Happy 2nd Birthday Owen

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Two years ago today Owen quietly entered the world, 16 weeks later he left as silently as he came. Though he never said a word his roar was heard round the world and inspired people to pay it forward in his name. 5,000 books have been collected, hundreds of people have become organ donors, and this Sunday we’ll become lifesavers for the 2nd time as we join together to save lives through blood donation. CLICK HERE to learn how you can become a Life Saver! Happy 2nd Birthday Owen!

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ONLY 4 DAYS LEFT TO SIGN UP TO BECOME A LIFESAVER!

Disney Tickets Drawing 20152The 2nd Annual LionHeart Owen Blood Drive is just 4 days away! LifeStream has partnered with us and is offering each donor a chance to win a family pack of four tickets to Disneyland Park OR Disney California Adventure Park.

Don’t miss this opportunity to pay it forward! Join us at Sacred Heart Church/School in Palm Desert THIS SUNDAY, May 17 from 10-2 and become a LIfesaver! Just 30 minutes of your time can give 3 people the chance at a lifetime.

Make your appointment today by visiting www.lionheartowen.com/events

Happy Mother’s Day!

Mothers day 2015On May 15, 2013 I dove head first into the darkest and most beautiful journey of my life. I experienced a pain no words could describe but was surrounded by a sunshine brighter than any I had ever seen. On May 15, 2013 I became a Mom. I gave birth to our first greatest creation and in that moment I saw Jesus first hand. Though my introduction into motherhood was much different than many others, it is an adventure I would never change.

My first Mother’s Day I celebrated with the miracle of life kicking inside me. My second Mother’s Day I experienced the same joy balanced with an immense grief that my first born was safe in my heart and not in my arms. This Mother’s Day, my third, I am experiencing an incredible first, a Mother’s Day with my son in my arms.

IMG_7692My boys have taught me so much. In two years I have learned love, faith, patience, the true meaning of a village, the need to never stop showing up and the importance of his legacy. I’m learning how to grieve, how to get back up and how to ask for help. I’ve learned you don’t always have to be strong because there’s so many around us that can be strong for us. I’ve learned that being an adult is overrated and if I listened to my mom I would have waited. I’ve learned that being a wife, a mother… just being alive is hard but every second is worth it. I’ve learned that our children look up to us and we must never take that responsibility for granted.

IMG_5105Maya Angelou said, “Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take but by the moments that take your breath away.” My breath was taken away the first time I saw the pregnancy test that said I was a Mom! My breath was taken away the first time I heard his heart beat on the ultrasound machine. My breath was taken away when I breathed for him as he came into this world. My breath was taken away the day he learned to breathe. My breath was taken away when he laid in my arms and together we took his last breath. My breath was taken away the day I was being blessed with a second boy to call me Mom. pic1My breath was taken away the first time I held our tiny healthy miracle in my arms. My breath was taken away with each new milestone met. My breath is taken away each time the wind blows and Owen gives me sweet kisses as he flies by. My breath has been taken away each day since I became a Mom.

Happy Mother’s Day to each and every one of you! No matter how you became a Mom, today is all about you! Thank you for your heart. Thank you for each time your breath was taken away. I celebrate you and pause to honor you today. My heart aches for each of you who have never held your child, for each of you that long to see a positive pregnancy test, for each of you who have had to say goodbye pic 4to your greatest gift. Today I mourn with you! Even more than that today, I also rejoice that you are Moms! Your baby gave you the greatest gift and your child made you the incredible woman you are! Today is our day!

An unwanted guest with muddy shoes

20130904-230615.jpgOn September 4, 2013, our son died. I held his lifeless body in my hands and said, “good-bye” for the last time. I wept. I sobbed. I screamed. I then became empty. I felt like I was in a dream… no a nightmare. Life went on. People moved on. Everyone kept living, moving, just being. For some time I did not know how. I did not know how to go back to life before Owen. I did not know who I was before Owen. I did not know who to be, period. The truth is there will never be life before Owen. Owen changed me. He changed me in a huge way and each day I am discovering more and more how he changed me. I am discovering who I am in this new different every day. Some days I like who I am. The mom, the wife, the employee, the daughter, the friend, and the positive woman that believes that last “good-bye” was really a see you later. Other times I hate who I am. The impatient, frustrated, sad, angry, hopeless, broken woman who believes he is gone forever.

