Thursday, December 31, 2009

Auction Receipt

Stephanie and I are enjoying the Holidays with family, but she moved the $7,000 over to the John & Emily Jones Memorial Fund. She asked me to post the screen shot of the receipt to the blog, so here it is. She put a note to Emily Jones with the payment to let her know that each dollar represents the love from all of us to her at this time. Thank you to all!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Cards 2009

Thanks to Whitney from Your Card Bakery for helping me design the Christmas card I had in my mind. She helped me make every detail perfect. I love our card and how each child has blessed us with a heavenly gift this year. I love the tags, especially Camille's. 

Most of all, I love seeing all my kids together on the card. I teared up seeing it on paper for the first time. This is the last Christmas card we will have where the photos will still represent the proper birth order. Next year Noble will be older than Camille ever was. I am not sure how I will do next years card. But for this year I LOVE this one. To me, it is a treasure.

Merry Christmas to you all and may your families enjoy the heavenly gifts we have enjoyed in 2009! 

Charity - Wisdom - Joy 
Faith - Healing

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Apparently I have to wait 3-4 business days for the money I deposited in my bank account yesterday to clear its transfer into my Paypal account. So I guess I will be transferring the money to Emily's Paypal account a couple of days after Christmas. I will take a screen shot when I do so you can all see that your money did make it to Emily.

However, I said I would announce the grand total today and announce it I will. Thanks to my late night friend with an awesome name, we had a last minute $200 donation to round out our number.

With all that, our grand total that we will be sending to Emily is ....


I hope she will be able to live a few months off the money and give herself some time to grieve before she HAS to deal with the big decisions before her.

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you all feel the sweet after taste of giving in your hearts all through the season! You deserve it!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

T'was the Night Before the Night Before

There is a sweet stillness in my home tonight. I am soaking it in. There are chores that still need to be done, laundry to fold and counters to wipe, but sometimes I just like to be still and ponder. I will get to the chores.  They will wait.

We went to the cemetery. We all wrote letters to Camille and put them in a stocking for her. We left the stocking hanging on her tomb. It was the first time we had been there since Noble was born. It was so much less hard for me to be there with Noble in tow. For Jon it feel like a sacred spot. Lauren was pretty scared to go. She wouldn't come in the mausoleum. I had to pick her up and carry her in. Once we got inside she did better. She played chase with her sisters and they asked all about every person buried there.

Sabrina wanted to know where she would be buried. I told her she would likely be buried next to her husband somewhere. "But why? I want to be with my sisters and parents." What a blessing it is to have an assurance of faith that someday we will be -- with our sisters and brothers and mothers and fathers and children too.

I went to the bank and deposited all the checks today. Then I came home and transferred the total of all those checks into my paypal account. I should get the last 2 checks in the mail tomorrow. As soon as I get the mail I will be transferring the total in my Paypal account to Emily. I will post the grand total tomorrow.

I wish I could afford to throw another $200 in to make it a nice round number. Unfortunately I have already donated beyond my budget and I am going to be counting my pennies the next month to make sure the bills all get paid.

Still it is so far much more than I could ever have anticipated to have raised -- especially in such a tight economy. Thank you all so much.

Well, if you are still reading, thanks for hanging in with me through this rather stream of consciousness post. I guess I should get to wiping counters and folding laundry now.

Merry Night Before the Night Before!

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Spirit of Christmas

It is the week of Christmas at last. The kids are out of school. The presents are wrapped. The treats and goodies have been made and delivered. The auction is winding up. (I am still waiting on checks from 11 people. I emailed them today to see if they have sent them yet.) The Christmas program at church has been held.

And now with all that behind, it is time to focus on the greatest gift of all. I think of the anticipation I have to open my presents. (My mother has delivered 3 presents for me this year - one small,  one big and one gigantic. I have NO idea what they could be. I haven't had a Christmas surprise for years and I am so excited. She said when she saw it she started to cry. It has gotta be a good one!)

I watch my children in their wonderment over the packages and bows. They spent hours last night hiding themselves away "making" presents for each other and wrapping them to put them under the tree. And in this I wonder at the anticipation we must have felt for that sacred night so long ago when the Christ child came into the world.

Yesterday Jonathan and I (and Noble in the Bjorn) sang in the church choir. I love singing in a choir. I love the unity of the voices and the power with which dynamics can be performed. I stood there singing with such gratitude that I can sing once more. What a long way we have come.  I can sing again.

I think I must have sung then - more than 2000 years ago on that sacred night. I feel sure that I must have been one of the angels in the choirs of heaven that sang praises of His birth. I wonder if I had any idea then how much His choice to come to earth and live and die for me would mean to me now -- over 2000 years later and with no memory of Him as my older brother before this world was. I wonder if I could have imagined how close to Him I would feel and how completely dependent on Him and indebted to Him. I think I could not have imagined it then - not having suffered through my trials with Him carrying me.

