Tuesday, April 13, 2010

David Project Update

Now that Report Cards are done and I no longer have the wonderful flu I had most of last week, I wanted to give you an update.

I wish I could put a drum roll sound here.

The David Project has raised over $300.


I am so happy that we will be able to donate that many books to kids who are sick in the hospital.

Thank you so much to everyone who donated!!! I can't even express how much I appreciate it!!!!

God Bless you all,

P.S Check out the song Glory Baby on my playlist. It is truly a beautiful song!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The David Project and David's Story

Thank you to all who have donated to The David Project. It blesses us more than you will ever, ever know. Thank you for remembering our precious little guy! Just in case some of my facebook friends stop by, I wanted to retell David's story. If no one does, it's new and revised ladies and Chris, so check it out.

David's Story:

How do I explain such a pivotal time in my life? How do I let others know how God is in everything, even in things that bring us our biggest moments of despair? Where do I begin? How do I start? We were so excited when we found out we were to have our first baby. Matt and I had been married for five years and had been dating since high school. Our first date was my senior prom and his junior prom. After Matt’s high school graduation, he went off to Michigan Technological University. For the next four years, Matt and I had a long distance relationship but we made it work. After we got married, our focus became our careers, family, and friends. To our surprise after our fifth anniversary, we found out we were pregnant. When it was time, we found out what we were having and when we heard the ultrasound technician say it was a boy. We were so excited. We couldn't wait to have our little boy, our precious David Alexander. David was named after his grandfathers and we couldn’t wait to see who this little boy would become.

Several months into my pregnancy, I was driving down a two lane road on my way to work. It was the middle of winter and I was honestly surprised (and disappointed) that we had school that day. The roads were so icy so I was being very careful. In addition, I was driving my husband’s car that day, a much smaller car than the one I usually drove. As I was heading south, suddenly a woman coming down her driveway tried to stop at the bottom. As she approached the road and was entering my lane, I felt like I was in slow motion. I could see the fear in her face, even from the distance I was from her. She knew I was going to plow into the side of her minivan, which I was sure had children in it. Not really thinking, I swerved to miss the side of her van and veered into north bound traffic. The road I travel is a main road in our area with cars going constantly northbound and southbound. That morning, when I swerved into oncoming traffic no one was there. I simply veered around the van and went back into my lane. As I continued southbound, I realized what I had done and thanked God that David and I weren’t hurt. I knew that a miracle had just happened and I was spared that morning. I remember thinking…. Little David, you will do great things in your life because God saved you today. Little did I know that maybe God wasn’t saving David that morning, maybe he was saving me.

One night shortly before David died, I was resting in bed when my husband Matt came upstairs. As I was lying there, Matt started singing the song Company Car by Switchfoot to David in my womb. It was awesome because David instantly reacted to it. It was like he was dancing around in my belly cheering his Daddy on. You could see a hand move here and an elbow move there. In retrospect, it would be the only interaction we would have as a family. It was truly an amazing thing to see that interaction between the two most important boys in my life. It is something I will never forget and I treasure that God gave us that moment with our little boy. It was truly a blessing.

Opening Day 2003 was a big day for our family. My husband loves Detroit Tiger Baseball and was taking a half day to go meet some friends down at Comerica Park. I had called my mom that morning and mentioned that David wasn’t moving at all and didn’t move much the day before. She said that often when babies get bigger they don’t move around as much because they don’t have much room. I was over 7 months pregnant and I was definitely big so that made sense to me. But as the day went on, I felt more and more uneasy. David still wasn’t moving, even after eating lots of sugar. Finally at the end of the day I talked with a close friend, Pam Kyle and our custodian, Gail Sorenson. I explained what I was feeling and asked them what I should do since they both had several children each and were no strangers to pregnancy. They had suggested I call my doctor because I seemed so worried. So, I quickly went back to my room and did so.

When I called I was sure that the doctors would reassure me that nothing was wrong and David would wake up and everything would be fine. The weird thing was that on that day the doctor’s office did exactly the opposite of what they normally do, they told me that nothing was probably wrong but just to be sure they would send me to the hospital for a stress test. I got off the phone and broke into tears. I immediately called Matt, who was just leaving Detroit, and told him to meet me at the hospital. Our life was beginning to change forever and we didn’t even know it.

