Sunday, 23 December 2012

"An Unexpected Gift"

Yesterday my husband and I were browsing Christmas Messages on Youtube-surfing and video-browsing is one of our favourite activities to do as a couple - usually ones of the hilarious variety - but I especially love it when we find ourselves on either of the Church websites, watching awe-inspiring and uplifting captions of people's lives from all over the world.

As we were browsing for videos that would help us remember the true meaning of the season, we came across this particular video:

I just wanted to share this video as it touched my heart to the very core. I have never experienced anything like the woman depicted has, and I hope I never do, but my soul was touched by the Spirit.

What a privilege it is to be able to celebrate the birth of our Saviour; to reflect on that most joyous occasion, and to remember His purpose here on the Earth; to save each and every one of us.

"You and I may cry out 'No one understands. No one knows.'
But the Son of God perfectly knows and understands.
He can reach out, touch, and strengthen us."
Elder David A. Bednar
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
I just want to personally testify of the truth of this quote. I know that for many people this Christmas will not be easy. The world is in tumult. Every single day another devastating piece of breaking news is recorded across the globe - and even more pieces of devastating news are breaking our hearts.
My thoughts and prayers are with all those who will be battling through this Christmas - whether suffering the recent loss of a loved one, the hardship of marital separation, homelessness, financial struggle or debt, sickness or injury, loneliness - whatever is may be, my heart aches for you all.
Please know that God is near you, you are watched over, you are loved, you are prayed for; your Saviour is holding you.

Friday, 21 December 2012

My Grandpa.

November 11th this year fell on a Sunday. Every Remembrance Sunday in my parent's ward they sing Jerusalem as the Intermediate hymn. There used to be a wonderful older lady in the ward who could play that hymn off-by-heart, and so magnificently it would bring you to tears. Sadly, that wonderful lady passed away this last year.

Little did I know that the responsibility of playing the beloved hymn was about to fall on me. 

Me? I felt as though I couldn't decline, even though I could spot even from where I was sitting at least two pianists who were, I felt, far more talented than myself. I heard a tiny voice whisper to me that it would be the right thing to do. I had no idea why. 

I sat on the pew, studying the music I had just been handed; trying to figure what parts I could miss out without too much notice, whilst still upholding the majestic nature of the piece. I turned to my husband and nervously smiled; I looked around the room and couldn't spot my parents anywhere - they usually sat with us during this meeting. I asked my husband if he knew and he broke the news that my Grandpa had been taken sick; they had gone to visit him. 

My heart dropped to my ankles; my dear Grandpa was 91 years old. My chest tightened. I wanted desperately to ask "How sick? What happened? Where is he?" But knew that Pete wouldn't have those answers. All he knew was that he'd had surgery earlier that morning, and it had not gone to plan. 

My palms started to sweat, and my throat began to ache with held-back tears. Meanwhile, the meeting had started. I knew I had a while before I would have to play; maybe I could find somebody who would happily fill in for me, due to the circumstances. But a quite voice in my chest told me that I would play; all would be well. 

I shut my eyes tight and began to offer a silent prayer to my Heavenly Father; "Please let Grandpa be okay. Please let Grandpa be well. Please let him be all right." I filled my heads with happy thoughts of Grandpa; how much life he still had in him; he couldn't die; he was far too young at heart; he would not die, not for a long, long time yet. 

My moment came, and I nervously walked toward the piano. My heart was pounding in time with my footsteps; my hands make the music flutter in my fingers. I sat to the piano, arranged the music, and took a deep breath - but just before I pressed my fingers to the sounding keys, I offered one last silent prayer to my Father in Heaven; "Let Grand know how loved he is." 

I never thought that I would play the piece as well as I did. I felt as though I was hardly even looking at the music; my head swam around and around with thoughts of Grandpa, and how he himself had fought in the Second World War. It seemed too strange to be coincidence that I had been asked to play, and that my own Grandfather - a war veteran - had been taken sick on this Remembrance Sunday. Hot tears quickly trailed my cheeks as I played the closing bars of the music. The cadence rang through the Chapel, and carried on ringing in my heart as I returned to my seat.

My beloved Grandpa, Reginald Farrant, passed away that evening, surrounded by many of his children; his wife at his side, and I am sure, many more angels waiting to welcome him into the next life.

As I thought of my Grandpa passing that evening, I felt a warmth in my heart and a confirmation of all that I know of the Plan of Salvation.

My Grandfather was an incredible man, and the more I learn about him the more I love him, and the more respect for I have for him.

I have no doubt that he is happy, safe and well where he is at this time; I have no doubt that he is teaching the Gospel like he has never taught before.

My Grandpa's passing was the first experience I have had with death since Seth passed away. The feelings of grief and mourning were still so raw that experiencing another death in the family opened up so many unhealed wounds. It was a difficult time. But, I found so much comfort in one thing; someone I knew so well in this life is finally able to be with him. Another member of our Church. Someone that he is sealed to. Someone who can be an incredible example to him, just like he was to all who knew him when he was alive.

I have no doubt that Grandpa is close to Seth, and that my little boy was one of those angels waiting to welcome him through the veil.

But as this wonderful Christmas season approaches, I am ever so mindful of those who are missing someone; in particular, my wonderful Grandma. Her and Grandpa had been married for over 50 years, had 9 children, 32 grandchildren, and 11 great-grandchildren with even more on the way. What a life to have lived! And this will be my Garndma's first Christmas without my dear Grandpa holding her hand. My heartfelt prayers will be with her especially this Christmas.

And to all those who are missing someone they love, however young or old, however many Christmases have gone by without them here; 

always know, that they are never too far to whisper to them a 

"Merry Christmas"

for they will always hear.

{For my beautiful Grandparents - I love you both so much}

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Christmas is coming...

...And I am getting fat - it's wonderful.

Not because I have eaten too much Christmas cake, but because Peter and I are having another baby :)

I have been holding the news very close to my chest, but now I feel it's about time I tell people that I haven't just eaten all the pies; I've eaten all the pies and I'm growing a baby.

That might help to explain why I haven't blogged in a while...This subsequent pregnancy has been hard; physically, mentally, and emotionally. Every time I have tried to write over the passed couple of months, it ends up in tears, and just hurts so, so much.

But I have been inspired. I was blessed over the passed couple of weeks to be able to help out a friend with her business blog; she has written some fantastic festive posts! Her wonderful words, stunning pictures, and the spirit with which she produced each and every post have just inspired me to get back into the swing of it!

I must admit, facing this Christmas will be the hardest of all. I have been making cards and gifts to keep myself occupied and always busy with something "Christmassy" to do, but I often found myself reduced to tears with my heart and arms aching - if my little boy were still here my Christmas crafts would be very different; our tree would be riddled with "Baby's First Christmas" baubles, a stocking bearing his name would be clung to the mantle, our cards would be signed from "Peter, Lucy & Seth", and instead of being decorated with a solitary snowflake, there would be place for a first Christmas family picture.

I think of these things and my heart swells, my throat closes and my eyes water, all with grief and mourning for the loss of so many possible memories.

But Christmas is my absolute favourite time of year; it's a time of celebration, joy, giving, and love. A season to celebrate the birth of our Saviour; to remember Him and all he did for us. It is a season to be jolly, happy, bright, and joyous. So I have decided, that despite my many current anxieties and burdens that I must carry, I will make the season bright! I will create and leave memories of a Happy Christmas, of a little growing family who are trying to put themselves back together after a really tough year. Instead of focusing on what we are lacking, or who we are missing this Christmas, I will focus on all that we have; wonderful friends, forever families, baby on the way, and an abundance of blessings great and small.

