Who's the cutest girl around?

I am a mom of a cutie pie (very biased). And I wanted to share my experiences with others (including my cuties grandparents, great-grandparents, numerous uncles and other relatives). I love being a mom and can't imagine doing anything else.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Holidays

THis season so far has been even harder than I thought it would be. I love Christmas and always got into it in a big way. I was always wanting to put the decorations up really early and leave them up for way too long. I baked dozens of cookies (at least 5 different kinds) and last year I sent out over 80 Christmas cards. I loved the shopping and the wrapping of gifts. Alivia was inheriting my love of Christmas. She would take an ornament off the tree, hold it up to me as if to say "look at how amazing this is" and then gentle place it back where it belonged. She loved to cook. She would sit on the counter with the bowl between her little legs and stir like crazy. Flour would fly and she would laugh. She loved singing and dancing and we would listen to Christmas carols together. She loved to sit by my big container of ribbon and "help" unravel it all while I wrapped. She loved unwrapping and was hilarious when she did it. And last year she discovered that she loved snow.

There will be no Christmas in our house this year. No tree, no carols, no cookies, no cards. Without Livi here it just doesn't seem worth it.

47 Comments:

Blogger Melody Strayer said...

Emily, my heart hurts so much for you. I am praying.

5:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Emily, there are no words to say, can't imagine your pain, I am praying for you all!! Joni Cairns

6:07 PM  
Blogger linda anne said...

......i cant even imagine. i wanted to hi to you guys the other night at prince st cafe, but it was kinda a short convo with the uncles. then, i wanted to say hi as you were leaving cuz chris walked me to my car...but you already left. sorry =)

ive really been thinking about you druing this season especially. praying for you. i know it might not seem like prayers help at all, but i hope so since its all i can do...
linda

6:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Emily,
Your despair is so palpable and must seem immovable as well. I pray for your healing. I pray for hope to return to your heart. I pray for better tomorrows. You and your family are being remembered and held close in the hearts of so many.... I believe God holds you close also, even if He may seem far away....Just praying for you all.
Cathy S.

7:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Emily, I have been thinking of you a lot lately since the holidays are near. You are on my mind everyday, but more often these days. I can't even imagine what you are going through. I remember last years blogs on how you and Livi would bake. Those pictures were just so adorable. I just want you to know that you are in mine and my family's hearts at this most difficult time of the year. Love ya girl!!

Love, Heather

8:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been reading this blog for quite sometime, however have never posted. Your family's story has touched me so deeply. Your current post about holidays hit especially close to home. When my younger brother died at age 3, we didn't have a Christmas at our house either. We went to the city and Santa came to the hotel. While that was 18 years ago, I remember it so clearly. It was needed to put some distance between the last holiday w/ Matthew and the first w/out him. Holidays have never been and never will be the same for my family, and I am sure for yours. My strength comes from knowing that Alivia and my Matthew are celebrating Christmas together in the Light of Christ. May God's warmth and love guide you through this difficult time.

Tiffany in Missouri

9:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, I am so, so sorry! I can't even begin to imagine... my heart is so heavy for you!
We continue to pray.
Rochelle Calvetti

11:09 PM  
Blogger Jude's Mom said...

Em,
There isn't a day goes by that I don't think of you...pray for you...wonder how you are. My heart aches for you, now more than ever.

You and Livi have helped every mother who reads this blog to look at our children differently. I was even out with a friend the other night who doesn't know you, but faithfully reads your blog and prays. We had a tear-filled moment as she recounted how Livi's life has changed her. (She doesn't even have children...she was just so personally affected by your little girl.) Everyone who knew Livi (even if only in a "virtual" way) are forever changed.

Christmas may not be the same, but Livi's legacy lives on in the hearts of more people than you could ever imagine and she has changed Christmas in many homes this year. We haven't forgotten her--or you and James. We love you and pray for healing for your broken hearts.

The Lord is near to you,
Love you much!
Julie

7:48 AM  
Anonymous tina said...

oh emily, know that i'm praying too. much love xoxo

7:58 AM  
Blogger All 8 of Us said...

Praying that the One who binds up the wounds of the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit will sustain, comfort and fill your hearts with hope once again.I continue to pray for you and my heart aches for your loss.
Know that even strangers have not forgotten you or your sweet Livi.
Praying,
kathi (from SGC in Cherry Hill)

8:28 AM  
Anonymous laurie said...

praying for you right now.

