SGM Christmas Extravaganza 2016 Winners

Thank you to everyone who participated in the SGM Christmas Extravaganza 2016! Congratulations to the winners. Please email us your shipping address with the item(s) you won in the subject heading and or the text of the post to: sgm.shipping@gmail.com.

Day One: Ornaments
Ornament #1 goes to Talia Hammer
Ornament #2 goes to Anna White
Ornament #3 goes to Jenn @ Treasuring Life’s Blessings
Ornament #4 goes to Allison Leusink

Day Two: Angel
Dawn Shugert

Day Three: Angels and Dreams of You
Angel with Lamb goes to Stephanie Tanner
Angel with Until We Meet Again saying goes to Jennifer Rocketfield

Day Four: Words and Pictures
Wooden frame with encouraging words for grieving hearts goes to Amanda Mangas
Picture frame goes to Jill Sakowski

Day Five: Books
Seamless Bible Study goes to Leslie Sams
Empty Arms goes to Renee Suydam
One Thousand Gifts Study goes to Tienne Wilkin
Celebrating Pregnancy Again goes to Amanda Wu
Anchored Study goes to Becky Pyle
Not Pregnant goes to Jennifer Sommer
Sufficient Grace goes to Randi Schlenkner

Sending love and grace to all of you this Christmas season and a peaceful New Year. Thank you again for joining in our Christmas celebration. Remembering with each of you.

SGM Christmas Giveaway Day Five: Books!

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This year, we have been delving into some bible studies that can be life-changing. God’s Word is so powerful and life-breathing…and…alive. A great time to start a study is at the beginning of the year. So, Christmas is the perfect time to offer some of our favorites.

We’ve included Seamless by Angie Smith (a study that ties the bible together as one story)
Anchored (a study offering hope for those walking through the loss of a child)
One Thousand Gifts Study (A companion to THEE Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts opening our hearts to gratefulness by counting the daily simple gifts we’re given)

As well as some beautiful books for those who have endured loss or other challenges to their faith…

Empty Arms by Sherokee Ilse

Celebrating Pregnancy Again by Franchesca Cox (one of our favorite resources for those expecting a pregnancy after a loss)

Sufficient Grace by Kelly Gerken (the story of faith and beauty from ashes as the Gerken family faces the loss of three of their five children…also a great resource as the second half includes topical grief-related information and the birth of Sufficient Grace Ministries)

Not Pregnant by Cathie Quillet (a NEW book for those facing infertility or secondary infertility)

To enter, leave a comment telling us which book or books you’d like to read. You can enter to win more than one. :)

We will be announcing all of our winners to this week’s giveaways late tonight or early Saturday morning. So, make sure you keep an eye on our Facebook page for that post. Love and grace to all!

SGM Christmas Giveaway Extravaganza Day 3: Dreams of You and Angels, Too

Each year, Sufficient Grace Ministries sends hundreds of Dreams of You memory packages to grieving parents worldwide. We never charge parents for our products or services, but do ask for shipping donations. However for the rest of this week, we will be offering our FREE Dreams of You packages with FREE Shipping thanks to the BGSU Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity who recently held their annual Build-a-Bear for Moms fundraising/bear stuffing event! Comment on the link on Facebook to let those amazing gentlemen know how you feel about their efforts. We are so grateful they have the courage and compassion to help spread awareness, stuff our Comfort Bears, and support SGM as we support grieving parents. (We will be writing a post soon to share more about their amazingness!) We will accept up to 50 orders. So EVERYONE (up to 50 families) who would like a Dreams of You package can request one here. Please allow 3-12 weeks for delivery as we finish making the Comfort Bears.

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Also…Yesterday, I forgot to add 2 angels in our heaven post…so they are options for today’s giveaway! :)

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Leave a comment to enter. Share on Facebook and Twitter for additional entries. Please leave an additional comment for each entry or share.

SGM Christmas Giveaway Extravaganza Day One: Ornaments

Welcome to the week of Christmas Giveaways known as the SGM Christmas Extravaganza! So many are missing someone this Christmas. We like to help offer a bit of comfort and joy during this season of missing. Today, you can enter to win a memorial ornament. Just leave a memory of how you feel your Christmas tree tells your family story and/or a memory of your loved one in the comments to enter as well as which ornament(s) you are entering for.

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SGM Christmas Giveaway Day 4 and 5!!

Today we will give away two days worth in one since I needed a day off yesterday! Busy week!

This was meant for Day Four…Book Day!

