SGM Christmas Giveaway Extravaganza Day Two: Heaven

I love to think of what my loved ones may be doing in heaven. The hope of heaven is what makes living amidst the brokenness of earth bearable. We have that hope because Jesus came for us…and we celebrate the gift that He came each Christmas. No matter the broken. No matter the pain.
He came, bringing promise of no more tears.
A promise to make all things new.
A promise of beauty for ashes.
A promise in Isaiah 61 to comfort those who mourn.
He came bringing a thrill of hope.
And, one day…all that lays in ruins will be rebuilt…
Because He came.

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Today’s giveaway considers the thought that our loved ones are looking down from heaven. I always think they get to see the good stuff from heaven, and the bible speaks of them cheering us on. I think my mother is especially near at Christmas-time. She loved to decorate and give gifts, spreading the beauty created from her heart and hands wherever she went. I’m sure she is soaking in joyous moments with her grandbabies, and her father. Faith and Grace surely have the prettiest Christmas dresses. They are perpetually 5-8 in my mind (even though they would now be 20 years old)…with long flowing chestnut waves and sparkling brown eyes. Thomas is wearing a light blue Christmas suit, age 3-4 in my mama-heart (18 in earthly years), wisdom gleaming in the eyes that mirror his father and brothers. I remember my other grandparents and wonder how they spend their days in eternity as well. Some sweet day, we will be reunited again.

To enter today’s giveaway, please comment on this post, sharing what you believe your loved one is doing in heaven.

SGM Christmas Giveaway Extravaganza Day Two: Remembrance Jewelry

I am so excited about today’s giveaway.

My beautiful friend, Amanda Plunkett, from Owens Gift and ABP Keepsake Jewelry has donated two gorgeous gifts for you all!!

Amanda creates one of a kind custom keepsake jewelry from your child’s/loved one’s/Pet’s cremation ashes, placenta, umbilical, dried flowers, teeth, small peices of fabric. She has given us two amazing items!

1. One is a bird nest necklace with Pregnancy and Infant Loss colors to wear in memory of sweet babies in heaven.

nest necklace one

2. A gift certificate for $50 for you to purchase a piece of custom jewelry from ABP Keepsake Jewelry with any memento items from your loved one or cremains.
ABP Gift Certificate

3. Footprints on the Heart Necklace

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4. Footprints in the Sand Necklace

necklace one

To enter:
1. Leave a comment on this post sharing who you are missing in heaven this Christmas and which jewelry item 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.

All winners will be announced on Friday. Please check back to enter for giveaways throughout the week!

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.

SGM Christmas Extravaganza 2014

 

It’s that time of year again. Time to remember together…and time for the SGM Christmas Giveaway Extravaganza 2014!!

Beginning on December 1, 2014, we will be hosting the SGM Christmas Giveaway Extravaganza 2014, a week of giveaways for those missing someone at Christmas. The holidays can trigger those memories and missing like no other time of the year. This is a little something we like to offer, to bring just a sliver of joy and remembrance to hurting hearts at Christmas…to let you know you aren’t walking this path alone.

We will be hosting a very special Walking With You Christmas support group gathering on Monday, December 1, 2014 at 7pm for those who wish to join us. We will share some dessert, chat about our babies, and make/hang ornaments on the SGM tree. If you can’t be there in person, we are offering an opportunity for those who want to help support SGM and add their baby’s name/ornament to the SGM tree to donate $5. (We will mail ornaments to all who wish to have them mailed to them after Christmas for an additional $2 shipping). Last year, it was such a blessing to see our babies’ names adorning the tree. To donate, use the button on this page. Please add your baby’s name and information in the notes.
sgm tree 2

 

How do we remember our babies (Faith, Grace, and Thomas) who are in heaven?

