one year anniversary of ronnie's death

My church asked me to write a devotional for their weekly newsletter during Lent. I had just come back from the beach with Matt, where we went to get away for the first anniversary of Ronnie's death. Here is what I wrote, if you're interested:

Last week I sat on Jekyll Island’s Driftwood Beach with my husband Matt. It was so chilly, windy, and not great beach weather, but we weren’t going to cancel our plans to be there that morning. It was the one-year anniversary of our daughter’s death, who was born still on Easter morning. We listened to the song Oceans and I reflected on the last year. I could picture myself in those waves, flailing and crashing around without my feet firmly planted. It was a whirlwind year, with my emotions ranging around from denial to numbness to anger to despair and then back again.

The trees on Driftwood Beach have been there so long, and are anchored in the sand. They aren’t going anywhere, even with the unpredictable crashing of the waves. Our God is like these trees – he’s the same yesterday, today, and forever. He’s not going anywhere. If that is hard to believe, just think of the commitment he gave us by sacrificing His son on the cross.

For those hard times when we feel like we are flailing, we need to hold onto God’s deep roots, when we don’t feel we have deep roots ourselves. Let’s remember that this Easter season.

Have your roots planted deep in Christ. Grow in Him. Get your strength from Him. Let Him make you strong in the faith as you have been taught. Your life should be full of thanks to Him. – Colossians 2:7-9


ruthie turned 3!

I know I haven't kept up with my blog in awhile -- Ruthie has kept me busy! She turned 3 in Feburary, and has a very big personality! She still sleeps pretty well, with some sleep regression a couple times a week, and loves to talk all day. Right now she is into baby dolls and stuffed animals, kinetic sand, and bubbles. We're so glad the weather is getting warmer so we can be outside more! Here are some recent photos of her:


the story of my stillbirth

I haven't written on the blog in a while, and for a good reason. I had a stillbirth on Easter Sunday, April 1. My baby Ronnie, who we found out was a girl when she born, was 33 weeks old when I delivered her. 

My pregnancy had been normal the whole time. I was sick until 16 weeks, as I was with Ruthie. It was a tough pregnancy, because after I was so sick, Matt had surgery and couldn't lift Ruthie for six months. Then Ruthie broke her leg. It was a rough time for the Andersons! 

I had a regular OB appointment on Monday, March 26. I didn't feel any kicks the next few days, but I felt pressure in my belly, so I didn't think anything was wrong. Then on Thursday I felt a definite kick, so I thought things were ok. Then nothing on Friday. On Saturday I woke up with stomach issues and throwing up, it was awful. I assumed it was the stomach bug (I'm still not sure what it was), and called the nurses' line at my OB's office and told them what was going on. I told them I hadn't felt a kick in a couple days. She told me if I didn't feel 10 kicks in an hour, then I needed to come in. I was so naive to think there wasn't a problem, but after a healthy pregnancy with Ruthie and so far with Ronnie, I didn't think there was a problem. 

Matt brought me to the OB triage, and honestly I wasn't even that scared at the time. I was so sick that that's all I could really think about. I just wanted to get hooked up to an IV, make sure my baby was ok on the monitor, and go home in a couple hours. That's not what ended up happening, of course.

They had me lay down and hooked up the monitor to my belly. It wasn't an ultrasound, just a heart monitor. They kept saying I needed to calm down so they could hear the baby's heartbeat. I heard one nurse say "we hear the baby's heartbeat," and I felt so relieved. Then a minute later she said, "never mind, that was your heartbeat." That was awful. I realize now they were stalling because the nurses aren't allowed to call it when there's no heartbeat -- it has to be a doctor. The doctor came in, and told me the worst news I had ever heard, "I'm not hearing a heartbeat." I remember crying out and Matt putting his head down on me and crying. The next few minutes I looked up at the ceiling and kept saying "This isn't real, this isn't happening" over and over. It honestly was the first out of body experience I ever had, where I felt like I was looking down on myself crying. Another awful part was having to call my family to tell them the news. Hearing them sob on the other end of the phone was horrible to hear. It was the worst day of my life.

The nursing staff gave us some time to process the news and then they asked what we wanted to do, go home and come back to deliver Ronnie, or deliver her that night. I couldn't imagine going home and acting like I was still pregnant, so I chose to get induced that night. They induced me, and gave me an epidural. It was a tough delivery, as my blood pressure was really low, and my heart rate and temperature were high. I was also so thirsty but any time I had something to drink I threw up. I was still fighting the stomach bug.

The next morning around 9am on Easter Sunday, after only about 20 minutes of pushing, Cameron Jean Anderson was born into heaven. We were going to call the baby Ronnie if it was a girl or boy. Ronnie named after my dad, and Jean named after Matt's grandmother, Barbara Jeanette. Weighing 5 pounds and 9 ounces, she was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. She looked so much like Ruthie. Matt and I got to hold her for a long time, as well as my mom and my sister. The hospital gave us a lot of keepsakes, like her footprints, and the dress she wore, which was someone's old wedding dress, and the hat she was wearing.