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As a writer and reader, I love the printed word. Stories are so powerful and the stories of our sweet babies matter! There are four book options for this giveaway:

1. Invisible Mothers by Emily Long is a wonderful resource for mothers who have said goodbye to their only children. Invisible Mothers gives voice to the experience of love and loss for mothers whose babies have died during pregnancy or infancy…those with no living children. This book provides a safe haven for the loneliness of grief and inspiring words that resonate with moms with empty arms and aching hearts.

“I see you. I know that you love. I see your motherhood. You are not alone.”
~ Emily Long, Invisible Mothers

2. You Are The Mother Of All Mothers by Angela Miller is one of our favorite books to give to comfort grieving hearts. A book of beautiful and powerful affirmations to combat the lies whispered to a grieving heart in the dark. “You are a warrior, mama…You are the mother of all mothers.”

“So, breathe mama…keep breathing. Believe mama…keep believing.”

3. Sufficient Grace by our very own Kelly Gerken
Sufficient Grace chronicles not only Kelly’s own family’s painful journey through the stormy sea of grief after the loss of three of their five children, but also shares the lessons they learned about the true faith and grace God gives to His people, even in the midst of life’s storms.

4. Book #4 I know nothing about! But it looks like it’s probably an encouraging book…love the title: You’re Loved No Matter What.

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Day Five Giveaway

Beautiful Angel figurine
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To enter:
1. Leave a comment on this post sharing which book you are interested in winning and/or if you would like to enter for the Angel. (You can choose as many as you’d like to enter for!)

2. For additional entries Like the SGM Facebook Page and follow on Twitter and Instagram (@SuffGrace).

3. Share this post or our event page.

Please make sure you leave a comment for each separate entry in order for them to count.

Winners for the week will be announced later this evening!

 

SGM Christmas Giveaway Extravaganza 2015 Day One: Ornaments

Welcome to the SGM Christmas Giveaway Extravaganza 2015! Today is Day One of our week of giveaways…ornaments. Our Christmas Tree should tell a story, the story of our family. And, that includes those we are remembering in heaven each year. We would love to help you add to your tree of stories and memories with an ornament in memory of your baby or loved one in heaven.

#1. Our first ornament is so special. The Dreams of You ornament is hand painted and was created exclusively for SGM by Deanna Shoemaker from Payton’s Precious Memories. This ornament will be personalized by the creator with your baby’s name. Information about ordering can be found on the Support SGM page.

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#2. While this Hallmark “Born in Our Hearts” Ornament was created for adoptive parents, I also think it applies beautifully to parents whose babies are born into their hearts…but now live in heaven.

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#3. Add a copy of your baby’s handprint or footprint to this special keepsake ornament.

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#4. This one is for anyone missing someone in heaven…does not have to be a baby or child. “The ones we’ve lost are found in our memories.”

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To enter:
1. Leave a comment on this post sharing who you are missing in heaven this Christmas and which ornament/ornaments you would like a chance at winning. (You can choose as many as you’d like to enter for!)

2. For additional entries Like the SGM Facebook Page and follow on Twitter and Instagram (@SuffGrace).

3. Share this post or our event page.

Please make sure you leave a comment for each separate entry in order for them to count.

Day 3 ~ SGM Christmas Giveaway Extravaganza ~ Diffuser/Essential Oils Giveaway

Welcome to Day 3 of the SGM Christmas Giveaway Extravaganza 2014

I’m in a bit of a hurry getting this post up a little late. I’ve been on quite a journey with my health in the last year. Without getting into too many details, migraines and other autoimmune issues have led me to try a healthier diet and essential oils. I became a doTerra representative, in order to purchase oils at cost. You can view my website here. If you are interested in learning how you can earn free oils and purchase at a discounted rate, please view the website or email Kelly for details. This month, there are specials for those who sign up. You can also order products on the link provided…all proceeds benefit SGM.

Because I care about health and wellness, and I believe when facing grief, depression, or just the day to day struggles of life, it is important to care for your spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical well being. All are affected by one another, so a holistic approach is beneficial to your healing.

So, today, we are giving away a diffuser, along with sample vials of three of my favorite doTerra essential oils: OnGuard (good for immune system health and healing), Balance (grounding, balances emotions and wellbeing), and Serenity (for peace, calm, and help with sleep).

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To enter: Comment on this post a question about essential oils, your own experience, or something you are hoping can be eased by natural means by using the oils.

Additional entries for liking the SGM Page and for sharing the post on social media. Just add a comment for each additional one you do.

Remember, you can enter for any of the giveaways until Friday. All winners will be announced Friday evening on a post on this blog.