So I think I must be more grateful this year - my first Christmas out of the shock and cocoon of grief -- than ever in the history of my existence for the birth and life and eventually the suffering, death, and resurrection of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Tonight we will go to visit Camille's grave and hopefully my heart will feel the joy of Him who overcame death and has conquered the finality of the grave. Hopefully, I will feel that that this is just a resting place for my sweet baby girl's body until we are reunited once more. And surely, this Christmas I will rejoice in the babe that was born so many years ago and made it possible for me to be with my babe again.

Go see this really cute video that made me cry -- in a really good way!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Auction Preliminary Results

This Auction has been the most amazing experience for me. It has been a lot of work, but the rewards have been so great that I am thinking I may have to make this an annual event. Next year I think I will have readers nominate a family in need and then we will choose a family from those nominated and do an auction for them.

Really, the spirit of Christmas is so infused into this auction that it just makes me feel all warm inside. I mean I have really seen the goodness of the human spirit come out over the past 12 days. I have seen generous donations and bids. I have seen friends and strangers trying to help out a sister in need. I have seen cancer patients and bereaved mothers donating their handmade goods to help raise money. More than one of the items donated were handmade by women currently undergoing chemo. I mean come on! If that isn't the spirit of Christmas ...

It is the spirit of sacrifice. And it is one of the most beautiful and touching things to behold. It is the greatest gift we can give at this Christmas season. For it is in like manner that the Father sacrificed his Only Begotten and let Him come to Earth for a season to show us the way Home.

So thank you to all of you for showing me your gifts of sacrifice and helping me magnify the spirit of Christmas this year.

Now for the RESULTS!!!

I will share with you here the tally of all the winning bids. That information I do have. It is not however the final amount raised by the auction that I will be putting in the Memorial Fund. You see, the sacrificing spirit has carried over beyond the bidding and many of our winners (and even some who didn't win) are paying more than they bid. They are rounding up or, in some cases, doubling or more their bids. And I have even had a few donations from people who didn't take part in the auction online.

So it is impossible for me to tally the total we will together have raised to help out Emily through this Auction until I receive all the payments. I WILL share that information as soon as I have it. In fact I will take a photo of my computer screen after I deposit the money in Emily's Memorial Fund so you can all see that the money got there.

But for now the tally of JUST the winning bids (not including donations I have received) is: 


Saturday, December 12, 2009

A Letter From Emily...

Hello all you generous donors and bidders! 

Today is the last day to bid on items in the Emily Jones Memorial Fund Auction. Lets get the bids up as high as we can to help out Emily!

Yesterday I got an email from Emily. With her permission I want to share it with all of you because I think it is really meant for all of us. 

Hey Stephanie,
I don't have a reason for writing this e-mail except to tell you that I think you are the most amazing girl I've (n)ever met. I've spent all day online trying to figure out what I want to do with my life...looking for possible careers and graduate programs and ultimately feeling so discouraged that I put my head down and started to cry. Photography was my "backup plan" for getting through medical school, but I'd never thought of a backup plan for being a single mom for the rest of my life. Anyway, it's been a hard day. To make a long story short, I gave up on my future and decided to spend some time looking at your blog instead. 

I can't explain the overwhelming feeling of love and hope it gave me to see how many wonderful people there are in the world. Some of the people involved in your auction are my friends but most of them are people I've never met. I am deeply grateful for both. All of the items are adorable and things that I would bid on myself if I were in the position to do so. I was also amazed by how generous people are being with their bids. 

How can I thank all these people? How can I let them know that this means more to me than just monetary relief? I don't know how to explain it. I have the hope that comes from faith, but there are times when I've felt so lonely and scared of facing a future without John. But feeling loved by so many people dissipates the fear and loneliness.

I don't fully understand why you are doing all this for me, a perfect stranger, but I want you to know that you have changed my life. Someday I hope I can find ways to support others the way you have supported me. You're an amazing example.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for everything you're doing.


To me THIS is really what Christmas is all about. Honestly, I was a bit worried about trying to find and feel the magic and joy and love of Christmas this year. The second Christmas after a death was proving harder than the first. But between this auction and a service project my husband headed, I think  we have felt more of the true Christmas Spirit around here than any other Christmas. 

There is something about giving to the point of true sacrifice that really fills your heart with the love of Christ. I hope all of you will keep opening up your wallets and hearts enough to feel that too.

Thank you to all of you for helping me and ESPECIALLY for helping Emily.