I am hoping to create a few dedicatory posts this Christmas; to a couple of special people, and to the season itself.

I do not doubt that this year has been tough for many; many sad things have had to come to pass, but I do not intend to let that riddle my Christmas. This festive season we shall cherish all that we have, and lift the Spirits of those who are in need; just because we can.


Friday, 19 October 2012

My Pian-ner (as my fab Dad would say).

Life is hard. It's a fact we all have to face at some point. Sometimes so many different emotions build up inside of me for a thousand reasons that I'm not even sure of until the point of no control and they all have to come out all at the same time but I have no idea how to release them all appropriately and in a way that nobody gets hurt? Ever felt like that?

Sometimes it's happiness, and elation, and joy, and excitability, and anticipation all at the same time, but also shame for feeling that way, because there are so many broken hearts that are not.

And sometimes it's broken-heartedness, and sadness, and despair, and loss, and helpless- and hopelessness... but then anger, because I don't want to feel this way because I am so, so, SO blessed...Why don't I see the blessings?

And sometimes it's every kind of emotion all at once, and then it gets tricky.

But there I have found a little routine that makes it all better. And here is how it goes.

1. I feel these emotions, and then I tend to cry, whether they're the positive or negative.

2. I take a few deep breaths when the wailing is over, and count until I don't want to count anymore.

3. I get down on my knees.

4. I clasp my hands together, and I say a prayer.

5. I concentrate on all of my blessings, and thank Heavenly Father for them.

6. I think hard about what might bring me comfort, and ask for these things.

7. I close, get up, and tickle the ivories on my beautiful piano, playing music that reflects exactly how I might be feeling. I might start of with something such as the Boomtown Rats' I don't like Mondays, But I do generally finish off on some level of calm, such as Paul Cardall's Restoration Medley. 

For six of the twelve months that Peter and I lived in Swindon, I didn't have a piano or anything like unto it. I then was given a lovely little keyboard, but it was only four octaves long, and playing out my emotions was a difficult fate sometimes, usually ending up with me far more frustrated than when I started. Now we are living back at home, I am able to play my beautiful Boston piano that my parents received in one extremely lucky twist of fate, which included a flooded bathroom, a freebie 100 year old tinker-tonker and a crazy insurance policy that my parents were actually trying to get rid of. Anyway, the point I'm trying to make is, is that it is pure bliss to have the privilege of being able to play such an incredible instrument, and how lucky and blessed I feel to have this Heaven-granted talent which not only keeps my fingers looking sleek and beautiful, but helps relieve the stresses of this mortal existence, and the tragedies of this terrible world that we live in.

Music is Therapy. Fact. And how grateful I am to have such a thing that helps me to heal, not only myself, but a little of others too.

Monday 15th October was Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. I wish I could have done a more to commemorate this event, but I was able to be aware and remember in my own little way, by lighting a candle for the Wave of light. At 7pm Monday Evening, people across the UK lit candles for their precious little ones, in groups and individually, and let them burn for one hour at least, as a gesture of remembrance and love to all those tiny children who have gone on ahead, and for their incredible parents who have suffered such a tragedy. Part of me wanted to post a picture of my candle all over Twitter and Facebook and my Blog and let everyone know where I was and what I was doing and tell them all about my little Seth, but more of me needed this to be a private and special moment, just for him, his Daddy and me. 

{I let the candle burn all the way down, as I couldn't bear to blow it out myself.
For my wonderful little boy.}

Friday, 5 October 2012

Be Prepared.

A phrase I have heard often throughout my life is to "be prepared!" And to be quite honest, I'm not very good at it.

When I was still young, my Mum would walk me to school, and she would pretty much always take an umbrella. We live in England, and as it's famous for, the weather can be extremely unpredictable. So I always knew, that if it started raining, it would be alright - Mum always brings her brolly.

This certain preparation was something that I stubbornly did not pick up from my Mum, as through my lone-school-walking teenage years, I would periodically come home soaked through the skin and freezing cold - I hadn't taken my brolly with me when I walked that morning. And so I faced the very wet consequences of not being prepared.

The Home Teaching message in Church for the month of September, was also about being prepared; being prepared to share the gospel heart to heart with anybody who might need to hear it. You can read it here.

As Pete prepared to fulfil his Home Teaching assignment, we read the article together. Reading articles from General Authorities is something we LOVE to do, but should really do a little more often.

We were able to hear the message again when we were visited by our own Home Teacher (there are usually two, but one was taken sick) - he was prepared to give us the message if such occasion arose - and was right to do so. We discussed with him about being prepared to share the gospel, and how difficult it can be sometimes; how we might feel we are too busy to have that conversation, or maybe we are scared that we may not have the answers the person is looking for. But we talked about how these fears can be avoided if only we are prepared.

After the visit, I reflected on the thoughts that had been shared, and about preparing - in every day life and for the big things. And since marrying Pete, I have always tried to be prepared for everything - like unexpected guests meaning a possible shortage of loo roll, or needing to take on an assignment when somebody falls ill.

But there are some things that I haven't been quite prepared for. Like Seth. I wasn't prepared to be told the news that my unborn baby boy had passed away - but can you prepare yourself for something like that?

The point I'm trying to make is that there are some tricky situations that can be easily avoided, as long as we appropriately prepare. Such as packing a brolly when you pack your lunch to avoid unpredictable weather soaking, or always having a spare toothbrush in the bathroom cabinet for an absent-minded sister. But also things like being able to answer a question in Sunday School, because you did study this week's lesson, or learning the names of the new members in your ward so that you can give them a personal welcome.

But the biggest thing, as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, that I personally feel I must prepare for, is General Conference.

Last General Conference which was held in April, fell just a couple of short weeks after Seth was born, and just two days before his funeral. I was at a very difficult place within myself. The week before it had slipped my mind that General Conference was even happening. I distinctly remember being reminded by my mother-in-law on the Thursday that General Conference was the coming weekend. My heart swelled, and I knew that inspiration, guidance, and love from the leaders of our Church would come just as I needed it. That weekend, Pete and I dressed up in our Sunday clothes, sat on our sofa, and watched every single session of General Conference together. We smiled, and cried, and made notes. We both felt the spirit so much in our home. We discussed how blessed we were to be able to watch the amazing leaders of our Church speak to the world from the comfort of our very own home, but we dreamed of the day when we would be able to sit in the conference centre together and hear them speak to us so close by.

Peter served his mission in Salt Lake City where General Conference is held twice yearly, and was able to attend all four General Conferences that took place when he was serving his mission. One of my favourite things about the few minutes before each session begins, is the camera span of the inside and outside of the Conference Centre and the magnificent Salt Lake Temple, and Peter points out all of the places he has stood, where he sat during conference, and where some of his favourite mission moments occurred. And I can't wait to hear it all again this weekend as we sit down together in my Parents' front room and prepare to hear the words of the Prophet, his apostles, and other church leaders.

I have been trying to prepare properly for this conference again. I have been praying numerous times daily that I will feel the spirit, and that I will understand the messages that are given to us. I pray that I will be able to take those messages and apply them in my daily life, with my husband and with all those around me. I pray that I will know how I can better myself as a person, as a member of the Church, and as a Daughter of God. And I also pray that I may find answers this weekend, to some of my fears, worries, and desires, and that I might more fully understand this gift of a life that I have been given.

