Happy Birthday Melissa Ivey-Staehli - April 17
Ohio Author Day and Book Fair at the Hudson Library and Historical Society this past weekend. In the morning we listened to five children's authors discuss writing and publishing children's books. I was proud of my kiddos for behaving so well during the panel discussion that I treated them to ice cream for lunch! My daughter insisted that we return after lunch for the author fair.
The last author we met at the fair was Melissa Ivey-Staehli. I picked up and read her book, I Love You to the Moon. I immediately felt a connection to the book. I knew my almost two-year-old son would love the colorful illustrations and the rhyming text. Then, I said to Melissa, "I run this blog, Happy Birthday Author.....I would love to celebrate your birthday." She said, "My birthday is in a few days on April 17th." I was silent for a few moments, processed the possibility, and realized that I couldn't pass up the opportunity to share her book. I said, "I think I can put something together for your birthday. Do you have a special birthday memory or story you could share?" She said, "I don't have a birthday story to share, but I do have a story about the greatest GIFT I ever received."
Here is her story:
The most amazing GIFT I ever received was my son, Caleb Andrew! He is the light of my life and the joy of my heart. I thank the Lord every day for blessing me with a precious son to love.
My husband and I have been married for 18 years now, but for the first 13 years we were not successful in getting pregnant. Yes, it was very disappointing especially when everyone around me was getting pregnant. The disappointment started to turn to frustration which I was not liking at all. So, at that point in my life I knew I had to lay it all at the Lord's feet. Once I laid my cares down at the foot of the cross, in that moment, I knew in my heart that God was not going to forsake my dream of being a mother.
In 2005, my husband and I started checking into foreign adoption, but we didn't tell anyone yet. We truly thought we would be adopting a baby from Korea. Unbeknownst to us...the Lord had other plans! We had finished all of the piles of paperwork, interviews and such needed for adoption. Now, we just had to save up the final (large) amount of money needed for the Korean adoption -- which we knew would take a while. Well, towards the end of June 2006 we received a phone call about a domestic adoption. Mind you, we were not on any list here in America to adopt! God, being the BIG God he is, orchestrated the entire miracle of Caleb all on His own. From the time we received that amazing phone call - around June 22, 2006 - and the day Caleb was born was just 12 days! That's crazy and unheard of! But God did it! He gave me and my husband the greatest gift of our lives!
God answered my hearts cry and I did not miss one moment with my baby boy! What an honor it was to name my son, Caleb and have the birth mother really like it. I saw his sweet face when he took his first breath. I saw his feet being printed on a card for me and my husband to take home. The birth mother handed Caleb to me to hold and to love. At that moment...my heart was overflowing with such love for this precious baby boy that the tears began to roll down my face. I sat down in the rocking chair at the hospital and gave him his first bottle. I got to change his first diaper. I was thrilled beyond words that God had answered my prayer for a baby. He allowed me to experience everything a new mommy would experience, and for that I am forever grateful.
The love I have for my son, Caleb is what inspires me to write children's books. I Love You to the Moon came straight from my heart. It started out as a little rhyme that I would say to Caleb before bedtime, and suddenly it became the poetic lullaby that it is now. It blessed both Caleb and I so much that I realized I wanted to share it with others in hopes that it would bless them as well.
Every child is a gift from God, no matter how they come into a family.
Thank you Melissa for sharing your story. I enjoyed reading your book with all of my children. My oldest son said, "I think this is a good book for me to read." He read the "I love yous" throughout the book! My oldest daughter took a turn reading it to everyone. My youngest son loved the illustrations of the moon, boat, deer and bee. My wife even came up with an activity for her and I to do for our children.
|We found a 8" x 10" frame, scrap book paper with stars, and 2" x 3" photos of each of our children.|
|She traced the backing of the photo frame on the scrap book paper with a pencil and cut it to size.|
|She printed a title for her collage, "I Love You because..."|
|Then, she arranged and glued a picture of each of our children on the paper.|
|Reassembled the frame.|
|She left space in the middle to write a message with a dry-erase marker on the glass. She drew a heart around the child that the message was intended for -- "I love you because you helped your brother on the computer."|
1. I Love You to the Moon Website
2. Melissa Ivey-Stehli's Blog
3. Read her articles at Christian Children's Authors
4. Child's Birth Inspires Book About Unbounded Love
I Love You to the Moon Trailer from Jared Staehli on Vimeo.