For More Ways to Help The Blaines

Saturday, July 26, 2014

A prego brain on overdrive :)

And I promise I have had no Starbucks today, although that sounds really good right now! Bear with me....I've been taking care of so many things this morning...well afternoon now! I was up late last night, my mind whirling with ideas for upcoming fundraisers, who knew that my heart would feel such satisfaction from organizing and raising funds for others!  Because not everyone is on facebook, I wanted to share what we are up to lately with fundraising.

A few weeks ago some lovely ladies, Kristi and Jessica, donated a portion of their commissions to Habitat for Hope in our honor.  They raised $170 through Jamberry and Thirty One sales. From that Thirty One sale, I was able to get some pretty nice items, that reminded me of going back to school, and since that is right around the corner...an idea started to form. And since I got all those items from the Habitat for Hope fundraiser, I think it only fitting we use these new items to try to raise money more money for them!
Team Princess Strong will be doing a Back to School Auction, I would ideally like to do it next weekend (August 2-3), before everyone starts doing their back to school shopping, but it just depends on how many items I get donated before next weekend.  I realize that August 9-10 might be more of a reality! There will be 3 different auction items/sets. 
1.  A Thirty One Her Deluxe Backpack and purse, a hostess exclusive. This bag I would like to stuff with school supplies and gift cards to help purchase any additional supplies. 
2.  A Thirty one black Cinch Sac, with Princess Strong on it. This set would be ideal for the after school run around most families go on! It will be filled with a St. Jude blanket, gift cards to fast food restaurants, snack baggies and a water bottle. 
3.  A Thirty One Chill-icious Monkey Lunch Thermal with lunch containers, ice packs, plastic wear and a gift card to help purchase lunch groceries.
In order to make all this happen, I will need the help of many who would like to purchase the items to make this auction a success. I created an online registry with the items we will need. You can purchase them online and have the items sent directly to my house. If you are local and would rather just buy them and drop them off, please feel free to do that too. We can always find a place to donate extra school supplies to if we end up with too many.  The last online auction we did, raised $1900 for St. Jude, I know this one is not as large, but I'm excited to see what we can make happen for an organization who did so much for our family during our journey in Memphis.
This leads me to the next item...when you look at this registry you will see two iPods listed...let me explain!
Team Princess Strong will be participating in the Pink Heals Color Rush 5K.   Proceeds of this fabulous race to benefit a wonderful LOCAL organizations:Mary Washington Hospital Foundation- Color Rush 2014 will be creating the "MWH Foundation Pediatric Oncology Fund" to benefit the MWH Regional Cancer Center! This Fund will be created in memory of Princess Ellie Marie Blaine http://www.marywashingtonhealthcare.com/mwh-a-sh-foundations/foundations
A portion of proceeds will also benefit The Owen Lea Foundation- http://waffie.owenleafoundation.org/
Ellie's Elves will sponsor a Toy Closet for Mary Washington Hospital's Pediatric Oncology Infusion Room and the Main Hospital Pediatric Unit- https://www.facebook.com/PrincessElliesElves (Coming soon... check out Facebook to hear about their latest project!)   

At the Color Rush they will be holding an on site silent auction. We will be donating a "Keep the kids quiet in the car set!" We have a great Thirty One tote for the car and we'd like to fill it with "car quieting goodies". We would like to put one iPod in that gift set.  The other iPod listed would be donated to the Pediatric Oncology Unit for the kids to use while they are there.

Our dress code for the Color Rush is white...so of course we needed a white Princess Strong shirt for the event!  We are combining our shirt with Ellie's Elves and the proceeds from our shirts will go to the MWH Foundation Pediatric Oncology Fund.  If you are interested in purchasing a shirt please go to https://www.booster.com/princessstrongelvescolorrush.

There is also a Pampered Chef Online Party open until August 6th.  Julie is donating part of her commission to Team Princess Strong for the CureSearch for Childhood Cancer Walk.

We once again have a team for St. Jude Give Thanks Walk.

Lastly I was invited to participate in Crop for a Cure, sponsored by the Fredericksburg Tri Delta Alumnae Chapter.  I am excited to finally set aside time to put our hundreds of pictures from our Disney Trip, into a scrap book and to share our story with an organization that donates so much money to St. Jude!

I've decided my new philosophy is it doesn't hurt to ask.  I know I probably typed too much, but I couldn't help myself, I've exploding with ideas today and just feeling blessed with the opportunities in front of us.