SGM Christmas Extravaganza Giveaway Day Two ~ Dreams of You items and SGM shirts

Welcome to Day Two of the SGM Christmas Giveaway Extravaganza 2014…

Every year, SGM donates hundreds of beautiful Dreams of You items to bereaved families worldwide. While we never charge families for our materials or services, we’ve had to ask for shipping costs the last couple years. Today, we are giving away to 5 families who enter or nominate a family a beautiful Dreams of You package or Dreams of You Miscarriage package (for losses prior to 18 weeks)….with FREE SHIPPING.

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We also have two SGM Because Every Life Matters Tshirts to give away in size M, L, or XL…one in pink and one in grey.

because every life matters tshirt

You can enter to win both prizes, if you wish!

Today is also Giving Tuesday. And, if you’re not familiar with the services we provide for grieving families through Sufficient Grace Ministries, I encourage you to visit our website to learn more about the worldwide outreach of this amazing non profit organization…changing the way we care for bereaved parents.

Please visit sufficientgraceministries.org to learn more.

You can also donate financially, through volunteering, or with much needed items to support SGM or to add your baby’s name to our SGM Christmas Tree by donating on our Support SGM Link.

Donate to have your baby’s name on our SGM Tree. Any donation $5 or more (Add an additional $2 if you would like your ornament sent to you after Christmas). Just use the general donation button on our Support Page and leave your information in the instructions or EMAIL them to us with a subject heading. Choose from the snowflake or dove ornaments in picture 2 below.

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To enter for the free shipping Dreams of You items or the SGM Because Every Life Matters tshirt, please leave a comment telling us which items you are entering for…if the shirt, include color and size.

Additional entries:
Like SGM on Facebook

Like the Kelly Gerken FB Page

Share this post on Facebook or Twitter

WWY Holiday Survival Guide for Grieving Hearts

treeSo many are feeling the extra ache of missing as we walk through the holiday season. Thanksgiving, Christmas, another New Year. A year without those we love. Many are looking for a survival guide. How? How do we get through this first Christmas without our baby/child…this first Christmas…or the twenty-first? Much gets easier with the passing of time and the healing of wounds. One thing doesn’t leave…it’s the missing. And, it washes over us anew with each season.

What does happen, is that the missing becomes familiar, like a part of your family, your memories, your celebrations, your heart. The missing is almost part of you in time, welcomed even, because it means someone was here…someone precious and valuable and worth the remembering.

So…here are some “tips” but by no means are they an answer. There are no quick fixes to ease the longing brought about by the holiday season. Nothing I can say to make all the wrongs right. This group isn’t about trying. It’s simply about knowing that we aren’t walking alone. Knowing, there’s hope and grace for this journey along the way. And, beautiful gifts…even in the missing.

I miss my daughters, Faith and Grace and my son, Thomas. And, I miss my mother. Life and especially Christmas will never be the same without her…without them. But, I’m still grateful for the love in my heart, the dreams I still dream, the ornaments on my tree, and the memories I hold dear. Most of all the truth that because Jesus came, I will see them again.

1. Give yourself grace. Take care of you. If you can’t “do” Christmas like you’ve always done or do it at all, just do what you need to. Be you. Protect your fragile heart.

2. Do something…or many things to honor the memory of your baby/child…to include your child in the celebration. Ornaments on the tree, donating to a favorite charity, buying presents through Operation Christmas Child or Angel Tree, ask others to join you in doing random acts of kindness. Decorate the cemetery or a special place in your home…or don’t. And, don’t feel guilty if none of those suggestions happen or fit your plan for where your heart is.

3. Survival mode is ok.

4. Laughing and joy is ok, too. If you do want routine and tradition and find comfort in it, there is nothing wrong with still celebrating. Don’t allow guilt to steal joy. And, cry when you need to.

5. Take a hot bath, read a good book, go slowly. Don’t plan too much or put too much pressure on yourself. Make sure you have some quiet time to refuel. Grief is hard work, And, it’s happening even when we don’t realize it, taking much of your energy. Eat healthy, exercise, and rest…plenty. (Some good reading can be found in Isaiah 61…if in the hurt, you need to be re-introduced to the One who came to save you. This is the Jesus I know.)

6. Some people take a little trip, escape for a bit together, and change it up. That’s helpful for some.

7. If you do a tree or don’t, that’s ok. Whatever you need to do to survive is just fine. There are no rules and should be no judgments.

8. If you choose to celebrate with extended family and friends, they may follow your lead. If you are comfortable talking about your baby, they may feel at ease, too. Often they don’t mention your child or say the wrong thing, because they are uncomfortable or unsure. That isn’t always the case. Plenty of people said the “wrong” thing or nothing at all to me. For many years. Be prepared for that.

9. No one is or should be allowed to judge your “performance” in grief. Don’t allow that to rule your thinking. They aren’t walking this. You are.