I prepare by reading small snippets from April's conference, and ponder the messages there. It astounds me to think about how much my life has changed since the last General Conference, and between then and the one before that. I think about how much the previous messages impacted my life, and all of the conference talks that have really had an affect on me over the years. I would just like to share with you some of my favourite talks from General Conferences and Firesides over the years, some of my favourites to just read over and over and over again, and feel the same sweet spirit felt the first time they were heard.

The Reflection in the Water - Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Mountains to Climb - Henry B. Eyring

Your Happily Ever After - Dieter F. Uchtdorf

A Return to Virtue - Elaine S. Dalton

The Holy Temple - A Beacon to the World - Thomas S. Monson

These are, to just name a few - there are many, many more that have inspired and guided me throughout my whole life.

I am so, so grateful to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and to know the things that I know - specifically, that with a surety, that I am a daughter of my Heavenly Father, who loves me, who has a plan for me, and I have a brother, who is my Saviour, even Jesus Christ, who died for me, and was resurrected, so that I might enjoy the blessings of an eternal life, not only with Him and my Father in Heaven, but with my family who I am oh so blessed to share an earthly experience with here, with a little touch of Heaven, in my precious son, Seth Peter who has already gone ahead.

I know I have much to learn in this life, and I am so grateful for these semi-annual conferences that allow me to heed unto the words of Prophets , in whose day I am blessed to live.

If you are searching for something; be it answers, guidance, reassurance, who simply, love, then give this weekend a try - you don't have to be a member of the Church to come and listen to a Prophet's voice.

Watch past, recent and this coming General Conference right here.

And be prepared for what the Lord has in store.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Thoughts on Abortion.

Abortion is an extremely controversial topic, and one that many women are understandably terrified to share their views on. Until now, I was too - pro-life and you're called inconsiderate; pro-choice and you're called a murderer... I would much rather be called inconsiderate.

This topic makes my heart break.

When I was 15 years old, one of my closest friends fell pregnant. At 9 weeks, she decided to abort the foetus. I was heartbroken, for her more than anyone else. What a horrific decision to have to make. And what a burden to carry with you for the rest of your life.

Just over six months ago, I held my tiny son in my arms, born at 25 weeks' gestation, but who was only the size of an average 22-23 weeks' gestation baby. And that's exactly what he was, a BABY. Nothing else could have described that beautiful human being that I cradled and cried to in my arms. Although his spirit was no longer present in his body, he was still a baby. My baby. 

And to think, that there is a vast amount of child-bearing women out there who think that it would be totally fine to just abort a child at that size? That just sickens me.

From what I have read, the majority of women who are pro-abortion have not had children of their own (excluding possible abortions). You put those women in my situation? They would go pro-life quicker than a fox to a blind chicken.

And I totally don't understand the argument of "It's just not good timing for me. I'm at a great place in my career right now, and a baby would just interfere." What a load of poop. You should have thought of your career when you "forgot" to use some form of contraception. And if it was one of those 1 in 99 situations where the contraception doesn't work, if you were going to be that brutal with the consequence, you probably should have "doubled up". Abortion is not a legitimate form of contraception, and should never be considered so under any circumstances.

Did you know, here in the UK, to qualify for an abortion, your GP has to tick one of two boxes on a form. Either "Will damage Mother's physical health" or "Will damage Mother's mental health". Now, I don't know the statistics, that info is private, but I have heard that the second box is the one that is ticked 9 times out of 10. Any doctor who has to tick the first, will have a shattered mess of a woman sat in front of him, despairingly questioning "Why me?", wanting to rip her teeth out in frustration at herself, and desperately wishing that there was another way.

Most cases of abortion that I have heard of, the women have either been single and for whatever reason decided that a baby is "just not for them", or have abusive partners, which in some cases I can understand. My fifteen-year-old friend had a little of both; a boyfriend that wasn't the nicest of people, and convinced her that she wouldn't be able to take care of a baby, and the fact that she hadn't finished compulsory education. I would like to add that that particular friend, when she left school and had a stable boyfriend, conceived quicker than anybody else I know, as she was so desperate for a baby to try and make up for the awful decision she felt forced to make as a teenager.

The whole, "abusive partner", "case of rape" thing, really hits me in the chest. I could not imagine. I am not saying that in that situation abortion is totally okay. In this circumstance, I would personally leave it up to the woman herself, with friends and family close by, and possibly with the unbiased guidance of a counsellor of some form.

I've read certain articles on the internet, where women argue that to abort is "just easier" than to go through with the pregnancy and choose to place the baby up for adoption. Is pregnancy too interfering? Try telling that to a broken woman who has just been told that she is infertile, and would never be able to conceive her own children. What would she give for just a child to raise and to look after, to love and to care for, for life? And to think, some people just throw that incredible opportunity away.

Abortion may be convenient, but it sure as heck isn't fair.

 How would you feel if you chose to give somebody an amazing gift - something that means a lot to you -  something that you maybe would prefer to keep for yourself, but you decide that this somebody would be a good owner for this particular gift; you trust that they would use it well, and wisely, and that the owner would thrive once they possess your gift. You realise how good it would make you feel to be thanked for your gift, and you come to the conclusion that to give this gift will be the best thing for you as the giver, your trusted friend as the receiver, and even, for the gift.

A few weeks after giving the gift, you still haven't received a card, a note, a telephone call, or even a text to say thanks. You're feeling a bit down. You confide in another friend about the situation, when she breaks the news. The receiver of your gift has discarded it. She thought that the gift wasn't worth it, that she didn't need it, that she was better off without it. You are heartbroken; you trusted your friend with this gift, and she let you down. She threw it away, she shredded it, she put it down the waste disposal, she fed it to the dog. Whatever the worst possible fate was for your gift to her, it had happened. She had done it.

Now, I believe in a greater being, a God, a Father who is in Heaven who watches down on us, who does give us trials and challenges, and who knows the adversities we must face in this life, but who understands our pain. But I believe He also grants us blessings and gifts. Whether you believe in a greater being or not, a child is a gift - no matter what country you come from or where you live, who you believe in or what you worship. A child is a gift.

Just like whether we live in a big house, or in a hut, or drive a fancy car, or walk miles and miles - some people are blessed with children, some are not. Who are you to decide whether that child gets to live or die?

Yes it's true that if a child is born before 24 weeks it may not survive, but what difference does that really make? It's like saying that this person next to me with terminal cancer isn't going to survive anyway, so it's okay to shoot him in the head. What normal person would do that? No normal person would. They would let him go out, live his life to the fullest, let him enjoy every single breath he had left, and try and make his life as comfortable as possible, so that when he does go, he goes with a smile swept across his face. So why would you steal that from a child? No, if a baby was born before 24 weeks, it probably wouldn't survive, but why would that mean that it's okay to kill it before it could be born healthy and strong, and live a meaningful, happy life, maybe not with it's biological parents, but with a family who would take that child as their own, and let them fulfil their dreams.

No matter which way you put it, I really think that abortion is murder, it's taking an innocent life.

"In World War I, more than 8 million military fatalities occurred. In World War II, more than 22 million servicemen and women died. Together, these two wars, covering portions of 14 years, cost the lives of at least 30 million soldiers worldwide. That figure does not include the millions of civilian casualties. These data, however, are dwarfed by the toll of another war that claims more casualties annually than did World War I and World War II combined. Worldwide reports indicate that more than 40 million abortions are performed per year. [Russell M. Nelson - Abortion: An Assault on the Defenceless]

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Long time, no post...