Each year, we fill three shoeboxes with gifts for Operation Christmas Child, which we then donate to the pile of boxes collected by our church for their annual donation. We fill two little girl boxes in memory of Faith and Grace and one little boy box in memory of our Thomas. It is a small thing, but it blesses me to be able to buy some little gifts in their memory and give them to another child in hopes that it will bring some joy. It is something tangible we can do to remember them every year. When my boys were younger, they loved taking part in the gift-giving. It was a beautiful way to include them in remembering their sisters and brother, and help others.

This year, due to a full schedule of serving through SGM, we missed our church’s deadline to donate shoeboxes, but we plan to do an Angel Tree donation instead.

A Christmas tree should tell a family’s story. Each year, the memories come flooding back as we take out the ornaments and remember all the milestones our children have achieved, the sweet hand made ornaments adorned with school pictures, baby’s first Christmas ornaments, Our first Christmas Together ornaments, and for those of us missing those we love, In Memory ornaments. They are a special way to include those who have gone home to heaven in our story. For they are very much a part of our hearts and our lives…and should be in the memories when we unwrap the ornaments each year and hang them on the tree that tells our family story. I shared a great deal about some of those special ornaments on our tree on this post. Here are a few more ornaments that have been added to our collection. Several of them came from some of you, my dear online friends and fellow mamas. They touched my heart, and are treasured among some of the most precious gifts that I have received.

These beautiful ornaments were a gift I received a few years ago from Jess:

And these three from Sarita:

And, this sweet ornament for my Thomas…

(We will be giving away some beautiful memorial ornaments on the upcoming SGM Christmas Giveaway 2014 beginning on December 1st.)

I also hang ornaments each year in memory of my sweet mother, Kathy, who went home to heaven four years ago. She adored Christmas, and she is so much a part of every Christmas memory for me. These Christmas giveaways are one thing I do to honor her memory. Even in difficult times, mom loved to make Christmas a fun celebration and she loved to give.

 

Other ideas of how to survive the holidays when missing your child or loved one at Christmas:
Give to a favorite charity in your child’s name.
Make new traditions.
Slow down. Make time to soak in the season. Listen to Christmas music, sip hot cocoa, look at the lights. Breathe deeply.
Give grace to yourself, as the missing may be more intense.
Give memory packets or other comfort items to your local hospital in your child’s memory.
Take part in a local memorial celebration. Some support groups, hospitals, and even funeral homes host gatherings for those who are remembering a loved one at Christmas.
Donate a special book in memory of your child to the local library.
Hang a stocking with your child’s name on it, and fill it with special memories, messages from others, or random acts of kindness written on slips of paper.
Take care of yourself…and take breaks when needed. Watch a movie, go shopping, sit in the park, turn the music up, take a bubble bath. Whatever your mode of escape or self care. Indulge a little.

 

Don’t forget to stop back on December 1, 2014 for five days of giveaways that will hopefully bless and encourage you this Christmas season.

There will be special ornaments, books, gifts, a copy of Return to Zero, doTerra essential oils, and a grand finale. Something for everyone missing a loved one of any age this holiday season.

Finding Christmas in the Broken

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A couple days ago, a pure white blanket of fresh fallen snow covered the earth, or at least my little corner of it. Today, rain has washed it all away, leaving behind a muddy mess. What a picture of facing Christmas after losing someone you love, or when your world for whatever reason, doesn’t match up with the picture perfect Christmas we envision. Facing Christmas after your world has been torn apart, and the beautiful innocence disappears like the pure fallen snow, washed away with a painful goodbye. You are left with the muddy mess.

The heaviness weighs down on your heart, stealing joy. You watch others rush around swept into the inertia of the swirling tornado of celebration and preparation. You may even join in as well. But, your heart weighs heavy with the burden of how. How to celebrate the holiday when all ideals are held in front of us…picture perfect families and gifts, decorated homes, a season of joy and laughter while deep in your soul the lonely ache howls deep, and a pained smile is hard to muster.

