Monday, June 27, 2016

Grace Blanket Drive 2016!


Our 3rd Annual Grace Blanket Drive is officially LIVE! Help us make this year the BEST EVER!

We are now accepting blanket donations to gift to Piper's NICU at Children's Mercy Hospital, here in KC...

AND THIS YEAR, we will also be expanding our donations to some areas close to YOUR hearts as well! Grace Blankets friends in Amarillo, Lubbock, Houston, Little Rock, and Florida will be helping us deliver to their area NICUs! How amazing is this? YOU guys are making this happen, and we are beyond excited to increase our scope of service!

Spending so much time in the NICU allowed us to observe many needs that others may not think of when donating to a hospital. Donating a blanket not only reaches one family, one baby..... donating a blanket means adding to the NICU's linen closet supply. In KC, this supply closet blankets over 75 beds per night with clean linens; and why not add a touch of warmth and flare to these beds!?

A new blanket can give the feeling of home and comfort to a new NICU family, that blanket can be laundered, circulated, and make baby beds for as long as that little blankie can hold up. One blanket....will add a touch of love to multiple babies...and THAT, my friends, is awesome! 

Please join us in giving back to our NICUs, recruit your office, tell your friends, and let's cover these babies in love and prayer from around the nation! We will accept blankets for ALL areas...and then divvy our stock among our new hospital friends. 


** CONTACT: or text 817.319.8116 for the address to mail blankets to! **

(We're moving and I'll give you new shipping info!)

 Please have all blankets in the mail by AUG. 1st, 2016.

  • NEW baby blankets of all types, colors or prints! Have some fun, shop around and use your creative gifts! Nurses love a fun spiffy new blankie! 
    • any medium sized baby blanket or throw 
    • cotton or flannel receiving blankets 
    • crib sheets & fitted sheets are great too, and always needed!
  • DONATE MOOLAH! We can take care of the shopping for you, if you'd rather donate funds to our cause! We use our Grace Blankets fund each summer to buy additional blankets for hospitals. Contact me: we can take CC's and checks!
  • Hospital Rules - new/new with tag blankets only please. This ensures the safety of patients. 
  • DIY Fleece Tie Blankets - are known to NOT hold up well to all the hospital washing. We will absolutely still accept these as donations, but use these as gifts for NICU families/babies to take home. They will not be able to stay in hospital linen rotation due to short laundry life span...those poor fellows.
  • Yes, this is safe for all. With hospitals' Back to Sleep & Safe Sleep regulations, nurses use these blankets as bed linens underneath babes...not to cover them up! :) They can also be a great sibling support gift, and social worker scenario gift for families in need leaving the hospital. 

We are so excited to be continuing our work with our Grace Blanket Drive for the sweet babies of Children's Mercy Hospital, and now other NICUs nationwide!!! 
Named after our sweet Piper Grace, and made possible by her very own prayer warriors!

We are counting on your help! Can we beat last year's total?
2014 - 930 blankets donated
2015 - 2,512 blankets donated
2016 - TBD!!!!!!

Please do not hesitate to email me with questions! 
Here's to warming hearts, by blanketing babies with love!


Saturday, June 11, 2016

On this day...

