Monday, January 31, 2011

River's Run and Ride Rally Updates!

*UPDATE* As of today, 02/01/2011, River's Run and Ride Rally is officially 501(c)(3)!!!! This is the most AMAZING news!! It really brought tears to my eyes that we will be able to continue to help so many people. River lives on, through the hard work and dedication of our board of directors, to bring help, healing and hope to those enduring hardships!

Things are really coming together!
Our events are listed on our website, there are some amazing donations that have been sent to us already and we have amazing support in sponsors!!

Full Sponsors:

Partial Sponsors:

B&L Caskets & Custom Wood Products - Co-owners: Adam Broten & Cash Langeness (715)327-4200

Thank you to all of our supporters! Through your generosity we are able to reach so many people and families in need. We appreciate your kindness!!!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Shine, Jesus, Shine

This week at church, Ben and I were honored to be chosen as godparents for the son of one of our closest friend's. Another friend of ours was going to be a godparent as well, although his life was taken in a car accident, so his mother stood in his place. Our pastor (my father-in-law) noted that he could not be with us physically but he was in spirit, as he was with our Heavenly father. After fighting tears through this, we sat down and I noticed that the offering song was "Shine, Jesus, Shine." Seeing this brought me further to tears, as this song was sang at River's Funeral. Another Pastor, sang this toward the end of his service, and it was so beautiful.

This song was chosen for River's service, because River's grandpa said "on the morning River died, in the middle of all the sadness and darkness, there was a part of a song that kept going through my mind that became a prayer. I heard this melody which I found out later was from the hymn "Shine, Jesus, Shine," and my prayer became flow, Spirit, flow bring in us a comfort, flow, river, flow."

Hearing it this Sunday was the first time I had heard it since that day, May 9, 2009. I felt like I was back in that moment, wondering how this could be happening, how I was going to spend my first Mother's Day without my son? How was I going to keep moving, without him to hold? How was I going to get through his first Christmas, his first birthday? I couldn't even think beyond the "firsts."

Now I have spent 2 Mother's Days, Christmases, and almost 2 birthdays without him on earth, but I have realized that he does flow through us, his parents and family in everything we do. When the tears began to pour out, his baby brother, Asher leaned over out of Daddy's arms and took hold of my shoulder, hugging us both. I know that River too, does shine on us. We will make sure that his life with us continues to flow and shine bright even though we are not able to hold him in our arms, we will carry him in our hearts forever.

The lyrics are played in this video:

Friday, January 21, 2011

Cold January Day

So, there was a woman today that approached me and wanted to thank my husband and I for what we do for others. She was referring to The Compassionate Friends, support group. She shared with me that she lost a baby, at 6 months the 60's. She was living in California and the hospital would not tell her if it was a boy or girl. She began to tear up, she said it's always bothered her that she never knew if she had a son or daughter.

She asked if she could give me a hug, to which I said sure. If a simple hug from me could make someone that I barely know feel better, then I will do it! I told her that she is welcome to come to our meetings, and we would love to hear more about her baby. I discussed with her, that even after all of these years she could give the baby a name. I know people that have miscarried before doctors could tell the gender, use this as a way to give the baby an identity. Now, I have ideas, but not many so I would appreciate suggestions. I have heard before: peanut, star, sprout, jellybean...

This may be a way to give her a little peace, after all this time has passed. We know how it feels when someone, anyone acknowledges our children, it's music to our ears. This poor woman not only has nobody acknowledging her baby now, but when it was born! I could tell she was very angry by how that was handled.

I hope I see her again someday. I would like to tell her that she impacted me, just that few minutes, on a random, cold January day. I will never forget her story.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Christmas Gifts for River

So, I am really late on this...because I am awful at uploading pictures and even worse at organizing them! I did feel like I wanted to share the wonderful things that were given to us!
It made me very happy that we received so many! We were in the Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope gift exchange and Melissa sent us the beautiful feather ornament (top middle) and the candle holder (bottom right) with River's name etched on it! We continued our tradition and made him a candle (bottom left). Both years for Christmas, we got a white Poinsettia for him at church. The beautiful heart ornament (top left) came from Grandpa & Grandma Foerst, the ornament of Asher's hands and River's brick at Faith's Lodge (bottom middle) came from Grandpa & Grandma Wheeler.

