day 19 // Project Gabriel meetings :: what it is and what it isn’t.

For several months now we have been having Project Gabriel peer support group meetings once a month.  And for several months it has been such a sweet time of being together with other women who know loss like I do.

Because it’s hard to know what a meeting like this will be like and because the words “support group” and “meeting” sound stiff and intimidating, I want to share some more details about what a Project Gabriel peer support group meeting is and what it isn’t.  Here we go! 

What It Isn’t 

  • A big room of women 
  • Out in the open — we are behind closed doors. 
  • Judgmental — this space is so safe and the women are so kind; there is no judging!  Your feelings, your decisions, your story will not be judged.  Feel free to safely share. 
  • Forceful — you’re welcome to talk if you want, or just sit and listen if you want. 
  • For women with big losses — often women will tell me that they feel their loss isn’t big enough to come to the meeting.  I absolutely disagree with this!  The loss of a baby, at ANY point — 4 weeks, 8 weeks, 12 weeks, 16 weeks, 32 weeks, or at months of age — is hard.  There’s loss of a life, a child, dreams, and plans.  Grieving takes place with all losses.  Your loss is big and worth grieving and celebrating the life that was, no matter how big or little your baby was. 
  • A lecture — I don’t lecture.  No one does.  It’s just a safe place to share. 
  • A counseling session — I don’t have a background in counseling.  I am just one mom who has lost a baby, wanting to connect with other moms who have lost a baby. 
  • Shared with other people — This group stays private.  You are welcome to share with others that you are coming, but I never will without your permission. 

What It Is 

  • For women who have lost a baby — through miscarriage or infant loss [including miscarriage at ANY point!] 
  • A small group of women 
  • A sweet time together 
  • A chance to share your story 
  • A place to listen to others’ stories 
  • Somewhere to nod your head in agreement because you have had the same thought that someone else just shared 
  • A space where it’s ok to say “if I see one more baby announcement, I just may cry.” 
  • Somewhere where you can just be quiet 
  • Somewhere where you can talk the entire time if you want 
    A private room with closed doors 
  • Drinks and cookies for all  :) 

 

Do you have more questions about what it might be like?  Contact me at laurengmorgan@gmail.com   I would love to talk with you! 

day 15 // pregnancy and infant loss remembrance day 2014.

October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.  I seriously cannot believe it has been a year since we marked this day in 2013.  It’s crazy how a day I didn’t even know existed, is now marked pretty big on my calendar.  I’m a big supporter of this day.  I think it’s really important to take the opportunity to remember women and families who have lost a baby.  It’s easy to feel forgotten and alone when you’ve lost so big.  Especially when we are surrounded by people who have what we so desperately longed for.  Our family has been so incredibly blessed by so many people as we walked through losing our son in 2014.  The love and support we’ve been shown has blown us away.  I know many women who don’t have any support.  Not from a husband, family, or anyone.  Today is a day to share hope with all the women who have lost, and especially these women who really need to see some love.  It’s all around us.  One in four women will have a miscarriage.  That number doesn’t even include stillbirths or neonatal loss.  It’s all too prevalent.  Let’s spend today taking time to remember the babies who are no longer here with us.

 

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So today, just like last year, I am asking you to light a candle.  At 7 pm tonight [or another time if that doesn't work for you!] light a candle wherever you are in remembrance of a baby who is no longer here and to give hope to their parents.  Then send a picture of that candle — text, email, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or anything else you want to us to help spread awareness of infant loss and most importantly share hope.  Help mamas know they aren’t alone.  I cannot wait to put all of the pictures together to see the beauty that is people coming together, encouraging, and sharing the burden of loss.  Thank you for loving us, thank you for loving others, and thank you for remembering our sweet Gabriel.  We can’t wait to see your candles!!

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Check here for some of last year’s candles!

 

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And in case I haven’t adequately expressed how much last year’s candle lighting meant to me, here is something I wrote on October 16th last year ::

I want to thank you all so so very much for remembering Gabriel last night.  I was BLOWN AWAY by the love.  That is what hope is.  I wish I could have bottled last night up so I could take a big whiff of it whenever I needed encouragement.  We feel so loved and so blessed to have people who not only haven’t forgotten our baby but also took the time out of their lives to do a kind act for him and us.  So touched. 

 

Tonight I will be lighting a candle at 7:00 and remembering many babies.  I will remember a sweet little baby who just passed away a few days ago.  I will remember twin boys who passed away a handful of years ago.  I will remember a baby girl who passed away just over a year ago.  I will remember a baby girl who’s parents fought so hard to keep her here.  I will remember a sweet baby who passed away in the womb.  I will remember my friend who had an ectopic pregnancy almost a year ago.  I will remember the women who are pregnant with a baby who they know won’t live.  I will remember the women who have had a miscarriage.  Many friends of mine who have known that pain.  There are a lot of little and significant lives to remember today especially.

