Welcome to the Sweet Pea Project's Blog, part of the Sweet Pea Project's effort to create a supportive and compassionate community for those of us affected by the death of a child. Here you will find updates on the Sweet Pea Project, as well as anything going on in the world that relates to childloss. If you have a suggestion for a topic you would like to see discussed here, I'd love to hear it. Please make sure you stop by the official website, www.sweetpeaproject.org and feel free to email me for any reason at anytime at Stephanie@sweetpeaproject.org.
peace, Stephanie Cole (Madeline's Mom)

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Sweet Pea Project Turns Five Years Old

In early December 2008, I sat down at the computer late one night and typed up an email to my friends and family.  It started with, "Christmas is just a few weeks away and we are so excited to see it through Ben’s eyes this year.  Still, we continue to struggle with sadness because his big sister will not be here to share it with us.  She would be two years old next month, and we miss her very much."  I went on to invite everyone to donate a receiving blanket in Madeline's memory so that I could bring them to the hospital on her second birthday, in the hope that I could offer some small comfort to the next mother to deliver a stillborn child there.  Within a couple of weeks I had been in the newspaper, had created a website, named my little effort the Sweet Pea Project and collected hundreds of blankets.  On January 5th, 2008 (her 2nd birthday) I delivered the first box of blankets to the hospital where she was born.  Now, 5 years later, we have donated over 6,000 blankets and 3,200 copies of Still. to 230 hospitals and bereavement organizations in all 50 states of the US and several other countries including Australia, Ireland and Canada.  We've hosted a dozen free community events and our Sweet Pea Babies page honors more than one thousand beloved children.  We've stood up and spoken out at every opportunity in an effort to break the silence and remove the stigma surrounding stillbirth and infant death.  We do all this knowing that none of it will ever take away the pain of their deaths, but with hope that together we can create a more compassionate community for the broken families these precious children leave behind.  Thank you to everyone who has helped us as we build this community, blanket by blanket, book by book, broken heart by broken heart, and thank you for allowing me the honor of being a small part of your child's remembrance.  These past five years with Sweet Pea Project have been one of the most beautiful experiences of my life, and I cannot wait to see what the next five years will bring.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Butterfly Tree Children's Mural

The death of a baby can be very difficult on a child. They witness their parents wrestling with overwhelming grief, and struggle with their own feelings of sadness and confusion. These children deserve a day just to be carefree children, playing with their parents in the sunshine and having fun, and each year Sweet Pea Project offers those families that kind of a day at their annual Sweet Pea Sisters & Brothers Picnic.  At this year's picnic, 106 children decorated paper butterflies with watercolor paint, acrylic paint, colored pencils, crayons, markers, and glitter glue in honor of their sisters and brothers.  Artist and Sweet Pea Project founder, Stephanie Paige Cole, then helped the children create a giant mural using their butterflies as leaves on a butterfly tree.  The mural will be unveiled on National Children's Grief Awareness Day, November 21st, with a special cookies and cocoa reception for the artists who created this touching piece of art at Manheim Township Public Library, and will remain on display there during regular library hours from November 21-30.  During the mural's stay, the library will have Sweet Pea Project community event videos available for viewing.  They will also have books specially chosen to suit this topic and Sweet Pea Project informational brochures will be available as well.   To learn more about our annual children's picnic and the ways in which we strive to create fun and healthy ways for children to express their grief, please visit www.sweetpeaproject.org/picnic.  

Monday, October 28, 2013

Extraordinary Give

click on flier to enlarge, download & share!

The Extraordinary Give: November 22, 2013

If your life has been touched by Sweet Pea Project, then please consider supporting us this November 22 as we participate in the Extraordinary Give. 

The Extraordinary Give is Lancaster County’s 24-hour Online Giving marathon, where every dollar donated at ExtraGive.org on Nov 22 will be stretched by a $250,000 contribution from the Lancaster County Community Foundation shared among participating community organizations, plus incentives and prizes that can further benefit our organization.