It has been SO long since I last posted, and I feel ashamed.

Peter and I have been so busy, trying to organise ourselves again after Germany.

We arrived home from Munich to a completely different set-up of life to when we left.

At first if felt as though we were going backwards, but then I realised that we were in fact, moving in the exact opposite direction.

Many of you might know that Peter and I are now living with my parents, so that Peter can finish the last year of his Bachelor's Degree. Just nine months, I keep repeating. Just nine months.

It's not bad though. It was a humbling experience for us both, admitting that we were struggling, physically and emotionally, and needed a little extra support for this final academic year. My parents were, of course, delighted to have us back for just a while. It was a tough decision to make, but I am enjoying being close to my Mum, having a little girly time every now and again, to just chat about worries and anxieties, and silly pointless things that women love to talk about. It is fab.

One of the best things about being back at my parents house is definitely having a piano again - and it's right it our room! I have played almost every day, and I am determined to improve in the short time we are here.

My sister gave birth to her beautiful baby boy - Ammon James Barker - what a fabulous name!
I won't deny that it was probably one of the hardest things I have had to face since Seth passed away, but it was also a feeling of overwhelming and immense joy, holding that beautiful new life in my arms. He was a whopping 9lb 6 (!!) at ten days late, has a perfect mop of dark brown hair on his little round head, big pudgy hands, long feet, and skin as soft as you'd imagine a cumulonimbus to be!

I held him close for the first time when he was 11 days old. I breathed in that perfect brand new baby scent, and felt all five fingers gently grip my thumb. I mourned for Seth as I took in all of his perfect newborn features, but rejoiced for my beautiful sister, and her precious gift from our Father in Heaven. He was the first baby I'd really held since I'd held my Seth, and I was so glad I had chosen to hold Ammon, my wonderful nephew.

I now hold Ammon at every blissful opportunity I get. Sometimes it's really hard, and I have to gently hand him over, and quietly go and wipe my tears. But sometimes it's easy, and peaceful, and I let the Spirit whisper words of comfort to me, telling me that my own son is safe and happy, and is working hard, and is waiting patiently for our own embrace, just as I am.

Peter has now started back at University after 13 months of working, and that feels a little like going backwards. I know how much he enjoyed working, as he was learning so many new things in real situations, and it was really exciting for him, and I would love him coming home to me, and asking him about his day at work, and enjoying funny stories he had to tell, or celebrating his little achievements, or trying to relieve tension after a more stressful period... But he's going back to Uni to learn more and work even harder, and I know he will do just fabulously.

I'm starting to feel as though I miss Seth more than ever. I don't cry as often, but when I do, I cry for all the days I didn't and more. My arms still ache for him, I miss visiting his precious place of rest so often, I miss passing the hospital where he was born, I miss the only home he ever knew. I look around my parents from room at the pictures of Seth's cousin, and my heart stings with the knowledge that there is one missing; one who should slot right in between the rest. His little white dog sits on top of my piano, and I childishly pretend I'm playing to that teddy every time my fingers melodically touch the keys. It's hard to even finish one piece sometimes. There's a hole in my heart waiting to be filled, and since moving from Swindon, it seems to gape, as so many of my daily reminders have vanished as our little lives turn a corner.

So things are changing. Life is as wonderful, but hard as ever. But I know as long as I keep praying on my knees and in my heart, keep working to find answers to life's questions, and keep letting the tears come when they need to, that life will continue to be hard, but wonderful.

It may sometimes seem as though we are forced to make decisions that we aren't keen or willing to make, and hearts get broken, dreams shattered and hope for certain things becomes lost. But we must remember that there is a plan. I sometimes have to take a step back and remind myself of this talk. It's not about trying to be the Gardener, or trying to dictate what the gardener does, but by humbling ourselves enough to say "Thank you, Mr Gardener, for loving me enough to cut me down."
*** Posted with the awesome Sony Vaio Ultrabook!***
***Abundance of pictures from Germany coming soon... I know I have taken forever - sorry!***

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Got Rice?

So, as you probably know, my wonderful husband is Asian. Filipino to be precise.

He took me to the Philippines in December just gone for two weeks. We had a fab time. One thing I kinda missed out on though, was the food. I was 12 weeks pregnant when we arrived, 14 when we came back, so was in the thickest part of Morning Sickness throughout the whole holiday. I survived on oatmeal made with water, boiled eggs and mango. It was pretty good actually.

But now that I am here in Germany spending time with Pete's very Filipino family, there is abundance of opportunity to enjoy fabulous Filipino food. And I have learnt something.

The whole rice every day thing? Totally not a myth. Pure truth. Never known anything truer. In fact, it's more than true

So we eat rice, with Ulam (something that goes with rice, that isn't rice, eg. some kind of curry or sauce or meat).

So, fellow Brit's among the blog would probably assume that Ulam would be something like Chilli Con Carne or Chicken Korma, a Dinner Time Food, right? Wrong.

In my time in the Philippines I started to understand rice, but it was blurred by a haze of Morning Sickness and the fact that my nose would send messages to my brain, which would shout to my mouth "NOOOOO!" and send some weird heaving reflex to my stomach (Food aversion, one of the beauties of early pregnancy).

But now, here in Germany surrounded by fabulous Filipino',s I am really, really starting to GET rice.

Brits, attention! It is not just a dinner time food! Rice can be eaten for dinner, lunch, breakfast, a light snack, or even dessert (in other forms than Rice Pudding, which is in fact a British invention!)

Where us Brits would load our plates with grease-fried-protein and absolutely nothing else to "enjoy" a hot breakfast, the Pinoy's wack up some fabulous garlic rice (rice leftover from the night before, chilled in the fridge, and lightly shallowed fried with garlic and soy sauce and a few other amazing herbs) with either, hotdogs, Tocino, or fish, tomatoes and cooked-to-perfection eggs, which (I dare-say) is far tastier than grease-lined-whatever-meat-in-freezer plate topped with beans.

{Typical Filipino Breakfast}
Lunch and dinner are pretty much normal, rice with Ulam (meat, sauce or curry of some wonderful form). Some examples might include Adobo, Menudo, Caldereta, Kare-Kare, google any of them. They all look good, and taste fabulous.

Moving to snacks. The most common snack I've encountered in my time in the Philippines and even now in Germany (specially ordered from the Philippines for family Barbecue) - Suman.

{Pinoy Snack}
Suman is simply rice, wrapped in a banana leaf and cooked somehow. Apparently it's best eaten fresh and warm. Personally, I'm just not too keen on Suman, but I can see the appeal - warm and filling with a hint of banana. Just not my cup of juice.

So on to the most intriguing - Dessert.

{Popular Filipino Dessert}
The above is a very popular Filipino Dessert, named Sapin Sapin. It's made with coconut, condensed milk and a few other things, but mainly RICE. It's pretty good. It has like a chewy gummy texture, like nothing else I have ever felt in my mouth, but tastes quite good. Nothing like Rice Pudding. You eat it cold, and it's pretty hard to slice as it sticks to the knife like gum in your hair. I don't know how the person sliced the above so dang perfectly, they must have some bad-boy knife.

So that's pretty much a quick round up of Filipino food. Fruit, rice, meat, rice, egg, rice, coconut, rice, and a little more rice.

While surfing the net I found this amazing article, about how Filipino Food is "the next big thing". I'm pretty excited for it to reach Britain so everybody can enjoy the wonder that is Pinoy Cuisine!