When I arrived at the hospital, I was immediately monitored. Later on, one of my nurses, Lynda Grosjean, told me that from the second she heard the heart beat of the baby on the heart monitor across the hall, she knew something was seriously wrong with the baby. That same woman, my Angel, Nurse Lynda, would be the one to take care of me that entire night. She even stayed past her shift to be with me. I can never thank her enough for her love and care that night. She held my hand and even cried with me. She was truly “Jesus with skin on” that night.

David was born at 9:55 P.M. I don’t remember much of what happened after that. It seems all like a dream. I remember them telling me he was out and not hearing him cry. I heard Dr. Esam Kazem working on him and telling Matt to come over. I remember Matt holding his hand and his tiny fingers being wrapped around Matt’s. I remember Dr. Kazem telling me that they did all they could and that they tried for an hour to save him but couldn’t. At the time, I wasn’t sure what had happened, all I knew is that my son was gone and there was nothing I could do to change it. They asked me if I wanted my son baptized and I said yes. They then brought David close to my face as I was still on the operating table. I remember singing to him one of my favorite songs…. “He came from heaven to earth to show the way, from the earth to the cross my price to pay, from the cross to the grave, from the grave to the sky, Lord I lift your name on high.” At the end of the song, I could barely get the words out. But I wanted my boy to know that I praised God even when my heart was breaking. I wanted him to hear my praises so that when he heard the angels praises he would be right at home and he wouldn’t be scared.

For many, this would be the end of the story but for us it was merely a new beginning. The outpouring of love that came after David’s death was tremendous. Even in the hospital I was treated with such loving care. I will never forget how kind the nurses were to me. They had put a branch of wheat on my door symbolizing that I had lost my baby. Every nurse that walked through my door, LOVED on me. It was unbelievable.
The doctors, especially Dr. Esam Kazem, Dr. Robert Robins(my Obstetrician), and the resident that night, Dr. Robin O’Dell, were so awesome about making sure that physically I was okay and they kept me and Matt informed as information began to unravel about why David died. At first, they had me quarantined because they had no idea what had happened to David, they know what he had but not why. I will never forget how kind Dr. O’Dell was to me. She has made such a huge impact on my life and I will NEVER forget her. She is an awesome doctor and the medical world is lucky to have her. I can never thank all of my doctors enough but Dr. Robins will always be very special to me. I felt like he grieved with us and we will always have a special bond because he was one of the very few people who actually saw David. He knew our son. He saw him. He even touched him. To him, David is real, even if only for a brief time.

The kindness didn’t just end at the hospital. Three or four days later, we left the hospital. That same night we had the worse ice storm in many years. Power was out for days. The next day we had David’s Memorial. It was almost cancelled due to no power and very poor road conditions. Trees were down everywhere and it was very unsafe. But due to the kindness of our pastor, we still had it. I was amazed by the number of people there. It was like we were having church and they were all there to remember our little boy. It was such a huge blessing and like every new mommy I had pictures of my boy to share.

Throughout the next week, we had tons and tons of flowers delivered. So much in fact that the man who delivered flowers for Jacobson’s knew me by name and remembered who I was even several years later. We received tons of cards and I still have every single one today. They fill up David’s entire memory box. One of the most precious things I received, and I received a lot more than I deserved, was a poem from a dear friend, Donna Bowden. It talks about how our lives are like tapestries. How among those bright happy threads of our lives, there will be dark sad threads too. And only when we sit beside God will we see the tapestry of our lives and how truly beautiful it is. I still have the poem and think of it often.

At the time of David’s death, I worked at Webber Elementary as a kindergarten teacher. As a staff, the gifts they gave will last a lifetime. David has a book dedicated in his name in their media center. Every time a child reads his book, he or she will know that there was once a little boy named David Riddle. Also, the staff gave us a memorial tree, a beautiful weeping willow cherry tree. Although none of them knew this, I had been telling Matt for years that I had wanted one. It is truly amazing to me that God had worked through someone to tell me he loved me by giving me a tree that I had wanted but had never told anyone. I then realized that he was grieving with me. Two trees and one house later, we still enjoy that tree every spring as it blossoms and reminds us of our precious boy.

But that was only the beginning of the outpouring of love. In the May of the following year, we were blessed with our precious Emma Grace. I had two baby showers and each had a packed house. At our family baby shower, it took me nearly one hour to open all the presents that we got. We received everything we needed and more for our next baby. Also, Emma’s baby shower was the same day that David’s memorial had been a year earlier. God had redeemed that awful day. Emma was born a healthy blond haired beauty. Dr. Kazem, Nurse Lynda, Dr. O’Dell, and Dr. Robins were all in the delivery room the day I delivered Emma. God had redeemed the last time we were together, David’s birth. I am so blessed that I get to be the woman God lets be that precious girl’s mother. She is a blessing every day. She is truly a joy! She is going to change our world through her caring and loving personality. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for her.

