“You’ve got to believe that this story is so far from over, so hold onto every promise God has made to us”

walter 003 - Version 2

This past Christmas I was given a CD. This CD has touched my heart in so many ways! I have listened to it probably well over a 100 times in the short few weeks that I’ve had it. I highly encourage anyone who has gone through any trial to listen to this. It doesn’t have to be a death, but anything that has caused you heartache and suffering. Many have asked how I can get through this as well as I have, plain and simple, GOD! Many of the lyrics on this CD spoke to my heart and reaffirmed what I already knew and trusted.

 

One thing I’ve noticed over and over again the emails that I’ve received are the number of times I’m called brave, courageous, amazing, I could go on and on. Here’s the thing though, I do not feel that I am any of that! I am just a woman, a wife, a mother. I live day to day trying to survive my to do list and keep up with the boundless energy of my girls and the never ending housework. I know that my words have touched people in many ways, but I give all the glory for that to GOD! In no way do I feel like I should be gaining praise for those words. Don’t get me wrong, I am thrilled at the impact that they have had, but I truly feel that they were put there by God and I was his vessel. I am actually a rather private person and not one to talk a much to people that I don’t know and blogging, well, if you look back over my old posts you can clearly see how much I fail at being a good blogger! This was something completely out of the ordinary for me, I could not get the need to write our story out of my mind until I finally sat down and just started pouring my heart out. It was not 24 hours before Walter started making his rounds around the US and soon the world.

 

I have derailed a bit from my original reason for this post, which is music. I have always loved music, I can’t stand the quiet so there is usually a tv show or music playing whenever I’m doing just about anything at home. The CD that I was given is the newest release by Steven Curtis Chapman entitled “The Glorious Enfolding”. This album is all about his family moving on and rejoicing after they have dealt with the loss of their daughter. Now my husband will tell you that I’m not usually a lyric person, I enjoy the instrumental parts but often I don’t even hear the words. I have heard every single word of this entire album. Every song on here has spoken to me and helped my heart to continue to look to my wonderful Savior and all of the promises that he holds for my life. People will often say that God will not give you more then you can handle, I actually believe that He does give us more then we can handle, those are the times that we must lean on Him, trust Him, rely on Him fully to get us through whatever is in our path.

 

No matter what tough time you’ve gone through or are going through I encourage you to listen to this album. The title track and “Take another step” were ones that particularly spoke to me. I’ll leave you with a few of the lines in hopes that you will go find the album and be as blessed by it as I have been. Thank you Mr. Chapman and family for turning your grief into something so wonderful! I know all to well how hard that is and how much easier it would be to bury your head in the sand and pretend it never happened.

Glorious Unfolding-

“’cause I know this is not anything like you though the story of your life was gonna be, and it feels like the end has started closing in on you but it’s just not true. There’s so much of the story that still yet to unfold.”

“Just you wait and see and you will be amazed. You’ve just got to believe the story is so far from over so hold onto every promise God has made to us and watch this glorious unfolding”s

 

Take Another Step – You never truly understand the pain until you’ve gone through it yourself. Walking by faith sounds so easy, the trials in our lives, big and small, give us the opportunity to put this into practice and trust the One who truly loves us.

“and suddenly it began to rain and everybody ran. Then the sky went back as midnight and you couldn’t see paralyzed by what you just can’t understand. And now here you are, you’re afraid to move, you don’t know where to go, you don’t know what to do.

Take another step, take another step. When the road ahead is dark and you don’t know where to go, take another step. Trust God and take another step”

“We walk by faith and not by sight we know it’s true, we say it and singe it and love the way it sounds but none of us can even begin to truly understand what it means ’til all the lights go out and there we are nothing to hold on to but the promises God made to me and you. “

 

Something Beautiful – God is the one who has turned our pain into something beautiful and amazing, it has nothing to do with me!

“I’m gonna to turn it into something different, I’m gonna turn it into something good, I’m gonna take all the broken pieces and make something beautiful like only I could. So put it all in the hands of the Father, give it up, give it all over to the only one who can turn it into something beautiful!”

I could go on and on about this album. So please, look it up, search it out, find these songs. You will be blessed! If you are missing that piece of your heart that you can truly lean on and put your faith in, please contact a local church or pastor. Someone will be glad to talk to you and help you though this time. Please feel free to contact me, I am having a lot of trouble keeping up with everyone’s messages, but I do read every one that comes to me. Do a simple search for a plan of salvation and you will find information out there to help you. Our creator loves us and wants us to spend eternity with him! I would love it if I could meet you one day in heaven as well and you can be there with me to greet my precious Walter.