I'm really enjoying my Mother-in-Law's incredible cooking, she has a superb talent for it, and obviously loves conjuring up fabulous Filipino food that is often TO DIE FOR. And feeding time in a Filipino house is definitely Family Time, and I'm definitely loving it.

I must admit though, you can only have so much rice. After the helpings I have enjoyed and will continue to enjoy on this break away, I'm not sure I'll be asking one question for at least a few days when dinnertime approaches back home: "Got Rice?" Er...I'm alright for a while thanks.

***Disclaimer - these are none of my own photos. I wish I could have taken photos of all the delicious food I have eaten here, but I didn't. Sorry!***
***Posted with Sony Vaio Ultrabook - it's awesome***

Friday, 17 August 2012

Munich so far.

Things have been a little hectic here in Munich, as Peter and I try to settle into "Holiday Mode". Recently things have been "GO GO GO" as so many things change around us, plus the grief of losing our precious little boy that constantly intermingles with the business of life -- it's difficult remembering that we can now actually just chill out, and we don't really have to worry about anything for the next two and a half weeks. I keep trying to remind Pete of this, and that we don't really have to worry about anything at all until we land in England again, but somewhere at the back of my mind I am totally freaking out too.

I asked Peter for a Priesthood Blessing last night, as it was all getting a little too much. It gave me some comfort. But hearing the words is one thing, doing what you're told to is another. Eugh.

But Munich is helping me to breathe. It is a stunning place, and I am so grateful to be here.

Having grown up in England, and having only left Europe just the once in my whole life to visit the Philippines (Christmas just gone), I have been amazed so far at this city. It is so clean. Even the building sites! They are covered up with huge stretches of material that are made to look how the building behind will when it's finished. Call me simple, but I think that is genius.
Buses, trains and trams arrive on time, there are flowers everywhere, and people actually put their rubbish in the bin. And if there's no room in the bin, they artistically balance it on top!

So far we have...

Eaten Filipino food at home;

Ridden the longest esclator I have ever seen;

Walked through the beautiful City Centre;

Ate yummy italian ice cream;

{Whilst looking super tubby on the left!}

Posed in front of Residenz Munich;

{Learn more here}

Ate incredible, traditional Bavarian food;

And tried on a stunning traditional Bavarian dress;

{Dirndl - Learn more here}
So far, it has been pretty wonderful. Munich is clean and beautiful. The architecture is amazing, the weather is warm, the whole place just incredible.

And how grateful I am to be able to spend time with these fabulous people, and how lucky to be related to them;

{Tatay, Erik, Nanay, Me, Pete - Family}

 Right now, I am feeling good.

***Just to say - Congrats! To Laura, Ross, Ryan and Alexander, to their brand new addition Baby Nicholas. What a squishy sweetie in pictures!***

***And Happy Due Date to one of my best friends and big sister Gabby, hope that Baby B makes his appearance for you and James soon!***

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Here at last!

After a very short flight, during which I slept the whole way, we arrived in Munich, Germany, and I feel like here, I can just breathe.

I have been waiting to visit Germany since the day I met Pete, and after 9 months of courtship, 11 months of marriage, I am finally here, and I am elated to be here. In fresh new air; air that I've never breathed before, roads I haven't walked, things I have never seen, and I just want to breathe in the whole thing in one big breath. Something about this place just makes me feel good, happy.

{Walking in Ostpark, Munich}
And I am so glad and grateful that I am here for the next three weeks.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Almost a year.

You know, Seth's middle name was going to be "Windemere", because that's where he was conceived. Ha!

{Look at that for a skyline!}

I cannot believe it has almost been a year since Peter and I got married.

We were so happy.

And we still are. 

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Just because...

So I am writing this post, just because I fancy having a little bit of a rant.

Yesterday was a bit of a rubbish day. I got home from work, and Pete had to go out which big-time SUCKS. I was on my own for the first time in over 3 weeks, and it hit me quite hard. I tried to get things done, and I did get some things done, but I just felts absolutely pants.

Pete came home hungry, so I attempted to make pasta bake. This is usually our staple food here in the Magpantay house, but last night it was just not happening. I was feeling so rubbish, that I put a splash of oil in the pan, emptied out the bag of pasta all that was left (which didn't even fill up the pan, and wouldn't have made a whole pasta bake anyway), and somewhere between boiling the kettle and talking to my Dad on the phone, I'd turned the hob on and left the pan of dry pasta on it.

One five minute phone call later and I have dry, black pasta, a ruined pan and a very stinky kitchen.

Up until then, I'd tried to hold it back, but then, just for a minute, I just had to cry. Everything was rubbish, I was rubbish, I felt rubbish, the food was rubbish, life was rubbish.

I've tried to clean the pan since about ten times, but it still just stinks. I don't think it will ever be the same... What an idiot.

I think I'm addicted to chocolate. It's gotten to the point where I will just devour a whole £1 double bar of Cadbury (most recently the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Ltd Edition) and still want more. So I ate a whole one of the "Nuts for Gold" bars today, and have just seen my way through half a box of Cadbury double chocolate fingers (or, to my lovely husband: Cadbury Sticks). And even though I feel sick at the amount I've eaten this morning, I can see them in the corner of my eye right now, and still want to eat the SO BADLY.

Has anyone got a healthy "chocolate fix" recipe that I can nab? I need to find a chocolate fix that won't make me feel so fat.

Isn't it just rubbish when things just do not turn out the way you want them to?

Pete is talking really loudly on the phone in German to his brother and keeps saying "Echt!?" and I don't know what it means and it' bugging me big time.

I have such a bad headache.

I hate those days when you just feel pants, and everything is pants, and you know it will be pants for ages, but there's nothing you can do to make it not pants.

And one more thing:
                      I'm not usually one to complain about the English weather. This is the country I live in, and can't stand it when people complain about the weather usually - "You live here, so deal with it" is my usual thought-response to UK weather complaints, but I have to say, it's just getting ridiculous now. It rained the whole way through April and May, most of the way through June, and now we're approaching mid-July and it's still raining. Give us a break, yeah WeatherMan??

I'm not usually this bitter about life. I'm actually a very positive person, but I'm just not feeling upbeat right now. I'm think I'm fully entitled to a "down-day" every now and again.

It's probably the lack of Vitamin D that's making me feel so absolutely pathetic and sorry for myself.

My husband just gave me a really lovely kiss, and I feel a little better now :)

Life is okay really. It could be worse. I get nervous about being negative, as I feel as though if I complain too much I'll be humbled by being given another humungous burden and trial to carry.

I do love life, and I am so grateful for all I have. It's just really, really hard sometimes.

Sunday, 8 July 2012


Life is, oh, so hard.

When I was a little girl, and had troubles such as losing a favourite doll, or my best pink t-shirt still hadn't come out the other end of the wash, or my Mum wouldn't buy me the wonderful knickers, I always thought that grown-ups had it easy. They had jobs, could watch whatever they wanted on TV, and buy and eat whatever on earth they wanted from the shops. They had the money, the food was in the shop - all they had to do was put it in the trolley and it was theirs! (I used to think that must be the best part about being a grown up, and used to dream of the day when I could put a chocolate gateau in my very own shopping trolley every single week).

As I got a little older, I "realised" that having whatever I wanted in my trolley wasn't going to be the answer to all of my grown-up troubles, and soon discovered that getting married would solve them all.