Brody the hippo5 weeks after Owen passed away I went back to work. Two months later I found out we would be expecting our second son. I was going to be a Mom to our second child. He would need me. Work needed me. My husband needed me. Business was good at work. I had a healthy baby boy growing inside me. I had a few friends that I spoke to regularly and a family that provided endless support. Life went on. My life went on. I was learning how to fit in with the new different.

But in so many ways life hasn’t moved on. The motions have continued. The rhythm of the day has gone on. Wake up, drink coffee, go to work, come home, make dinner, go to bed, repeat… Yes, there are days that provide some excitement and the weekends provide some variation, but for the most part, day in and day out I do the same thing and that has provided comfort. I have avoided so much that is out of that comfort zone because of… well, fear. I have stopped working out. We have not vacationed. We rarely go out and not just because it can be a lot of work with a 7 month old, but mostly because routine is safe. Life is safe. There are few tears in the mundane. I know what to expect. It is safe.

photoToday, this all changed. Today, I realized all of the above and today grief and God gave me a serious smack down. I’ve spoken many times lately about how the second year of grief is hard. It’s hard because life goes on. The first year everyone else’s life had gone on; in the second year I realized my life had gone on too and I don’t think I was ready for it. I have been standing in its way. I have an incredible second son who is turning 32 weeks. He has lived TWICE Owen’s lifetime and will live so many more. This scares the crap out of me! I have an amazing husband who stands by my side and would stop at nothing to give me the world if I asked for it. My life is blessed. But, I get in its way. My pain and the stages of grief stop me from so many things.

Today I decided to go head to head with grief without even knowing it. Today I decided to focus on me. To fall in love with the new different woman I have become and get to know her. Today I went for a run. It’s been a long time since I have put on my tennis shoes, walked out the front door, and just started moving. Today, I battled all of the excuses and I just went…. Phew! Now I remember why I have been avoiding it. It’s a scary place to be alone in my head. I begged God to show up. To let me know he was there… God created my playlist for my run and picked my foot up for every step. He filled my lungs with the breaths that Owen never got to take and he told me it was time to feel. In that moment the tears started. They poured out of me. Sobs came out without any control and I allowed myself to grieve. The stages of anger, denial, depression and bargaining poured out of me. God said, “It’s time for me to help you live with acceptance.” The 5th stage, I am not ready for…

a29f96651daa5b4babbdc1a302acb493Grief is a funny thing. It’s heavy; very heavy. Today I felt the true weight of grief that I have been carrying and it was much much more than the 20 lbs of baby weight I was hoping to run off. Grief does not make an appointment. It does not warn you when it’s coming over. You cannot bury it no matter how hard you try. You cannot ask it to go away. Shoot you can’t even screamed expletives at it and force it to go. It’s an unwanted house guests that makes a huge mess and refuses to leave and right in the moment you think that it’s gone it stomps through your house again with filthy, muddy shoes and sits back watching you as you clean up after it. Lovely right!?!?! You cannot run from it. So, today I decided to run with it.

Today through the sobs I realized how scared I can be of life. A song came on while I was running and the lyrics said, “death leaves you black and blue”. When you have had death in your hands you realize how definite it is here on earth. It is so scary to live. I had 4 months of life with Owen. I have four months of memories. Four months of smells. Four months of the hardest and most beautiful days of my life. Four months stored in my heart and my mind. Four months that I will never get back. Four months that I am so incredibly afraid to lose. Some days I fear that there is only so much room in my heart and my mind for the joyous memories. They are both quickly getting filled with moments with Brody and how lucky we are to have him. But, there is only so much space. I need grace. I need grace for the birthdays I don’t remember, the weddings I can’t attend; the anniversary’s that I forget. I need grace for the funerals I can’t go to. I need grace for the days that sometimes are just hard. The days that I am the person that sometimes I hate; the days that I am not ready for new memories because they are memories without Owen. I need grace as God helps me work through this.