 

I pray that this post will guide some of you and help you in your own journeys. May this music bless you as much as it did me!

here is a link to a short video by the artist about this album

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pVTomH51_2k

 

Getting Back To Daily Life

It’s hard to believe that tomorrow is 4 weeks since Walter’s birth. That day 4 weeks ago is still so very fresh in my head, but at the same time seems like ancient history. Overall, our family is doing pretty well. The girls still pray every night for baby Walter and that God will take care of him until we get to see him again in Heaven. The questions have slowed down considerably, although we have yet to try and explain the cremation process to them. Every time we go by a graveyard they want to know if there baby brother is buried there. At some point in the near future we need to have this discussion, but I’ve really been putting it off.

 

Thankfully I had 3 weddings of my own along with other photoshoots and weddings that I was helping with to help keep me busy. This week we were camping, a trip we had scheduled back in March. The Lord knew that for me, the best thing is to keep busy, but also have lots of time to spend with my family, especially the girls. I have had a hard time keeping up with the editing portion of my job. That’s a lot of alone time, a lot of time to think and ponder what could have been. I’m not questioning God’s intent, but the mother in me will always long for my baby.

 

I’ve noticed that a lot of people seem scared to talk to me, especially if it involves anything negative or sad. I feel like most of the time people are afraid or waiting for me to completely lose it. I get a little teary every once in a while, but for the most part I can keep myself together.  I know it’s hard to know what to say, there really isn’t anything anyone can say that will make things better. The best you can do is give me a hug and continue to pray for me and my family. I do want to talk about Walter, even though he’s not on this earth, he is still my son. I’m amazed at how many people will talk about just about anything to keep from mentioning his name. Even though he wasn’t full term, he is still my son, I do not want to pretend it never happened and he never existed. His time on this earth was short, but from the time I received the call that the blood test was positive, there was a child inside of me. I may not have been able to feel him move until 15 weeks, but I knew he was there. I have 3 children, not 2. I do not know if we will have another baby, but no baby will ever replace Walter. If we are blessed with another child, then I will have 4 children, 3 on this earth and 1 with his Heavenly Father.

 

So please, do not be afraid to talk to me. Treat me just as you always did. Please don’t avoid me. Getting my life back to normal is helpful for me. I hate walking in a grocery store and seeing people running away from me. You don’t have to say anything to “make it better”,  you don’t have to worry about saying something that may upset me. Trust me, I have heard some dumb comments these past 4 weeks. Talk to me, ask me questions and most of all continue to pray for me and our family. We have felt those prayers and greatly covet them. We love you all and I wish that I had the time to be able to respond to every person that has contacted me, but those numbers have been far to great these past few weeks.

 

Love, Lexi

Thank You!

I can not even begin to thank everyone for their kind words! I’ve received so many comments on this blog, emails, messages on Facebook and cards. The support is extremely encouraging! I was trying to reply to everyone but I simply can not keep up. I will over the next few weeks try and respond to some of you, but please know that I have read everyone’s messages and they all mean the world to me. I do not see myself as brave, courageous or inspirational. I’m just an ordinary woman, a mother who wanted to write down her story and share a few photos with my friends and family. When I wrote down my story it was never with the intention of trying to get attention or seek sympathy from others. I selfishly wanted to write it down so that my friends and family on facebook could read our story and I would not have to continue to tell all of the details over and over again. It has gotten easier to talk about, but it is still painful. Every time I run into someone that I have a connection with I choke up and try to keep myself from losing it. I have lived in the same small town all of my 30 years, so there isn’t a day that goes by that I see someone that heard about what happened and want a hug and would like to know why. It is amazing that I have such a large family and local community to help us grieve. Now that Walter’s story has reached so far I’ve also gotten support from around the world.

I’ve been amazed at the sense of healing that I’ve gotten from some women who have had the same experience but were never allowed to see or hold their child. Many that were simply whisked away and disposed of as if they were trash. I can not imagine not having the time I did with Walter and now I am even more grateful! I’m thankful that Walter’s photos were such a blessing to some that never were able to see their child and always wondered what they would have looked like. He and they are perfectly formed at less then 20 weeks, just the way God designed them. I’m thankful that my children were able to hold their brother, they still talk about him everyday and greatly miss him. I’m ever so thankful that my husband went to the van to get my camera. I was in such an emotional state and already grieving for my child that I did not want a camera around. Now I can not begin to imagine not having these photos to look at every day. I’m so very thankful that Josh was there to help capture these moments, obviously if I am in a photo I couldn’t be taking it. The best photo that camera has ever captured was taken by my non photographer husband :-) I’m thankful for the amazing treatment we received in the OB department and while there will always be “what if’s” in my mind, I do not hate those in the ER. I understand that the ER is an incredibly busy place and maybe I should have made a bigger nuisance of myself, but that’s not my personality. I know that no matter where I had been, if God decided that it was time to bring Walter home to him, He would do that. I could have been in the best hospital in the world and they would not have been able to help me. While we don’t always understand and we ask why, God’s timing is perfect.