You may wonder about this Jesus. This Jesus we celebrate, the One who was born in a manger to the virgin and the carpenter. Where was He when the rains of death came and washed your innocence away? And, where is He now?

My own heart weighed with the daily heaviness of the pain others endure mixed with my own missing, wondered how. How do I speak of the beloved Christmas story…the coming of our Savior, in the midst of a mother’s broken?

How does the celebration of His coming mesh with the pain that keeps a weary heart from lifting her head?

Who is the Jesus? And, does He see? Does He know of her broken? Did He see her stand beside the tiny, cold grave? Does He see her now, navigating life without her own mother, and a trail of broken from the generations before?

People want to speak for Him everyday, to paint a picture of this Jesus. If we are known as Christians by our love, then we are often failing to allow our Jesus to be shown the way He is. He is the One that loves us so much, He will hunt us down in the deepest, darkest pit of despair.

Christmas isn’t found in the hustle and bustle, in the gifts, in the busy, in the lights, in the merry-making, or in the perfect picture of all the ideals we hold up as a standard. It isn’t in the perfect family or the perfect memory or the perfect red dress.

The broken aren’t meant to hide pain behind a strained smile, wondering what they are supposed to do with the pieces of life shattered and scattered about.

Christmas is for the broken.

If you want to know my Jesus. This is my Jesus. This is why He came. He came for you.:

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me,
Because the Lord has anointed Me
To preach good tidings to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;

To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,
And the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all who mourn,
To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”

And they shall rebuild the old ruins,
They shall raise up the former desolations,
And they shall repair the ruined cities,
The desolations of many generations.

From Isaiah 61

He sees your broken. He saw it before you were knit together in your mother’s womb. He saw it before He left Heaven’s glory to make a journey to the cross He bore to rescue you. He saw your ruins, your former desolations, the ruined cities, the desolations of many generations. He saw. And, He came. To comfort all who mourn, to make beauty from your ashes, to offer you one day the oil of joy in place of your mourning…and a garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness that cloaks you in this season of grief. He saw. He sees. And, He came. To heal your broken heart. To set you free.

He saw. He sees. He came.

 

 

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.

Remembering at Christmas and Announcing SGM Christmas Giveaway Extravaganza 2013

Beginning on December 1, 2013, we will be hosting the SGM Christmas Giveaway Extravaganza 2013, a week of giveaways for those missing someone at Christmas. The holidays can trigger those memories and missing like no other time of the year. This is a little something we like to offer, to bring just a sliver of joy and remembrance to hurting hearts at Christmas…to let you know you aren’t walking this path alone.

We will be hosting a very special Walking With You Christmas support group gathering on Monday, December 2, 2013 at 7pm for those who wish to join us. We will share some dessert, chat about our babies, and make/hang ornaments on the SGM tree. If you can’t be there in person, we are offering an opportunity for those who want to help support SGM and add their baby’s name/ornament to the SGM tree to donate $5. (We will mail ornaments to all who wish to have them mailed to them after Christmas for an additional $2 shipping). Last year, it was such a blessing to see our babies’ names adorning the tree. To donate, use the button on this page. Please add your baby’s name and information in the notes.
sgm tree 2

 

How do we remember our babies (Faith, Grace, and Thomas) who are in heaven?

Each year, we fill three shoeboxes with gifts for Operation Christmas Child, which we then donate to the pile of boxes collected by our church for their annual donation. We fill two little girl boxes in memory of Faith and Grace and one little boy box in memory of our Thomas. It is a small thing, but it blesses me to be able to buy some little gifts in their memory and give them to another child in hopes that it will bring some joy. It is something tangible we can do to remember them every year. When my boys were younger, they loved taking part in the gift-giving. It was a beautiful way to include them in remembering their sisters and brother, and help others.