 

 

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day 14 // inspiration is beautiful.

 

beautiful crayons

via

 

 

beautiful kid president
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beautiful give me jesus
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Tomorrow is October 15th — which means it’s pregnancy and infant loss awareness day.  If you were reading last year, you may remember that I asked everyone to light a candle in remembrance of the babies who have been lost.  You guys were amazing!!  I couldn’t believe all of the candles that people lit in memory of our Gabriel and many other babies.  It brought such hope and encouragement to my heart in a dark year.  Such an amazing symbol.  So I’m asking you to do it again this year!  Tomorrow, October 15th at 7 pm.  And we want to see them!  Send us a picture — Facebook, Instagram, email, Twitter.  However you want to spread awareness and show love to women who have lost a baby, go for it!  Let someone in your life know you are remembering their baby.  It will mean to the world to them.  I promise.  Thanks for loving us so well!

 

day 13 // four generations.

Tommy’s Grandma is in town visiting, so today Jack got to meet his Great-Grandma for the first time.  It’s so sweet to be able to know your great-grandparents, and Jack has had the privilege of knowing 2 great-grandmothers.  I love this picture of 4 generations!  Tommy, Jack, Grandma, and Tommy’s Uncle Will.

Grandma Schultz

 

 

Grandma Schultz

And the 3 of us with Grandma.

day 12 // weekends are made for this — ice cream cake.

Ice cream cake.  I could leave my post at that with the recipe, and I would hope you understand my lack of words to be a dynamic emphasis on just how good this is.  However, I’m feeling wordy tonight, so you will get the full details.  I found this recipe a couple of years ago and have been obsessed with it ever since.  I hardly ever get to eat ice cream cake because of my food allergies — most of the store bought ones aren’t safe for me.  And I really never thought about making one until I saw this recipe.  Once I saw this, I knew I had to try it.  You guys.  Try this.  It’s amazing.  It’s one of those desserts that you eat and then feel like you have had your dessert allotment for the year because it’s just so rich.  But then you eat another serving the next day — because you can.  Unless it’s all gone, and then you’re sad.

ice cream cake

I made this for dessert yesterday to take to my parents’ house.  We watched the UT game over there with my parents, siblings, and grandfather.  Everyone liked the dessert and was going back for seconds.  So here’s the recipe for the magic.

 

Cookies + Cream Ice Cream Cake

1 package Oreos
2 sticks butter
1 container cookies + cream ice cream, softened
1 5oz. can evaporated milk
4 Hershey’s bars
2/3 cup sugar
1 t vanilla
1/8 t salt
1 container fat free whipped topping

directions:
1.  Smash Oreos and then line a 9×13 baking dish with them
2.  Melt 1 stick of butter and pour evenly over crushed Oreos
3.  Spread softened ice cream on top of Oreo cookie crust, smoothing out as much as possible without messing up crust
4.  Place in freezer and let it set
5.  While ice cream and cookies are setting, make chocolate sauce
6.  Combine the second stick of butter, evaporated milk, Hershey’s bars, sugar, vanilla, and salt in a saucepan and melt together
7.  Bring to a boil and boil for 4 minutes.  Stir often the entire time to prevent burning of chocolate!  It will burn easily so keep stirring!
8.  After chocolate sauce has boiled, remove from heat and allow to cool.  I usually give this at least an hour but sometimes more   That gives the ice cream portion plenty of time to set and the sauce plenty of time to cool
9.  When sauce is cool, remove ice cream cake from freezer and pour chocolate sauce over cake
10.  Layer on whipped topping
11.  Top with cookie crumbles, chocolate shavings, chocolate bars, or Oreos
12.  Place back in freezer and keep frozen until serving.

 

{Sometimes I leave off the whipped topping on my portion because I don’t always love “fake whipped cream”.  Saturday, I ate mine without it and it still tasted amazing.  However, it also adds a lot of goodness.  So do what you want :) }

 

Enjoy!!

 

I found this recipe here and adapted it for our family!

 

I find dessert beautiful.

 

ice cream cake serving cookies and cream  beautiful.adventuresofjackandme

This post is part of a 31 day series on beautiful.  Find all posts here.

day 10 // friday fun.

Happy Friday friends!  It’s almost the weekend, so it’s time to celebrate.  Fall weekends are the best, aren’t they?  Here are some of my favorite fun and beautiful inspiring things for this Friday.  A lot of these are screen shots I’ve taken and some are pictures, and they all make me smile.

 

friday fun awesome

 

 

friday fun beautiful kitchen

 

 

 

friday fun beauty inspired

 

 

friday fun fall

 

 

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friday fun funny hahahaha!!

 

 

 

friday fun inspired

 

 

 

friday fun laugh

 

 

 

friday fun pretty

 

happy Friday and happy weekend!

