Thursday, April 30, 2009

GoodSearch Savings

You guys might have noticed I added a "badge" to the side of the blog that will take you directly to GoodSearch and GoodShop from our site. This will automatically make your searches and purchases earn money for the Foundation. Plus, you are able to copy this badge and place it on your own website or blog to help the Foundation earn more money! How exciting is that! So please feel free to take this badge, use it, and help the spread the word about the Foundation while earning donations for us.

I would also like to share a story of success with you...
If you thought that only large, national nonprofits can earn significant funds from GoodSearch and GoodShop, think again!The Blind Cat Rescue & Sanctuary of North Carolina, a small rescue doing big work, has already earned more than $3,200.
The sanctuary was started to answer the need for a safe place for cats that were deemed unadoptable by regular shelters and were going to be killed just because they are blind. It costs about $30 a month to provide life's basic necessities for each cat they rescue, so the money earned from our sites is quite meaningful. "If your nonprofit isn't promoting GoodShop yet to your supporters, you're missing out on an enormous opportunity," says Alana Miller, owner of the rescue.

Plus, look what GoodShop has arranged just in time for Mother's Day ~

Save Money On Gifts For Mom!

This Mother's Day, don't forget to go through GoodShop to buy your mom a gift and a percentage of your sale will go to your cause!

We are featuring some great deals and coupons so you can save money, honor your mother and help out your favorite cause all at the same time! Here are some ideas for you: Save 10% on your purchase

Ghiradelli Chocolate:
Free shipping with any $50 purchase.

Free shipping on any Mother's Day gift set

Save $10 on purchases of $100 or more

Organic Bouquet:
10% off Mother's Day bouquets
There are more than 1,000 top merchants on-board with GoodShop, including Amzaon, eBay, Best Buy, Target and more, so make every purchase count!

So remember the Foundation when you do your searching and shopping. We really appreciate every one we get!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

In Loving Memory Scrapbook Part 2

I have been able to finish a few more pages for my scrapbook. I skipped over lesson 2 for the time being and went on to lesson 3 of the class titled Unspeakable Heartache. Since I have had to place my feelings on paper for several different things, these layouts were fairly easy for me to put together. I just had to print out what I had written. Now as I have try to sit down to do others, I am sure they will be more difficult.

The first is my Victim Impact Statement. It is exactly what I read in court and I'm sure most of you have seen the link to it in the paper on the blog before, so I won't retype it out.


Page 1 of Victim Impact Statement

Page 2 of Victim Impact Statement
With a picture of the accident site

This layout is just the statement we made to the parole board in December. It too can be found earlier in the blog if you wish to read it.

Page 1 of Parole Hearing Statement

Page 2 of Parole Hearing Statement

This next layout is of Abby headstone. I need to tell more about the emotions involved in having to pick out a stone, but think I will do that later. The little white box with blue writing is the definition of angel.


These are really nothing you have not seen before in separate entries throughout the blog, but just thought I would share how I have preserved these events in our life surrounding the loss of our little girl.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Bagging Pictures

Another successful bagging and here are a few pictures to share. We were also able to break in Suzi White! Mrs. White was one of Abby's preschool teachers sometimes and Abby loved her.

Thank you everyone for your help!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Troop 8309 Helps

Thursday night, Girl Scout Troop 8309 helped out the Foundation by decorating cards. This troop is the troop I am a leader of along with Sally Bomar. It might seem strange, but we have not done this as a troop before. I'm not sure why we haven't helped out as a troop, but we decided to do this as one of our service projects. Unfortunately, I failed to take any pictures of the girls hard at work, but I did want to thank them for their help. Thanks girls!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Some Cute Plushes

Look what Connie Hull brought me at the girls' soccer game last Saturday....

Aren't they adorable! I know the kids that receive these will love them too. Thanks for the donation!

Bagging & Meeting

Just giving everyone a reminder that Saturday at 7 we are bagging and working on Celebration planning. Come help us iron out the final details for what is sure to be a fun day for the family. We will work on sign ups, flyers, promotional stuff, t-shirt designs, etc. We would love your help and input in whatever way you would like.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Another peek...

Another peek into what we have in store for you at the Celebration this year...

Last year, we had a bounce house and a huge obstacle course and these two things we so popular that we have added another one for this year! Here's what we are going to have...

a bounce house, that enormous obstacle course, and the Equalizer!
The Equalizer you battle a friend as you try to be the first to reach all three of your flags at the end! Should be a blast!

