Search This Blog

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Ruby's 1st Birthday and 100 Dream Catchers

September is a special month to my family. My dad was born the 23, I was born the 24 and Ruby was born the 25. 
The night of Ruby's birthday party. Me and my dad!

I wanted to have a gorgeous 1st birthday party for my darling girl, the last 1st birthday I would ever throw for my little babies, so what did I do? About a week before Ruby’s party, I texted my incredibly creative bestie Kristen, “What should I theme Ruby’s birthday party? I want it to be over the top!” Honestly, I assumed I would get some images of mermaids and the beach, which was fine with me, as long as I had input/confidence/support from Kristen, I could do it. I considered the beautifully decorated birthday parties I’d seen on social media.

A gorgeous picture of Kristen with her husband Scott. They are the best neighbors.

I wanted that for Ruby so much, but knowing my skills don’t usually involve organization, decorating or getting things done on time, I wasn’t sure how I was going to pull it off. Then, I got this text, with these over-the-top images she'd found online.

Kristen’s idea? 
“Why don’t you a gypsy/India-themed party, bohemian and hippie.”

The minute I saw these pictures, I was like “Forget the birthday party! I want to decorate my entire house like this.” I was completely in love, like rip down the walls, throw everything away and completely redecorate your house in love. I could almost taste it!

I immediately texted Kristen back with a huge heart emoji and told her my desire to make Ruby a gorgeous dream catcher. I’d purchased a couple at TJ Maxx, but I wanted to make one of my own, especially with the vintage fabrics I’d been using and collecting for Ruby’s photo shoots. 
Here is a collection of those photos with the gorgeous fabric.

Years earlier, Kristen had made a couple of homemade dream catchers that made my heart skip a beat and I’d wanted to make one ever since, but how? I’d recently finished some art work for my coloring book where I’d drawn dream catchers and felt really inspired by the whole thing. I wanted to create the dream catcher of all dream catchers.\

But, with a baby and limited time, I could feel my vision slipping away. Let’s face it, when you have young kids, you can plan out your day all you want, but essentially, your best self goes to the caring, feeding, cleaning, loving of your kids. I was doing my best while out thrifting to gather gorgeous fabrics and anything that would fit the theme of my girl’s party, but time was running out. 

Getting ready for the  big day.
The day before my birthday (the 23rd), I had so much energy. I was getting more and more excited for Ruby’s big day. I ran out on my own, running errands, finishing up edits/formatting on my coloring book, just feeling so alive and grateful, ate frozen yogurt (something I don’t do very often because it’s my drug) and before I came home, I did a little thrifting. Let me tell you, I was on a mission. 

There was something in the images Kristen had sent me, how she had absolutely nailed the vibe I was feeling, my love for Ruby literally out of this world, this beautiful child with ocean eyes and red curls given to me from the God above, I just had to manifest my love, my gratitude, my adoration somehow or I would spontaneously combust. While thrifting that night, I found lace, yarn, fabric, absolutely beautiful, feminine, whimsical textures at the thrift stores from vintage dresses, quilts, curtains, anything I could find and I laid in bed that night feeling, cutting, tying, threading, drooling over this dream catcher I wanted to make, I mean I didn’t’ sleep a wink. It was like this energy just kept me on the edge of my seat like I was watching a movie when suddenly, it wasn’t just one dream catcher, but 100 dream catchers, all for 100 daughters of India. That’s right, I was making 100 dream catchers for all these beautiful brown-skinned, black hair, glowing, precious girls and there was Ruby, right in the center of it all!

Now, if you’re wondering “Um, what does Ruby’s 1st birthday party and your goal to help 100 daughter of India have in common?”

Everything in the world!

My little Ruby, prayed for, dreamt about, her little presence around me, how sparrows, doves, ducks, robins, butterflies, especially humming birds were so drawn to her, they were all around me as she was forming in my belly. I had to travel to the ends of the universe in sickness, fatigue and somehow defied age for her, God manifested her gender and then granted me her presence, after I dreamt of, researched, illustrated, wrote, painted, created a book, cried for, begged, almost touched my own little girl from India. You don’t have to look very far to see somehow, a loving God, in His utter brilliance, gave me a little girl that fulfilled these desires.

My little black-haired, olive-skinned Ruby at birth.

Ruby has a connection to India I can’t quite explain and she and Eden hold me to my commitment, to help those beautiful girls who seem to be forgotten, almost invisible to the rest of the world. During the year I illustrated 100 girls of India, I stared at them with tears in my eyes and wondered who they were, why was life so difficult for them. 

Eating the remnants of a broken coconut off the road.

I learned about their culture, language, religion, clothing, hair styles and felt their dreams, their connection to the heavens and earth, how the animals are drawn to them (just like Ruby), how they are loved by the sun, moon and stars, how the world does revolve around them. 

They are literally painted with gold. 
I painted the illustration of these girls with gold-metalic paint.

Sharing my art with Becky Douglas.

Just look at how the world holds them in contrast with who they really are. 

These are the girls that will change the world, these are the girls that are in alignment to fulfill their destiny, but only if they have a chance to rise out of the dust and ash, to be seen, to learn and grow, to be nourished and cherished, to have a voice and sing in their tender glorious chorus.

But, they can’t do it alone.

These are the feelings/visions/dreams I experienced as I laid in bed and the sun rose on my 47th birthday.

I know, crazy!

