Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Corona Ward Mutual Activity

I love the service project activities that I have been involved in.  Whether it is Young Men/Young Women, camp, women's groups, girl scouts or whoever else contacts me, I just love them.  I love thinking about Brianna and how the experience of being the mom to an angel can help who ever is hosting the service project.  For one girls camp it was "Dancing it Out." For others it has been faith and testimony.  For this activity, I originally wanted to talk about the importance of temple marriage, but later chose to talk about happiness and finding true happiness now.  I figured these youth have heard numerous talks about temple marriage and no matter how important it was to me at this point in my life, happiness could be just as important since it is something they can have TODAY if they strive for it and work for it.

After my short talk, we went into the cultural hall and everyone made blankets, even the Young Men and I was loving the visiting and felllowship of all the youth.  Mutual is such an awesome program and I can't wait for my own children to be a part of it someday.

Here are some of the pictures from the evening....

Have I mentioned I love my job at Blankets for Brianna?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Walk to Remember 2012

This year was my first year at the Walk to Remember IE.  It was also, of course, Blankets for Brianna's first year and we even had the opportunity to have a booth at the event to promote the charity.

Thanks to Pinterest for most of the ideas for the decorations. I made the banner with dictionary pages (hey, words are in style right) and the old fashioned scissors and glue.  I think it turned out pretty good. We displayed a bunch of different types of blankets that we have received and even had a handout on how to make different types of fleece tied blankets.

 The brown box was also courtesy of Pinterest. Its a diaper box covered in fabric. LOVE IT!
 I also made Pink and Blue ribbons for anyone to wear symbolizing Pregnancy and Infant Loss.

Here is some angel wings that were made in honor of our angel babadfies by a support group I attend called Face 2 Face. Brianna is at the top... 

Now into the walkers....

Best friends for life since 2nd grade... Laurel and Jenn

All the families.. The Ingrams and Taylors

The grandmas

The girl scouts leading the way on our walk holding all the names of the babies we are walking for

Bree's poster. Too bad somehow we missed it on the walk, but we will be there again next year.

My precious angel

The balloon release to our angels

Our basket donation to the raffle table. Couresty of SCM Designs for an awesome basket. 

I was busy the weeks leading up to the Walk to Remember. I wanted our booth to be perfect to make my daughter proud, and I thought it turned out perfect, but now thinking back, I am sure she would have been just as happy having the special people there who came to support her and walk for her and remember her. We will definitely be back next year. It was an awesome event and so much time and work goes into it by the Walk to Remember IE organization. It was a huge success and I can't wait til next year... Who knows who else will be walking with us *wink*wink*

The article about the event can be found at 

Monday, September 17, 2012

International Blanketeer

This week my husband and I had the opportunity to travel to England and of course what do I do... research hospitals and pack blankets (in his luggage).

We took 2 packages of blankets to London and 1 to Liverpool.  This by far has been my favorite location geographywise. One of the hospitals was right on the River Thames across from Parliment. How awesome is that.

I didn't call ahead like usual, but all the staff was so appreciative and wonderful.  This was also the first time my husband went along for the delivery. 

First stop was the Liverpool Women's Hospital.
Taxi ride there then about a mile walk back through the city. So worth it...

2nd stop... St Mary's Hospital near Paddington.

Last stop, St Thomas Hospital. My favorite.

This was such a wonderful experience and I should have more to report once my dear friend delivers some blankets to a hospital in Germany. If anyone else is going on vacations or trips and would like me to coordinate a delivery for you to take that would be wonderful. Just let me know. I have blankets that need to be labeled then I will have plenty to ship out.  I will have them boxed (for trips via car) or smaller packages in bags (for trips via plane).
I hope everyone knows how appreciative I am for all the love, support, talents and blankets that I continue to get. 

Monday, July 30, 2012

Perfect People at the Perfect Time

A couple of weeks ago I was driving around all of the Inland Empire collecting donated blankets one night after work (my usualy routine).  This process takes me awhile because I love getting to know the people I don't know who are donating and hearing about their lives and stories and sharing time together.  What should only take 30 minutes takes me hours. 