A year ago, on this day, Piper Grace left this earth. 
I was aching, body and soul. The "worst case" had finally caught us, our fears realized, our grief began...a year ago today. 
The drive home from the hospital the night Piper died, I remember being quiet. Silent with a million questions running through my mind.
  "What do we do now?"
  "Did that just happen?"
  "Will we be ok?"
  "How much worse will this hurt?"
  "How long? How long will this hurt?"
Piper's entire life, starting in utero, we planned to lose her. We planned, not knowing the day or hour, but we hoped, we loved her, celebrated her, learned from her and still planned for her to leave us. We prepared our hearts for the day they would break, not knowing how shattered we would feel. Shattered. What a perfect word for how her departure felt. 
Here I sit, a year later, shattered still - but glued together with the love and support Matt and I have received. Glued together by the awe we have in how Piper's story has touched others. Thank you, for loving us this year, for remembering our sweet girl, for helping us through.
I truly believe our family was touched by God's Grace during this time. When anyone said "I can't even imagine how you cope..." the answer is GRACE. How fitting, right? Grace.
Yes a year has passed, we have lived and loved and learned some things. I look back and am proud of our strength. Our hearts have endured turmoil, and yet we survived. It's allowed me to view life's struggles with a different lens. There's not much I fear I can't handle. My heart can handle it. Bring it on, life! Thanks, Pipes, for teaching us to stress less, and conquer more!
I'm proud of my marriage. I've never been more grateful that I married by best friend. In the midst of our NICU journey, the man next to me wasn't just my husband of 10 years. As my heart shattered, I turned to the 15 year old boy that was my best friend. He held me up. He knew my strength and reminded me of it. He wiped my tears, validated our decisions, and was our rock. Matthew Jarvis, I love you as my husband, but you, as my life long friend, was what got us through. I'm so proud of us. 
I'm grateful for the teaching moments Piper's life and death has afforded me. Tallan Hope has been so receptive to chats about death, Heaven, God, Jesus; and I am thankful for her frank and curious mind. 
I've spoken to a few groups, strangers, starbucks patrons, anyone really...about Piper Grace. The biggest lesson I've learned this year, is that I DO NOT HAVE TO KNOW how Piper will touch others' lives. I am here merely to share her story, and watch as she affects so many people in so many different ways. I think many people ask "why did this have to happen?" or the dreaded "everything happens for a reason," and I sigh and say that I do not need to know why. There's no ONE why, right? Think of how Piper's life has affected you. There are a million different ways she's touched you all, and it's my single most favorite thing to hear about. 
Yes, Piper Grace Jarvis died a year ago, on this day. Matt and I kind of made a point not to build up expectations for this day. No rehearsal of emotions we assumed we'd have. No grave site to tend to. No balloons to release. We chose to acknowledge this day quietly as a family, and contemplate how far we've come in this past year. 
A year ago, this day sucked; but the day she left us seems insignificant when compared to the day she arrived, the days we loved her, the days she taught us. I will be grateful for ALL the days I had with Piper Grace, even this one. 
(Pics following are of our final hours with Piper.)


Sunday, April 24, 2016

Own Your Warrior Status

Life is crazy.
You know that saying "you make plans, God laughs?"...yea, I'm livin' it at the moment.

I have had a ton of things to do lately:
I've been sitting on hospital committees, distributing Piper T-shirts, attending parent teacher conferences, gymnastics lessons, speaking to high school classes, making lists of small house tasks to accomplish (because in this market, why not sell this baby for an upgrade, right!?) Life stuff has been happening. We have been busy. My people pleaser brain starts to get a bit self conscious and overwhelmed sometimes....and the other day, I had a thought.

I am choosing this busy-ness. This is good. We are making an impact and having fun with one another. I can handle this because....I have walked through effing fire. I'm handling a loss very few understand. I can handle anything that is "hard," because I am equipped with His Grace.

I've walked through hell and back. I am a warrior. I will own it.
Bring it on.

I'd love for other mommas to take a look in the mirror, and own your warrior status. Every family has their struggle, every marriage a hardship, every single person has gone through a personal hell in their life. There is no need to compare journeys with others, to determine who had it harder. We have walked a path that equips us to help someone, somewhere, somehow, someday. Own it. Embrace your warrior and hold your head up and know you can...because duh, you rock!

Matty and I have been super excited to get our house on the market and move to a new, bigger home in KC. We've been chill about it, no rush...and God laughed.

I rarely brag on mister hubs; but man, he's worked his butt off lately. He worked full time while Piper was in the hospital, yet never missed an early morning snuggle with her on his way into the pharmacy. He rarely slept, took care of us, paid the bills...and dealt with a horrible loss alongside me. He has worked so hard; and people have started to take notice.

Currently managing the Special Disease Pharmacy for Walgreens, Matt was pulled out of meetings last week to have a big, HUGE chat with the big wigs. There was an offer for bigger and better things, no interview needed, he was their guy...does he accept?


Matt has accepted an Area Health Care Supervisor position, leading over 60 Walgreens Little Rock, Arkansas!

The crazy thing is, Matt has been offered relocations before, and they were somewhat silly/not practical. We are usually pretty picky when it comes to these offers, and none of them had made sense for us. BUT - when Matt called about this job, all went quiet. My critical mind silenced, and we wept. What an amazing feeling of peace and understanding that we were on the right path. Matt is being rewarded for his hard work, the relocation specifics are amazing and a HUGE reward for our family, after these couple years of mental turmoil. House on the market? God laughed, then did us one better.

