Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Capture Your Grief 2012 -- Photo Project

I came across a blog recently through a friend's post on Facebook. In reading through her blog, I discovered that she is hosting a photo project for the month of October for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month. So, I am going to try to do as many of the daily photos as I can.

Also, you can check out my friend's organization at: http://www.abutterflystouch.org/    They are holding a Walk to Remember in Oregon on October 13th. The walk will be followed by a memorial service.

You can read more about the Capture Your Grief project and what photos are suggested for each day and read more about her story below. Each day she describes what you can try to photograph and what to share about it if you wish to do so.

http://carlymarieprojectheal.com/2012/09/capture-your-grief-this-october-2012-for-pregnancy-infant-loss-awareness-month.html



I will share more about our story during this month. Though our loss happened just over 17 years ago....it's never very far away no matter how much you try to not think about it. I have decided it's time to think through our story again and share what I can about what we have learned and how we have grown over the years. Our son that we lost would be 17 years old. His name is Nicholas Bennett Clayton. He was our 2nd born. More details later....

I'll come back and post a new picture each day on this entry. If you decide to try this project also, just leave a comment to let me know!


Day 1 (October 1st) -- Sunrise

This one I took this morning at home. 

This one I wanted to share. My youngest daughter took this picture a couple of weeks ago at the beach. I love how the reflection makes a butterfly-like image around the sun.





Day 2 (October 2nd)- Before Loss Self Portrait

This was taken at Easter in 1995. I was pregnant with our second child, our first son, in this picture. My oldest daughter is in the picture with me. I was about 4 months pregnant at this time. 




Day 3 (October 3rd) - After Loss Self Portrait


This first picture was taken in the hospital after delivering Nicky on June 29, 1995. It was a blur of finding out that he had no heartbeat at the doctor's office to going in to deliver him within a few days at the hospital. It was just an unbelievable experience in every way.

This pregnancy had been challenging from the beginning....I realized I was pregnant after 2 weeks of being sick. I had still been nursing my 9 month old at the time I realized I was pregnant! I wasn't eating enough to support the three of us! A few months down the road we realized I had placenta previa and it was bad enough for a time that I was on partial bed rest and had to depend on people to help with my one year old! It was a challenging time but by the beginning of June, I had been cleared as the placenta had moved and it was no longer a concern for delivery or complications from it's location. Shortly after that my husband and I went out of town with some friends. We drove quite a ways and all seemed well. 

When we returned home and I was able to rest, I began to notice that I didn't feel the baby moving..... That lead to us going in to the doctor's office for a NST and then they did a sonogram. Our baby boy had died. He was 35 weeks at this point in time... He was 4 lbs and 18 in. when he was born. It was so hard to believe that he had died. We had a sonogram done at the beginning of the month and all looked fine. We ended up finding out that there was a place on the umbilical cord where it had worn down to a thread...causing Nicky not to get what he needed to survive. We were told this was something that only happened in rare cases but unfortunately it can't been seen ahead of time in order to do anything about it. 

Needless to say we were devastated and I was afraid with each subsequent pregnancy that something would go wrong again. For years I played the "what if" game....what if we had been able to see it ahead of time and deliver him early...what if we hadn't gone on the trip and had noticed something was wrong in time to save him.... I finally had to let it go and give it to the Lord. Not matter what, He was in control, even if we didn't like how things turned out. We can rest assured that our son is in Heaven with his Heavenly Father waiting for us to join him. We look forward to the day that we will see Nicky again and really get to "meet" him.



This picture is also an "after" picture. This was taken at the birth of our third child, and second son in August of 1996...just over a year after Nicky left us. We were so happy and blessed to have another son but sad at the same time as we were still missing Nicky. Each pregnancy after Nicky's left me afraid that something unexpected would happen again. Thankfully our doctor understood and they took the time to do extra checks and sonograms with all my other kids to make sure all was well.