This year’s bounty:
shoeboxes
A Christmas tree should tell a family’s story. Each year, the memories come flooding back as we take out the ornaments and remember all the milestones our children have achieved, the sweet hand made ornaments adorned with school pictures, baby’s first Christmas ornaments, Our first Christmas Together ornaments, and for those of us missing those we love, In Memory ornaments. They are a special way to include those who have gone home to heaven in our story. For they are very much a part of our hearts and our lives…and should be in the memories when we unwrap the ornaments each year and hang them on the tree that tells our family story. I shared a great deal about some of those special ornaments on our tree on this post. Here are a few more ornaments that have been added to our collection. Several of them came from some of you, my dear online friends and fellow mamas. They touched my heart, and are treasured among some of the most precious gifts that I have received.

These beautiful ornaments were a gift I received last year from Jess:

And these three from Sarita:

And, this sweet ornament for my Thomas…

(We will be giving away some beautiful memorial ornaments on the upcoming SGM Christmas Giveaway 2013 beginning on December 1st.)

I also hang ornaments each year in memory of my sweet mother, Kathy, who went home to heaven four years ago. She adored Christmas, and she is so much a part of every Christmas memory for me. These Christmas giveaways are one thing I do to honor her memory. Even in difficult times, mom loved to make Christmas a fun celebration and she loved to give.

 

Other ideas of how to survive the holidays when missing your child or loved one at Christmas:
Give to a favorite charity in your child’s name.
Make new traditions.
Slow down. Make time to soak in the season. Listen to Christmas music, sip hot cocoa, look at the lights. Breathe deeply.
Give grace to yourself, as the missing may be more intense.
Give memory packets or other comfort items to your local hospital in your child’s memory.
Take part in a local memorial celebration. Some support groups, hospitals, and even funeral homes host gatherings for those who are remembering a loved one at Christmas.
Donate a special book in memory of your child to the local library.
Hang a stocking with your child’s name on it, and fill it with special memories, messages from others, or random acts of kindness written on slips of paper.
Take care of yourself…and take breaks when needed. Watch a movie, go shopping, sit in the park, turn the music up, take a bubble bath. Whatever your mode of escape or self care. Indulge a little.

 

Don’t forget to stop back on December 1, 2013 for five days of giveaways that will hopefully bless and encourage you this Christmas season.

There will be special ornaments, books, gifts, and a grand finale. Something for everyone missing a loved one of any age this holiday season.
 

SGM Christmas Giveaway Extravaganza 2011 ~ Day One ~ Ornaments!

I’m so excited! Today kicks off the first day of the SGM Christmas Giveaway Extravaganza 2011!!! We will be giving away some very special gifts all week, so keep stopping back to see what we will be offering each day! You can help spread the word by sharing this sweet button (created by the lovely and talented Franchesca) from the sidebar:

Christmas is such a special time to reflect on the gift of our Savior and the love we share with our families. But, for those missing a loved one, Christmas can be a difficult time. My mother loved Christmas,  and every year…whether life was difficult or not…she relished the joy of Christmas and giving to those she loved. So, the SGM Christmas Giveaway Extravaganza is an effort to find a little light-hearted joy and celebration in the midst of all the heavy. We want to bless some hurting hearts…and some happy hearts…and whoever we can bless with a bit of fun.

And, now for the fun part. Each day, we will post some items to be given away. Some will be memorial items to honor the lives of those we love who are celebrating Christmas in heaven. A few will just be fun stuff that I wanted to share.

Today’s items are several choices of beautiful ornaments, including a new design from My Forever Child!

 

 

#1. This beautiful ornament from My Forever Child has the perfect quote in memory of a child who has gone home to heaven. “So softly you tiptoed into our world. And what an imprint you left upon our hearts” I love it soooo much! So much that SGM purchased several. We will be giving away 2 on this post!! The back can be engraved with a name and or date or other message to personalize.