I appreciate you taking the time to read through all I have shared today.  Please share this blog with your family and friends or anyone whom you think could help us out with the many things we have going on.  Its so exciting to see what a group of people with a Princess Strong heart can do!

Prayers, Praise and Pink
~Carly

Monday, July 21, 2014

Hope


This song was played in church yesterday.  I've sang it a million times.  Yesterday it was sang by a special guest, and the projector was scrolling through random pictures. Then there was an image that stopped me in my tracks.  There was a picture of the beach and the shore. In that image I could see her running to me, like some cheesy Hallmark movie, with her arms wide open.  I couldn't breath and I grabbed Richard's leg.  Will it really be like that? I have no clue, but I can't help but wonder.  

There are many moments in my life now, that I know I have dreampt of or seen before, and since I don't believe in coincidences, I believe God shows you small glimpses of your life to come. I think we are just too caught up in our every day lives to recognize them.  I don't think I ever shared before the first time it happened to me.  I was in TN with Ellie and it was the 4th of July celebration with Habitat for Hope.  We were lining up the kids to take a picture, and in an instant, I knew I had seen this very image before.  It happened so quick, and the feeling was gone.  But it was one of those feelings you just want to live over and over, because you know it comes from God. To me, when it happens, that "deja vu" moment - it assures me, God has already been there, he has planned it all out, he knows the future and if I would just open my eyes and my heart, He will give me that glimpse, a glimmer of Hope.

Hope...its what helps me through each and every day.  It is the confident expectation that I will once again see Ellie, whether she's running to me with open arms or we just bump into one another, I'm so happy to be given that promise, that Hope that we will be reunited one day.  It's a wonderful feeling to have that reassurance, especially on days where her absence from this house is felt all over!

So your here's your Hope...

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13

Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:2-5

 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Romans 8:24-25

So that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Titus 3:7

For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe. 1 Timothy 4:10

and my favorite

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12


Prayers, Praise and Pink
~ Carly





Thursday, July 3, 2014

Sisters

I miss you. Each day with your sister, I see how much you all are alike, which makes me miss you, I also see how different you too are, which makes me miss you even more. 




 She has your spunk. She hits and then smiles. She throws temper tantrums and falls out on the floor. She loves to dance, and every once in a while she moves her arms just like you did. She jabbers endlessly and I have no clue what she's says. She picks on Noah and just like with you, he sits there and takes it. The word "no" means nothing to her and I think she enjoys time out. She comes in the bathroom and watches me get ready, I jokingly ask her if she wants me to do her hair, like I did with your, but she just blabbers something back. She puts her food in her toes....which I'm pretty sure you did too! These moments of you that come shinning through make me miss you so much. I realize that this is the way now that I will "see you and hear you" but it's also not you. 
She doesn't like dresses...at least not the puffy ones you would have loved. She doesn't like hair bows, or hats, or even pony tails, she pulls them all off, which drives me crazy because she has more hair then you and it's always in her eyes. She drinks from a garden hose and doesn't mind getting dirty. When I realize the differences in you two, I miss you even more because my dress up pretty princess isn't here. I took SG out of her bath the other night, and unlike you, she doesn't like to snuggle in her towel afterwards, but on this night she did. And as she laid there on that pink kitty cat towel, for a few moments I felt you. I don't know if you were really there, but it felt like I was holding you. I squeezed her close (couldn't believe she let me) and just felt you, it made my heart hurt so bad, but also left me longing for another moment like that, because I know that's the closest I'm going to get to you on this side of heaven.
I'd never force her to be you, no one could be you, you, my sweet girl were definitely one of a kind. Her fancy dresses stay in the he closet and her hair stays in her face, and I love her for being who SG is meant to be. I do wonder sometimes when she gets a little older will she talk like you. Will she have trouble with her "L's"? Will she constantly say "him and her" instead of "he and she". I could see that causing the same "missing you pain" all over again. 

I get sad when I think she will only have a picture memory of you, she won't have her own memories...so I would assume.  She will only know the stories we tell her.  I am happy that the Lord is blessing us with another girl, so she will have that sister relationship, I just hate that you won't be here to boss the girls around and tell them exactly how to place their princesses.  

