Happiness Journal

I’ve decided that I want to be more intentional about posting in my Happiness Journal. I’m going to carry on Anna’s tradition every Friday by sharing what has made me happy the past week. As I sit and reflect each week on our love drenched life I want to make sure that I am remembering the little things that have brought a smile to my face. I found that through my grief sometimes those little things are what bring me back to the surface when I’m full of sorrow.

We lived a happy life and I have hope that happiness will continue.

Anna and Abigail taught us well.

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Spending the week sharing Anna and Abigail’s love story and sharing about Love Rocks with my students has filled my heart with love and happiness. I miss them so much and every chance I get to introduce them to someone is such a blessing ❤

This week was about focusing on my girl’s love and joy and moving my students away from the tragedy that happened in their neighborhood two years ago. My prayer is that when they hear my girl’s names or pass by their tree they remember the photo of Anna riding her horse and how she was a mamas girl or the that Abigail loved the theater and adored her friends and family ~ those are the details I want them to know and remember <3.

I want them to know that even in the saddest of times your heart can still feel love and joy!

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One of my students shared this with me today after making her Love Rocks, “Teacher Susan, this Love Rock I’m going to keep but this one, I’m going to share it with the world.”

Love Anna and Abigail’s Mom

This time last year I was busy making Valentines for all of Anna and Abigail’s classmates. I wanted them to know that I cared and that we were all in this together.

I sat at our kitchen table with a small bottle of mod podge, a 100 small black rocks from Dollar Tree and a bunch of little hearts I cut out of polka dot fabric that was used during Anna and Abigail’s Memorial Service. My girls loved polka dots.

These rocks had special meaning because they were similar to the ones that Anna and Abigail made when Tom and I got married. I was hoping that their friends would feel the same comfort and love that I felt when holding the rocks from our wedding.

I didn’t have much going on at the time, writing everyday was priority along with getting out of bed and making sure to shower. My heart hurt the same as it does today.

I sat, paint brush in one hand and rock in the other, and made my Valentines for their friends. With each one came a memory of a playdate request, a conversation about friendship, a glimpse of a love note passed, giggles from upstairs, images of dance parties around the house ~ each one came with a memory of my girls and their friendships.

I remember going into their classes and placing one on each desk sharing where I got the idea, “it was something we did together.” I know they felt the significance of the gesture and I know that they knew how much this gesture of love meant to their friend’s mom. I knew that they felt my love for them and the love of my girls.

They didn’t have to tell me with their words  ~ they showed me by holding their rock tight in their palm and close to their heart.

That day, I just wanted Anna and Abigail’s friends to know they were loved, from me and from my girls.

happy v day 1Happy V Day

 

 

Love Rocks Logo

LOVE ROCK LOGO 1I am so excited! My dear friend Drew created an amazing logo for Love Rocks and I am so excited about it.

So excited that the first thing I did was open a campaign with Teespring and designed some cool shirts and hoodies. If you haven’t already seen the link on Facebook then you can follow this link and it will get you were you need to go.

http://teespring.com/loverocks

I can’t thank Drew enough for, not only designing and amazing logo, but also for putting up with me through the process.

We love you Uncle Drew!

Drew over timeDrew and Anna 1drewman and anna

 

 

Love Drenched Walk

I would wait till she was awake before I left. We would cuddle a bit and then I would get my running clothes on. The deal was she could stay in my bed and watch cartoons till I returned. Some days it was easy to slip away and other days she didn’t want me to leave. I would tell her I would only be an hour and then we would have all day together ~ she was usually fine with that especially when she knew Tom was in the kitchen making pancakes for breakfast.

This is how our weekends usually started.

For the past year it has been very difficult to get back into my running/walking routine. It is very easy to talk myself out of leaving the house and get moving~ it’s too hot, too cold, it’s raining, I’m tired, I’m not feeling well, I’m to sad.

This morning, Tom had some running around to do so I decided that I needed to get out, take Linus for a walk and enjoy the brisk clear morning. I contemplated whether or not I should take my earphones as a distraction from my own thoughts. I will be honest and say that sometimes not having a distraction is very scary ~ the memories of the night they went to Heaven can be unbearable. I have become very skilled at avoiding triggers but sometimes my mind will just go there.

I decided to bring the earphones just in case and of course a pocket full of Love Rocks.

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Linus and I headed to the B Street Trail…one of his favorite places to go. As we walked down the trail my mind wandered: favorite memories of riding our bikes with the girls; playing in the snow up on the mountain and then smiling at the fact that Anna hated to be cold which then lead me to thinking of her being warm, snuggled in my bed, watching Curious George and waiting for my return.