I started to "understand" that marriage was the key to happiness, and my very own Prince Charming (who would, by the way, let me put whatever I wanted in my shopping trolley) would be the answer to all of life's problems, such as; "Why won't Mum buy me that top?" or "Why won't Dad let me go to that party?". As a husband would buy me things without me having to ask, and he would just go to the party with me.

I was actually this naive until quite late in my teenage life.

But even if someone had told me when I was younger that finding a job is probably one of life's most stressful challenges, and that you have to count every penny you put in the trolley, especially when you're newly wed, and that happiness is more than a gob-smacking-ly beautiful man on your arm (even though I'm lucky enough to have one of them anyway...)
        Back to the point - even if someone was nasty/nice enough to tell me these things when I was younger, I doubt it would have made a blind bit of difference.

I look at my life, and I see a bounty of blessings.

Sometimes they're hard to see through the mist of trial and tribulation, surrounding towers of challenge and roads well-wandered...But when I sit back and wait for the fog to subside, and look closely through the gaps between the towers, and passed those well-worn roads, it is clear to see them all, lined up, fitting perfectly into the skyline that is my life.

I must admit, the skyline from my window isn't looking too wonderful; England is having a rainy and gloomy Summer, and my outlook on life is much like the present season. But the future looks bright, I see sunny days ahead, passed this stormy weather there must be a rainbow waiting to appear and bring hope to someone praying for a sunny day; someone praying, just like me.

So here's to those who are feeling the same, trying to find the light in their skyline; the sunshine on a gloomy day; their blessings in a world of strife.

Here's to you, and me. Here's to hope that we get through - find our way to the other side, where the grass is greener maybe? Or where the sun could shine through green leafy trees, or just where someone might just give us a chance.

Don't stop praying; someone's listening.

And here's to those thoughts of grown-ups that we all had when we were young, 
Thinking life is a breeze passed 18... 
Now that we know it's not, here's to turning 65, 
Hoping that will bring some smiles...
But for now, let's just enjoy every little thing in between.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Wish you were here...

It has become very difficult to blog recently.

Although finding my New Normal is becoming easier, as I have started a new job as an Apprentice Estate Agent, which I am absolutely loving so far.

It's so odd to think that Seth's due date has now passed...

It was so difficult to come to terms with the fact that my pregnancy was cut so short. And now it is so difficult to try and come to terms with the fact that I wouldn't be pregnant now anyway...

My heart is breaking, and my arms, like always, are aching.

I have a lump in my throat, and I'm blinking every second to prevent the sting from coming to my eyes which would inevitably mean that I would cry.

I know that sometimes it's good to cry, but now that I know I shouldn't even be pregnant any more, it feels strange.

But the knowledge of the absence of pregnancy either way, is nothing compared to knowing that I should have my child right now, in place of a bump.


I wish I could hold you in my arms right now. I wish I could sing our favourite song. I wish you were led here, between me and you Daddy in our bed, wiggling around, blinking your eyes and kicking your legs. I wish I could hear you cooing, and feeling your baby breath across my face. I wish I could stroke your soft hair, and touch your silky skin, like all brand new babies have. I wish little chubby fingers and thumb could clutch to mine as you try to smile and hold eye contact. I wish our dreams of you weren't shattered so. I wish I could hold your feet in one hand, and touch my nose to yours. I wish I could whisper to you, telling you I love you, knowing that you'd hear so clear. 

I wish you were here...

It feels so good to just put my feelings out there, even if no one's reading, to just know that they've been sucked into the "ether" or whatever. I do hope my words reach someone. I hope they make a difference.

I hope that from my words, my simple words, that somebody knows that they are not alone...

Saturday, 30 June 2012

Due Date.

This morning, from a dear friend;

Today you should be massively pregnant, feeling miserable and anxious and overwhelmed at the anticipation of meeting the beautiful baby who has been rolling and kicking and hiccuping in your belly. You should be chubby and eating everything in sight and asking me all the ways to bring on labour... You should have gone into that labour and come out with a pink, chubby, screaming baby - who instantly stops screaming when placed lovingly into your arms. You should have had him to take home, to nurse him with your milk, smell his sweet newborn scent and feel the calm spirit of "everything is alright" in your beautiful home. You will have this one day - I'm sure of it, and when it happens it will be wonderful... But for now, and especially today, we remember baby Seth Peter Magpantay - your special baby who you will raise in the eternities. How terrible it is that you can't have him now, but oh how glorious will that reunion be - when you see the Saviour, in all His glory, proud of your achievements and faithfulness in this life and say to you "Here is your son, who I have saved for you to raise and love for all eternity." I know Seth is close to you - more often than you may think, but especially today. Just remember, that during the time when you feel the most alone and like no one is there... You are actually being held so tightly, you can't see or feel anything else. Love you Lucy and Peter. Hope you have a tender and sweet fay together in remembering what should have been, but looking forward with faith and hope in a more joyful and glorious future.

As I read these words, hot tears streamed from my eyes down my cheeks, that familiar ache pulsed through my arms, and my heart was full; full of hurt, pain, loss, remorse, sorrow, mourning... But also full of gratitude, hope, faith, and love. 

Today should have been the day. But it wasn't.

Instead of my baby, I have my box. But oh, how grateful I am for that precious box and all that it holds, and for the hands that lovingly prepared it.

I am so grateful for all of the hands that have reached out and held tightly to our own, for all of the hearts that have been full for us, for all of the prayers that have been said out loud and whispered still, for every hug that we received that should have belonged to Seth; for every compassionate smile, every understanding word. For every cautiously written note, for all the gifts of remembrance; for every single tear shed on our behalf, and in memory of our Son. For all of the acknowledging looks, for all of the carefully phrased sentences, and for all of the love that has ever been felt for the loss of a child; I am grateful.

I wonder where I might be today - on this most special and significant say - without all that listed above. I wonder where my heart might lie, how my head might hang or how my tears would fall. Very differently, I think. For My heart is full of thanks, my head bows in humility, my tears fall for gratitude and grace.

For every soul that has lifted, embraced, touched, or felt my own, I give thanks, for those souls have kept me going - have kept me me. Thanks to those souls, I have not forgotten the worth of every single precious life that walks this earth. I have not forgotten who I am, where I came from, where I am going, or how I must get there.

For all of this I am grateful.

But I am most especially grateful for the one little soul who makes it worth it all.

My Seth.

The perfect example. The beacon of hope. The most precious soul of all.

It is strange to think I did not know who he was before he was created inside of me, for even though it just seems like yesterday that he came and left this life, I feel as though I have known him always. And I know I have.

So, this one is for you, my Seth. Thank you. 

I cannot wait for the day that I will see you again, hold you, love you, be your Mother... Until then, I will pray for you every day. I will think of you every minute. I will hold you in my heart forever.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

A little reassurance.

Busy, busy, busy...

This week I have been helping out my friend Laura with her little boys - she is pregnant and very sick, and needs help. Her oldest is three, and is needing to be potty-trained before he starts Nursery in September, so I have been over their house so far this week to help pick up Ryan and put him on the toilet, and bend down to pick things up, and lift heavy stuff - all the things that poorly seven-month-pregnant women can't do, and I've been very much enjoying spending time with my beautiful friend with a beautiful bump and her two beautiful little boys. 