9:06 AM  
Blogger Kara Stoltzfus said...

emily,
i have been thinking of you so much throughout this holiday season. i remember the christmas after logan died (it had only been 2 months since his death) and it was so difficult. i remember wanting the holidays to quickly pass and it was a matter of survival over the holiday season. to even attempt a smile was extremely hard. i pray that god engulfs you and your family during the time and always. i pray you feel his love and strength.
at this time of year, i think of logan celebrating jesus in heaven and the great joy that surrounds him. where else would you rather celebrate christmas, but in heaven. now i picture little livi celebrating to, her joy is so great!
there are no words for your deep deep pain. i just pray and pray that god can touch your heart and bring healing.

9:19 AM  
Blogger A Team said...

my heart goes out to you during this season, my God shine his love on you, and help you to remember that it is because of this season, that Livi is waiting for you in Heaven next to our dear and gracious Lord and Savior.... His birth and death is what will reunite you with your dear Livi one day. I pray for your hearts during this time that God will draw you close and touch you in a way only he can.

11:20 AM  
Blogger Nora said...

Praying for you my friend. We will all miss her and hope that the Hope of His coming will remind you of His love for your family and his care for you.

11:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Emily,my heart goes out to you. I cant imagine your pain. Please dont stop living,look to the future.Maybe God will bless you with another baby to love. My prayers go out to you.

12:43 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

Emily,

My heart aches for you. Really aches for you, although I am aware it is nothing compared to the deep ache you feel missing Livi.

Please know I'm praying but also more importantly Jesus is at the right hand of the Father interceding on your behalf too. He never stops and will never stop interceding on your behalf Emily.

Not that Jesus needs reminding because we are always on his heart, but I'm sure Livi now in heaven is a reminder to Him of her precious mom and dad and Gigi, Pa, De-Dad, Nan, the uncles and many many friends waiting until the day to be reunited in heaven.

praying,
Sara

1:29 PM  
Blogger Bre said...

Emily, I am praying the Lord gives you even more strength to get through this Christmas. Your love for Livi is so inspiring and your words in this post so genuine. Thank you for continuing to share, it makes a huge impact on so many people.

"For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven..." Take the time you need to grieve for Alivia - it's ok to not celebrate. Just know that so many people are praying for you and James and lifting you up in the name of the Almighty.

Bre

1:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Emily, my heart breaks for you. I can't begin to imagine what you & James are feeling. I am praying for you! Mona G.

3:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Emily,
Praying for you and know that you will do what you need to do for you and James to survive Christmas. Don't let others tell you how to grieve. Do it in your way that you need to do for you. Hopefully others will respect that. I can't imagine how hard it is. And yes, I never "knew" Alivia nor know you or James, but Alivia has touched so many through her story and your story. Thank you again for how you have blessed so many through you terrible pain. (Even though you would not choose to do it this way) Praying...Sue F.

3:11 PM  
Blogger Zoanna said...

My heaert aches for you. I never lost a child I had borne, but lost two before birth. Christmas was hard to enjoy with my living children the years I lost those two. The real meaning of Christmas may be to celebrate Christ's birth, but that can be done every day. When the memory-making holiday of Christmas rolls around, it really is about the love of family in reality. I ache for you. I am sure the pain is severe. I'm asking God to let you feel His arms cradling you right now.

3:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I will have a special angel on my tree this year in honor of Livi

4:19 PM  
Blogger Parmer Clan said...

I echo everyone knowing that my words are inadequate, but God's love will heal you in time. Praying fervently for you.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, with the comfort that with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.

4:51 PM  
Anonymous beth said...

i love you, i'm praying for you.
i miss her so much.
i just don't know what to say.
beth

6:47 PM  
Blogger The Laughing Gulls said...

I, like the rest of your faithful readers, have been thinking about you a lot this holiday season. My heart aches for you...please know that you are in my prayers.
Much love!

11:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Em and James,
I am so sorry. I can't even think of anything to say. I couldn't imagine how you feel. Please know both of you are in my thoughts and prayers. I look at Livi's picture every day on my desk at work and say a prayer for you every time.
Love you,
Steph C

6:38 AM  
Blogger Holly W. said...

Emily,

The pain in your entry is so obvious. I am so sorry.

"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, He saves those who are crushed in spirit" Psalm 34:18

Our prayer for you is that God will continue to bring the peace that only He can as you walk this difficult rode.

We will continue to keep you and your family in our prayers.

God Bless You,
Holly Wadding

8:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Christmas isn't about the tree, the caroling, the cookies, giving gifts or really us at all...it's about the precious gift of eternal life through the birth of Jesus. Sometimes, that's all we can cling to.

11:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It has been a while since I have felt the strenghth to post on here. As I explained a while back, Emily, I just sometimes don't know what to say because I have felt so close and yet so far removed from this whole situation for a year and a half now. There have been so many moments that I wished that I was closer in to the situation so that I could be of more help to you, but God places all of us where we are supposed to be.

It wasn't until I read your more recent post that I felt that God was leading me to share some more with you that may be of help. I understand your feelings concerning Christmas in the fullest. I have never suffered the level of loss that you and James and all the family members closer to you have, but there are many a year when I could easily let go of the stress of Christmas. I loved Christmas as a child, but as an adult, it has become more work than fun for me. I guess it just isn't in my nature to love all the "to do" things that go along with it. Sometimes I do love it and sometimes I would like to just skip Christmas altogether.

However, for you, my heart breaks because you loved all of those things so much. It wasn't "work" for you in the least to shop and wrap gifts and send out cards and the loss of those things along with your daughter must be nothing short awful to endure.

In spite of the fact that I don't love how stressful and busy the holiday season can get at times, I have always loved the light and merriment of the season. The vision of a newborn babe in a manger with young parents looking on and the animals all about Him is such a tender seen to behold.

However, sometimes Christmas (even moreso than other holidays) is a time of year when there seems to be no refuge for the brokenhearted...it is a reminder of the child we no longer hold, the family members no longer with us, the sweetheart God has yet to provide for us as we watch other couples enjoy the season together, the money we don't have to spend...it seems to be a time when most anyone (some moreso than others) can over-idealize the state of this fallen world and wonder why things aren't just right for us as they have been in the past or as we fear they never will be again in the future.

Christmas is a time that it is so easy to forget the peril with which Christ came in to the world. It is hard to push past all of that at Easter with images of Christ nailed to a cross, but at Christmas, rarely do we think about the darkness in the world from the moment Christ was born. Upon hearing of His birth, King Herod wanted Jesus dead because he feared that this baby would take over his position of kingship. When the wisemen were told by God to not tell King Herod where Jesus was, King Herod ordered that all the young boys in the land two years of age and under be killed to insure that Christ was among them. God spared Jesus' life in this case by telling Mary and Joseph to flee with the child to Egypt, but that was only so Christ could do His work on earth before being nailed to a cross 30-plus years later.

God so lovingly felt the pain of what was to come (the death of many young tots two years of age and under because of the birth of His Son) that He spoke through the prophet Jeremiah about this coming tragedy long before it came to pass:

"Thus says the Lord: In Ramah is heard the sound of moaning, of bitter weeping! Rachel mourns her children, she refuses to be comforted because her children are no more. Thus says the Lord: Cease your cries of mourning, wipe the tears from your eyes. The sorrow you have shown shall have its reward, says the Lord, they shall return from the enemy's land." Jeremiah 31: 15-16.

What I found the most unbelievable about verse 16 above when I found it is that one of the last bible verses I shared with you was this:

"Then comes the end, when he hands over the Kingdom to God the Father, when he has destroyed every soverignty and every authority and power. For he must reign until he puts all enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death". I Corinthians 15:24-26

Rachel's children (those that have received the spiritual heritage of the Lord either through being a Christ believing Jew or Gentile) will return from the enemy's land and the last of the enemy's in that land that Christ will destroy is death.

There is hope, there is a future..our time here is but a mere shadow of what is to come. That is so hard to see right now..I know that...and there is something about the light and merriment and supposedly perfect imagery of the Christmas Season that often brings us a feeling of shattering loss rather than a hope for the redemption of this fallen world.

It is so important as we look at the Christmas lights this year that we remember that they are only beautiful because they symbolize the darkness of the world that Christ has pierced through his birth, death, and resurrection and that when we look at the tree that we see that the hope of the Christmas tree is that it lives on even through the cold and the darkness of this world.

It is so important that we remember that Christmas IS about the brokenhearted. So often I forget that myself when times are good.

Take it easy, Emily and James. Don't worry about trees and carols and lights and cookies and presents in the least this year. Those things might be fun again in due time, but for now, just remember that you are celebrating Christmas this year the way God truly sees it...as a time that we are to remember the fallen state of the world that Christ was born in to and the sorrow that came out of that event and the hope that is yet to come that can only come when Christ returns to redeem the world.

