Showing posts from May, 2015


We all enter circumstances with expectations.  When Adam and I went through our pre-marriage class, I realized we both had a lot of expectations for one another.  I expected Adam to take out the garbage, fix things around the house, go to work, be faithful to me - you know the normal stuff! When we were in the early weeks of pregnancy with Simon, we had expectations for him - like bringing him home, fighting with his big brother, Teddy, heading off to college and getting married. The "normal" milestones.  Again, with Thomas, we had the normal dreams and expectations you have at the beginning of a pregnancy.  While I was nervous during Thomas' pregnancy, I still tried my hardest to enjoy the time I had with him and dreamt of what life would be like with him.  And I was desperately hoping he was just an average child who would come home to live a long life in our home. Our due date with Thomas was two days ago.  I quickly realized when we first were pregnant with Thomas

CuddleCot Campaign Thank You

What a gift you have given to so many families.  After raising enough for one CuddleCot in just 14 hours, we decided to raise the challenge and try to fund money to purchase two cots.  In seven days and twenty-two minutes you gifted $8,345.00!   This means: One CuddleCot will be donated to St. Luke's Hospital (Kansas City/Plaza) . The second CuddleCot will be ordered and donated to another hospital after we research and prayerfully consider which one will use it most. You Made Me Mom now has funds to spend on becoming an official non-profit ministry! We will use funds on business cards, paper resources for local hospitals, the bassinet program for miscarriage and stillbirth.  We will have enough money in the new bank account of You Made Me Mom for future projects to support the ministry, and thus families affected by loss of a child. These generous donations speak love to us and honor the legacies of our two sons, Simon and Thomas.   Thank you for responding with an

Simon's Death

In a world where death is hardly spoken about - though it happens to all of us, I feel compelled to share some intimate moments of Simon's life and death with hopes we each walk more closely with one another when experiencing grief and the death of a loved one.  So many have run toward us and supported us and I am so thankful for this.  I encourage you to do this for others - even when you don't know what to say, say nothing and just be there when death occurs. Edited photos of Simon without his feeding tube - my Mother's Day gift from Adam. Tonight, after my You Made Me Mom gathering, Adam and I will live through the first anniversary of Simon’s death.  We will likely sit in the same place and embrace each other as we remember those moments.  I'd like to hold Simon's body, which is now ashes, in my hands too.  Just to feel closer to him. I am thankful we have his earthy ashes here in our home which will be buried with me once I die. Thomas' bod

To: Simon, From: Dad

Simon, my dear son, This morning I was reflecting on what a year it has been for your mom.  She has been broken by your leaving us, but not irreparably crushed.  She has displayed joy in the worst of times.  She surrendered valiantly so she wouldn't be defeated or taken as a victim.  Grace seems to emanate from her at times, and she brings light just when I'm feeling dark.  I don't need to tell you what an amazing mom she is though.  You know what a safe place she is.  You know her better than you know anyone else.  She cries for you often.  She misses you and loves you so very much. We have missed you so much since you left us.  I have replayed the 7 days and 22 minutes that I got to spend with you over and over in my head.  I just talked to your mom about how much we got to do with you.  We ate breakfast.  We stayed up late.  We took a stroller walk and you loved being outside.  We took a lot of pictures.  You slept in our bed our bed every night (don't tell Ted

Do you not yet understand?

Photo of Simon from May 16, 2014 Yesterday I drove to Emporia, KS and back to give a presentation with a colleague to a small group of people.  I’ve been reading Paul’s letters for the last couple of months, and realized I was longing to hear Christ’s words so I started listening to the book of Mark through my Bible app while I drove.  I drifted in and out of paying attention, but something really caught my ear in Mark 8:14-21. While traveling, the disciples apparently forgot to bring enough road snacks, and a few of them were starting to get a little “hangry” and complain-y. (Mark 8:14 & 16)  There are several points that could be taken from this biblical account, but what caught my attention was not as much Jesus warning the disciples about King Herod’s worldly influence, or the Pharisees’ legalistic influence - it was how Jesus addressed the disciples grumbling about not having enough bread to get rid of their hunger. They were on the heels of Jesus’ miracle of feed

Update: The Gift of Time Fundraiser

We are overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support offered by so many during our "Gift of Time" fundraiser in memory of  Simon Adam Balentine  and Thomas Job Balentine  in the last 24 hours!  So many family and others who will join the loss community will be blessed by your gifts. One year ago, we were thrilled to be able to leave the hospital with Simon in just 15 hours after his birth.  Amazingly, we hit our $2,800 goal for our first CuddleCot in exactly 15 hours! Because of the flood of support we received in the first 24 hours, we will be raising our goal to $6,000 (a $3,200 increase).  The fundraiser will still close on May 21st at 10:17 PM, the date/time Simon passed. Can we fundraise for two CuddleCots?  We're up for the challenge if you are.  In the spirit of transparency, here is how the funds will break down: $2,800 (COMPLETED!) - CuddleCot #1 donation to St. Luke's Kansas City Hospital $2,800 - CuddleCot #2 donation to location TBD

The Gift of Time

Exodus 3:5 …take off your shoes, for the ground you are standing upon is sacred. Tonight, we begin the first anniversary celebration of Simon’s life .  What will this week feel like?  I have committed to feeling every emotion  that  comes over me, and am committed  to not stuffing them down.  I want to try to relive the raw passion I did last year at this time – impossible, but I want to try my best to recall the feelings of gratitude and complete dependence on our Holy God.   My mind travels effortlessly back to the moment Simon was born. We weren’t sure if he would be alive as we decided to forego fetal heart monitoring – we thought if he died during labor, it might be hard for me to continue to labor knowing his soul had been taken already.  He was moving at birth, arms and legs strongly squirming – I didn’t even have to ask if he was alive.  He was!  I could tell without hesitation!  My doctor placed Simon quickly on my chest and all of the prayers from the previou


It’s May 1 st .   I have highly anticipated this month.   Both with excitement and with a little bit of fear.   I can’t help but allow this spring weather and new life beauty to take me back to last year at this time.   There were so many unknowns.   When would Simon come?   What would he look like?   What would it be like to say hello and goodbye to our second son? Would he breathe?   If he does breathe, what would it be like to watch him die?   What would it be like to sit through my son’s funeral?   Would Teddy remember all of this?   Would people forget Simon?   What will the loss of a child do to our marriage?   What happens when life goes on and I am still grieving the loss of my second born?   Will people want to listen to me talk about Simon?   I now know all of these answers now and I stand in awe of the beauty of each one of God’s responses.   A lump in my throat forms when I think back to all of these unknowns.  That mom, me, re