Please hang on with me through this second year of grief. It’s not pretty. It’s full of sloppy, snotty, loud sobbing tears but I know that they are all leading me to a place of healing. I know there are many that are following our journey that have just lost someone, or are in the same place as us, or are years into their grief and have turned to other things to get them by. Please do one thing for yourself today. Fall in love with you. Your loved one wants you to. It will hurt like hell but you deserve it.

imagesW716M7MDThis May 17th we will be celebrating Owen’s 2nd birthday at the 2nd Annual LionHeart Owen Gift of Life Blood drive. What better way for us to face life than through gifting it to those who need it. Please save the date and stand with us as we give life for a life taken far too soon!

I will also be challenging myself to run a 10k in honor of our boy. I am trying to find the perfect one. Stay tuned. When we announce the date and location we would love to have you run with us! I challenge each one of you to face your excuses and your fears and get out there. Today was so hard in so many ways. But with each step I felt the weight of grief being left on the pavement and the light joys of Owen filling their space.

18 months without Owen

IMG_7736It’s been 18 months since we said good by to Owen. Some days it feels like it was just yesterday, other days it feels like a lifetime. We see him daily in so many ways; beautiful sunrises, majestic sunsets, tiny yellow butterflies, courageous lions, our second son’s smile, and many more… We are thankful for these visits but long for him to be in our arms.

Until then, we hold on tight to the blessings we have been given in sweet Brody. They have a bond that is evident in each random giggle, babbles to the Heavens, and in his crystal blue eyes… They have an invisible string that connects them for eternity. Brody will forever look up to his incredible big brother and we know he will always be looking down and watching over him.

IMG_6771My dearest Owen,

18 months ago I held you in my arms for the last time. I spent the day studying the sound of your tiny beating heart, memorized the sound of your breathing, and savored every sweet sound you made as you cooed up at me. 18 months ago I kissed you for the last time from the top of your head to the tip of your toes. I took in every curve of your perfect body and got lost in your deep blue eyes. I curled your soft blonde hair in my fingers and breathed in your perfect baby smell. 18 months ago I said good bye, I said the words that I never wanted to say but desperately knew you needed to hear.

IMG_7856You have blessed my life more than you will ever know, sweet boy. Thank you for the things that you have taught me. Thank you for each and every way you show up each and every day. Thank you for watching over your brother and being with him in everything he does. Thank you for making me a Mom. Thank you for teaching us kindness, patience and a love deeper than words can explain. Thank you for reminding us not to take anything for granted. Each day… Each breath is a blessing and I owe each one to you.

This life here on earth is but a blink my, dear son and I can’t wait for the moment you are back in my arms. Until then I will meet you each night in my dreams and hold you safe in my heart.

IMG_6564I love you my precious, perfect, first born son. You are my everything. You are my sunshine, my only sunshine.

Xoxo

Mommy

NOW Proud Recipients of Amazon Smile

Lionheart Owen Foundation

Every time our hearts are heavy and we feel Owen slipping further and further away from us, he shows up in the most unexpected ways! He is constantly helping us spread his legacy and pay it forward through his foundation. Last night we got an exciting letter in the mail that let us know HE is HERE!!!

LionHeart Owen Foundation is now a proud recipient of Amazon Smile. This holiday season giving back and paying if forward is so easy! Simply buy your holiday gifts through Smile Amazon. All items are still available as they would be directly through Amazon.com and your prime memberships will still work… Only 0.5% of all eligible purchases will be donated directly to LionHeart Owen Foundation! How cool is that!?!?!

Need to finish your holiday shopping?!?! Click the following link to start today!

http://smile.amazon.com/ch/46-3949595

Amazon Smile purchases can be made year round! Please add this link to your favorites and remember Owen each time you shop!

The perfect gift… One year later

20130723-183337.jpgA year ago today I sat drowning my grief at the bottom of a bottle. My heart was broken and the wine numbed the pain and blurred the reality that our precious son was gone. We were going through the motions, coexisting, and doing everything just to hang on. Daily I would be sure to keep a smile on my face and do the best to act as “normal” as possible. I learned a long time ago that if I appeared put together on the outside no one would see what was truly happening; I was falling apart on the inside. No one would ask, no one would show pity. If I acted like everything was ok everyone would do just that, act ok. The truth is a year ago today I was broken, mad at God and desperately wanting the answer as to why Owen had to fight from the second he was conceived? Why did he have to die just 16 short weeks after his birth? Why his short life was filled with so much physical pain and why were my husband and I powerless to fix it? Why? you are my sunshineA year ago today my world was sad, lonely, desperate, and my sunshine was gone. Darkness was in its place and there was no light at the end of the tunnel.