She’s not there ~ I grabbed for my earphones.

Hearing something Linus stopped and looked overhead ~ I followed. Flying directly above us, maybe 20ft, was a red tail hawk using the B Street Trail as a runway, guiding it to a tall tree that sat next to the trail. It landed on a high branch and sat watching us, at least I felt as though it was watching us.

I smiled, grateful for a gentle reminder to stay present and allow my mind to just be. In that moment I felt so much Love and Joy.

walk 8 walk2

I put my earphones back in my pocket.

This morning my walk was love-drenched and it was exactly what I needed to start my day. My mind did go to places that hurt but what I’m realizing is that, as hard as I try to avoid it sometimes, it will always hurt.

It hurts because I love and that LOVE ~ our LOVE ~ I wouldn’t trade for the world.

love until it hurts

After taking the above photo Linus came over and tried to eat the Love Rock.

After taking the above photo Linus came over and tried to eat the Love Rock.

walk 3

Feeling Their Love and Joy

love rock xmas

I walked into the Gap Outlet in Lincoln City and my heart started aching. It was packed due to all of the back to school shoppers ~ it was very reminiscent of the previous year. Anna and I were in Ohio visiting and we stopped at the local outlet mall and went to the Gap to do some back to school shopping. It was such a fun day with my girl and one I will always cherish.

As I stood there, alone, I reached into my purse and found my bag of Love Rocks. I pulled one out and headed straight to the girls section. I looked around thinking about what her taste in clothes would be this school year, I smiled and then found, what I thought, would be the one thing she would have to have. I lifted the pile of shirts and tucked the Love Rock out of sight.

As I left my heart was heavy but I had a smile on my face for my girl.

~

She sat at her computer typing a private message on a group Facebook page she had liked.

“Good Afternoon, My daughter recently went through an unexpected, yet successful heart procedure in October. The ordeal has made us all grateful for our health.
My daughter stayed at Randall Children’s Hospital. The experience has forever changed us. We would like to make gift bags for the kids and staff and include “Love Rocks” in each bag. However, I am not so crafty, but I would like to attempt to make these. How do we go about doing so?

Thank you for your time.

Bless you!

~

She was working and it was busy. She was straightening the back of the store and saw some shirts that needed folded and that is when she found it, a little rock with a fabric heart and a card that said it was a Love Rock. After work she got online and looked it up. She posted a message on the Facebook page saying she found a Love Rock in Lincoln City while she was at work. A reply came back asking where she worked. She replied the Gap Outlet.

~

We stood in the McDonalds parking lot, half way between our homes, for the exchange. One mom connected to a hospital because the doctors and nurses did everything they could to make sure her daughter’s final days were comfortable and another mom grateful to the same hospital for taking such good care of her daughter through an unexpected heart procedure. Both moms wanting to give back in honor of their daughters.

I had made up 20 special Love Rocks for her to put with her gift bags. We stood sharing about our lives and found we had a lot of similarities. The conversation flowed as if we had been friends for a long time.

As we were talking she shared with me about her best friend, she lived in Lincoln City. She shared how her friend was dealing with the loss of two children her and her husband were in the process of adopting. They had rooms made, clothes bought and had visited the children in their country to begin the process of bonding. She had found out in the summer that they weren’t going to be able to adopt the children and were grieving that loss. She then said that shortly after they found out her friend found a Love Rock while she was working at the Gap Outlet and it had meant a lot to her to find it at that exact moment. She really needed the love and joy.

I knew instantly we had a connection ~ my heart swelled.

~

I’m not sure how it all works and why these little rocks seem to connect people with one another. One may say it’s a coincidence but I have read too many stories since April 20th of how peoples lives are touched by Love Rocks to say it’s just by chance.

This past Saturday I was reminded again just how powerful it is to choose love and joy. By making that choice we then become connected to those around us, we open our hearts to the beauty of this world and are reminded of what matters most.

~

As I drove back to my house I talked with my girls about what had just happened. I know that they see the bigger picture and smile as they watch me try to process what this is all about. That is when I heard it, the whisper.

“Mom, don’t try to figure it out, just feel our love and joy.”

lr r

I am keeping both of these women close in prayer because besides leaving Love Rocks, it is what I can do. I know first hand the power of prayer!

Somedays…

I fill my time doing this.

making LR

These Love Rocks will be shared tomorrow at Westside Kaiser Hospital and St. Vincent’s Hospital in Portland. If you find one know that they were made with lots of love and with two amazing girls in mind. Very therapeutic day for this mama.

love rock 109