Today is our Leila’s 8th birthday :-) And although today is full of bittersweet emotions as we celebrate our first birthday without her since she and her brother Hudson went to heaven last year, we still want to celebrate her life and her sweet, vibrant spirit! We are sending balloons to her this afternoon… purple balloons, of course… and just like we would on any birthday of hers, we want to make the day all about Leila.
I felt like today would also be a perfect day to follow up with a story that I told yesterday about the special way that Jerry and I met through a girl named Daphne who listened to her heart and allowed God to use her in an incredible way. If you missed that post of Daphne and her Husband Jacob, please click back to see it!
But I’m going to tell that story again today, this time with photographs of the day I met Jerry, Hudson, and Leila, and I chose to use the same words from my post yesterday because I just didn’t think a summarization would tell our story as clearly.
I have smiled and laughed and cried all morning over the flood of sweet memories of this special day and reliving the joy and happiness and silliness that resonated so loudly from Leila’s heart!
From yesterday’s post:
“You may know this part of our story by now, that last year we lost Jerry’s two children to their battle with Batten’s Disease. It goes without saying that our hearts were devastated. And as much as we wish that this wasn’t God’s plan, we know it was… and we know that his plan and his timing is perfect.
I remember getting a facebook message from my friend Daphne – She knew someone in our community who had a child diagnosed with Batten’s Disease … and that person’s second child had been diagnosed as well. I didn’t know Jerry at this time, nor had I even heard of him or his kids. But Daphne had, and her heart was telling her that she needed to reach out to Jerry during this difficult time, somehow.. and the way her heart led her to reach out was to donate a family photo session to him to document some memories with he and his kids… and I’m the one that she messaged to do it.
I remember I sat at my desk and cried after reading about what this family was going through and after reading about the effects and fatality of the disease, my heart broke. And of course I felt as strongly as Daphne did that this man absolutely needed photos, a ton of photos, with he and his kids. So without hesitation I agreed to donate a family session to them.. and she put me in contact with Jerry to plan a shoot :)
We met on the day of our shoot in a field nearby, a place that I often go for photo shoots.. it’s my favorite place.. and now, we also remember it as the place that Jerry and I said our vows to each other on our wedding day this past April – right there in the spot that we met and made lasting memories we’ll always cherish with Hudson and Leila!
So that’s our story – that’s how we met :-) And it’s because this beautiful woman, Daphne followed through with a plan that God was using her to help unfold. Jerry and I are eternally grateful that she listened to her heart and reached out to him to pour love on his family in such a specific way that led me to him.
We know without a doubt that God doesn’t make bad things happen, but he uses those things to make something else beautiful.
Even though it was almost 9 months after the day we met that Jerry and I started dating, I was still blessed with a whole year of getting to know Hudson and Leila and building a strong foundation in our relationship together that would get us through saying good-bye to them late last year.”
So that is the story of how we met :-) And in honor of a Happy Leila Birthday today, here are some incredibly h a p p y photographs of she and her brother and her Dad, on a special day that changed all of our lives.. Smile big for us today, Leila! We love you!