As with every stage of our journey, when I felt the Lord was furthest away that was when he was actually closest. “For I know the Plans I have for you, says the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans for Hope and a Future.”  Jeremiah 29:11. IMG_9423One year ago today, I decided to take a pregnancy test. I felt in my heart it would be negative but knew that in order to have the next glass of wine, I needed to know the truth. The truth was the Lord was gifting us with our Hope and our Future. The Lord was gifting us with our second greatest creation and giving us back sunshine. The Lord was showing us the light for as long as we were here on earth and the Lord was placing in our hands a gift that would save my heart, my soul, my marriage… Me. A year ago today Owen spoke to God and said, “I have the PERFECT gift for my parents. Lord can we bring Christmas to their hearts early?” A year ago today Christ was put back into my heart and Christ was definitely in CHRISTMAS!

DSC_0064I am incredibly thankful for Brody. What an incredible gift he is and a tremendous blessing he has been to our family. I will still ask the questions why but for now my heart is comforted and busy with Brody. The questions are content to wait until I am holding both our sons in the most beautiful place. And something tells me when I see Owen again and hold him in my arms the joy will wash all those questions away and the only thing I will be able to say to our God is, “Thank you.”.  

DSC_0051Thank you, Lord. Thank you, Owen. Brody is perfect!

It’s Giving Tuesday

IMG_8237.JPGIt’s Giving Tuesday and we would be honored if you chose the 2nd Annual LionHeart Owen Foundation Holiday Bookdrive as your way to be involved! The children at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles are counting on us and I know together we can hit our goal of 5,000 books!

Click the link to start your Giving Tuesday right!!!
http://www.lionheartowen.com/events

If you are local, we have partnered with some incredible businesses. You can drop your NEW books in any of our drop boxes around town!

Sacred Heart Church and School
Gerald Ford Elementary School
Shadow Rock Church
Starbucks on Jackson and I10
Capstone Fitness
Julie’s Hallmark at both locations (Washington St. and Westfield Mall)
Third Corner Wine Shop and Restaurant

Thank you everyone for your support!!!

Let’s start giving!!!!

111 Days with Brody

photoThere have been moments in this journey that words are so hard to come by. I stare at a blank screen begging the Lord to give me the words that my heart and soul are feeling. Tonight is one of those times. There are two boys that have come into my life that have forever changed me. They have flipped my world upside down, taken everything I thought I knew and blown it out of the water, shown me a version of love that no one could ever explain and given me a title that I wear boldly and proudly… Mom!

Tonight I weep for one of those boys and I rejoice for the other. 112 days… 16 weeks… An entire lifetime… Such a short time yet such a long time when that’s all you’ve been given. There is no way to articulate the depth of emotions running through me as I hold our perfect, healthy, 111 day old, second son in my arms. 111 days. 1 day short of a lifetime. 1 day shy of all the moments Owen lived here with us.

There have been so many milestones for both of our boys that have given us so much joy and provided such beautiful memories. To know that tomorrow Brody lived Owen’s entire life here on earth and his journey is not done fills my heart with an inexplicable fullness. In the same breath knowing that from tomorrow forward every moment Brody experiences will be a first and Owen was robbed of those moments here on earth shatters my soul.

From tomorrow forward we embark on a new world of firsts with our second son. A world that Owen never got to know… His first 113 days on earth, his first Thanksgiving, his first Christmas, his first new years, eating solid foods, etc. We will treasure each of these firsts and celebrate every breath that he takes here with us. We will celebrate with grateful hearts that the Lord has gifted us a healthy son and heard our prayers for 16 weeks plus one day with Brody. We will be forever thankful for the gift of Owen and the gift he continues to give us in Brody. We will never be the same because of these boys and I am so thankful for that. My eyes are open, my heart is full, the world is darker and more beautiful than I have ever known and my soul is content.

I will never stop loving you, Owen and I am so grateful for an adventure of firsts, Brody.

“I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him.” 1 Samuel 1:27