We are also excited to announce that the ferris wheel will be back! Kids were lined up to take a spin on this pint sized ride and I'm sure they will be again.

More peeks next week as we continue our countdown to the Celebration on June 14th!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

PICU Blankets

My Mom has been sewing away for a few weeks, making small quilts for kids at CMH's PICU. When Abby was there, she was covered in a had embroidered blanket that was later given to us to keep. This is something that is donated to the hospital and the fun blankets are appreciated by the kids staying there. Abrielle was in PICU, so that is where we wanted the blankets to go in her memory. The little quilts have a tag sewn onto the back of them stating they are from the Foundation and our website address. They say they are donated in Abrielle's memory.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

In Loving Memory Scrapbook

Two weeks ago I was honored to win an online scrapbooking class called In Loving Memory. This class is about creating a scrapbook in honor of a lost loved one. Here is the description for the class ~ In Loving Memory: During this 5-week course (one session per week) I will help spur you on to create an album dedicated to a loved one you have lost, all the while encouraging you to be gentle on yourself through the process. I will provide prompts and challenges to help you get your thoughts in order and onto the page, as well as suggestions for selecting photos and how to overcome the dilemma of not having many photos at all. In addition, page sketches will be offered and a variety of embellishment techniques will be taught along the way.There's not a better way to complete a treasured project than in the company of a supportive teacher who is on her own journey of remembrance after losing her mom very suddenly and unexpectedly the summer of 2007. "It's scrapbooking as a healing therapy, not just art."

I have been able to start on a journey that I have wanted to for quite some time through this class. I have been wanting to create a memorial album and have gathered things to do so, but had not found the right time to start. This class has given me the extra push I needed. I don't know that I will share all my pages here on the blog along the way, as they are sure to be deeply personal the further along I go, but here are the first ones I have completed.

For our first class one of the prompts was to create a family tree of your loved one. Since my Mom has done tons of genealogy research, I could stretch our tree out forever, but chose to keep it simple. I wanted the focus to be on our immediate family and even felt that including our siblings (Abby's aunts and uncles) made things too busy.


For the second prompt we were to make a timeline of our loved ones life, so here's what I did.


The journaling boxes read~
June 9, 2003 Abrielle Lauryn Neff was born weighing 6lbs 15oz
4 months We learned that Abby was not gaining weight properly
4 1/2 months Abby has learned to crawl
6 months Trips to Omaha begin as Abby is not digesting food
7 months Abby is walking!

The pictures are at 3 weeks, 5 months, and 7 months.

The journaling boxes read~
18 months Yeah! Abby finally has her first tooth
December 1, 2006 "Baby Tyler" is born
August 20, 2007 First day of preschool
Age 3 Started Kip Kittens Gymnastics
February 19, 2007 Abby gets to see her baby sister on the 4D ultrasound
March 29, 2007 Abrielle is taken from us and given her Heavenly angel wings

Photos are at 10 months, 18 months with JackJack, Oct 2007 with JackJack, Sept 2007 preschool picture

These layouts are simple, but have taken me hours to create. It is such an emotional process to put our little girls life down on paper like this from beginning to end, but I know the outcome will be worth my time spent. It is definitely proving to be a form of therapy.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Birthday Gifts

Andie Powell, daughter of Ryan and Amy Powell, celebrated her 10th birthday by giving to the Foundation. Instead of gifts, she requested donations to help out other kids. She and her family brought out boxes of "presents" for us to share.

Here are Jake, Landyn and Andie with Mady, Elly and I, surrounded by her gifts. She collected 29 stuffed animals, 48 crayons, 16 markers, 5 colored pencils, 5 pencils, 20 notebooks, 1 diary, 10 puzzle books, 66 coloring books, 1 sheet of stickers, 14 activity books, 1 box of ziplocs, 2 matchbox cars, 24 reading books, 3 puzzles, 3 lip glosses, 2 card games, 1 playdough, 10 marker posters, and $20!!! What a birthday celebration!! Thank you so much Andie for sharing your special day with the Foundation!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Wings of Love

With the Celebration coming up quickly, I thought I would start giving everyone a little peek each week at what to expect. We have several new and different things coming this year and I hope everyone will be excited about what we have. First up, on the stage at 2:00 will be Wings of Love!