Yesterday afternoon, Laura had to go out for a few hours (which became a little tricky with potty training, but that's beside the point). While she was gone, her little one, Alexander who is 19 months old, woke up from his nap. I heard him cry out a little and went upstairs to see him. Alexander is such a lovely little boy, he has gorgeous blonde hair and big beautiful eyes, he chats and dances and has a fabulous sense of humour. I walked into his room and found him sat up clutching his blanket, with "dow-dow" (dummy) in mouth, and he reached out for me. 

It was a wonderful feeling. I felt wanted. I felt needed. I felt loved. 

I walked to him and lifted him from his cot. I held him to me, and he smiled. 

Then  something wonderful happened. He touched my necklace - my beautiful necklace which holds my little boy's name close to my heart - and looked up into my eyes. I said my baby's name aloud and Alexander smiled. "Seth", I said again, and Alexander put his head on my shoulder and stayed there, for just a second. But a second was all it took for me to know that he knew him. I don't know how, but from somewhere; another time, a previous life, or maybe now - but in that second emotion overcame me, and I knew my little boy was close by. 

I smelled Alexander's hair, touched his hands, kissed his cheek, wiggled his nose. I missed my little boy, but for a moment my arms were not aching, for they were filled with love for Seth, from my heart, and from the heart of the young boy that I held just then.

It's moments like these, that have only happened once or twice, that really keep me going. It is in these moments that I know for sure that my little one is close by, that life does not end with death, that he is watching me, that he is happy, that he is safe, that I am loved, that all is well. 

I tried to tell Laura about this experience yesterday when she arrived home, but words escaped me. 

I tried to tell Peter when he came to pick me up, but again, the words were not there to say.

And it was then that I knew that I just had to write it down, and share it with all. For I am not the only one who need a little reassurance once in a while.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

A day for all Dads.

This weekend has been really difficult.

Today is Father's Day. A day to celebrate fathers. A day to love and spoil our Dads.

Pete returned home from work late on Friday, and as soon as he walked in the door he fell apart. I held him as he cried for our little boy, and cried too.

We attended church in my parent's home ward today. Of course, all of the talks were about Dads. A young boy and his Mum gave a talk, followed by a brand new deacon. They were lovely, full of humour and innocent anecdotes, Pete and I began to feel sad, mourning for our own son. When the third speaker took the stand, she began to quote a talk from President Spencer W. Kimball. It was one of counsel to young people, and the part she focused on was direction given to young married couples.

It was a talk that Peter and I had read together when we found out we were expecting just a few weeks after being married. We were anxious about being able to provide for a tiny baby, and about being a brand-new married couple with a brand-new baby. We read that talk from that great prophet and our minds and hearts were at ease. We knew that it was a blessing from the Lord, and that He had a plan for us, and that it was what was right for then.

Of course, when March 17th rolled around, six months married, and a week from six months pregnant, we did not understand.

We prayed to Heavenly Father asking "Why? Why give us this wonderful blessing, confirm to us that it's right, and then so cruelly take it away? Why?"

It was, without a doubt, the most difficult thing ever. We just could not understand. We had done everything we could for our little boy, and we were so ready to be parents, and to love and nurture and care for one of Heavenly Father's children.

So today was hard. Hearing those wise words from President Kimball that we obtained so much faith from just broke our hearts. It brought back the memories of lying on our bed in our pyjamas, Peter talking to my tummy, saying hello to baby, telling baby that we love him, introducing ourselves as baby's parents, and knowing that baby was what Heavenly Father had planned for us, that baby was ours, and that he would be ours forever because of our precious temple sealing that we had experienced just weeks before.

We left the meeting early, both in tears, crying for Seth, and frustrated at the world, at our experiences, that he is not here with us on this blessed Father's day.

When we returned to my parent's home, I thought about the words of President Kimball's talk, and what they meant to me then, and how their meaning has changed for me now.

And oh, how they've changed. The voice is so much clearer, the words so much more meaning. Our faith ever stronger.

I thought of those words, and knew that Heavenly Father has a plan for us, the Magpantay family. He has a plan, divinely designed, unique to us. A plan that will take us on so many journeys, ups and downs, and forwards and backwards. Day by day that plan plays out in our lives, and how often do we really take the time to appreciate all of our Father in Heaven's hard work? All of the blessings that he has bestowed upon us, and that he has in store for us? How many times do we wish things were different? Rather than appreciating that every down has an up, every back a forward, every trial, a blessing, that is created divinely for us, individually, and as families?

So today is a day for our Dads; our Fathers.

I held my husband and kissed him today, and told him he is a Daddy, and that I know Seth is watching him on this blessed day.

And I got to be held by my own Daddy today, he squeezed me tight and kissed my cheek and held my hand, and it took everything I had in me not to cry when we left him this afternoon. Thank you for being the best Dad for me, and for all that you have done.

And I got to pray to my Father in Heaven, in my heart I thanked him for our trial, and for the blessings that we have received so far for enduring it so, and for the blessings that I know He has in store for us if we continue to be faithful. And I thanked Him for His divine design; His eternal plan of happiness which we are blessed to have a knowledge of, which means that we can hold and love and cherish and nurture our precious, perfect little boy again.

"Any fool can be a Father, but it takes a real man to be a Daddy."
Philip Whitmore Senior.                        

To the man who walked me in...

...And the man who walked me out.

 To the two best Dads I know,
I love you, forever.
Thank you, for being the best.

Friday, 15 June 2012

One for the weekend.

Love Story.

I haven't done a "One for the weekend" in a while, and seeing as it's Friday, and I've not much else to do, I thought I would today. With the focus being on my wonderfully amazing husband.

{From here,}
I think I will make something like this for my home one day...I love genuine and rustic look!! 

When I think about mine and Pete's story I can't help but smile.

When I am feeling low or angry or some other type of negative emotion, Pete sometimes reminds me of particular times we shared when we were dating. Our favourite memory to reminisce about is bike rides at my parents house. On summer days when Pete was visiting our home for the weekend, we woul borrow my parent's bikes and cycle to the supermarket, which was about a mile away, to get some lunch or dinner, or sometimes just for fun. I remember the first time we went I hadn't cycled in a loooong time, and I rode through a prickly bush and crashed into a wall. Pete loves to tell that story.

Those are some of my favourite parts of our story.

Also, the time when Pete and I decided on our Wedding Date...

We'd been dating for about two months, not yet engaged. I knew already that I wanted to marry him, and he knew that he was going to marry me. We just gelled together. We just worked. We were so happy. We were sat in my parent's dining room, pen and paper in hand, trying to figure out our plan of action. We wrote down so many things that day... September 2011, March 2012, August 2012...August 2013... We discussed every single date, and wrote down all of the pros and cons.

All of the answers were pointing to March or August 2012, but for some reason, neither of those months just didn't feel right. We talked through our feelings, our hopes and dreams and goals, and just talked about how much we loved each other. And we just knew the answer was 2011. We wanted August, but knew we had to wait for Pete's brother to come home from his mission, so we decided on three days after his mission ended (he was still technically a missionary at our Wedding, as he hadn't been released by his Stake President back in Germany - he looked fab at the reception in his barong tagalog and his missionary badge!)

Recently I have been thinking about all of the steps that Peter and I took to get to the point where we are now. It's incredible how fast time has gone. It feels like New Year 2010-11 was just yesterday, walking through Hyde Park, hand-in-hand, first kiss...

When I think about how far we have come from that point... How much we have grown, how much we have learnt, how much we have been through, and we've not even been married a year... Sometimes I feel overwhelmed with gratitude. I am so grateful for Peter, my husband; my rock; my best friend. He completes me; he makes me feel whole; he perfects me. He is just fab.

