Friday, August 31, 2012

Give a Little, Get a Lot: Free Heart Party Download

It’s hard to believe it’s been almost 18 months since Daphne passed away. I still miss her every day. I look at this photo—the only one that comes close to capturing the radiance of her spirit—and I think how sad it is that so few people got to experience her light in person. I have no doubt that she is very busy in the spirit world, fulfilling the mission God has called her to serve. For my part, I feel obligated to carry her light into the world and do as much good as I possibly can.

Because of Daphne, I found a new “family” of heart moms—brave, humble mothers called as guardians for great spirits born with broken hearts. It’s for these incredible women and their children that I support the American Heart Association, whose funding for pediatric cardiac research is second only to the federal government’s.

One way I support the AHA is by participating in my local Heart Walk and raising money specifically for pediatric research and programs. (Learn more about the Moms with Heart program.)

My fundraising goal for this year is $2,500. It’s an ambitious goal, but it’s a great cause. Did you know that 1 in 100 babies is born with a CHD? That’s a lot of children and families who benefit from ongoing pediatric research. You can help these children by making a donation today! Here’s how:

Option 1: Donate $25 through my official Heart Walk webpage. This is the smallest donation accepted online by the AHA.

Option 2: If you can’t give $25, please make a smaller donation via PayPal to Every dollar makes a difference—$2, $5, $10, whatever you can give.

As a thank you for your donation, please download this free heart party designed in honor of Daphne by my friend Shasta Knight from Sassy Dean.

The party includes alphabet and heart pennants for a banner, six different cupcake wrappers, and fill-in-the-blank notecards for a baby shower, bridal shower, birthday, or other happy gathering.
Heart moms, use this party to celebrate your heart hero's birthday, homecoming, operation anniversary, angel anniversary, or other special day.

Please share the link to this free party download with everyone you know. Link to it on Pinterest. Share Daphne’s story, and help me reach my fundraising goal so that other heart babies will live longer, fuller lives.

Thank you for your support!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

He Is Risen . . . and She Will Rise Again!

It’s 11:00 p.m. on the eve of Easter. For me, the hour is significant. It represents the moment on March 18, 2011, when my beautiful Daphne left her earthly body and returned to her heavenly home.

As Easter morning approaches, my thoughts are turned to my Savior and His earthly ministry. I marvel at the miracles He performed and the faith of those He healed. I think of the woman with an issue of blood, who knew that if she could just touch Christ’s robe she could be made whole (Matthew 9:20-22). I think of Jarius, who knew that Christ had the power to raise his daughter from the dead (Matthew 9:18). These faithful disciples understood Christ’s divine role as the Savior of the world. They believed that He was the Son of God and that He had the power He claimed to have.

When we had Daphne with us, the Spirit confirmed to me many times that Christ had the power to heal her broken heart—to perform a miracle that would shock the modern world. I prayed and prayed for that miracle. I wanted to be as faithful as Christ’s disciples in the New Testament, worthy of His divine intervention. The night Daphne passed—when I knew I would not get the miracle I had been seeking—I felt the Spirit remind me again that Christ could mend a broken heart. This time, I knew the Spirit was talking about my broken heart. Daphne’s was already whole.

Over the last year, I’ve turned to my Savior again and again, calling upon the power of the Atonement to help me overcome feelings of sorrow, loneliness, and guilt. I’ve begged Him to hold me in my darkest moments, and I’ve asked Him to fill my heart with hope and charity. There have been many difficult days when my arms have ached for my daughter, when I’ve felt as if the longing would swallow me up. But every day has also been filled with gratitude, joy, and humility, as I’ve remembered Daphne’s incredible radiance and wisdom. What an honor to be called as the mother of such a strong, faithful spirit!

As I anticipate the glory of Easter morning, I ponder the gift of the Atonement, which provides a way for me to repent and be reconciled with God. Without this marvelous gift, I would never be worthy to return to God’s presence. Instead, I would be eternally separated from my bright-eyed angel, who has already received a place in God’s kingdom.

But repentance is not the only purpose or blessing of the Atonement. The Atonement is an enabling power. It can heal any wound, restoring that which seems beyond repair. It makes it possible to endure and overcome all things.

When Daphne passed away, I thought my heart would never feel whole again. But I underestimated the power of the Atonement. When I began my journey with grief, I asked the Savior to help me find my way. Little by little, as I’ve called upon the power of the Atonement, I’ve felt the broken pieces of my heart reform into something stronger and more durable.

In this new heart, there is a special place for Daphne. It is a warm, sensitive spot, where I hold all my memories of her. It is also where I carry my grief. Grief is not the enemy I imagined at first. It is a quiet reminder that I have a child waiting for me on the other side. It is an outlet for sorrow and an inlet for joy. When I envisioned a healed heart, I imagined I would have to give up missing my daughter. But I am only mortal, and even with my knowledge of the gospel, it is impossible not to feel her absence. My Savior understands this, and He has made room in my healed heart for the complex emotions of grief. My heart is starting to feel whole again, because my Savior has bound it up and made it strong enough to endure the separation.

This Easter, I will celebrate the Resurrection with increased gratitude. I will envision an empty tomb and rejoice, for He is risen! My Savior lives! And because He lives, I know that my sweet Daphne will also live again.

One day, she and I will be together again—our hearts made whole through the Atonement, our reunion made possible through the Resurrection. We will kneel before our Savior, hearts overflowing with gratitude and love. This is my testimony. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.