My last stop of the night was a woman in her early 20s who should enter Crochet Wars, if there is such a thing.  Her blankets looked so professional. But then again everyone's look professional next to mine.  I met up with her and her mother and father.  They were all so welcoming and caring as I entered their house.  I could have stayed all night.  They were some of the most wonderful people I have ever met.  They definitely touched my heart. 

This family was not immune to trials.  They have had their fair share in the past few years.  But ALL OF THEM WERE SMILING.  They all were happy, they all wanted to help others, and they all were amazing. 

They are set to open two businesses in the upcoming months (I will keep you all posted).  One is called Luxurious Events. They will be doing event planning, weddings and such.  They have beautiful ideas and materials. 

Their other business is Menifee Valley Buy and Sell Thrift. Both of these businesses will be in Menifee.  They want to get the community involved.  They will be having a Grand Opening scheduled for sometime maybe September and they want Blankets for Brianna there.  They have offered to be a Blanket for Brianna drop off location.  They have so many great ideas and I am so happy to work with them.  Having them help Blankets for Brianna is just icing on the cake.  Even without that, they touched my heart and uplifted my spirit.  Their faith could move mountains, they laughter and smiles cheers up anyone's day.  They were just the perfect people for me at the perfect time and made me feel even better. 

Thanks Morris'!!!!!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Finding Your Grief Path

This year has seen tragedy upon tragedy. Whether it be in our personal lives or on a national and international level, we have all had our share of horrific events.  We may feel like we want to give up or toss in that white flag. 

I wanted to start Blankets for Brianna to help myself through the grieving process of losing my only child and also to bring comfort and peace to other families during their similar trials.  After Brianna was born, I started to attend a support group called Compassionate Friends.  This group is for any child loss whether just born, or adults.  This weekend after attending the services of my dear friend, Dominc, I had the opportunity to attend their National Conference in Costa Mesa.  I learned alot, and can't wait til next year in Boston.

I felt it was appropriate to share some of the pointers I learned with you, as I know many of my friends are grieving. Many of us, may not have experience with these types of feelings, so I pray that what I took from the conference helps you all too.

*In loving memory of*
Brianna 01/13/2012

And Dominic

  • Try not to focus on your loved one's death.  Their death is a short time of their whole life. Try to focus on the positive and good memories.  (In this workshop, I shared that Joe used to always do this funny dance with my pregnant belly... He was dancing with his daughter. We don't have many memories since we had just a short time with her, but there are some and we need to focus on those).  If you can be positive, it balances out the grief.
  • The relationship with your loved one continues after death. Do not let their passing be the end. They are still alive even if not on earth. And love remains.
  • Emotions are only negative if you hold them in.  Let the grief pass through you.  Cry... if you are a male or female. It takes courage to deal with grief.
  • Just because you do not feel your loved on near you, doesn't mean they aren't.
  • Grief is internal, mourning is external.
  • Grieving is inevitable, misery is not.
  • Let go of the pain, but do not let go of the love.
  • Grief is a journey, not a singular event. How are you going through your journey?
Whether your loved one was 1 day old or 100 years old... whether this happened 9 days ago or 9 years ago... You are all going through a path and journey. 

Thank you again to all the friends and family who have stuck with me through my journey, especially my husband Joe.  He is everything I could want in a husband and lets me grieve in the way I need.  Also, thank you to the new friends I have met through Blankets for Brianna and through other support groups and bereaved parents.  I hope that I uplift you as you all uplift me.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Chugging right along....

Yesterday was 6 months since Bree was born. Alot has happened. Our lives have been changed. We have been touched by her short life everyday.

Blankets for Brianna has had some amazing accomplishments.
  • Selected as the service project for the Corona Stake LDS girls camp and speaking about the project and my daughter. (...gotta write that talk)
  • Selected the Board of Directors- Myself, Tiffany Hazelaar and Stefanie Muhlhauser. These women have helped me fundraise and supported me from the beginning. They both have had children in the NICU and are willing to donate their time and talents to this cause.
  • Opened our business bank account at BBVA.  ** If anyone needs a new bank account, BBVA Compass is offering $100 this month to people who say that Blankets for Brianna is a charity they would like to donate to. The money is paid by the bank so there is no charge to you. After this month it will be $50, so still helpful for this growing charity.
  • An article wrote will be included in the "We Need Not Walk Alone" magazine by the Compassionate Friends in August. I will post when I get it back.
  • We are looking for other avenues to publize the charity and organization. I have a phone call set up with Groupon Grassroots on Monday to discuss getting Blankets for Brianna on their website. It is a website that is like Groupon, but for small local charities to get their name out.
Good things keep coming. I just need to get all my Form 1023 paperwork in order so I can get that turned in and hopefully returned by the end of the year. I would love to have this all done and recognized before Brianna's birthday.

