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Welcome to the blog!  Here you'll learn more about me, my photography, my family & a little bit of everything in between!  Grab a cup of coffee (heavy with tasty cream because drinking it black is gross) and spend a little while getting to know me & my work more.

4 years ago…

April 22, 2009

Four years ago today, we lost our sweet Miles due to complications from his prematurity.  Those 3 precious months I had with him taught me so much about how precious life is and I am so grateful for each moment I had with him.  Thinking back, it feels so much longer than three months…it was a lifetime with him.  I definitely didn’t get to spend as long as I wanted with him.  I wanted to watch him grow big along side of his twin brother, watch them play together (Mason thinks Miles would love John Deere as much as he does), watch one dress up as Batman, the other as Spiderman and rid the world of bad guys. I wish so badly that he could be here with us.  I miss him daily & he truly has a huge chunk of my heart.  (I’m trying to keep from bawling here at the computer…Mason gets all worried when I start crying!  I’m not being very successful at this moment!)

Tyler and I went to the Mercy Me/Jeremy Camp concert on Sunday night with some of our friends.  So much of their music have been my anthem songs during the time when Miles was sick, after he passed away, and during this period my heart tries to heal from his loss.  Jeremy Camp’s CD Stay has so many songs that were my therapy sessions after he passed away.  I know alot of the music on this CD was written during the time his wife had cancer and the period after she passed away.  It just speaks volumes to me and our journey with Miles.  Hearing some of these songs at the concert just took me right back to the long car rides back and forth to Carle Hospital.  We trusted God in those moments when we didn’t understand it all.  His song “I still believe” just describes so much about how I feel during this entire process:

Scattered words and empty thoughts
Seem to pour from my heart
I’ve never felt so torn before
Seems I don’t know where to start
But its now that I feel your grace fall like rain
From every fingertip washing away my pain

I still believe in your faithfulness
I still believe in your truth
I still believe in your holy word
Even when I don’t see, I still believe

Though the questions still fog up my mind
With promises I still seem to bear
Even when answers slowly unwind
It’s my heart I see you prepare
But its now, that I feel, your grace fall like rain
From every fingertip washing away my pain

Well the only place I can go is into your arms

Where I throw to you my feeble prayers
In brokenness, I can see that this was your will for me
Help me to know that you are near

I still believe in your faithfulness
I still believe in your truth
I still believe in your holy word
Even when I don’t see, I still believe

Jeremy Camp I still believe

After Jeremy Camp walked off of the stage, Mercy Me came on stage.  (and I just kept thinking, please don’t let them sing “Homesick.”  I may just have a huge meltdown if they do! Thankfully, they didn’t…which spared those around me from being covered in snot and tears!)

But, they did sing “Bring the Rain.”  There are times when I’m just singing along with this song on the radio, and then I stop and think about the words I’m just singing.  Man, those are some hard words to say if you really think about it!  Tyler and I were talking about it after the concert.  I told him about how hard those words are to sing.  If God would’ve told me “Hey, Kellie.  I’m going to give you two, perfect, beautiful twin boys.  They are going to steal your heart so completely & you are going to love them more than you’ve ever loved anyone before.  But, on day 11, I’m going to make Miles get an infection in his bowels that will then alter his course of his life.  He is going to become so very sick and it is going to tear your heart into a million little pieces. ”  I would’ve told God “You are crazy!  I’m definitely not ok with that!”  But, when I look back at those three months and how God used little Miles to allow us to share our faith with those in the NICU, I can see how he definitely used Miles to bring Him glory.  I can now look back and see the lives that were changed.  From some of the NICU nurses putting their faith in Christ to countless others across the globe that have been impacted by his story.    When I think back to the words of the song “Bring the Rain” I can see how God used Miles:

I can count a million times
People asking me how I can praise You
with all that I’ve gone through
The question just amazes me
Can circumstances possibly
Change who I forever am in You

Maybe since my life was changed
Long before these rainy days
It’s never really ever crossed my mind
To turn my back on you, oh Lord
My only shelter from the storm
But instead I draw closer through these times
So I pray

Bring me joy, bring me peace
Bring the chance to be free

Bring me anything that brings You glory
And I know there’ll be days When this life brings me pain
But if that’s what it takes to praise You
Jesus, bring the rain

I am yours regardless of the clouds that may
loom above because you are much greater than
my pain you who made a way for me suffering
your destiny so tell me whats a little rain

Holy, holy, holy
Holy, holy, holy
is the lord God almighty
is the lord God almighty

