Pin-Up Girl

Each of us has a story.

You have one, you have one, even YOU have one. (yes, you, the one in the back saying “I’m just a normal girl.”)

If you’ve been around very long, you’ll know that from 2010 until just recently, I worked on a group site called Band Back Together. It was a labor of love, one that started from a little seed in Becky’s brain, and one that came to life quickly and successfully.

People come from all walks of life and submit stories – THEIR STORIES – of life, love, loss, abuse, addiction, special needs, special circumstances, and both hope AND fear. The stories are real. The stories are raw. The stories are LIFE.

For 2013, Band Back Together has produced a beautiful calendar. This calendar will feature the faces of different situations and conditions. There’s Bipolar, Domestic Abuse, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Special Needs Parenting, Organ Donation, and others.

I don’t want to give anything away, but Jason and I will be featured as the Faces of Child Loss.

While I wish our situation was different and I didn’t have to be the pin-up girl for losing a child, it’s the hand that Jason and I were dealt. We play that hand and sometimes it’s an even an honor for us to be able to share our story and share our Charlie with others around us. I feel like we offer hope to those who have suffered a loss, helping them realize that life CAN go on. It’s not easy and it surely takes time to be able to see the other side, but life is still beautiful, even through the sometimes foggy lens of grief.

Here’s where I ask you to buy a calendar.

But I’m not asking for me. Though I think you’ll love having a picture of me and my adorable husband on your wall for the entire month of May!

It’s for the Band. It’s to help continue providing a safe place for people who feel like they don’t have a voice, to have a voice. It’s for those who want to speak their truths without fear. It’s for some of you. It’s for all of us.

In addition to selling the calendars, Band Back Together will be offering calendar bundles. The bundle includes a calendar, BB2G stickers, BB2G temp tattoos, and while supplies last a BB2G button as well. For just a few dollars more you’ll be able to snag some cool extras. We have enough supplies to offer the bundle during pre-sales, and will continue to offer them until supplies run dry. We cannot guarantee the supplies will last through regular sales.

Order now by clicking on this pretty little picture. Put my name in the comment section so they know I sent you!

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BUY A CALENDAR NOW!

 

Proceeds from the 2013 Band Back Together Calendar will be used for outreach efforts in 2013. Band Back Together runs as a nonprofit, meaning we do not profit from any incoming funds. All proceeds go directly into Band efforts such as server costs or outreach efforts. As of this posting, federal nonprofit status has not been received, therefore purchases or donations are not tax deductible at this time.

Moving On…

Moving On…

Over the weekend, I stepped away from Band Back Together after (right at) two years of service.

It’s both heartbreaking and freeing.

I’m so unbelievably proud of the work I have done there and look forward to seeing The Band continue to grow. Thinking back to the very early days when it was me, Becky, and a few others and how scared we were that it wouldn’t grow and be awesome… well, that’s just ridiculous to look back on now. It’s such an amazing site that continues to grow and evolve.

Thank you, Becky, for allowing me to be the Tennille to your Captain and an integral part of such a wonderful group.

But at the same time, I need to say I feel like there is a path leading me elsewhere. I have no clue where that place is, but I see the road laid out in front of me.

Now it’s time to follow.

 

Climbing, Finishing and Shopping. Oh, and #FineChinaFriday!

Climbing, Finishing and Shopping. Oh, and #FineChinaFriday!

My brain hurts so you get what you get today!

Last Sunday, we went rock climbing with Henry’s Scout den for the end-of-year party.

He did not love it. He’ll tell you he did, but he didn’t.

School ended yesterday. I no longer have a first grader.

This is what the first and last days of first grade look like.

If you haven’t visited in a while, you should check out the online store for the nursery I work for. There’s lots of awesome stuff like this:

And like us on Facebook (Grayson), Facebook (Woodstock) and Twitter and Pinterest and all that jazz! Oh, and the blog. Don’t forget that!

Been to Band Back Together lately? So much awesomeness going on over there. Check it out. You won’t be sorry!

Also, it’s #FineChinaFriday. Party hard. If you’re still unsure what it is, click that little button at the top of the page that says #FineChinaFriday!

 

Friday I’m In Love (with these things)

Friday I’m In Love (with these things)

If you’re too young to remember The Cure’s Friday I’m In Love, then you’re too young to be reading this site. 😉 Sorry!

Kidding.

There are some things this week that I’ve really loved and I’m going to share them right here and now.

** My friend wrote about Taking Back Christianity. I’m not sure I’ve read anything I’ve agreed with so much in my entire life. Or at least this month. She hit the nail right on the head.

** The Bloggess is coming to Atlanta next week. I KNOW! I’m definitely going and it sounds like I’ll have a few other girls going with me.

** Angie, my Phickles Pickles friend, has taken #FineChinaFriday and the #TeacupRevolution to a new level. Her new addition, Hottie, was born with a china teacup in its paw.