Prayers, Praise, and Pink
~Carly




Sunday, June 22, 2014

6

I like even numbers!  I'm not superstitious or anything, I just like even numbers.  Today I don't like them.  Often the 22nd of each month passes and I don't realize what day it is, I'm grateful for that. For some reason though this 22nd is staring me right in the face, saying "its been 6 months".  Possibly because I don't have the crazy busy schedule of work and school to keep my brain busy.  Six months seems like a long time, but it also seems like just yesterday she was here snuggled up on the couch beside me with a blanket tucked all around her keeping her socks warm!  Kinda hard to believe that the days can just keep going by without her in them.  They feel much emptier, but they surely pass by.    I find myself watching a lot more videos these days because I miss her voice, I hate that I can't remember what she sounds like whenever I want to.  I hate that I don't get to have silly conversations with her anymore and I don't get to hear her say "Noah" a million times or listen to them argue about how she can do it "by all myself!"  Now that we are on summer vacation, the days feel even more empty.  Don't get me wrong there are two loud and rambunctious kids here that keep me busy, but there's that Ellie gap that just can't be filled.  For me there's just been sadness and I miss her.  Songs lately bring every memory flooding back and the tears roll.  
So I love how on this 6 month day some God things happen.  First there is a dress in SG's closet that I breeze by every Sunday.  Its a dress that my mom made for the girls, there were two of them.  Ellie never got to wear her's and it got put away.  SG's has just been hanging there.  I haven't been able to bring myself to put it on her, not only because SG doesn't like puffy dresses, but it just made me sad that the girls never got to match, which Ellie loved to do.  Today, that dress stared me in the face and said "you can do it".  So I prepared myself for the dress battle...SG didn't fight me at all when I put in the dress.  She happily took off down the hall in her sparkly shoes.

Her sister would have been proud.

My heart still felt a little empty, I was really having a hard time getting that happy in.  I stopped to get the mail on my way home...I know its Sunday, but I don't go to the mail box a lot lately...since its at the end of the road.  In the mail is a package from St. Jude.  I smiled.  I knew exactly what it would be and it couldn't have been a more appropriate day for me to open it.



Because of the awesome amount of money raised at the St. Jude Give Thanks Walk we were able to donate that money in Ellie's name and get a engraved brick on the walls of St. Jude.  We started this process a while ago, and you know how life just moves too fast and you can't keep up, well I kept pushing the paper work aside and forgetting about it. So now on the six month anniversary of Ellie's homecoming with the Lord, this comes to remind me of the love the Lord puts around us!  I started to say it helps me know she will alway be remembered and live on in the halls of St. Jude...but she won't be in the halls.  Her name will be there.  And her name on that brick reminds me of all the people that came together to show support for our family.  More people than I will ever know donated to that walk, to create an amazing amount of money.  This brick reminds me of how we were allowed to share our daughter with the world, that she touched hearts and brought a face to cancer, death, and an amazing God.  Fingers crossed that in the beginning of October we will be able to make the trip to Memphis for the St. Jude family remembrance weekend.  I may have to bribe a few airline people to let me fly since I will be rather far along in my pregnancy, but the Doctor says I should be fine to go!  When we visit I can't wait to see that brick in person and remember all the amazing people that helped make that dream a reality!  
The sun has come out today, which makes things a little brighter today...literally.  But it has helped my mood some.  Pretty sure the rest of today will be spent snuggling with my chatterboxes and watching Disney Movies...because it makes Noah happy...and me two.  
Please continue to pray for my family.  Six months is a long time to be without a family member, especially one who could bring a smile to your face no matter what the circumstances.  Pray to help us through the sad days and to never hold back sharing when we feel sad and alone.  Thank you for allowing us to be part of your family.  You mean the world to us.


In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ Acts 20:35


Prayers, Praise and Pink







~Carly

Saturday, June 21, 2014

It's Summer!


I couldn't resist the song, it's one of Noah's favorites!

Summer in our house is a time of relaxation, that's one of the reasons I love working in a school, the time at home with the kids is amazing! Summer is usually full of pool time, family time and trips to the beach! Last year our family didn't get the summer most families do. When you have cancer, you don't get vacations or holidays off, in fact last year on July 4th Ellie was getting chemo. You don't get to schedule chemo or blood transfusions around vacations or holidays, it's just like any other day. I wanted to find a way to to honor of the kids and their families who will be in the hospital this summer and who don't get to enjoy that summer vacation where they can forget about it all.

So to kick off the summer Team Princess Strong is hosting an online summer auction. I choose today, the first official day of summer to kick it off!  We will be using the proceeds of this auction towards
our St. Jude Give Thanks Walk team. No better way to support the place that did it's best to keep us entertained last summer and forget about the beach (although that's pretty hard to do!). So many people came together to donate some pretty awesome items to this auction...quite a few I have my eye on!  Take a look, you just might see something you like! http://www.32auctions.com/teamprincessstrong
Please make sure you read each item carefully, some items I cannot ship due to the size and the fragility of the item. Our goal is to raise $1000 with this auction, which doesn't even come close to the money it takes to run St. Jude for a day, but I feel it's an easily attainable goal! Please share!



