour my flesh,
when my enemies and my foes attack me,
they will stumble and fall.

Though an army besiege me,
my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
even then will I be confident.

One thing I ask of the LORD,
this is what I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD
and to seek him in his temple.

For in the day of trouble
he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle
and set me high upon a rock.

Then my head will be exalted
above the enemies who surround me;
at his tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make music to the LORD.

Hear my voice when I call, O LORD;
be merciful to me and answer me.

My heart says of you, "Seek his face!"
Your face, LORD, I will seek.

Do not hide your face from me,
do not turn your servant away in anger;
you have been my helper.
Do not reject me or forsake me,
O God my Savior.

Though my father and mother forsake me,
the LORD will receive me.

Teach me your way, O LORD;
lead me in a straight path
because of my oppressors.

Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes,
for false witnesses rise up against me,
breathing out violence.

I am still confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the LORD
in the land of the living.


Wait for the LORD;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the LORD.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

He is enough.

God has put into each of our lives a void that cannot be filled by the world. We may leave God or put Him on hold, but He is always there, patiently waiting for us...to turn back to him.
-Emilie Barnes

I have reflected several times a day since Amelia's diagnosis on the new knowledge that this world will never offer enough for me. A fact that I knew on paper, but now so deeply feel.

only He is enough.

I have been and continue to be blessed in this life. Blessings of people...my family and dearest friends. It is easy to take these things for granted. And on the flip side, with so many blessings and little worry, fear or suffering it can even be easy to be content with the things of this world. I have to admit that since Tim entered my life 5 years ago, I have felt much too close to satisfied by this world. Things have seemed pretty much perfect...

Amelia has given me many gifts-blessed us in so many ways. The joys and sorrows dance together, and I can no longer distinguish the smiles from the tears.

daily my joys and sorrows bring me back to just one gift;

Amelia has made me homesick.

It is God to whom and with whom we travel, and while He is the end of our journey, He is also at every stopping place.
-Elisabeth Elliot

Monday, June 07, 2010

Wherever I am; God is.

Click this image to enlarge!

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Amelia's Shower


click this image to enlarge!

I was blessed this weekend with a shower honoring Miss Amelia.
My friends gathered together with my moms and sisters
to celebrate, pray, laugh and eat.
My cup runeth over...
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Friday, June 04, 2010

Footprints in the Sand

One night a man had a dream. He dreamed
he was walking along the beach with the LORD
Across the sky flashed scenes from his life.
For each scene he noticed two sets of
footprints in the sand: one belonging
to him, and the other to the LORD.

When the last scene of his life flashed before him,
he looked back at the footprints in the sand.
He noticed that many times along the path of
his life there was only one set of footprints.
He also noticed that it happened at the very
lowest and saddest times in his life.
This really bothered him and he

questioned the LORD about it:

"LORD, you said that once I decided to follow
you, you'd walk with me all the way.
But I have noticed that during the most
troublesome times in my life,
there is only one set of footprints.
I don't understand why when
I needed you most you would leave me."

The LORD replied:
"My son, my precious child,
I love you and I would never leave you.
During your times of trial and suffering,
when you see only one set of footprints,
it was then that I carried you."

written by Carolyn Joyce Carty

Thursday, June 03, 2010

The God I know.

This morning I felt like I couldn't breathe...
I'm not sure if I would have even tried to come to work today if it weren't Thursday (my busy day)
But I went,
and this is what God gave me today to help me;
his love,
his son,

and his daughter safe in my belly.
Amen

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Baby Blues and Pinks

and she said to him, "As surely as you live, my lord, I am the woman who stood here beside you praying to the LORD. I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the LORD. For his whole life he will be given over to the LORD." And he worshiped the LORD there.
1 Samuel 1:24-28

Babies are miracles.

Not just plain ol’ everyday miracles (if there really are such things as small miracles)

Babies are BIG, life changing, show stopping, tear producing miracles!

So many of my friends are pregnant or trying to get pregnant or trying to figure out the new mommy thing, that I swear some days I see only in baby colors!

When I became a mommy (or rather knew I was a mommy, as indicated by the glorious pink plus sign) everything changed. I worried all the time. I counted down the days until we were past the imaginary safety line - the end of the first trimester. After that I counted movements, kicks and days until the next doctor appointment or ultrasound. I know I must have continued to breathe while pregnant, but it felt like I held my breath until Noah was born.

When the day came, he was perfect and healthy and I could breathe again. And still, the calm lasted for just a few fleeting hours before I was back on the worry train. Is he eating enough? Is that a normal sound, normal diaper, normal color???

I am embarrassed to admit the following realization came far too late…

Noah was about 4-5 months old when we got devastating news that our dear friends Katie & Eric’s newborn baby girl had been diagnosed with SMA type 1. She would not live past the age of 2. I was crushed for them, utterly broken…

In the days following, I would sob as I rocked Noah to sleep, thinking of Kate and Morgan, and clinging to my son. Sending up prayer after prayer that God would heal her. Fear crept in and my love for Noah shifted to an almost desperate tone. I clung to my baby. In my new mommy mode of living I had forgotten one very important fact…

Noah was never our baby.

I was creeping through the darkness, living in fear that harm would come to my baby and that I would not be able to protect him - not be able to save him. Turns out, I was right to fear my limitations as his mother - right to be afraid of what might happen as long as I depended on myself to protect him. I had forgotten to trust in God.

And so I face the darkness again knowing with all my heart,

Amelia was never our baby.


Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." Deuteronomy 31:6

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. Psalm 139:13-16

I have loved you with a love that lasts forever. I have kept on loving you with faithful love. Jeremiah 31:3

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Written in the sand


"There is no footprint too small
that it cannot leave an imprint on this world."
We spent Memorial Day weekend at the Lake of the Ozarks with friends.

I had one personal goal for our vacation; to get my feet wet and sandy.

As we relaxed on a small beach in front of Captain Ron's I found myself wishing that we never had to leave. I attempted to write Amelia's name in the sand...see above photo...but it kept washing away before I could get a picture snapped.

The irony of my attempts to keep Amelia's name etched in the sandy beach were not lost on me.

Isn't that what I am trying to do now?

Trying to give Amelia's life, Amelia's name in the sand, just a bit longer on this earth. How I wish this time with her would never end, sigh.

No one wants to say goodbye. No one wants to go home from vacation. But all things have an end; vacations, bowls of ice cream, bottled water, ...life.

I am learning everyday that there will never be enough on this earth, in this life, to satisfy me.

Our time with little Amelia will never be enough.

I will always yearn for more. I will always be thirsty, as long as I am here on earth.
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O God, you are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you,
my body longs for you,
in a dry and weary land
where there is no water.
Psalm 63:1