A sweet thing that happened after Ronnie died was our visit from a mourning dove. This little bird came and sat on the ledge outside our window and stayed there all day. The story behind the mourning dove showed my God was with us during this horrible time.

One of the hardest parts of this, besides missing my sweet Ronnie, is giving up my plan of having my children two years apart. See, I'm a planner. My sisters and I were two years apart, and I loved that age gap. It's what I always wanted for my family. I mourned not only the loss of Ronnie but also the loss of Ronnie and Ruthie's relationship. I wanted to see them as sisters, see them play together like my sisters did.

I don't know why God allowed this to happen. All the genetic testing, autopsy results, my blood-work, have all come back normal. There is literally no earthly explanation on why Ronnie didn't make it. But as my pastor said at her funeral, having a medical explication wouldn't answer the "why" question, only the "how" question. 

I've learned some things since all this happened. One thing I want to tell people is, please don't be afraid to bring up Ronnie to me. It never hurts to simply say "I'm sorry for your loss." It won't make me more sad that you brought it up because I'm literally thinking about it all the time! I don't judge people who are silent, because I was the same way before my dad died. But everyone I've talked to who has been through a tragedy agrees with me. It means something when people bring it up, and it hurts them when people don't. So don't be afraid to bring it up! If you don't know what to tell them, just say "I'm sorry."

All the people who have brought us meals, offered to watch Ruthie, and have given me such meaningful gifts in honor of Ruthie -- thank you. It truly means so much to me and Matt.

The one word I keep hearing when I pray to God about sweet Ronnie, is "restore." I believe that God will somehow restore this situation in the fullest. I know I will see my baby girl in heaven, and I know she is there with my dad, her grandparents, and her cousin. I know God works for the good of those who love him, and I won't stop believing that.


40 days 40 items

For Lent this year I am giving up 40 things in my household and donating them to charity. At the end of Lent, I will post everything I gave away, to keep me accountable! Is anyone else doing something for Lent?


2 years old!

I can't believe my little girl is 2! It feels so much older than having a 1 year old! 😭 She is talking up a storm these days and knows so many more words than even a month ago! One of me and Matt's favorite things is when she asks for something, and we say yes, and will say "Okaaaaay" really drawn out. It's so cute! She still loves her books, still naps once a day and sleeps through the night. She won't know what hit her when she has to share her attention in a few months, but I think she'll manage ok! She has so much spunk and gets along great with other kiddos. She is still picky with foods and loves peanut butter sandwiches. Every week Matt and I say something to each other like "how did we get so lucky with her?" We love you Ruthie!!


2018 new year's resolutions

2017 was another great year for the Anderson family! We saw my sister get married in May and had a wonderful trip in Canada. I took Ruthie to the beach with my mom, and then later we went as a family with our friends. I did my first art show, and the Georgia Bulldogs won the SEC Championship! The second half of the year was a whirlwind because of how sick I was, and I have a feeling the second half of 2018 will be too, as we go from one to two kiddos!

Here are my resolutions for 2018, divided by categories:


Live my life in a more natural way. Try to do buy more chemical free products, eat less processed foods, look into oils, and look up the dirty dozen before grocery shopping. Get back into running. Do at least one 5K, look into gym options/workout routines. Look at my phone less.


Double my profits for Merry Prints from 2017. Make at least 12 new prints. Refer at least two people to use Zercher Realty. 


Share my faith more. Get up before the kids wake up for my quiet time. Stop cussing. Donate more to church/charities.


2017 new year's resolutions: recap

1. Look at my phone less and play with my daughter more. 

Great at first, but not great toward the end of the year. I think it was needing a distraction from feeling so sick all the time, but now that I'm feeling better, I will def. make it a priority in 2018!

2. Run more. Train for a half marathon (I signed up for one in June! Eeek!). 

I did my half marathon (without walking!) in June but when I got pregnant/sick I stopped running.

3. Cook more and start eating dinner at the kitchen table and not in front of the TV. 

Again, we did a lot of "grab 'n growl" nights (make your own dinner) the second half of the year because I was so sick. But the first half of the year we did Hello Fresh and I really enjoyed cooking!

4. Make a profit from Merry Prints. 

Yes! After the Cherokee Heights Art Festival, I got a boost in sales, and am now in the plus!

5. Stop talking negative about my appearance. 

Doing better!

6. Meditate every day. See if this helps my insomnia. 

I was doing well the first half of the year, but the second half was harder. Blaming it on the pregnancy (again), but with feeling so bad and not sleeping well, it was hard to get up earlier than I had to. Excuses, excuses, I know!

7. Offer prayer (out loud) for more people. 

I feel like I definitely got better about this!