Thank you all again for the encouragement. It has been especially helpful for me as I also receive some very negative and nasty remarks from people. I do not like anyone to be mad or upset with me, I am a people pleaser. I have lost some sleep at night after reading some of these remarks. It amazes me how quickly people will jump to conclusions and attack, especially when they can hide behind the computer. So thank you all for continuing to uplift myself and my family in your prayers. We are feeling them and are truly appreciative!

For now it is back to laundry, washing floors and trying to get my preschooler to eat her lunch.

Much Love! Lexi

Popsicle love!

One of the things I remember from camping as a child was walking to the camp store to choose a Popsicle. I usually came back with a chocolate scooter crunch bar or the strawberry version. I still have a soft spot for those treats!

We are camping this memorial day weekend and it is hot! We took our girls and 2 extras down to the store and bought some Popsicles. Emma thoroughly enjoyed hers and michayla inhaled it so fast it never had a chance to drip.

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*all photos were taken with my iPhone

Michayla’s Last Day of 3 Year Old Preschool

Today was Michayla’s last day of her first year of preschool! She absolutely loved her teachers and they were awesome for putting up with ALL of her drama and roller coaster of emotions. If you don’t know Michayla, this girl has to be destined for some sort of theater in her future! She can turn a marker spot on her finger to an all out production… no lie! This morning started out with a minor meltdown, followed by a few more, until she completely lost it when I dropped her off. Why? I have no idea! She soon cheered up though and did a great job for her program. I could hear her loud and clear through the whole thing!

I wanted to show Mrs. Berkey and Mrs. Knight how much we appreciated them, but I wanted to avoid the traditional candles, lotion & plants… so of course I went to pinterest! That is where I found this awesome idea! It was very easy to do and cost less then $10 each. I’ll tell you how I made them below.

Here are just a few of her last day!

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Directions for Crayon Letter Art!

In word, fill a whole page with the letter that you’re going to make. Color the font so that it is the lightest possible grey. then use word art to overlay the person’s full name. You can do it to the side or on the top/bottom. Print it out on card stock. I also recommend printing another on regular paper for laying it out. Carefully cut the crayons using a sharp knife and cutting board. I found that if you rolled the knife over the crayons, causing the crayons to roll, you got a cleaner cut. if you try and push straight down, it is jagged. Lay them out on your practice page and then using tacky glue, start gluing! After drying all night, I placed it in an 8×11 shadow box. That’s it! Super easy and not to time consuming once I got a rhythm of cutting crayons down!

Hitched! Lakin & Gavin

I was beyond excited to shoot Lakin & Gavin’s wedding. I had a chance to meet them on Gavin’s family farm to shoot some engagement photos and we had a blast! I knew that their wedding day was going to be great! Their wedding was held at the gorgeous Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Farmington, PA. The bride and her girls prepared for the big day at Falling Rock, a 5 star luxury hotel located on the resort grounds. Talk about gorgeous! The couple opted for a first look in the tea room at the chateau. I could tell that Gavin was a little nervous, but as soon as he saw Lakin, that all melted away. They had a fabulous wedding party and our portraits and the ceremony went off without a hitch. The reception was help in the Grand Ballroom at the Chateau and much dancing was enjoyed by all. Thank you Lakin & Gavin for choosing me to help capture your big day!

Flowers provide by Hope Valley Gardens – http://www.facebook.com/HopeValleyGardens

Nemacolin Woodlands Resort - http://www.nemacolin.com/

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Coming Soon – Baby K!

I had the privilege of  photographing this wonderful couples wedding last fall. I had a blast at their wedding and it was great to catch up a bit at their house as they prepare for their honeymoon surprise! I can’t wait for Baby K to arrive sometime in June. Lakin spent a lot of time working on her gorgeous nursery and I know much of it was re-crafted hand me downs and crags list finds. It is amazing! Best of luck to you two as your family of 2 becomes 3!

Head on over to http://www.f2photographystudio.com/Portraits/Maternity/Strait-Maternity to check out the full gallery!