Love,

Caroline

11:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Emily,
I don't know where you get the strength, well I guess I really do, to post, but thank you for sharing your heart so that we can pray for you. Such wonderful, vivid memories. They pull at my heart strings. This Christmas I think of the Baby that came from heaven to earth and the baby that went from earth to heaven.
You may have heard of this website:
http://www.compassionatefriends.org
This organization has a world wide candle lighting each year on the second Sunday in December to remember angels like Livi.
Just wanted to mention it in a stumbling, bumbling, feeble way to let you know that although I cannot imagine your grief, I do think of you and your family and pray for you often.
May God continue to be your Comfort!

Mary Ann K.

12:10 PM  
Anonymous Maryann Plesnicher said...

You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers, always. I'm so sorry for the pain you are enduring. So sorry.

12:41 PM  
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2:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw you at church the other week...even walked passed you, but you were talking so I didn't get to say hi. Next time I will make sure to say hi and just give you a little hug. I have been thinking about you guys alot as Christmas draws near. Wondering how you would celebrate it and how hard it would be. I will pray that the Lord will just comfort you, and help you get through this month. Keep trusting Him, he will help you.

luv ya emily,
Moriah

3:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really love your posts....and am glad to see you return to them...and encourage you to continue with them.

I know I can't know what you are going through right now, but do want you to know that someone cares.

4:04 PM  
Blogger Freeman said...

Emily,

A few posts back is an ad in Portuguese that is trying to have you use them as a network provider. It might be something you want to delete...

Also, we are praying for you here in Indiana, PA. We do not know your loss, but the Comforter does; we'll continue to beseech him on your behalf.

Chris & Stephanie Freeman

9:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And last year she discovered that she loved snow.

I reread that part this morning. Then it snowed all day. I am praying that Alivia sends her Mommy and Daddy lots of snow this winter. Some other people may not like it! Maybe she'll even ask Jesus to send some for Christmas! - Sue F.

9:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so sorry. I will continue to remember you in prayer during this season, this very, very sad season for you.

9:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Praying for you all during this time.

11:11 AM  
Blogger Heidi said...

I think of you often. I can not even imagine what you are feeling. You are in my daily prayers.

11:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Emily and James,
~You remain in my heart and I think of you and your family so often.
~God Love you and Bless you,
Phyllis

12:16 PM  
Blogger kingfamily said...

Praying for you guys!
The Kings

4:20 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

My heart breaks for you guys. Praying for you.

Love,
Amy

8:26 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

Emily...

I found your bloq searching for others who share my daughters name "Alivia". My heart cries out to you and your husband for your loss. My prayers go out to you and your family.

6:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

James and Emily-

Please know that my heart aches with you and God brings the reminders of your times with Livi over the holiday. I have tried to imagine how hard that must be and God has faithfully been reminding me to pray for you. Last night as I was shopping for stickers to seal our Christmas cards with I stood up from looking at a lower rack and there were these beautiful ladybug stickers right there and it made me think of Livi. God has not forgotten you, Livi, or your pain. HE IS the God of all comfort whether it feels like it or not right now. Imagine how God felt sending His only Son into the world. Probably the same way you felt leaving Livi go into the faithful arms of our creator.When God sent His son he did so willingly, unselfishly because he loves us as our loving Father just as you loved Livi as her parents.We can all be rejoicing even through pain that without Jesus' birth we would have never celebrated Livi's birth and without His death we would not have the comfort of knowing that she is in heaven having the best Christmas celebration of all time.
Someday we will all join her in celebration.

11:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For the Lord is a shield.........
blessed are those who hide in him...........

Run to Him Em...hide in Him..CRY OUT LOUD to Him...He hears, He answers.........He Listens


We Love You James and Emily

12:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i have returned to this page so many times trying to think of something to write. i usually just sit in front of the computer for 10 minutes at a time trying to leave encouraging words...but i always end up deleting it because nothing sounds right. i dont have anything to offer except my prayers.

i do really appreciate this blog and i continue to pray for your family on a daily basis.

cori bitterman

11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Praying so deeply for you, Emily and James. Know you are in our hearts each day. We continue to extend what we can to the families at Hershey so that this Christmas may be special to them. We have such a strong ache to help where we can to honor Livi.

In time we trust that the Lord will fill your home and heart with great joy.

God Bless,
The Carroll Family

12:16 PM  
Blogger PLANET LEAH said...

You will heal. It will take time. What has been lost to you is something that you seek to hold right now. Love is all around you, though, time ephemeral, and Life finds a way. Alivia and you are together and will be together.
Peace.

12:20 AM  

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