Brianna has been such a bright spot in my life.  I worked on 4th of July- a 12 hour shift. When I got home and came up the stairs this is what I saw coming from her room.

I feel so blessed to have met Brianna and can't wait to meet her in the next life. Thanks to all for the continued support and love.

Tears from Heaven or a Welcome party?

I have been meaning to post about all the wonderful things happening with Blankets for Brianna, but this week my mind has been elsewhere.
I am saddened by the loss of a dear friend, Dominc Durden.  Dom is everything anyone could want in a friend and he is already missed by hundreds of people. As we go through this next week reflecting on memories we have all shared and preparing for the service, I will continue to have him and his mother in my thoughts and prayers. The loss of a child is tragic, and we are all feeling a glimpse of that.  I pray that his mother, Sabine, feels the comfort and peace of a loving Lord and Savior.

The day that Dominic return to heaven was the oddest weather for a July. The day before it was 106 degrees. The day he passed away it was gloomy and rainy. Some say it matched our moods. Some say it was tears. And someone said the thunder and lightening were his welcome party. Whatever it was Dominic will be missed by all. His spirit, his smile, his laugh... his bug eyes photo bombing every picture he could... He is perfect in everyway.

I love you Dominic. N4629 EOW 071212.  

Sunday, June 24, 2012

A little Girls Camp didn't hurt anyone

I was honored to be able to speak at the Menifee Stake Girls Camp about being a survivor. Their theme was Survivor: Valiant, Pure and Strong. Here is what I said. I should have some pictures to follow shortly.

Hello, My name is Laurel Taylor. I am the camp director for Menifee Lakes Ward. This week at camp we learned about being survivors.  We did a survivor challenge, went through our rotations and had to survive obstacles.  We had tribe names, went to tribal counsel, and had our tribal yell.  All in all, we had fun.  In fact, just this morning we had to survive the early wakeup just to get here in time to listen to this sunrise devotional.

I come to you this beautiful morning and have been asked to speak to you about being a survivor.

I thought long and hard about what message I wanted to talk about today.  I’ve decided to talk about what being a survivor is to me. I think being a survivor is about enduring to the end.

Remember in the movie about Sister Stephanie Neilson said that she thought her life was like a fairy tale and everything was just perfect.  It reminded me that I have had that same thought about my own life.  Last November my husband and I sat across from the Stake President after preparing to go to the temple to be sealed in our recommend interview.  I remember telling President Wilson that my life was too good to be true.  We were already married and just bought a nice house.  He had the perfect job with the Fire Dept. and I had the perfect job in the Sheriff Dept. And were expected a baby in just a couple months.  Everything was perfect, it was my own fairy tale. Then in January that all changed. Just like Stephanie’s fairy tale changed in one day, mine did as well.  Although her trial is not the same as mine its still a trial.  In January, my husband and I lost our baby girl Brianna.  She was born 4 days before her due date.  She was in distress and just didn’t make it through the delivery.  In one day, our fairy tale changed. 

The YCL’s made some fleece blankets during their service project for a nonprofit organization I started called Blankets for Brianna.  This organization definitely has been a help to me in the months since her birth.  Friends, family and strangers have donated all different types of blankets and beanies to this cause.  In the few months since Brianna was born, I have taken blankets given to me and given them back to hospitals.  We have donated over 175 blankets and over 80 beanies to 6 local hospitals and handed them out to some local chaplains to use in their jobs too.  And this is only the beginning.  These blankets will bring comfort and love to families going through this trial.  The outpouring of love and support in the days following Brianna’s birthday amaze me even to this day.  Flowers and cards have filled our home.  Our emails and Facebook walls have been bombarded.  The love given to us has been huge.