Day 4 (October 4th) - Most Treasured Items


This picture shows the few things we have to remember Nicky. I included a couple of the pictures that the hospital was nice enough to take of our little boy. I'll probably post a few more of them during this month.






Day 5 (October 5th) - Memorial


These pictures are from the funeral we had for Nicholas and his headstone. 





Sunday, September 30, 2012

Back again....

Life has been extremely busy for so long that I haven't taken time to work on the things I used to that would help me relax and focus on the meaningful things of life.

The more I have used Facebook to share our family life with friends and family, the less time I have actually spent contemplating where we are, what we are doing, etc. I am hoping to take time to focus more on the things that matter and share where I can.

To get started, I will be trying to keep up with a project challenge that focuses on October being Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. More details in my next post.

Since I last posted, my oldest child has graduated from high school. I still have 3 kids I am homeschooling who are now in 10th, 9th and 6th grades. We are very busy with school, extra activities related to school like outside classes and music lessons and just life in general. In the midst of our normal routine and our homeschooling I have still been trying to work part time with various endeavors....which definitely makes life challenging. It's easy to lose focus on what is (or should be) the most important things in life....and it's easy to forget to make time for those pursuits daily like I should.

But the Lord is faithful and is there even in the midst our our busyness and cluttered minds!! I am praying to have more focus and to get my mind less cluttered (and life less cluttered) so I can enjoy my family and those around me more instead of just doing and going non-stop!

Come unto me, all that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Matthew 11:28

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Prayer

I came across this as I am doing research and prep for teaching Sunday School this week. I love the image and the ideas for what to pray are good too for those times you aren't sure what to focus on and for teaching children what to pray for in a basic sense.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Great Song!

This is a great song I heard recently. Hope you enjoy!


Friday, June 05, 2009

Always by Building 429

This is an awesome song.

This video clip tells how/why the song was written.

Our God is faithful and never fails!


Monday, June 01, 2009

Music Recital May 2009

Our three oldest children had their music recital yesterday. They all did very well. The recital was held at a new location and they were able to use a baby grand piano for their pieces this time. Fortunately, the feel of the piano was similar to ours, so the kids didn't find that to be a problem!

Thank you Mrs. Medlock for another wonderful year of lessons!

Here are a few pictures of them playing. I will be posting the videos of their performances also once the videos are compressed.





Bethany played two pieces: Never Alone and Fur Elise



Bryce also played two pieces: Fight the Good Fight and Cockles and Mussels



Kaitlyn played Oh Susanna!



Some of the Colorado Claytons were here visiting and were able to attend the recital.
Kyle, April, and Cody with Zach in the picture!

Bethany and Josh before the recital started.


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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Captivating by John & Stasi Eldredge

I have been reading through this book. I have read John Eldredge's other books and done a study with the Sacred Romance with a friend years ago.

This book is written for women and for the men who want to understand who a woman is and what their needs are....as a wonderful creation of God.

Here is a short passage to get you thinking. I may post more as I go through this..I am taking my time with this one.

From Chapter Four--titled "Wounded"

page 74 & 75--

AN UNHOLY ALLIANCE

Over the years we've come to see that the only things more tragic than the things that have happened to us is what we have done with them.

Words were said, painful words. Things were done, awful things. And they shaped us. Something inside of us shifted. We embraced the messages of our wounds. We accepted a twisted view of ourselves. And from that we chose a way of relating to our world. We made a vow never to be in that place again. We adopted strategies to protect ourselves from being hurt again. A woman who is living out of a broken wounded heart is a woman who is living a self-protective life. She may not be aware of it, but it is true. It's our way of trying to "save ourselves".

We also developed ways of trying to get something of the love our hearts cried out for. The ache is there. Our desperate need for love and affirmation, our thirst for some taste of romance and adventure and beauty is there. So we turned to boys or to food or to romance novels; we lost ourselves in our work or at church or in some sort of service. All this adds up to the women we are today. Much of what we call our "personalities" is actually the mosaic of our choices for self-protection plus our plans to get something of the love we were created for.