Mercy Me Bring the Rain

Would I have knowingly been ok with what was going to happen to Miles?  Probably not.  I think it would be hard to say “Sure God.  Do what you need with my little guy to bring You glory. I know Your plans are so much greater than mine.”  But, looking back & knowing what I know now, I can see how God indeed used Miles to bring Him glory.  Lives have been forever changed & people have come to salvation in Christ.  I can now say I am thankful that God allowed my little Miles to have a part in that.  I know I get to be in Heaven with him for eternity…it’s just the separation time right now that’s tough!  But, I still am hesitant to sing the words “Bring the rain.”  I feel like I’ve been put through so much (losing my mom when I was 14, losing my son at such an early age), but I do know it is for His glory & I will stand firm even when I don’t understand what I’m going through.  It is for His glory.  I often say “I just hope there’s a class in Heaven called “The things you didn’t understand….revealed!”  I imagine it will have a huge whiteboard with a massive diagram showing how the events played out for His glory.  I’ll be front row taking notes in that class!

Smiles for Miles:

Today marks 4 years since Miles went to be with Jesus. On his Heaven day, we try to do something good for others since Miles was so good to us. We try to celebrate his little life by bringing some happiness into the lives of others (Smiles for Miles) which in turn makes our day much brighter, too!

One year, we bought fish at a pet store for a little boy buying his first fish since Miles loved his fisher price aquarium. The next year we bought new little preemie clothes for needy families at our local NICU. Last year, we donated to March of Dimes & I bought a toy for a little boy in the gift shop at the hotel in the Wisconsin Dells.  Many of Miles’ nurses have donated Fisher Price Aquariums to our local NICU that say “In memory of Miles” on the back so that other babies can enjoy the toy that brought my little guy so much comfort. Some of our friends and family have spent time at nursing homes visiting with people who don’t get visited often, cooking dinners for someone, paying for the food for the person behind them in the drive thru, and the list goes on and on. It always does my heart so much good to hear how Miles’ life was honored on that day!

If you’d like, I would love for you to take part in Smiles for Miles…just do something to brighten the day for someone around you this week! I’d love it if you would either email me or leave a little note here so I can hear what you did. I have a place where I keep all of these…it’s always so nice to see the different ways people spread love on his Heaven day!

I am so thankful that I got to be his mommy…he was one special kid!

This year, we sponsored a little boy (his name is Yomal) through World Vision.  Yomal is turning 4 years old today (we chose him because he has Miles’ Heaven date for his birthday.  As my little guy was entering Heaven, God blessed this family with their sweet boy.)  Yomal lives in the Dominican Republic and lives in extreme poverty.  Our monthly gift helps him get food, clean water, and he gets to hear about the love of Jesus.  If you’ve ever thought about sponsoring a child, I definitely encourage you to check out www.Worldvision.org or www.compassion.com and search through their databases of children waiting to be sponsored.  You can even search by birthdays if you want to do something like we did!

I am on vacation & my photos of Miles are at home, but here’s a picture of Mason (on left) and Miles (on right) that is a screenshot from my old website:

twins

There’s also a picture of him in my “About me” portion of my website (www.acrossthemilesphotography.com) in  case you want to see more of him & his cuteness!

Thank you all for all of your love and support the past 4 years.  Sure, my heart is still broken, but you’ve all helped me put lots of bandaids on it & I am so grateful for each of you!

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  1. Jill

    April 22nd, 2009 at

    Kellie…I pray you are blessed today and find many smiles in your day when you remember the wonderful gift of Miles in your life.

  2. Laura

    April 22nd, 2009 at

    Oh Kellie, what a beautiful way to celebrate Miles. I sit here completely moved at how the hand of God worked in the midst of your pain and grieving to draw people unto Himself. You are a beautiful example of resting in God’s Soveriegnty even when it is beyond what we think our hearts can bear. I pray you are sweetly surrounded with the presence of Christ today!

  3. Bex

    April 22nd, 2009 at

    Kellie,
    You can be sure that our family will participate in Smiles for Miles today. I’ll let you know what soon… Hugs, my friend. Jesus is so proud of you.

  4. Melissa

    April 22nd, 2009 at

    Kellie, God just shines through you! What strength! I pray you are blessed today as you and your family remember your beautiful gift of Miles. I was blessed by Miles’ story, and I will be keeping my eye out for an opportunity to spread Smiles for Miles today! Thank you for sharing your story.

  5. Jackie

    April 22nd, 2009 at

    What a beautiful journal entry of your journey! I can tell, even though you are sad, that you are also very healthy in your grief process! What a neat legacy little Miles has had and the changes brought in peoples’ live b/c of him for God will count for eternity.

  6. bree

    April 22nd, 2009 at

    Kellie- my thoughts are with you. If that class exists in heaven, Im right up front next to you. It is amazing what Miles’ life has accomplished. I have never thought of a date as a heaven day but I like it. It gives me hope. Even now on a tough day you inspire me. Thanks.