You will be able to see 12 different birds, including Swoop the Eagle Owl. He has a five foot wingspan and huge red-orange eyes. He is truly majestic to see. The other birds will entertain with magic tricks, basketball, skateboarding, talking, riding a bike, spelling, and more! There will even be a lucky few from the audience selected to help!

You can learn more about this non-profit at

Remember ~ June 14th is the day!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Sissy is 9

We have always made birthdays a big deal at our house. It is a special day for Mady today as she turns 9. In 2007, it was 2 weeks after we lost Abby that we had to "celebrate" even though it was hard. We had a joint pool party planned for both of them to invite friends to and celebrate their birthdays together. Obviously that never happened. Instead, we kept things small. Just a few friends and a movie. Even though we were really hurting, we still were celebrating the fact that our Mady made it out virtually unhurt physically. We were celebrating the fact that God left us our oldest child, our Daddy's Girl, our girly-girl. Today we still celebrate that Mady was spared and we just had to bury one daughter. We never forget though that our Abby would love to be here with her big sis. Mady shares balloons with Abby on this day too.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Learning to Give

It is hard for kids to learn to give up their things to help someone else. This is a much harder concept than sharing, but Lainey (Lynette Harbin's daughter) donated some of her stuffed animals to the Foundation. They were ones that had just been stored away and not played with, but it was still hard for her to part with them. She found a few she had to keep for a while longer, but we are glad she gave us the plushies she did. The kids that receive these will be so glad too! Here are a few of the cute critters that will find their way into other kids' arms soon.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Our Flag is Flying

We received our Donate Life flag and got it hung up over the weekend. I think it looks great flying there. We have a solar light that lights up the flags at night, so it can be seen by passersby at a late hour too. I also ordered one of the special promotion t-shirts and am wearing it today. Hopefully our story makes at least a few people think about not taking their organs with them to Heaven.
I also want to give everyone a heads up as to the next meeting and bagging. It will be Saturday, April 25th at 7:00. We will be finalizing the Celebration planning that night too, so bring your ideas and be ready to sign up for what you would like to help with. I know that there are a couple of things we are still looking for, and maybe someone out there can help us out. I'll post more after our meeting and bagging if we are still at a loss.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Keep Giving

I was given a large bag of critters for Abby's Hugs from a student at Avenue City School. Last year she was in Mandy Scott's class that collected items for the Foundation. Another grade older and she still remembered donating stuffed animals to give to kids in the hospital. She decided to bring a donation on her own! I love it when the compassion gets instilled in the kids and they just want to keep helping! Here's what she donated...

Thanks so much!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Easter 2006

Just going to share a few pictures of our last Easter with Abby.
First, here are the girls dying eggs.

And, of course Abby couldn't let JackJack miss out on the fun.

Here she is hunting eggs with her pink bunny basket.

And stopping to love on Curly (Grandma Chris' dog)

We also celebrated Mady's birthday that same day that year. I remember it being a day full of fun for the kids. This year we will again be celebrating both occasions on the same day. We will be thinking of our Abrielle and will send balloons up to Heaven for her.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Easter Memory

Easter was the first holiday we experienced without our Abrielle, so it always feels like this holiday stings a little more. It was one week to the day after the accident that the parties were celebrated at school. Mady was not back in school yet and we saw this as a good way to ease her back into it. We (Mom, Virginia, and myself) took Mady to her class party. I had tried to prepare myself mentally for seeing the school and entering it for the first time since Wednesday, March 28, 2007, but I had not prepared myself enough. We arrived at the school early since I still struggled with walking to be able to park closer and to give me enough time to get in the building. My Mom took Mady on ahead to her classroom and Virginia walked with me. As we entered the building, I being tough (or stubborn) chose to take the stairs and not the elevator. That's when we saw the preschool class returning from their egg hunt. I remember stopping dead in my tracks and watching all of Abby's friends walk past, smiling, laughing, swinging their baskets. Most knew who I was from seeing me at parties and bringing Abrielle to school in the mornings. They pointed and smiled saying, "There's Abrielle's Mom." The excitement in their faces as they talked amongst themselves brought me to tears. It was as if they were hoping to see their friend again. I just stood there frozen for the longest time thinking that my little girl should be there too. I should be hiding eggs for her class to find. I should be watching her walking in the line with her friends, swinging her basket.
When we got upstairs to Mady's classroom, her classmates were all gathered around her, welcoming her back and making sure she was alright. They were asking about her bruises and such and I was proud of how well she did. I think she was nervous about how her friends were going to treat her and scared about the questions they would ask. I was so glad to see them hugging her and letting her know they were glad to see her back at school.
I watched from the classroom window (didn't want to do the stairs again) as Mady's class hunted for their eggs and tried hiding my tears. I remember feeling like there was still a heavy fog inside my head, like the nightmare was going to end soon and my little girl was going to be there.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

March of Dimes Plushes

Look what my Mom found at US Bank...