Of course the next morning with Ruby in my arms, I was at Kristen’s doorstep, crying, emotional, all wrapped up in this vision and she let me in, heard my dreams, listened to my idea, and not only did she validate me, but she created something that absolutely showcased what I had went through.

This is what she made for Ruby’s birthday party.

A dream catcher on speed, a dream catcher that has never before been seen or envisioned, with its glorious vintage fabrics, textures, lace and charms.  I thought about changing my profile page on facebook from being married to Derek Lofgreen, to:
"Laura Lofgreen- In a relationship with a dream catcher.”

Kristen made one for the front door.

So, this is the goal.
100 dream catchers for 100 dreams of the girls of India.

Taking some risks here, being a bit untraditional.

Teaching Eden and Zola how to make them too.

My first attempt. I'm not finished, more work then a thought it would be.

100 dream catchers and with Kristen’s support/talent/vision/commitment as my partner, maybe, we will catch the dreams of these 100 daughters of India and their perfect dreams will fill our hearts and somehow, someway, we can help/sponsor/love/touch these beautiful girls of India.

Our goal is to finish by mid-January. I am working with Rising Star Outreach on the project. I hope to have a gala/event/launch to showcase this beautiful art. At some point, we will have some for sale, but not until we complete our goal.

What is the meaning of a dream catcher? It's fascinating. Read here.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Happy First Birthday Ruby

And just like that, our little Ruby is one.

It’s been quite the year.

From the start, our Ruby has been a total miracle. Before I became pregnant, I prayed and fasted (intermittent) for 30 days, asking God to send me this precious little girl. Just the fact I was able to get pregnant at the age of 45 is a miracle, but then when I was 12 weeks along I took a blood test and was told with 100% certainty I was having a boy. 

That was a big hit (my sixth boy, I wasn’t sure I could handle that), but I did my best to make peace with it when at a 20 week ultrasound, I was told, “Nope, not a boy, you’ve got a girl!”

I literally felt like I’d been punked, but there her image was on the ultrasound screen, I was having the little girl I’d prayed for.

When I was 38-weeks pregnant, an ultra sound showed complications so that day I was sent to the hospital to have an emergency c-section! 

Everything went perfectly, not to say it was easy, but Ruby was born healthy and was finally in my arms. She was born with beautiful black hair and olive skin.

Canyon had been sick that summer and in the hospital, suffering from dangerous seizures and just 5 weeks after Ruby was born, he had another seizure and spent a few days in the pediatric ICU. 

We were told he most likely had a terminal illness called adrenulukodystrophy. Canyon had 10 out of 10 symptoms and Christmastime was absolutely devastating to our family. 

How long did we have with Canyon? How soon before he would he lose his eye sight, hearing, ability to walk, swallow and so on? How did people cope when they lost a child? 
You can see his crossed eyes and drooping smile in this photo, which broke my heart. His words slurred, doctors detected a limp, he spoke with a lisp, it was devastating.

I was obsessed with research and read devastating accounts of children (most common in boys) who lost their lives to this terrifying white matter disease. I read medical reports and journals,, reviewed Canyon’s MRI, medical labs and doctors notes just looking for an inkling of hope. 

Prayers and fasting were plentiful. Derek and I were zombies, even having night terrors, barely coping, and just hanging on. 

Our family had so many questions, but mostly just tears and an unknown future with our little boy, so we waited several months for answers to extensive blood work our pediatric neurologist was conducting.

Welcome to the world Ruby!

Also at Christmas time, I noticed in pictures Chandler was sending me from the Philippines that he extremely thin. Chandler had been complaining of stomach pains and after a trip to a Filipino hospital, it was confirmed he had h.pylori, Celiac disease and other complications. We had not told Chandler Canyon’s possible medical diagnosis, but it appeared now we had two very sick sons. Would Chandler have to come home early from his mission?
His clothes were hanging on him.

And there was Ruby, the sweetest baby sent to bless our family.

Then a plumber made some poor choices while working on the plumbing in our home, jack hammered through cement, ruined our pipes and we literally had trenches in our home. When he abandoned the job, we had one working bathroom and no working kitchen or laundry – for three months. All our tile had to be removed and almost every pipe in our home replaced. 

The engine in our Suburban went out and needed to be replaced.

Ruby was 5 months old.

Ruby’s first year has been full of ups and down, but let me tell you, this little girl is a very gracious, cooperative child. 

She’s been an absolute joy, from her contagious smile to her love of everybody, she’s happy and healthy. She’s a great eater, loves baby Einstein and playing with her brothers and sister. I’ll never forget some of long, stressful days when I was sleep deprived and worried about how little energy I had to focus on her. 

She never nursed. With so much going on, I was just getting through the days, but she brought so much sunshine that I’m certain she was meant to come at such a trying time to lessen the load and brighten our day.

With so many prayers, fasting, acts of love, service and more, our family has received too many miracles to count. Chandler is home, married and still in recovery, Canyon is thriving, still undiagnosed, but does not have adrenulukodystrophy. A kind man in our church assisted us in all our home repairs and our suburban was still under warranty, fixed at no charge. I know God has spared us and granted merciful miracles.

I've watched her hair turn from black to auburn red. Her olive skin is now milky white.

Ruby will not remember her first year, but I will. My prayer is that her spirit will keep the memories of all these miracles alive for her. 

Ruby is a miracle and in just a year, she has been in the presence of so many more. Happy Birthday little girl!

Here 1st birthday party was spectacular. I'll post about that in the next few days. That deserves a blog post of its own.