When Emma was three months old, I called my husband at work to tell him to sit down because we were pregnant again. He was very much surprised as he didn’t really want to have any more children. God had heard my cries for another child and answered them. Lillian Faith was born in June of the next year. Lilly is a spit fire. From the second that little girl was born she was bossy. She is determined and head strong and that is what I love most about her. She is meant to be a leader. I am so excited to watch this girl grow into a woman and change the world. But for now, I will enjoy every second of every day until we get there.

I miss David every day. I wish I could be walking him to his Kindergarten classroom this year. But it is equally devastating to me to think that I would have to miss out on Emma and Lilly. There is no way I would have three kids so close together like that, especially if David had survived and had medical or intellectual issues. Several months after David died, Dr. Robins had mentioned that if David had survived he would have been severely mentally and physically impaired. God had spared my son.

Do I like the outcome? Absolutely not. But would I change a thing? No. I would have missed out on so much if it had been different and I can’t bear it. It is well with my soul.
What the world feels is irredeemable, God continues to redeem every day. The parents I had in my class the year David died mean the world to me. I will never forget them. I am still friends with some of them. God redeems. Every spring I am reminded of my son every time I look out my patio door. God redeems. Listening to my girls singing songs as they twirl around my living room. God redeems. Hearing my girls laugh. God redeems. Making dinner as Emma plays teacher. God redeems. Lilly drawing her self portrait with painted fingernails, rosy cheeks, and a big smiley face. God redeems.

I still struggle with David’s death. He would have been six this year. This is a journey. It’s not one that I wanted to be on but one that was chosen for me. I am slowly regaining my joy back. I am learning to laugh again without feeling guilty. I am starting to become who I was before David’s death, but now even better.

Grief is like a wave. Sometimes it hits me without making me skip a beat. But at other times it knocks me right off my feet. And that’s okay, I just have to remember to stand up again and that tomorrow will be a better day.

When asked how I made it through, I said, “First you take life second- to-second, then minute-to-minute, then hour-to-hour, and then day-to-day. Eventually, you go week-to-week, month-to-month, and finally year-to-year.”

My grief never goes away, it is always there lurking right below the surface. God has just given me the tools to deal with my grief differently than before. It’s not any easier, it’s just different.

God redeems. But not in the way we always want him to.

God Bless,

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The David Project

Dear Family and Friends,
As you all know, David’s birthday, March 31st, is quickly approaching. Believe it or not, our little boy would be seven this year. Since his death, I have always wanted to make “good” of his death and felt it was important to honor David’s memory by helping our community in some way.
I have pondered many ideas and never seemed to come up with one that would not require a huge undertaking or large sums of money. One day, a dear friend suggested I check out a blog of a mother who had lost her son and at that time she was doing something called The Brenham Project in her son’s honor. I loved how she chose to give back by donating items to the hospital where her child was during his time in the NICU. After our precious Emma’s surgery last year, I knew I wanted to do something that involved children of all ages during their stay in the hospital. I then realized that David’s life could touch so many more people. And that was when this idea was born!
I am asking that you participate in The David Project and donate one dollar for a great cause. I would like to buy books for children who are in hospital to help brighten up their stay by knowing someone cares about them and give them something to do. I will be buying the books from a company called Scholastic, which not only offers books for $1.00 but the project will also get bonus points for each dollar spent. That means with your dollar donation, you will be helping get FREE books for the project.
So, please participate in The David Project and donate one dollar to buy a book for a child in the hospital. The pediatric unit at St. Joseph Mercy-Oakland in Bloomfield is so excited to receive the books and the woman I talked to was so honored to be the recipient of such generosity. Every book will have a label inside telling the recipient that the book was donated lovingly in David’s honor by family and friends. You can mail your donations to 1820 Worcester, Oxford, Michigan 48371. Please join us as we honor David’s life by helping others. Thank you!!!

God Bless,

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Rememberance Day

Remembering David today and everyday.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

More moments of joy...

God's Little Princess 2 just said something I had to share.