** Speaking of #FineChinaFriday… play along! Pull out that dusty china, silver or crystal and enjoy whatever you’re having for dinner on it. (Guys, you can put Mom’s breakfast on it on Sunday morning, too — hint hint!)

** My baby is about to finish his first grade year. WHEN DID HE GROW UP? He had a crossover ceremony for Scouts on Tuesday and it was all kinds of adorable.

** It was a week ago now, but if you missed the May The Fourth Be With You party, well, you missed out completely. I promise there’s another post coming about the food and all that. But for now, you just get pictures of the fun! (ps: I assume they give out Mother of the Year awards on Mother’s Day?)

** I get to see my best friend this weekend. We’re going to the lake/pond and she’s going to be doing our photo shoot for the Band Back Together 2013 calendar. Yep. Jason AND I are going to be in a calendar. How awesome is that? I mean, it’s because we have a kid that died so I’d rather NOT have to be in a calendar, but yeah. Never been in one so this is kinda fun!

That’s all I know right now.

Wishing you all a beautiful weekend and peaceful Mother’s Day.

ps: Men, don’t forget to help the littles get a gift for mom.

pps: If you know someone who has lost a baby and has empty arms, make sure you acknowledge that she, in fact, is a mother. There’s nothing in the world more painful than a Mother’s Day with no baby in your arms.

 

Look At The Stars…

Look At The Stars…

Look at the stars
Look how they shine for you
And everything you do
Yeah, they were all Yellow.
~Yellow by Coldplay~
 

This week, the world — the Universe — said goodbye to a very special person. Susan Niebur (@whymommy) was a very bright light in the world. One who wore many hats. She wore the hats of wife, mother, sister, daughter, best friend, aunt, NASA scientist, blogger, inflammatory breast cancer butt-kicker and many others.

She also wore the hat of “friend” to so many in the blogosphere, whether they had met Susan or not. I did have the honor and privilege of meeting Susan last summer at Type A Conference where she won the Bloganthropy award. Becky and I had a long conversation with her about a lot of things. The topic turned towards her health somehow and I remember her saying “when I die” and thinking, “not when, but if.”

But Susan knew. She knew that her time was very limited. She talked about being concerned for her children and how they would handle her death. She mentioned things specifically and a few of Band Back Together’s resources were actually made for her specifically, because she needed to know how to handle some things.

I remember giving her a very gentle hug and telling her I would continue to pray for her and her family.

When her husband posted the words we had all known were coming, but didn’t want to hear, I wept. I cried like I would if I heard that one of my dear (in real life) friends had died.

“But she’s just your friend online.”

That’s the thing I want to say. There’s hardly a line between my online friends and my real-life friends (apart from my 3 very best friends in the world) anymore. The line is blurry and almost non-existent. I’ve met so many wonderful people online, a lot of them I would likely never have befriended in real life, though. But the variety of people and the different views that they have, have changed me for the better.

These friends are just like the ones I can see at a party or church, only I’ll likely never meet them. We all worry when kids are sick. We cheer for them when they have a job interview or a big meeting. We want them to share the recipe for that delicious dinner they showed us. We cry when they lose someone special to them or a pet.

We feel helpless when we can’t physically be there to help them.

And we weep and grieve when one of our own dies.

It brings up a very big fear in most of us mothers out there. I’m not afraid of dying, but I am petrified beyond belief of dying and leaving Henry and Jason behind. In fact, it’s so paralyzing, my heart rate is up just typing that.

When I was telling Jason about Susan the other night, he got very bothered thinking about what would happen if I died. The first thing he said was, “I wouldn’t know who to tell. I don’t know how to tell all your friends that are online. You have to leave me very specific instructions.

I actually have a file on my desktop that’s called OPEN IF I DIE. I need to update it, but essentially it has all my login information and very specific instructions on who to tell and how to be able to tell them.

I urge you to do the same. Just as you would have a will and life insurance (YOU SHOULD HAVE THOSE THINGS NOW!), in this day and age, you should have a document that tells someone what to do to let your friends online know of anything that has happened. Do it for Susan. Because I feel 100% certain her husband had specific instructions on how to share her death with those who loved her dearly.

Since Monday, Coldplay’s song Yellow, one of my favorites, has been in my head. The lyrics are at the top. I feel like Susan’s aura was yellow above all so I went and looked it up.

Yellow is the color of awakening, inspiration, intelligence and action shared, creative, playful, optimistic, easy-going.

I see Susan in all of those words. And I will forever see her in every star and moon.

Thank you, Susan, for being an inspiration. Thank you for sharing of yourself, your struggles, your celebrations and your life. Thank you for paving the way for women in science and advocating for breast cancer patients. We are all better people for knowing you.

And I’m forever grateful for the one gentle hug I was able to give you.

Rest well and shine bright on your family today and always.

Image: Flickr user Cano Vääri

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