The problem is our plan has nothing to do with God.

The wounds we received and the messages they brought formed a sort of unholy alliance with our fallen nature as women. From Eve we received a deep mistrust in the heart of God toward us. Clearly, he's holding out on us. We'll just have to arrange for the life we want. We will control our world. But there is also an ache deep within, an ache for intimacy and for life. We'll have to find a way to fill it. A way that does not require us to trust anyone, especially God. A way that will not require vulnerability.

In some ways, this is every little girl's story, here in this world east of Eden.

But the wounds don't stop once we are grown up. Some of the most crippling and destructive wounds we receive come much later in our lives. The wounds that we have received over our lifetimes have not come to us in a vacuum. There is, in fact a theme to them, a pattern. The wounds you have received have come to you for a purpose from one who knows all you are meant to be and fears you.

**********************************************

I encourage everyone to read through this book... as well as the Eldredge's other books. They are wonderful, thought provoking and life changing...if you let God in!!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Resurrection Day preparations!

I wanted to share some of the resources we are using this year to prepare for Easter...so you might have time to try them out before Sunday!

First, Passover begins tonight. I love that it is before Easter this year..it will really help us to focus on how God had a plan for redemption from the very beginning!

We were going to do a lot to celebrate Passover, but time has gotten away from me, so we will do some simple things like make unleavened bread and read through the story in Exodus and discuss how the original Passover relates to what Jesus has done for us! It is so awesome to see how God planned things out and how it all fits together!

Here is one resource that I use over and over. It is: A Family Guide to the Biblical Holidays

You can find it here: http://homeschool-books.com/xcart/books/bible-holidays/

It can be purchased as an ebook, so you can get access right away! It is on sale right now!

I am using some of the ideas and recipes from it today for our Passover preparations.

There are also two great Easter recipes with stories that we usually use each year.

One is Resurrection Cookies which can be found here:
http://www.annieshomepage.com/resurrectioncookies.html

The second is for Resurrection Rolls...which my kids love making every year! I have the recipe posted with pictures here:
http://wendyclayton.blogspot.com/2007/04/happy-resurrection-day.html

A friend just shared a great story with me that we will start reading tonight and read a little each night leading up to Easter. It is called The Story of the Other Wise Man by Henry Van Dyke. You can find it here: http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/10679 Once you are there, you will need to pick one of the links to download from.

I will post updates about how our Passover and Easter plans go!

May you have a blessed week!

Kittens, Kittens everywhere!

We have had an interesting 8 months or so with two of our cats having kittens...not exactly planned!

The last litter is now 10 1/2 weeks old, so the kittens will be going to new homes soon.

Here are a few recent pictures of them. We are looking for homes for the two females. One is the smaller black kitten and the other is the Tortoise Shell (multi-colored) one.

If you are interested in having one....let me know! They are inside cats.



The dad, Shadow, with two of the kittens.



Daddy with all 3 kittens.


Dad with all 3, the black one on his back is a girl and the multi-colored one is a girl.


The two girls!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Four Things!

Thought I would post this for fun...from a friend!

FOUR THINGS:


Here are four things about me that you may or may not have known, in no particular order. Directions are at the end.

Four names that people call you:
1. Wendy
2. Mom
3. Mrs. Clayton
4. Ms. Wendy

Four jobs I have had in my life:
1. Mother
2. Home Educator
3. HEB Bakery
4. Billing & Insurance for a counseling office

Four movies I’ve watched more than once:
1. The Sound of Music
2. While You Were Sleeping
3. You've Got Mail
4. Sleepless in Seattle

Four places I have lived:
1. Del Rio, TX
2. Satellite Beach, FL
3. Woodbridge, VA
4. Soesterberg, The Netherlands

Four places I have traveled:
1. Switzerland
2. England
3. Germany
4. France

Four people who e-mail me:
1. Sarah W.
2. Lisa Y.
3. Amber
4. MelRae

Four of my favorite foods:
1. Chicken..many ways
2. Chocolate...but I can't have much now!
3. Salads & veggies
4. Fruit..many kinds

Four places it would be fun to be right now:
1. In the mountains
2. At the beach
3. In a huge garden with time to draw
4. Traveling the country with my family

Four friends I think will respond:
1. I
2. Do
3. Not
4. Know!