  7. Vickie Hollis

    April 22nd, 2009 at

    Thank you for sharing about Miles and how his little life made such a big difference in so many lives. It is a real blessing to know he sees Jesus, sits on His lap, hugs his neck, and tells Him all about his very special family who loves him so much. Sending hugs and prayers for you, Tyler, Mason, and Millie!!

  8. Katie Greenwood

    April 22nd, 2009 at

    I have been encouraged and inspired by this post–and your efforts to honor Miles and the difference his life continues to make for the Kingdom. I can’t wait to get home and talk to my girls about what we can do as a Smile for Miles. I’ll let you know! Blessings and Prayers!

  9. Sarah

    April 22nd, 2009 at

    Thinking of you and your family today (with tears streaming down my face). What a testimony of God’s grace and love this tribute to Miles is. You’ve encouraged me today to remember that we truly are not like those who have no hope. God bless! Sarah (twinkle from CM)

  10. Teran Stephenson

    April 22nd, 2009 at

    Kellie. Just really been thinking about you a lot lately. Here I thought that I was going to offer you encouragement but instead you have greatly encouraged me. What an awesome tribute to your son. God has 100% been in this situation as you have touched so many lives and helped many (including Jared and myself). Still, it breaks my heart that you are hurting (and we are hurting with you). Today especially we are keeping you guys in our prayers. We are so thankful for Mason, Miles and Millie. Love you guys!

  11. Yvonne

    April 22nd, 2009 at

    Wow! Tears streaming down my face. You’re such an inspiration – and so is Miles. I’ll be thinking of you and I’ll make sure to take part in Smiles For Miles day, but not just for today – for life. Thank you for sharing such an intimate part of your life with us all.

  12. joelsgirl Kellie

    April 22nd, 2009 at

    Girl, I wish I could say something nice, but I’m too teary.

  13. Rowena

    April 22nd, 2009 at

    Thankyou for sharing how God has moved in such a mighty way in your lives. I think there will be quite a few of us taking that class with you 🙂
    It reminds me again that in our human frailty we cannot see the bigger picture, but praise God we can move forward in faith based on what we know to be true rather than what we feel…
    Praying that God will bless you & your precious family today.

  14. kendra

    April 22nd, 2009 at

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I cannot even imagine the pain of your loss, yet your words are so inspiring and your faith is awesome. Many prayers for you and your family today.

  15. Jessica

    April 22nd, 2009 at

    You are tougher than I could ever be. I remember the day we heard the news about Miles, and I fell to my knees in tears and anguish for you…that is something I have never done before or since. But God has blessed you in an amazing way with Mason and Millie, who are both beautiful miracles in their own ways too. I love what you said about the big whiteboard in heaven with the diagram of things you didn’t understand…I don’t blame you for that one bit, and I want to sit in on that class with you! 🙂 But the faith you have now is amazing, and I am so proud of you for using the worst thing to ever happen as a way to reach others and impact lives. God is blessing you and will continue to do so!! Love ya!

  16. Amy Carson

    April 22nd, 2009 at

    Kellie, you are an amazing person! I have followed your story from the beginning, but have yet to get in touch with you. It is so awesome how you have used such a bad situation for yourself to do such wonderful things for others! I’s love to catch up if you get a chance!

  17. Jolie

    April 23rd, 2009 at

    Kellie – Thanks for sharing your inspriational story with all of us. Your strength in Christ is amazing and your ability to bring such a positive vibe to your families sad story is truly heartwarming. (freckles on CM)

  18. Lauren Reid

    April 25th, 2009 at

    Love you girl! xoxooxoxoxooxo

  19. La

    May 6th, 2009 at

    …tears for you…love also…

  20. Lindsay Wagner

    July 20th, 2009 at

    Hi Kellie!
    I just put two and two together from our session on Friday morning and realized you lost your little one. Though he’s not here on earth, you talked as though he was, because he IS alive. You keeping him alive like this is absolutely inspirational. On a personal note, just know that your daughter and son will ALWAYS know he is around and that he is the family guardian angel. I have a sister that passed after only 2 weeks old. Though I never met her, Lisa, (oldest of the 8 in our family, parents first born) she is totally around me 100% of the time. Because God has allowed me to feel him and let her in my life no matter what. I talk and pray to her constantly. She will be remembered at our wedding, even. Her spirit is so strong, Scott’s let her in his life as well. So, you see, Miles is not only going to live through your hearts, but he will affect so many other people’s lives…This website is just a start!!! I think those two babies wanted us to meet! All my love and prayers, Lindsay

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