I miss last summer, even though it was no where close to what used to be my "ideal summer". What I wouldn't give to have summer back with her in it. Ellie screaming that she didn't want to get in the pool, but ended up having a blast, sun screening that bald head. Trips back and forth to UVA seemed like a big pain then, but I'd do it all over again if it meant she were here.  However that's not the way The Lord intended the summer of 2014 to be for the Blaine's.

"Shattered dreams are never random. They are always a piece in a larger puzzle, a chapter in a larger story.  The Holy Spirit uses the pain of shattered dreams to help us discover our desire for God, to help us begin dreaming the highest dream. They are ordained opportunities for the Spirit to awaken, then to satisfy our highest dream." Larry Crabb

Prayers, Praise and Pink
~Carly


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Some more Pink!

We just wanted to quickly let you know that today we got to see our perfect sized healthy baby girl!  We brought Noah along with us, he was so well behaved and happy!  Then came the moment where the ultrasound technician showed us the baby's hiney and all I could do was giggle because I knew I saw nothing between those legs!  As she said "its a healthy girl!", Noah kinda acted like he didn't hear her.  He just shock his head no.  We repeated the girl words, and he just continued to shake his head no.  So we dropped it!  Then when we saw her legs up over her head like she was going to karate kick someone, we called her a "ninja sister" and he was okay.  Only once did he get a little upset, but it was short lived and he's told every one now "its a girl!"  I have to say, I'm excited for SG and this new little girl to have a close sisterly bond.  I am blessed to know how much fun it is to have a sister, even if it took me a few years to figure it out.  These girls will be close enough in age that they will probably drive each other crazy, but I foresee best buddies!  I also can't think of a better boy to have sisters.  He is so tender and caring, he is made to take care of girls!

So here's our attempt at a "reveal picture".  In the afternoon, in the 90 plus degrees, with a cranky 15 month old!  When will we learn?!?!  Thank you all for the prayers and the love!






Psalm 139:13-16  For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you,when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.


Prayers, Praise, and a little more Pink


~Carly

Monday, June 16, 2014

Molding...and not the yucky kind

Probably about a month ago, Richard shared something that had been weighing on his heart. Ever since a night during our church jubilee he felt The Lord leading him to the ministry in some way. He wasn't sure doing what or when, but he knew the direction he was to take.  Richard has talked before about going back to school, he just wasn't sure what for, now he had direction. I smiled. After Ellie's funeral and listening to Richard speak, I asked him "are you sure you don't want to preach for a living?" I was just so impressed with him, so touched by him, so proud of him. He said no and that was the end of the conversation. I couldn't help but think though, that God had something bigger planned for this man.

Within a week Richard applied to Liberty and was accepted. I was excited, but very nervous. I will support him in everything he wants to do, but the thought of full time schooling, two full time jobs and soon to be three children was a tad bit overwhelming. As we were rolling out for church that next Sunday, he threw in that he was going to announce it to our church family that day...I guess there's no turning back now!  The sermon was about the potter and the clay.

Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand. Isaiah 64:8

About how the Lord shapes and molds our lives.  He puts us on the wheel and creates every detail.  And there are times that he smashes that lump of clay and decides to "reshape it"  I giggled at the thought of our clay being smashed, only because I felt it described our lives pretty well.   Once we lost Ellie our life that we had previously known had been smashed, we've been that pile of clay waiting to be reshaped and rebuilt.  The thing about God is though, he works at His own pace, so as much as I'd like him to hurry up, its not up to me!