The best part: I get to sit back and watch, as Matthew Jarvis reaps the benefits of such hard work. I cannot put into words how much this is deserved for him. About time, babe!

The Specifics:
We will be meeting with a relocation coordinator this week to get our house on the market, schedule house hunting trips to Little Rock, and the family move date will rest on when our house sells.

* YES, we will still have and ALWAYS have the Grace Blanket Drive each Summer!
* I will let you know when it's time / where to mail blankets - STAY TUNED!
* I will be in KC regularly to continue our blanket giving with our original love - Children's Mercy
* There is an AWESOME new Grace Blanket website coming soon to spread even more love!
* I will save the goodbye KC emotions for a later post

I had a goal this year to be able to mail blankets to our hospital friends in different cities, so this is an easy transition to take Grace Blankets further! (If you are near a big hospital/big city, I will be reaching out soon for Grace Blanket reps that can deliver for us and snap a PIPES shirt pic! I'm talkin' to you, Amarillo, Dallas, Houston, Lubbock...) :)

Things are about to get crazy. Crazy good, and crazy new and crazy cool. Sometimes even blessings feel overwhelming to our schedules. I want to get anxious about Matt leaving and me "single mom-ing it" for an undetermined time; but then I realize - I've walked through hell and back this past year. I am warrior momma and I can handle it.

Own your Warrior status, and bring on the blessings.

Some quick iphone snaps of some really cool website shots taken today. Showing KC LOVE!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Sharing Truth

People say that I am brave, but I'm not.
Truth is, I'm barely hanging on...

The above statement couldn't be more true in this moment. Like I've said before, I am so touched by music on this journey, and if you haven't listened to I Will Carry You, by Selah, please take a few minutes to do that. It is the most perfect 4 minutes of a song I feel tells our story so well. Go ahead...I'll wait.

When I sit down to blog, I've usually had a topic in mind for a few weeks. I've rolled it around in my head, considered its message, polished my thoughts and usually have processed the feelings involved before even sitting to type. Bear with me...because tonight is no such blog.

To share my heart in real time is a very vulnerable position for me; but today, in the span of about 10 minutes, I was flooded with emotions that I need to get out. About an hour ago, I shared a couple pictures of Pipes. Pictures I hadn't seen, but when I look at them, I could immediately tell you what was going on in our NICU journey when they were taken....and it's not what you think. You can "like" and comment about that sweet sweet baby snuggling her lovies; but I know the truth behind the pictures.

What you don't know: is how much I had to edit these pictures to feel ok to post them. The unedited pictures brought up a slew of memories of where we were last year...quietly suffering through the hardest time of our life. You see, my grief didn't start the day Piper Grace died. I have actually been pretty proud that I've been able to live, hold my head up, and give back the way we have in the months since June 2015. 

Tonight reminded me that my grief, the dirty ugly shitty grief that sneaks up on you and grabs your throat...reminds you that life isn't normal...THAT grief - started this same time last year. 

Tonight I realized that my journey with grief may hit a tough tough patch...starting now. I grieve the conversations we had to make. I grieve the feeling of losing a battle while my child was still alive, I grieve this time of year because of the word "de-escalation."

Last year, this is when it hit the fan. When Piper cued us in that her journey on Earth may not have meant to be long. When we had to be honest with ourselves, and agree that we needed to be ok with letting her say goodbye. This time of year sucks. March. April. May. All months we struggled with grief as we watched poor Pipes get bluer and bluer. We prayed that her time here wasn't for nothing. We let go of our selfish need to keep her here for us. This time last year, we gave it to God and Pipes - we relinquished control, we let her be...and waited for her farewell. 

If you have ever had to do's the suckiest thing ever, waiting for someone to exit this world, knowing it's best for them...but your heart is breaking at the thought of it. These pictures today, reminded me of my loss of control. My start of the ugly grief...and that scary wait.

Here is my sweet sweet baby, last March. UNEDITED. The difference in her color might not seem too vast for you, but they remind me of the end of our Earthly fight; and regardless of the good that has come of this, it's still damn hard to remember coming to the realization that her body was too tired. Sweet, peaceful, tired Pipes...teaching us.


I'm really unsure that this post even has a point, other than to be real and share a struggle a fellow mom might be having. If I'm making no sense, I apologize. (Not really, I make perfect sense to myself, so who cares! HA!)