 

 

beautiful.adventuresofjackandme

this post is part of a 31 days of writing series.  you can read all the posts here.

 

day 9 // and then sometimes it smacks you in the face.

So I posted a couple of days ago about having a hard time seeing beautiful.  And then you guys encouraged me and shared beautiful with me, and I loved it.  And then today, beautiful just smacked me in the face.  I was going to see my friend Julie and her new baby who are at home and doing well!!  I was driving through Chick-fil-A so we could eat lunch together over at her house, when I saw a woman.  I was at a different Cfa than I usually go to because it was on the way to their house.  As I turned in I saw a woman standing at the corner of the parking lot with 2 kids with her while she held a sign.  I didn’t read it all, but I saw “No job, hungry, no food for children, need money for food for kids”.  It was a really long sign, and I’m not sure what else it said.  But I was kind of hit by it.  It’s not something you see too often where I live now.  And it really hit me that she had her children with her.  My child was at preschool, which we gladly pay for each month, while these kids were sitting on curb helping their mom beg.

I couldn’t shake it, so as I pulled through the line I grabbed our food and a gift card for them.  As I swung back by the woman, I was able to give her the gift card.  I got to talk with her for a few minutes before the cars started lining up behind me.  She told me she was making her way from California to Maryland.  She lost her job in California and her sister lives in Maryland, so she could stay with her.  She said she was trying to get enough money to buy gas to get them to Maryland.  She said it was really hard for her and tears welled up in her eyes.  The cars lined up behind me were not happy, so I told her I would pray for her and I drove away.  I just kept thinking about them.  Not even an hour before I had gone shopping at Target.  I had nearly $300 in clothes, shoes, towels, medicines, and some random things in my trunk, and here was this woman who was just trying to get food and gas money.  I felt awful.  I was so convicted about my spending, about what we’ve been blessed with, and reminded that not everyone is where we are.  My heart and my attitude were all wrong, and today God used a beautiful woman to show me that.

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beautiful.adventuresofjackandme

 

This post is part of the Write 31 days series through the month of October.  Find all of this month’s posts here.

day 8 // reality check + your beauty.

I asked for beautiful and you guys delivered.  Not only that but I feel like I got a good reality check on it, too.  Thanks for your encouragement and helping me  to see the beauty that is all around us.  It’s amazing.  I love how God places people in our lives to build us up and help us to see His beauty when we are struggling to see it.

My Grandfather called and told me about the things he finds beautiful in this life, and I was really touched by his list, especially as next week will be one year since he lost his wife of 63 years.  He said that Jack is beautiful and so am I.  He said we have a beautiful family and friends.  The Grand Canyon, places in California, the Rocky Mountains, that we have good jobs and food to eat every day, and for each day we get here.  He’s a sweet sweet man.  Then not even one minute after I hung up with him my sister called to ask me about how I was struggling with the beautiful stuff.  She was in the mountains, and then she sent me this picture.

I got lots of good responses from you all, too.  Here are a few of them:

Sue in Maryland said:

“I see beauty: in the faces of those I come in contact with each day;
in the thunder and lightning of a rain
storm; in the moon shining across the ocean at nighttime; in the fragrance of
homemade bread; in the faces of those greeting a loved one at the airport;
in Gordy’s face when he is happily surprised”

Sue, I love those things, too!  Especially the airport greeting.  That is one of my favorite things to see, and something I watch every time I go to the airport.

Lindsey said:

“I think it’s beautiful when a family is not just a husband and a wife and then the kid(s)….when the family is a team. Where one is weaker the other stronger, when responsibilities ebb and flow and change as they need to and it makes us better not worse for the wear. Basically when a marriage is as God intended. That’s pretty beautiful”

Love this, Lindsey, thanks so much for sharing!

Madeline said:

“I totally get it. Sometimes it’s hard. But with God on my side, I find I can face anything and even find the beauty in it.”

Thanks, Madeline!  You are so right — we can find beauty in anything with God on our side.  He is beautiful.

Thanks so much for sharing guys!

day 7 // beautiful to you.

One week into October, we are, and I can’t hardly believe it.  Didn’t October just start yesterday?  I am finding it harder to write on 31 days of beautiful so far than it was to write 31 days of hope.  My whole life was riding on hope last October.  And in fact, the hits just kept coming in October.  I had surgery and two days later my Granny had an aneurysm and later died.  In the same year we lost Gabriel — just months later.  Last year I clung to hope — we had to.

These past 7 days I’ve been having a harder time writing on what’s beautiful.  I need some encouragement in it.  So what I want to know is —- what is beautiful to you??  Where do you see beauty in your life?  I want to know!

 

Please share with me!  So I can then share with everyone on here.  I need inspiration.  Help me see the beauty!