So Richard announced his new plan and what the Lord had called him to do.  I don't think many were very surprised, there really was something we all saw in Richard that day at Ellie's funeral.  They were excited for us, I smiled, but inside I was still panicking.  Here we were about to truly live out allowing God to shape your lives and following His calling, and I was having a hard time really getting excited about it.  Don't get me wrong, I'm so happy Richard has submitted to God's plan for his life, but there was some resentment as well.  Anyone who has around our family with in the past 6 months, knows Richard and I have been discussing me wanting to stay home this next school year.  Being able to stay home while Ellie was home, and then after she passed and getting to be the "glue" that held my family together, was a job I really loved.  I loved being able to go to Noah's school and volunteer, I loved being able to get everyone ready for work and school, without the stress of me having to get ready to.  I felt assured that God was giving us this new gift of life as a sign that it was a good time for me to stay home.  Richard didn't quite get the same vibe from God.  For 6 months we have talked, discussed and believe it or not argued some about this decision.  I thought I knew for sure what God was trying to remold me into and I wanted to help along the process...not that God ever asked me to.  As we entered the month of June, we still didn't have contracts for the next school year, nor had Richard and I come to a decision.  I thought I had put this all in God's hand numerous times, and even felt a couple times that maybe this wasn't the right decision, but it just kept coming back into my head, and I continued to try to discuss it and to be honest, change Richard's mind.  I was forcing the issue, trying to make God reshape my lump of clay faster than He had planned.  One evening, after a particularly, we'll say louder conversation, I opened our mail to find a graduation announcement from a student I worked with my very first year as a counselor.  The two of us spent a lot of time together that year.  As a counselor I have the pleasure of working with many different kids...the whole school in fact, but I don't get that same closeness bond that a teacher may get with their class.  However this student and I formed a bond. We haven't spoken in years, but there was the graduation announcement  and a letter, thanking me for everything I had done, and supporting them and always believing in them.  The night I read it, I pushed it aside, that letter was a reassurance that I was in the right place with my job, but I didn't want to see it that way, since I was positive I knew the plan and that I was going to stay home.  
The night of our last conversation, I was prepared for battle, with all the reasons as to why I just knew I should stay home.  I had prayed all week God would change Richard's mind, and I just new it was going to happen.  We started to talk, and I literally felt Holy Spirit come into my heart, soften it, and completely change my mind....hold up!  That wasn't supposed to happen, apparently God didn't get my memo that I was just trying to help him shape my clay.  I still don't quite understand what the past 6 months was about.  I'm not sure what was going on, or why I thought for sure I'd heard the Lord tell me what to do...guess that's just one more question to ask when I get to heaven.  Now on the other side of this decision I'm happy with my choice, I happy I finally listened to what Richard was saying, and I'm glad God sent Holy Spirit to help me.  I showed Richard the letter from the student, which I had put aside, he just looked at smiled, asked me how long I cried when I read that and said "if anything Carly this confirms our choice for you to stay at work!"  The very next day our contracts showed up at work...go figure! I took that as God's way of saying, "thank you for finally listening to me Carly!"    So in August, Noah and I will head back up the road to Culpeper every day, with a new outlook on my job.  
So all this brings me to today, well yesterday at this point.  Richard was asked by Preacher if he would like to speak on Sunday, Father's day since Preacher would be out of town.  I wasn't sure if he would do it, I knew he could, but if you know Richard he's not typically the "speaker" of the family.  If you had known the Richard I met 12 years ago, you never would have imagined he would be doing that.  In fact if you had told me even 6 years ago that Richard would be in front of a church of more than 100 people delivering a sermon, I would have laughed.  When I first met Richard he was very quiet and shy, I'm amazed he ever asked me out on a date...this is where Richard would jump in and tell you that he asked me out 3 times before we ever went out, yes that's true, but its a long story!  It took Richard years to have a full conversation with my family.  My best friend jokes that he only said two words to her the whole first year she knew him.  Even just a few years ago when he wanted to share a prayer request at church, I watched his nerves get the best of him as he tried to speak.  I don't share this to embarrass him, I share this to just show what God can do when you allow Him to shape your life.  I sat through his sermon with my "lifetime movie grin" on (that's what we call that cheesy grin).  Of course I cried a few times, but I was filled with so much pride.  I haven't been allowed to tell him how he did, he's not one for praise, but I will tell you all!  He amazed me.  I couldn't have been more proud of that shy little boy who has overcome all his fears and is now allowing God to mold him into this man who is now moving forward with school and following through with what the Lord has put upon his heart.  
2005 - Old Navy, where we met
2013 - Memphis, TN - Stronger than ever



This song has been a new favorite, not sure if I've shared it before, I think I have.  I haven't fully grasped the lyrics till just recently and I'm not sure I can really explain what they mean to me now.


I say that I don't quite grasp why we struggled so much with my decision be go back to work, and I'm not to sure what part the devil may have had in that.  But I know this time two weeks ago, I was completely broken.  I couldn't understand why in the world the Lord was putting us through yet another struggle, haven't we been through enough in the past year?  But now that He completely broke me down, drained me of all my selfish thoughts, I feel so close to Him.  I feel so special that out of the billions of people in the world, He's still right there beside me, helping me through it all, sending the Holy Spirit to guide me through it all. And placing all the angels in my life he does.  Thank you Lord for continuing to Make Me!

Prayers, Praise and Pink
~Carly