 

 

#2. These lovely hand-painted ornaments are made by Deanna from Payton’s Precious Memories. Deanna generously donated an ornament to be given away. She will personalize the ornament and has a few styles to choose from on her site. We are giving away 1 ornament from Payton’s Precious Memories on this post.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#3. This Hallmark ornament is part of a beautiful series of ornaments created in memory of loved ones. “Always remembered. Always in our hearts.” Another perfect message. We are giving away one Always Remembered Hallmark ornament!

 

 

 

 

 

 

#4. This ornament, also from Hallmark, comes with a poem that I absolutely love. The inscription on the ornament is: I love you all dearly, Now don’t shed a tear, I’m spending my Christmas with Jesus this year. I have this one on my tree in memory of my mother. We are giving away one Merry Christmas from Heaven ornament!

* To enter the giveaway, you must leave a comment on this post. The comment must list the ornaments you wish to be entered for. If you want to enter for all, simply say all.  Otherwise, please list the ornaments you are interested in winning using the number listed by each description. For instance, if you want to enter for the My Forever Child ornament, you would put 1.  You can enter for as many as you wish.

* For an extra entry, you may leave a separate comment sharing a special Christmas memory of someone you love that’s in heaven. Or you can also share a way that you honor the memory of your baby or loved one at Christmas.

*For additional entries…

Share our SGM Christmas Giveaway Extravaganza Button on your blog. The code is below the button on our sidebar.

Post on your blog about the SGM Christmas Giveaway Extravaganza 2011

Share this post on facebook or twitter.

Like the Sufficient Grace Facebook page.

Followers of this blog page get an additional entry.

Please leave a separate comment for each entry to make it easier to tally. Also leave your additional comments in reply to your original comment, so that all your entries are linked together. 

Thanks so much for stopping by and have a beautiful and blessed Monday!!

Love to all…

*Giveaway sponsored by Sufficient Grace Ministries for Women and Families, Inc.

Ornament Winners Announced

UPDATED: Holly has decided to pass on her ornament to another mama, and we chose Trena as the winner of the Sleep in Heavenly Peace ornament. We will be giving her two in memory of her twin boys, Bryston and Colton. Congrats, Trena…and thank you, sweet Holly!

It was such a blessing reading all of your entries on this year’s WWY Remembering at Christmas posts. I hope if you have not linked up, you will still take the time to do so. I found some new ideas to remember loved ones at Christmas by reading your posts. I especially like Michelle’s footprint/handprint angel ornament. What a beautiful way to remember our sweet babies!

And, now without further adieu, the winners of this year’s SGM Christmas Extravaganza Ornament Giveaway 2010 (I love a big overindulgent name! =)

Holly (Carleigh and Jordan’s mama) Sleep in Heavenly Peace Ornament

Michelle (Janie’s mama) Always Remembered Ornament

Heather (Mama to Allie, Brooklyn, and Chloe) Payton’s Precious Memories Ornament
Heather…I have no way of contacting you, so please email me ASAP! =)
Caroline (Who shared ways she remembers her sweet babies and other loved ones in heaven) Always Remembered Ornament

Heather…I couldn’t get to your profile, so please email me your shipping information at:
sufficientgraceministries at gmail dot com.

Congrats to the winners and stay tuned to the Sufficient Grace blog for the biggest giveaway in the history of SGM giveaways coming up on Monday!! =)

Remembering at Christmas 2010 ~ SGM Christmas Extravaganza

 
 
 
 
 

Contest now closed winners announced. You may still link your post and leave a comment, but they will not count toward the contest entry. Thank you so much and God bless you this Christmas season and in the coming year.
If you are missing someone you love this Christmas, someone of ANY age who is spending Christmas with Jesus this year, I hope you will join us on this very special Walking With You. We are sharing our Christmas memories and the ways that we remember our loved ones who have gone home to heaven at Christmas time. If you do not have a blog or do not wish to link a post, you may leave your Christmas memories in the comments below. If you do a post on your blog, come back and link up on the Linky following this post.

We will also be offering several beautiful ornaments to bless a few who participate.