This little cutie (and the other ones they have) supports March of Dimes. I love it when the stuffed animals can serve double duty like that and help out two charities! I think that's why I buy most of my donations to the Foundation from Kohl's to help their charity.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

How Time Has Flown...

I was digging out all the papers to take with us for taxes last week and there happened to be a picture stuck in the middle of all the stuff. Here's what I found...

This is of Mady at age 5 and Abby at age 22 months. (I must say that they are some cuties!) This picture was taken in April 2005 for Mady's birthday after she had gotten her ears pierced.

Now fast forward to just last month, March 2009 and here is a picture I took of the girls. Mady is almost 9 and Elly is 22 months.
Elly resembles her big sister Abby more so than Mady for sure! Elly just seems to be a "chubbier" version of her big sis and has so many of the same personality traits. The fact is that in another month I will have had my Elly here as long as my Abby has been in Heaven ~ 2 years.

Monday, April 6, 2009

God's Flower Garden

Sometimes we can't quite understand, our great creator's way.
When he takes a life so young and leaves one old withered and gray
whose life's work seems finished, perhaps is waiting the call.
While that life so young and tender, held so much here for us all.

Then sometimes I get to thinking, perhaps the world down here below
is just a flower garden where God's flowers live and grow.
And perhaps when God is lonely like us, he loves to roam;
in his garden gathering flowers just to beautify his home.

Tho he takes the full bloom flowers, drooped and withered that need his care
still he needs a bud or blossom; to scatter with them, here and there.
So he takes a few choice blossoms just the choicest he can find
and because God needs them up in Heaven must comfort loved ones left behind.

This poem was given to us by someone that had lost a little girl many years ago (over 20 years). It was given to them and they thought it was time to pass these comforting words on to us.

Friday, April 3, 2009

A Walk and A Winner

On April 18th, there will be a Donate Life Fun Run & Walk held in St. Joseph at 10:00 am. The run/walk is free and open to the public. Registration will begin at 9:45 am at Heartland Regional Medical Center's hospital cafeteria. Unfortunately I will not be able to attend this event, but wanted to pass along the information in case some of you might be interested.

Thanks to all that wanted to show their support of organ donation by flying a flag during April. The lucky winner is Comment number 1, Darla. I'll get the garden flag ordered and will let you know when it arrives.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Nashville Bound!!

A big CONGRATULATIONS go out to Shelbey Fox, Christina Calfee, and Tricia Boller! Do you remember these girls? They are the ones from West Nodaway School that participated in the FCCLA speech contest at NW and made it to state. The state competition was held in Columbia this week and the girls placed first!! (They said they even had some judges in tears.) This means they are headed to nationals with the story about the Foundation and about drinking and driving. Can you believe that! That is just awesome! Abby's story and the works of the Foundation are going to reach even more people! Just think if someday the Foundation could be a state-wide or even nation-wide program. Thanks for getting our word out girls and congrats!

I'll be letting everyone know about any fundraising efforts these girls will be working on in order to raise money for their trip in July.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Donate Life Month

April is National Donate Life Month! Midwest Transplant Network and Donate Life America are asking everyone to show their support of donation by participating in "Flags Across America." This campaign is requesting you fly a donate life flag during April as part of a nationwide display of unity to show the American public how many people have been touched by donation. This display is meant to honor donors and recipients and calls attention to the need for more people to designate themselves as donors. Flags can be found at the Donate Life America website, We are ordering a big flag to fly on our flagpole at home. So, here's what I want to do to help get more flags out there... I am going to give a flag of your choice to one lucky reader. Leave me a comment with your name an what flag (car flag, garden flag, house flag, stick flag, commercial flagpole flag) you would like on this post and I will enter everyone's name into to select a winner. I will post a winner on Friday, so we can have the flags to fly for most of the month. Thanks for showing your support for donation!