Maybe the point is: it's 100% OK to NOT be OK! Let's be honest with ourselves, kind to our fragile hearts and minds, and remember that any journey in this life is NOT on a straight road.
To be clear, my effing journey is on a dirt road, covered in cow poop and pot holes, with blind curves and tummy turning hills...but I'm ok with that. Word.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Just a Drop in the Bucket...

Woo Hoooooo! 
Check out the fancy new blog design! A HUGE thank you goes out to Jodie Gerling, for coming to my rescue and sprucing things up for me! You rock my face right off, woman!


Have I mentioned that I've been getting my head shrunk? Ain't no shame in my game. Since February 2015, while Piper was still alive, I've been going to a therapist. I love to talk...I love to talk about myself...I love therapy. 

The result: my overly egotistic self now thinks I'm a psychologist. (Duh!) 
In all seriousness though, this has really helped me dig into the how and why I want to grieve, give back, and tap into coping skills while incorporating my faith in this recovery process. 

Something I've been mulling over for a while now, is me getting tinges of anxiety and feeling overwhelmed. I've analyzed, then OVERanalyzed why; and have come to this conclusion: (I'm billing you for this session later.) I get SO excited to help, to make a difference, to give back, to have Piper be remembered...that I regress into the thoughts that everything I can do is too small. I look at this big ole' world and have the humbling realization that I am just a mere drop in the bucket. Just a small tiny blanket drive lady, trying to make a difference, but just a drop in the bucket that is children's hospital philanthropy. 

Blankets, hospital committees, NICU meals, bereavement bath products...does it make a difference? Have you ever had thoughts like this? "Am I even making a difference?"

This is when I have to stop. Slow my roll, and tell myself, "Hell YES it does!" 
Now, all my psychotherapy comes in handy when I am so excited to share with you my thoughts on giving back...
Do NOT let being, "just" a drop in the bucket, extinguish your flame! Your drop means something to someone. Your light has a purpose. Hold that light out and shine the way, baby! 

Matt and I have had discussions recently about our faith in God as youngsters. We were raised as Christians, and were pretty darn boring teens. No crazy fall to rise from, no huge mistakes, prude - boring teens. As a Christian, and a quiet one at that, this led me to feel like I had no real profound testimony to share with others. I always had God's light within my heart, and carried it with me through this life. 

What Piper has done, is allow me to take my light, extend my arms, and hold it out for all to see. Piper's life has given us a reason to shine that light for others, regardless of how big or small the audience. My drop in the bucket is awesome, my flame will be bright, and I will shine it for you, Pipes!

While compiling my words for this post, a song from childhood came to mind that I'd love for you to hear. It's perfect for this topic. (The YouTube video might be corny, but the words touch my heart.) I urge you to give it a listen, and think about how you use your light. 
Go Light Your World

NOW, it's time for another PIPES shirt order!!!!!
Some of you missed the last order, and we are excited to offer these again! T-shirt money goes straight into the Grace Blanket account and has been used in these ways thus far:

   * Blanket purchases to stockpile for August hospital delivery
   * Bath product purchase for NICU bereavement team
   * Website domain purchase
   * Non-profit filing process
   * NICU family meal event (we fed over 50 parents this January!)
   * Footprint keepsake supplies for NICU nurses to create for families
   * Blankets blankets blankets for NICU/PICU babies!

In short - Y'ALL ROCK. This is YOU shining your light! Thank you so so much!

Here are shirt ordering specifics! Call, text and email me ASAP! 
817.319.8116 or
(yes, shirt prices are increased from last time...I spent waaaay more on tax & shipping than I bargained for!)

* $18 - Adult Sizes S - 3X
* $12 - Child Sizes XS - XL
* $10 - Baby Onesies NB - 24mo

When you call, text or email, I need from you:

* how many & what size
* your shipping address
* I can take cc payment over speaker phone, you mail a check, or meet me with cash!
* your order isn't recorded until payment received. Emailing me doesn't ensure you get a talks, baby! 
* I'll text or email you our address for check mailing. (Just not posting it here, duh!)
* Checks payable to: Grace Blankets or Tara Jarvis DBA Grace Blankets 


Questions? Call me. Text me. Email me. 

Check out all these fine folks sporting their Pipes shirts! How amazing! What a great way to get the word out about our blanket drive cause, CDH awareness, and remember such an awesome person!

We love you all! Can't wait to talk soon! #PipersPod