This first round of giveaways will be for a special ornament to remember your loved one at Christmas. We are giving one baby boy Hallmark ornament (pictured later in this post), two Hallmark Always Remembered Ornaments (a porcelain clam with a pearl in it that says, “Every life leaves something beautiful behind.”) And, one person will win a very special ornament hand painted by my friend Deanna who creates beautiful ornaments in memory of loved ones who have gone home to heaven as found on her site: Payton’s Precious Memories (in memory of her daughter, Payton Rose). Deanna is donating an ornament for this giveaway…thanks so much, Dee!

How to enter:

1. Leave a comment on this post.
2. Participate by linking a post about how you remember your loved one at Christmas. (this gives an additional entry). Please put the Walking With You button in your post on your blog, or put a link to WWY in your blog post.
3. An additional entry will be given for every comment left on the posts that link up on our Linky.(I will be visiting the blogs who link with this post and tallying comments left. You must comment here to enter first, though so I know you would like to be included.)

———————————–

How do we remember our babies (Faith, Grace, and Thomas) who are in heaven?

Each year, we fill three shoeboxes with gifts for Operation Christmas Child, which we then donate to the pile of boxes collected by our church for their annual donation. We fill two little girl boxes in memory of Faith and Grace and one little boy box in memory of our Thomas. It is a small thing, but it blesses me to be able to buy some little gifts in their memory and give them to another child in hopes that it will bring some joy. It is something tangible we can do to remember them every year.

A Christmas tree should tell a family’s story. Each year, the memories come flooding back as we take out the ornaments and remember all the milestones our children have achieved, the sweet hand made ornaments adorned with school pictures, baby’s first Christmas ornaments, Our first Christmas Together ornaments, and for those of us missing those we love, In Memory ornaments. They are a special way to include those who have gone home to heaven in our story. For they are very much a part of our hearts and our lives…and should be in the memories when we unwrap the ornaments each year and hang them on the tree that tells our family story. I shared a great deal about some of those special ornaments on our tree last year in this post. So, I won’t repost all of that, but I will show a few more ornaments that have been added to our collection. Several of them came from some of you, my dear bloggy friends and fellow mamas. They touched my heart, and are treasured among some of the most precious gifts that I have received.

These beautiful ornaments were a gift I received last year from Jess:

And these three from Sarita:

And, this sweet ornament for my Thomas…

(Also the same baby boy Hallmark ornament we are giving away on this post!)

I also hang ornaments each year in memory of my sweet mother, Kathy, who went home to heaven four years ago. She adored Christmas, and she is so much a part of every Christmas memory for me. These Christmas giveaways are one thing I do to honor her memory. Even in difficult times, mom loved to make Christmas a fun celebration and she loved to give.

From Because He Came by Kelly Gerken…

More than two thousand years ago, the world ached for salvation, swelled with yearning for deliverance, redemption, restoration…for a Savior to rescue from sin and death. And He came…a baby King, born in a lowly stable on a quiet night to a peasant girl and her betrothed…a carpenter. He was in the still, small voice when He whispered past Elijah. And He was in the quiet stable birth when He came to rescue us and sent His angels to tell the lowly shepherds the good news.


His name is Jesus…and He came for me.

His name is Jesus…and He came for you.


And Because He came…there is hope for tomorrow and a promise of a joyful, forever reunion. He will wipe away all of the tears and wash away the loss and regret. He will cleanse and forgive and clothe us in robes of white. The empty arms will be filled. The hungry hearts will be fed. Brokenness will be restored. Mourning will be turned to dancing. And sin and death will be no more.


Because He came…He will carry us through this life.


And because He came…He will come again…in all His glory…to take us home.


© Kelly Gerken, Sufficient Grace Ministries 2008-2009

Thanks for letting me share some of my Christmas memories of my loved ones in heaven. I look forward to reading all of your memories, and pray that you will find comfort and hope in the truth that He came for you, as you remember this Christmas season.