I recall our Love Story in my mind, and reflect on the times we have had over the passed year and a half - how great my husband is, how great he makes me feel, and how great we are together. I am so grateful for the times we have shared so far as a little family unit, and with our little Seth, and I so look forward for the times to come, over the Eternity that we are sealed together for. How exciting that is, to know that my fantastic husband is mine forever.

I know that I can truly say, with an honest heart, that

Every Love Story is beautiful, but
Ours is my Favourite.

Pete, you're the best. 

Thursday, 14 June 2012

When a baby dies before labour begins.

When we were still in the hospital, just after we found out that Seth's heart was no longer beating, we were offered a leaflet a number of times, and refused. A leaflet? How would a leaflet help? What is a leaflet going to say to make any of this better?

We went home to gather the things that we needed, family arrived and cried with us for a short time. We went back to the hospital with my parents, and totally not ready to give birth to Seth.

A little later, a midwife asked us again if we would like to see the leaflet. By this point I don't think I had said a word for at least 45 minutes. Pete said okay, my Mum said that she'd like to have a look too.
She returned shortly after and handed my Mum the leaflet, she skimmed through and then handed it to Pete. I remember closing my eyes and pretending to be asleep, willing it all to be some terrible, terrible dream and wished so hard to feel a big kick inside my bump, a little rumble, a heart beat...

"It's quite nice actually, babe," Pete had said. "It's not awful. Would you like me to read some to you?"

At this point I opened my eyes. I hadn't yet seen the leaflet. Didn't know what it was called, or what it was even really about.

I looked over to Pete and saw it in his hands; read the words printed on the front.

"No." I said and rolled over. "I don't want to hear it right now."

I remember the tears rolling down my face and hot and ticklish into my ears.

The words had hurt me. Cut straight through my throat with the sharpest knife.

I knew that the words were true. It was just that no one had said it so plainly yet. Die. To die. When a baby dies. Baby dies. Babies die? So young, so pure, so fresh, so innocent, still growing? Stillborn? What did that mean? Stillborn meant just this - when a baby dies before labour begins. 

The thoughts raced through my mind. 

He died. He died. He died.  

My mind couldn't comprehend it, yet this leaflet said it so plainly. So bluntly. Just put it out there. I felt like it was shouting at me, even when I wasn't looking at the words they were screaming through my mind: 

"Your baby died. Your son died. Your child died." 

Somewhere between these thoughts and tears I drifted to a different state. I woke up soon after in pain, like annoying period cramps. I heard Pete, flicking pages of the leaflet. I asked him to read to me.

"Finding out at any stage of pregnancy that your unborn baby has died, or is dying, is a devastating shock. We are so sorry that this has happened to you..."

As he so softly read the words of the leaflet to me, confusion intermingled with pain, and somewhere hidden in the crossed wires of my mind, there was peace. The words gave me great comfort to know that I was not alone. I knew from those words that there was help. I knew that I would be supported. I knew that I would be okay - it would be difficult, it might tear me apart some days, maybe even most days - but I would be okay. 

I think back to that time, and I'm strangely grateful for that experience, and the other experience I had in hospital. 

I'm grateful that I was able to do that one last physical thing for my son, by naturally giving birth, and letting our bodies share that experience. I'm grateful for all of the wonderful Midwives and Nurses and Doctors who helped me through that difficult process. I'm grateful for the love and support I felt there, and that, considering the circumstances, my stay was made as positive as it could have possibly been. 

And when I think about it, it is all thanks to Sands.

Sands provide the training necessary to the Healthcare professionals to know how to rightly deal with such a horrific situation. They train the staff in compassion and sensitivity, so that the grieving parents of the passed baby do not feel alone, and know that they are cared for. They train the staff in how to create memories of precious little ones, so that parents do not go home empty handed. Although not with their cherished baby, they can go home with memories and keepsakes and pictures of baby, and the time spent with them.

And this is all thanks to Sands. 

Just like I posted earlier this month, June is Sands Awareness Month. 

Help spread awareness of the charity to help support grieving parents, and provide medical professionals with the training needed to help care for the families of a lost little one. 

I was lucky to give birth in Swindon GWH, as they have had extensive training and communication with Sands to provide help and support to grieving parents, but someone else across the UK, and across the world, may not have been given the same support and care as I received. 

When a child is stillborn, hearts break. Sands help patch up those broken hearts, and piece lives back together after a devastating loss. 

Tuesday, 12 June 2012


There are so many things that I need / would like to do right now, but I just have no motivation to do anything at all.

Like I said yesterday, I just want to put things on hold for a minute to breathe, but I'm not finding that pause button any where.

Quite appropriate though, is that Peter and I have decided to study Patience this month as a family in scripture study and Family Home Evening. It's something that I've always struggled with, and am struggling with right now.

I think to myself "I'm doing all the right things, I'm doing everything that I am meant to, I'm living the way I'm supposed to, I'm a good person, where are my blessings!?!" But, the truth of the matter is, I'm missing one vital thing in my plea:


Eugh. Patience. Who thought of such a thing? Even the sound of the word gets on my last nerve sometimes.

PAY - SHUNCE. Bleugh.

But it's true. In the words of Take That, we all need to "just have a little patience". Darn.

These are the things I currently have to be patient for:

  • Peter to get home from work
  • Illness to subside
  • The rain to stop - every one is always happier when the rain stops...
  • A job
  • Whether or not we'll move
  • Seth...
I think that this is the attribute that the most people struggle with, worldwide. At least, it feels like it. It definitely is I think. It feels like we're always waiting for something. And as soon as that waiting is over, a new kind of waiting begins. How annoying. 

With Seth, I understand that I need to be patient. And I'm okay being patient until life is done. I know with him, all I have to do is try my best in this life, and I'll get to see him again, hold him in my arms, and kiss his face and be his Mum. 

It's all the other stuff that's so frustrating. 

Sometimes, I get so angry, that I want to tear the walls down and scream and shout, and tell everybody who I see that "Life is not fair!" But I know that will probably just make things more rubbish. 
So all I can do is curl up in a ball and cry into my pillow.

On those days, nothing makes anything any better. Not even chocolate.

I think everybody has those days though, right? When they just want to tell the world to go away? And make their own dream land where everything is just right? I think Dream Land makes everything worse though, too. It just makes you even more sad about the world we currently live in. At least for me.

No, wait...There is one thing. 

The only thing that makes these days okay, is PRAYER.

In prayer we can pour out our hearts, our souls, our biggest fears and our deepest desires. Even if you're not entirely sure that there is anyone listening, it sure does feel good to just say it.

I'm lucky enough to know that there is someone listening. Someone who can ease the pain, and help carry the burden of every day crappy, sucky living; someone who understands; someone who isn't going to argue back, or helplessly try and make things better. They might respond, but only when all is quiet, and when the heart is at peace. An answer may come to those who wait, those who listen, those who desire for an answer to come. 

But that all comes back to patience. And that's why I need to learn as much about that attribute as possible. I'm waiting, so desperately for an answer, a whispering, a still small voice, a humbling, a comfort, a peace in my heart, a knowledge to my mind, an arm around shoulder, a lift from within...

All I have to do is be patient. 
Life is full of difficulties, some minor and others of a more serious nature. There seems to be an unending supply of challenges for one and all. Our problem is that we often expect instantaneous solutions to such challenges, forgetting that frequently the heavenly virtue of patience is required.