Thank you all for your generosity and remembering our sweet baby River.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Stylish Blogger Award!

I got an award! This award is from Jamie at Forget-me-not, Oh Lord!. Thank you, I am so new to this, that connecting with so many people who are so thoughtful and kind is amazing! I started this blog, to share River's life and it has become so much more, thank you all!

Here are the rules that come with receiving this award....
1. Thank and link back to the person who awarded you this award.
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
3. Award 15 recently discovered great bloggers.
4. Contact these bloggers and tell them about the award!

Share 7 things about myself? Hmmm...
1. I am married to my high school sweetheart (although we went to different schools) and we have been through everything, and I thought that we had endured a lot before our sweet baby River, but now I know that we can survive as long as we have each other to keep going forward.
2. I am blessed to be an angel mommy, but also a mommy on earth to an amazing little boy who is nearing 10 months old and literally takes my breath away every day.
3. I am an assistant librarian, which was a huge career change after River passed away and it was one of the best things I have ever done.
4. My family has been amazing, they have been there for me and worked hard to help us remember River. My husband's parents have also gone above and beyond. Thank you all so much!
5. I would love to find more time to organize my pictures, scrapbook (real or digital) and stamp cards. These are things I always wish I had available.
6. I have been trying to get back into shape, more than just a New Year's resolution. River and his little brother were born just a year apart and that takes a toll!
7. We want to have more children some day, but need to get many things in order first (#6 being one of them). So many people say now, "wait 'til you have more kids running around" and to that I think - I do! Being a parent to River is just as time consuming and exhausting as parenting Asher. It's just in a different way because he isn't here physically and so many forget that.

On to the award winners, that I am notifying:
* Amazing Mikayla Grace - Melissa is a momma I got to meet at Faith's Lodge when my husband and I were volunteering, we reconnected through Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope and since become support we didn't imagine!
*Mattie at Beauty Will Rise - I am finding much inspiration in her strength. I know they say we are all "strong" for going through this, but some can share their strength with others and Mattie does!
*Kristin at Dear Stevie... - I am new to her personal blog and have just begun to learn about her precious baby girl.
* Ella's Halo - this is a family sharing their love for their little girl with so many! It's amazing to see people doing something like this for others.
*Alissa at On KK's Butterfly Wings - I came into touch with through Melissa, and it is unbelievable how someone I have never met can be so supportive!
*Small Bird Studio's creator, Franchesca is another new one for me, she is celebrating the birthday week of her beautiful studio, check her blog out for some awesome giveaways!
*Our Journey to Bailey & Beyond is from a momma that is working through adoption, Danae. She has a beautiful idea and needs our help to put this together. Go over and check her out, give a hand if you can!
*Stephanie at Carried Through Grief is carrying her rainbow baby! This is a challenging task, as any angel mother knows, please give her your support as she endures this new adventure!
*CarlyMarie is one of the first inspirations I had. I have always wanted to find something to bring to our community, like she does & I just haven't found the right thing for me yet. I continue to be blown away by her work and generosity!
*The team at Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope is wonderful! They connect our world, and allow us a safe place to share our stories.
*Lea at Angel Wings Memorial Boutique is so generous and her work is beautiful, I have been meaning to get River's wings done...hopefully I can cross that off my to do list soon!
*Bree at My Baby Butterfly Ella has a beautiful parade of butterflies for our babies gone too soon.
*My Forever Child is something I was introduced to early in our journey as my mother in law found it, and got the tag with River's footprints for my husband. I only recently found her blog, thank you Sue!
*Names on the Sidewalk by Tiffany is another beautiful idea to cherish our children's names, they all would have loved to play with sidewalk chalk! Lovely idea and another thing on my to-do list!
*Lastly, a blog that has been worked on by a dear, dear friend in memory of our precious River. This is for the event that we host annually as well as fund raise for throughout the year, check out her work for us at River's Run and Ride Rally.