Four things I’m looking forward to this year:
1. Losing a lot of weight...on the way already
2. Getting back in shape..would love to help with my daughter's soccer team
3. Some time off this summer to do things like draw!
4. Learning many new things with my kids

Four TV shows that I watch:
1. American Idol
2. House
3. Lie to Me
4. Fringe (when it is on)

Now cut and paste into your own blog with your own answers and leave a link here when you do!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

SHINE Spring Ball 2009

Here is a slide show of pictures from the most recent SHINE Spring Ball. My oldest, Bethany, attended again. It was a great night and the teens had a wonderful time! Everyone looked amazing!

This is an annual event hosted by our homeschool group.

Enjoy!


Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: SHINE Spring Ball 2009
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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Great books for your home and school!

Usborne Books & More!

An exciting update!! Usborne Books at Home is now Usborne Books & More! They have acquired the Kane Miller publishing company and are now able to offer even more books to your family!

Visit my website and click on the Kane Miller link (in the left hand column of links) to see the books! More will be added as we go! www.heartslovehome.com

There are also many new offerings and specials on the website! Make sure to enter the drawing to win $50 in free books!!

Come explore the world of Usborne Books & More! We offer high quality, attractive books in a variety of bindings for children of all ages! Our products range from cute baby board books to huge volumes on History and Science topics that are Internet-linked for added learning depth and fun!

You can purchase products directly through my website or host a party for free and discounted items while we share what Usborne is about with your friends and family! This is also a wonderful opportunity to earn income while sharing your love of books with other people! All orders ship very quickly once they are placed.

A child's interest in reading and learning is stimulated by the lavish illustrations and informative content. There are over 1300 bright, colorful and fun titles covering activities, puzzles and a wide range of subjects for children of all ages! Many specially priced sets are available as well as unique craft, fun and learning kits.

Please contact me for additional information!

Contact: Wendy Clayton
Phone: 210-599-6598
Email: wencla2007@gmail.com
**If you email me, please make sure to check your bulk/spam folder for my reply..as messages sometimes end up there instead of your in-box! I will always reply within 24 hrs of receiving an email!**
Area: based in NNE San Antonio, available for business in all San Antonio and surrounding areas for home shows, nationwide for web sales!

There are a number of great new books available for this year!

Please let me know if you would like to host a home show or a catalog/eshow!! If you are interested in learning more about how the business works, please let me know!! There are several sign up specials this month!

Blessings,
Wendy

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Greatest Gift!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone!



Below are part 1 and part 2 of the play the kids were in at our new church in New Braunfels!

It's about 53 minutes total with the two parts. I hope you enjoy it! The kids did wonderful considering that they really only had 2 practices before the performance!

I had to compress them in order to upload them here...but they should still look okay!

Many blessings to you and your family for the coming year!





The Greatest Gift - part 1

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The Greatest Gift - part 2



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The Gift of Eternal Life

    1 John 5:11
    And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. (NIV)
    Romans 6:23
    For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (NASB)
    John 3:16
    For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (NIV)
    Titus 3:4-7
    But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (NKJV)
    John 10:27-28
    My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me. (NLT)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

This Side Up Christmas Concert!

I posted some info about the concert on my other blog but it wouldn't let me upload the videos. You can see a few other pictures and info here: www.tiwacademy.wordpress.com



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Friday, December 12, 2008

FYI

I am going back to post pictures, etc. from that past month or more...please check below as I am trying to put them in the right date order as I go!

Hope your Christmas preparations are going well!! We are getting there...but time is running out!