Our emotions are mixed.  We have our ups and downs. We miss our daughter every day.  I wish I had heard her cry even for a second.  It’s a struggle every day to keep going.  Our faith has been given a test and so far I hope we have passed.  While Brianna is busy in the spirit world, we are on earth.  My husband and I are sealed.  She was born in the covenant.  She came to earth for a split second just to get her body. And what a beautiful, perfect body it was. She looked just like her dad. We all know little children didn’t have to be born and she has already reached celestial glory.  Now my husband and I have to endure to the end to return to our Heavenly Father and see Brianna again.  In a way, we have to be survivors.

Enduring to the end is easier said than done. While on earth, we are through daily temptations.  Having Brianna already in the celestial kingdom, it keeps me focused on gaining that glory myself.  I don’t want to miss out on what I didn’t get a chance to do on earth- raise my daughter.

By being patient and focusing on the celestial kingdom, I put off my worldly desires for my treasures in heaven.  Without patience, we cannot please God.  Patience is a purifying process that requires understanding, deepens happiness and offers hope for peace. In D&C 121:7-8 it states, “My sons (or in our case daughters) peace by unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment. And then if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high.  Thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.”  In the whole scheme of things, our trials are only as this scripture says: a small moment.  If we think about it like that, it’s not as hard to be patient.

Some of you may have heard the talk “Your Happily Ever After”                ( from President Uchtdorf.  It’s a wonderful talk.  He talks about how fairy tales all start with a “once upon a time.”  Then they all have their trials- Cinderella, Belle, Snow White.  But in the end, they all had their happily ever after.  They all had to experience adversity.  Satan knows us well. He knows where, when and how to tempt us.  If we are obedient to the promptings of the Holy Ghost, we can learn to recognize the adversary’s enticement.  Your trials might not be as big as mine, but no matter what you need to overcome them.  You need to be a survivor and stand tall in the last days.

Heavenly Father loves us all.  He knows all of us individually.  Uchdorf says “If you ever feel your burden is too great to bear, lift up your heart to your Heavenly Father and He will uplift and bless you.  Every temptation we overcome strengthens us and teaches us.”

Enduring to the end, or remaining faithful to the laws and ordinances of the gospel of Jesus Christ throughout out life is a fundamental part of salvation in the Kingdom of God.  In D&C 14:7, the Lord says “If you keep my commandments and endure to the end you shall have eternal life, which gift is the greatest gift of all the gifts of God.” Enduring to the end is not just getting by or hanging in there.  It is actively living the commandments of God. Enduring to the end is a process filling every moment in our life, every house, every day from sunrise to sunset.  It is accomplished through personal discipline and following the covenants of God.

Sometimes being patient and following the covenants of God requires us to trust in the Lord.  My last day at work before I went out on leave to have my daughter, a coworker came up to me to offer me some advice.  She said that even thought she isn’t married and doesn’t have any children, she had some advice for me about my baby.  Not lots of people had already given me advice, but this woman’s words really stuck with me.  She said “Trust in your Lord.” This is the strangest advice for having a baby I had ever heard.  And to top it off this woman is of the Hindu faith.  So she believes in higher beings, but it’s not exactly the same as our God and Lord so I thought it was interesting that she delivered that message.  I didn’t forget that she told me to trust in the Lord, and the day Brianna was born I help on to that phrase and trusted in him more than anything.  I have spoken to her since returning to work and I believe she followed promptings from the spirit to tell me that. This message was the best for me and I am still trusting in the Lord and being patient as possible.  I am trying to follow his commandments to return to him someday. 

As Young Women, we are all given tools to help us endure to the end.  We have good friends, family, scriptures, seminary, mutual, Personal Progress and the For the Strength of the Youth Handbook.  These standards and teachings will guide you and direct you through this adventure we call life.  They will help make you the ultimate survivor and will prepare you to make sacred covenants.

To be a survivor, you should stand for truth and righteousness, overcome adversity, be strong, courageous, never give up and be of good cheer.

I know this gospel will lead us all on the right path.  You all have such amazing spirits and have accomplished so much this week.  Sisters, I hope you all endure to the end and stand tall and clean through the last days.  I leave you these words, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Officially official!!