10. Spend some time with your safe people…people you can talk about the missing, your baby, or nothing at all. Spend time with those you love the most…just being. Time with your husband/partner. Time with your other children, if you have other children. Time with anyone else close to you, and understanding of your grief.

One other thing…this isn’t a hard and fast rule. There are no rules in grief. No handbook. No answers that fit all situations or hurts. So. Much. Grace. Is. Needed. But, it is good to remember that often…the anticipation of a day is much worse than the actual day. Not always, but often.

Sending so much love and prayers for all of you today and in the coming year, dear mamas, dads, and families.

SGM Christmas Giveaway Extravaganza 2013 ~ Day One ~ Something Pretty For the Mamas

Welcome to the SGM Christmas Giveaway Extravaganza 2013! Today, we are giving away something beautiful for any mother (or a dad who wants to bless a mom) who is missing either her baby or her own mom this Christmas. Christmas and the surrounding holidays are such a special time to remember that Jesus came to save us. And, the gift of that cannot be taken away…not even by grief, death, and pain. Because He came, there is hope and the promise of a forever reunion. Many hearts are missing someone this Christmas. I am missing my sweet babies and my mother.

My mom loved to give at Christmas, and I’m so grateful that through SGM, I can give some gifts to bless some of the mothers with aching hearts this Christmas. That’s what the SGM Christmas Giveaway Extravaganza is all about! Some light hearted joy in the midst of the missing. And, remembering together, during this sacred season. Five days of giveaways, beginning right now and lasting until Friday December 6, when all the winners will be announced by midnight.

Because, you are still a beautiful mother. And, your baby is always worth remembering.

Before I reveal today’s gorgeous gifts, there is also a special ornament giveaway offer going on today only on the SGM Facebook page. Five moms will be chosen to receive an ornament to be placed on the SGM Tree at tonight’s ceremony, with their baby’s name on it, without having to pay the $5 donation. If you don’t win, or if you would just like to help support SGM, you may donate $5  using the donate button on this page (plus $2 shipping if you would like the ornament shipped to you after Christmas) with directions about your ornament choice. Also, for any locals, tonight our Walking With You support group will be meeting at SGM at 7pm to enjoy some dessert treats and add the names to the ornaments and hang them on the tree. Together is always better than alone. So, we would love to see you there! No RSVP required. Just show up!! You can find out more information on our SGM/WWY Remembering Together at Christmas Event Page.

And now…here are today’s goodies, some beautiful jewelry from Hallmark. Hallmark just gets it, you know. I’m not going to lie, I’ve been watching some Hallmark movies this Christmas season. I like the corny predictability and happy endings. It brings some peace to my tattered heart. Movies can be a little vacation from the heaviness of grief. Of course, they are no cure, and true comfort comes from sitting in the lap of our heavenly Father for awhile. But, every once in awhile, a little movie-watching is a nice gift.

Ok…now where was I? Oh…that’s right, the giveaway Here you go, mamas and daughters:

1. First, a Celebrate Life…One Moment at a Time Charm bracelet with an I Love U Teddy Bear Charm. Sweetness.charm bracelet
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2. Next, this sleek bracelet with the precious saying: A mother’s love is the first gift we know, one we never outgrow. Oh, how true that is!

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3. Because, whether your baby or child is in heaven or on earth, you are still a mother! DSC_0150

4. In the hardest of times, just like the famous “Footprints” poem says, when we see just one set of footprints…when we don’t feel God…when we think we’re alone, it was then, He carried us. He carries us still.
Even to your old age, I am He, And even to gray hairs I will carry you! I have made, and I will bear; Even I will carry, and will deliver you. ~ Isaiah 46:4
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5. Another Footprints necklace. These sweet baby feet represent the footprints left on a mother’s heart. Always.
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6. And, finally, this sweet heart necklace. I love the saying: We hold every moment, every memory in our hearts. Yes, we do. This precious heart is filled with tiny pink crystals to signify the sweet memories we hold in our hearts.

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To enter, leave a comment on this post saying which numbers you would like to be entered for, and a memory about who you’re missing this Christmas ~ your sweet baby, your mom, or someone you would like to give this item to as a gift to bless a grieving heart. You can enter for more than one item.

Additional entries (Please leave a separate comment for each one!):

Share this post link on Facebook, Twitter, Blog, etc.

Share the Remembering at Christmas Event Page on Facebook, Twitter, Blog, etc.

For an extra 5 entries, donate toward an ornament to add to the SGM tree (You will also get to keep the ornament after Christmas! Details here.)

Spread the word and enjoy! Sending prayers for a peace-filled and gentle season for you and yours. Tune in tomorrow when we share some special ornaments for those missing someone at Christmas.