Thank you again, for giving me this opportunity to share my story. Thank you for reading about my precious baby boy. Thank you all for your support and love. Thinking of you all, and always remembering our angels,.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

If this is any indication...

So, here we are on January 8th, 2011. Officially one week into the new year, and so much has happened already! As the days pass, I think more and more about the fact that in just 3 short months, River would be 2. TWO!? It still at times doesn't seem real, that my first child was born 2 years ago, and he isn't here to hold, play with and snuggle to sleep at night.

On that note, Asher started walking this week, pushing his little toy around the living room, and he is so good at it! He is not quite 10 months, and Ben and I were just laughing, because he'd slip onto his bottom and get right back up! Through all of this I wondered, about River. When would he have started to walk? Asher is also finally getting his top teeth in the front, and I wonder what River's smile would have looked like. So hard, I will never know. I know that he is pushing me, his mommy, to do so many things. To try and help as many people as I can. He is guiding me through almost every day.

Which leads me to River's Run & Ride Rally. We have begun getting ready for 2011's main event, which happens to fall on Mother's Day weekend this year. We started soliciting donations, and have gotten some wonderful responses already!

Angel Bracelets is donating a certificate for purchase of their products, Carly is donating some of her beautiful photography, it's so amazing! The list goes on, we are going to be Franchesca's "Pay It Forward" recipient in March - which means that a portion of all of her blog designs for that month will be given to us! I don't know about you, but so far, I'd say that we are off to a wonderful start! I am also working with another amazing mommy, Melissa, on some items for silent auction. She did a giveaway a while back where I won a beautiful memory box. It is gorgeous!

The one thing all of these women have in common is that they have lost their babies. It takes my breath away, the generosity of these ladies in memory of their children. I guess it's something that comes with the pain, learning to pay it forward. I want to personally thank each of them, and I look forward to working with them on projects in the future.

The last big thing that happened this week, is that Ben and I are officially chapter leaders of The Compassionate Friends. This is a support group for bereaved families, and the closest one was an hour away. We are honored to be able to help families, and give them a safe place to talk about their children, and remember them. It is a big step, I was almost in tears. Never in my life did I ever imagine I could possibly have the strength to do something like this. I guess I never imagined that I would be a "bereaved parent" either and I somehow am moving through life with that title, so I can do this too! Our first meeting is in a week and a half! Wish me luck :)

I think that covers the first week of 2011. If this week is any indication of what's in store for this year, I have my work cut out for me! I am going to try and get some pictures uploaded of the beautiful ornaments and things we received for River this holiday season. I cherish every one of them!

Monday, January 3, 2011

2011 So Far

Well, this year has been incredibly busy and we are only 3 days in! I vowed to get as much done before going back to work yesterday as I possibly could, and I did pretty well! I have been working hard on getting organized, creating a feasible schedule for our household, and of course playing with precious Asher as much as I can!

I started going to the gym again, something that over the last few months, had become lost in the madness. It feels good, and it's only been a few days! I need to get into shape if I am going to keep up with myself or our rainbow baby that is trying to walk!

I began work on the River's Rally website, so much information to share there, and it's so nice to have a user friendly site for both me and viewers! (Thank you Jesse, for your patience and help on this!) I started a database of people and places that we mailed donation request letters to before the end of the year, and a list of those I have thought of since then.

We decided what to do for our 30th birthdays yesterday. It looks like we are inviting everyone to the Pizzeria for dinner on my birthday (Saturday), as Ben's birthday is Sunday and the Superbowl will be on...which is always a great way to spend a birthday! We are hoping that the Packers keep up momentum and do well in the playoffs!

I started to send out emails for the meeting we are having in 2 weeks regarding beginning a chapter of The Compassionate Friends in our area. Ben and I would be chapter leaders! I know, I know...who needs more on their plate right? It's something I wish I'd had closer when River passed away and I will consider it a privilege to help others that have to endure this pain.

So we are on our way to a very busy, but meaningful 2011, watching Asher grow and working hard to help others in memory of his big brother. Someday he will understand the reason behind all the craziness that goes on in our home!

Hoping that everyone can find peace and hope as we embrace a new year, while remembering children that cannot be with us to hold in our arms, but will be with us in our hearts forever.