Just got my paperwork back from the secretary of state today! How perfect is this week?!?

First try and all by myself and my paperwork was accepted. Now on to the Feds. Let's hope it's as smooth.

Girls girls girls....

Girl Scout Troop 285 had an event and made some blankets for Blankets for Brianna. They so sweetly presented them to me at their end of the year pool party. 

It was so great to be with the girls and listen to their laughs and playful screams from the pool and meet their wonderful parents. 

 Here they are presenting me with the blankets. They had a little speech all set up... 
 I was so happy to be a part of this day with them.
A huge thank you...
 Obviously a very smiley girl... 
 Our group pic... These girls were a crack up.
 Of course, gotta have the funny group pic. 

Tina, my friend and coworker, coordinated the event and made it all possible. 
They made about 20 fleece blankets. They are all beautiful and so appreciated. The day was perfect! 

The next group event is Girls Camp in a couple weeks. I am also speaking at a devotional on the last day of camp about being a survivor... I think I am going to speak more about wanting to endure to the end to get back to my daughter... I am still writing the talk. I should be doing that NOW!!!

165 blankets and 70 beanies...

Last Friday was D-Day.. as in Delivery Day.  The blankets piled up so fast at home that I decided to ship them all out at once.
When I first started thinking about doing this I never had any idea that it would be so successful so fast. I am so  excited for every item I receive and know that it will help families during their hard times as these items have helped me. 

I couldn't think of a way to cart around so many blankets so I got moving boxes *next time I will order them online so they don't say HOME DEPOT across the front* I put a Blanket for Brianna sticker on top that identified what hospital each box was for and I was off. 

6 local hospitals- Corona Regional, Riverside Community, Riverside Regional, Parkview Community, Rancho Springs and Kaiser Riverside. 

Everyone was so grateful for the blankets and everything that we are all doing to help these families. Now ready for our next hospitals.... 

Thanks everyone for your creativity, support, and love during these past few months. 

Brianna wasn't even born 5 months ago and look how many lives we have touched. 

On a side note: Meeting with attorney Jeremiah Raxter from Menifee to go over my 501c3 paperwork on Thursday.  The state has cashed my check for the Articles of Incorporation so we should be a legit non-profit in no time. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Brianna's Mom

For awhile I was afraid that I would be known as the mother that had a still born baby. It kind of bothered me since I didn't want Brianna's life to be remembered like that. And I didn't want the sad face that comes with that when people meet me.

Well last night I unexpectedly saw a dear friend. She was with her friend and introduced us. She said "This is Brianna's mom." I didn't realize it til later, but that was the best thing ever.  I am Brianna's mom and I always will be. No one else can be that. This woman recently had had an activity with her friends to make blankets so the friend knew about Brianna. But nothing was mentioned about her birth or anything. Just that I was her mom. I love that.

Thanks Mary!

Another group of angel helpers..

Earlier this week my church group put together a group activity for Blankets for Brianna. We collected 38 blankets and 9 beanies for these precious children. I spoke during the activity. Here is what I said and some pictures to share.

I am honored that you would have a RS Service project/activity centered on this charity, Blankets for Brianna.

Thank you to all the ward members for the prayers, comfort, meals and friendship during this extremely trying time in my life. My testimony has been strengthened by every one of you.

I am sure that many of you have already heard the story of Brianna's birthday or read the talk I gave at MOPS on my blog so I will not repeat what you have already heard. I wanted to just share tonight a couple of minutes on what I have learned from my angel, Bree.

Brianna has definitely changed my life and it wasn't so much during the pregnancy as the day she was born. That day, I learned what unconditional love is. I now have a teeny tiny glimpse of how our Heavenly Father feels about us. His love is immeasurable. He is hurt when we are hurt. He is happy when we are happy. Having a love that is so strong for Brianna has carried on to others. I feel sorrow and hurt on such a different level. Before when I heard about unfortunate things happening I just went about my life, now I am immediately adding these people to a revolving prayer list in my heart. I am constantly praying and pleading for help for everyone from a homeless man I see walking down the street to my best friend's husband who was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer 3 weeks before Brianna was born.