Side Note: My uncle is very sick (please be praying for him) and I am looking for the top ten funniest movies so I can get them for him. God tells us to laugh even in our most depressing times since we, even during those times, have the joy of the Lord within us. Also, they say laughter is the best medicine. Regardless, the girls are watching tv with their cousins while I was surfing the net. They are watching something on the Disney channel.

God Little Princess 2 is watching a program which must have said something about rainbows because she sweetly says "Momma, one day can we go to the end of the rainbow?" She then starts reassuring Cousin 1 and I why this is totally worth our time. Looking back and forth between us she says "Did you know that every rainbow has a leprachaun at the end of it? Too, every leprachaun has a huge pot of gold with him. I know because a leprachaun came to my school and messed up my room and told us that he was at the end of the rainbow if we wanted to find him."

Cousin 1 and I calmly exchanged a smiling glance since we didn't want to start laughing out loud.

I so love my children!!!! They are the best things EVER!!!!!

God Bless and Keep Laughing,

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Moments of Joy continued..

I have posted random moments of joy before. Well, today I had another one.

God's Little Princess 2 and I were playing restaurant in the play kitchen this morning. As we start to play, she was cutting up play dough(the food) and says, "What would you like to order, ma'am?" I then reply, "I would love some strawberries." and she promptly states, "We don't have that, ma'am." I then think for a second and ask for something else and she repeats that they don't sell it here. I try to come up with something that I think all restaurants would have so I ordered a hamburger and then in her sweetest voice she says "Ma'am, we aren't a McDonald's, we don't sell hamburgers here. How about chicken?"

It took everything I had not to laugh out loud. She wasn't saying it in a sassy voice at all, she was so serious. It was soo cute.

These girls crack my stuff up.

Thank you, Jesus, for reminding me to laugh at what they do.

God Bless,

Sunday, August 2, 2009


We are back from our awesome vacation in Port Austin. We rented a cottage on Lake Huron for a week. We went with my mom, niece, and nephew. HOTTIE stayed Saturday and Sunday and went back to work on Monday. He then joined us again Thursday night after softball.

God's Little Princess 1 loved the water. That little one is a fish. We had to pull her out of the water every single day kicking and screaming. She hated getting out but the poor kid burns like an egg on the sidewalk on a hot day. Despite numerous sunscreen reapplication, we could only stay for 3 or 4 hours at a time. She would have stayed all day if we let her.

God's Little Princess 2 is the opposite of her sister. She loves the land. She could play in the sand from day to night. Her favorite thing to do was create sand gardens. She would use her rake to create rows and she would then pretend to plant the seeds and then would water them. I even got a video of her doing it while she was singing. It was the cutest thing. By the end of the week though she was playing in the water with the rest of them.

My favorite quotes of the week:

First quote-
I was singing one of my favorite Addison Road songs acappella in the car. God's little Princess 2 interrupted me and said "Mommy, I wish I could sing...", She then paused for a second and I was thinking that my adorable love was going to say like you mommy but instead she says "like the other girl who sings this song."

Ouch!!! Sorry I'm no Jenny!

Side Note: We love Addison Road. So much that the girls love to look at their blog and see pictures of them as they go on their tour. God's Princess 1 even wanted to sing one of the songs for Uncle Corey's birthday. It was so cute. She practiced all the way home from Port Austin.

Second quote-
One day we went to Caseville to check it out. The girls were in their car seats and we were waiting for Nana to come out of the cabin. God's little Princess 1 looked at me sweetly and asked "Mommy, do I have yellow teeth?" I then replied, "No honey, why would you ask that?" She then replies "Because you do!!!!"

What????????? Wow, God's Little Princess 1 is going to be a dentist when she grows up with all of that concern with her momma's teeth.

Poor Mommy, where's the lovin?

This is how it should have gone:

First qoute- "Momma, you have the most beautiful singing voice ever! When I grow up I want to sing just like you."

Second qoute- "Momma, you sure are beautiful but you gotta kick that pop and coffee habit, it makes your teeth kinda yellow."

Side Note:I promise I do brush my teeth everyday.

This is an extremely long post but I do have to tell you to check out the blog comments from the last post. Julie from one of my favorite blogs left me a comment. I was sooooo excited. She references a project that I did with the kids over vacation. I'll put up pictures later so you can do it with your kiddos. It's very cool. Regardless, two famous people read my blog. Isn't that so cool?????

Also, I wanted to tell mom thank you for also reading. Four readers now, YAHOOOO!!!!!

God Bless,
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