This love has opened up charity into my life like never before. Of course, the blankets are a given but I am open to any kind of charity. I have met so many amazing people and have been able to give of my time, talents and resources. I am so grateful that I have the desire and ability to do this. My prayers every night mention my attitude in charity and my gratitude for that.

Brianna has also taught me patience. The whole time I was pregnant I was trying to be patient for her to come, but that is nothing compared to the patience I have for the time that I will be reunited with her. I consider her to be a best friend of mine. Many of you may think of her as a baby, but I always think of her as she is in the spirit world-an adult. I wonder what she is like, what her hobbies and desires are.

Most of all she has taught me to trust in the Lord. Joe and I bought this little card that has her name on it. The card has the meaning of her name and a scripture. Not until she was born did that card mean so much. Her name means "high, noble, exalted" and the scripture is Proverbs new favorite scriptures. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto thine own understanding.”

Some of you may have already heard this story, but it has touched my heart and continues to touch it daily. As we all know everyone wants to put in their two cents and advice before first time moms have their baby and I got plenty of advice. My last day at work, before I went out on leave a coworker came up and solemnly say down by me. She reminded me she was in her mid 30s, single and had no children. She said that even though she didn't have any experience with being a mother she had some advice for me too. Her advice was for me to trust in my God. This hit me hard. This woman is of the Hindu faith. She is faithful, but has a different faith than my own, but she still felt it was necessary to remind me to trust in God. I’ve talked to her since this experience and I believe that she followed promptings she received to give me this message. It stuck out to me more than if one of you gave me that same message. I thought about this every day while waiting for Brianna and I still think about it today.

Many people have asked me what happened the day she was born and most of the time my answer is you just have to trust in the Lord. It’s true. If you trust in the Lord the rest isn't as important. There is a reason it was Joe and I that got to be Brianna's parents and I have to trust the Lord and maybe someday it will be revealed. Until then that's when patience comes in.

One way I cope with Brianna being gone is think that she is just on a mission. If any of you have friends or family on mission you know they can't call and you understand they are busy and their work is important. Well as many of you know Je is a convert. His family has been waiting years for their work to be done. I am sure Brianna is there teaching them and showing the gospel, she is our missionary and we are trying to do our duty to take those names to the temple and do for them what they can’t while they are on the other side of the veil.

I am grateful for the lessons I have learned from her and know that I still have a lot to learn from her. I do know that while I am on this earth I will keep my focus on the celestial kingdom so that I will be reunited with her once again. I am grateful for temple marriage and the happiness that eternal marriage gives me and Joe. I am grateful for the progress this charity has made and the families that we will touch with comfort and peace through these blankets. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Friday, May 11, 2012

More Moms groups and Houston

Blankets for Brianna had their first group event on May 2nd with the Menifee MOPS group.  It was so wonderful to see the women joined together creating blankets for such a wonderful cause. 

One woman brought her two daughers and it gave me such a good idea to one day have a Mother's Day event to create blankets with our children.  Not this Mother's Day of course, but just an idea for the future. It was so great to even see these small hands helping out.  Later she said her "girls will forever be changed.  They both prayed for Brianna and all babies last night.  Macy thanked God for her talens that she could make blankets to help sick babies."  How faithful these young children are and obviously grateful that they could help. 

They have inspired me along with all the other women who took time out of their busy life to spend the evening making blankets.  Here is a picture of the blankets collected just that night. This is not counting the blankets this group collected before and a couple of the women who took fleece to make more blankets during the week.
Then I got the chance to talk at the Canyon Lake Moms Next group about the charity.  I was there along with Align Ministries , Faithful Servants , and The 100 Mile Club . Thanks for the group for having us and taking the time to consider each of our charities for the summer off months. Hope to see many of you soon.

Lastly, I had a class in Houston this week for work. And even though I was only there for a total of 32 hours, I still made it a priority to squeeze in a hospital visit on my lunch break. The staff at the hospital was so wonderful and loved each blanket received.  They were happy for the donation and of course, I was happy to donate blankets in honor of Brianna and others like her.
Mother's Day is in a couple of days and although my heart is full, I am excited because it is my first.  I will be using my time to organize the blankets and add all the labels so that we can get them shipped out and in the hands of the families who need them.  Thank you to everyone for taking your time and talents to make such beautiful masterpieces. I love you all.