Your tax-deductible on-line donation to Sweet Pea Project through www.extragive.org on November 22 will allow us to continue offering comfort, support and gentle guidance to families who have experienced the death of a baby before, during or after birth.

Mark your calendar for November 22 and tell your friends!  “When We Give Extra, Extraordinary Things Happen!”

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Remembrance Gathering Videos & Photos

October 15th was a beautiful day this year, there was warmth and blue sky and sunshine abounding but the thing that made it so beautiful was not the weather- it was the sense of community that filled the grassy field at Long's Park as we all gathered together- all 700 of us!- to shout to the sky, with wildflower seeds and green balloons, that our children are loved, they are missed and they are remembered.  

If you weren't able to join us at the park, we invite you to hop over to youtube to watch two videos we created. One is a video recording of Stephanie speaking about remembrance and Beth reading each sweet name as the balloons float up into the sky http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FIWt8V9Y_nw and the other is a montage of stunning photographs taken at the event by Grace Photos http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J9C6XN8LIvw&feature=youtu.be.

If you were a guest at the gathering and you would like to download a free image of your family from the event, please check your email for a link to our password protected album.  There are 3 or 4 times more pictures in that album than time allowed us to share in the video, so please peruse the album for more amazing images.  Email Stephanie if you are unable to access the album for some reason.

Thank you to everyone who joined us that day and helped make it such a tender, sacred, moving evening. We are already excitedly looking forward to next year's gathering on October 15, 2014.  We hope to see you there.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Sweet Pea Project's 4th Annual Remembrance Gathering

You are invited.

Summer is winding down and autumn will be soon be upon us.  Autumn means a lot of things to a lot of people- apple picking and pumpkins, comfy sweatshirts and crunchy leaves.  Here at Sweet Pea Project, autumn is a season of remembrance.  We invite you to join us once again as we hold our annual Remembrance Gathering on National Remembrance Day, October 15, at Long's Park in Lancaster, PA.  This gathering offers families a chance to come together and remember their children as a community and to celebrate their short but precious lives. We would be honored to have you join us as we gather together to listen to the beautiful music of our children's name spoken out loud in a field filled with love and support.

Sweet Pea Project's 4th Annual Remembrance Gathering is a free event that is open to the community, but registration is requested.   To register your family please visit www.sweetpeaproject.org/remember and click on REGISTER NOW.   Registration will be open until September 30.

We will be offering  commemorative T shirts again this year.   The shirts will feature our event logo on the front and include a list of the names of the children we are remembering on the back.  Shirts are available for $5 a piece and can be ordered online when you register.  All orders must be placed by September 30th.  We are very sorry, but it is not possible for us to ship shirts.  They must be picked up at the T Shirt Table at Long's Park between 5pm and 6pm on Tuesday, October 15.  Payment is due at the time of purchase either via paypal (at paypal.com sending money to Stephanie@sweetpeaproject.org) or mail a check to us at

Sweet Pea Project
Attn: Shirt Order
PO Box 10351
Lancaster, PA 17605-0351

Thank you, and we look forward to seeing you at the park!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Kindness Day Giveaway 2013

Today is International Kindness Project today.  If you haven't heard of this beautiful day, brainchild of MISS Foundation's Dr Joanne Cacciatore, then I encourage you to visit www.kindnessprojectday.org to learn more about this meaningful event and how you can get involved.  Here at Sweet Pea Project we are participating by donating 3 copies of Still (one in honor Max Jackson, one in honor of Mark Gauthier and one in honor of Madeline Cole) through a random drawing.  To enter the drawing please send an email with the subject KINDNESS to Stephanie@sweetpeaproject.org and be sure to include your name, your child's name and your address (so that we can ship the book to you in case you win.)  As always, we promise to never share your information with anyone.  The drawing will close tonight, July 27 2013, at midnight and the winners will be announced on facebook and contacted via email tomorrow.  Please feel free to share this far and wide.  Have a beautiful day, filled with kindness and remembrance and love.
Stephanie Cole

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Still Giveaway in Support of Return to Zero

If I told you that there was a way for you to be an activist for an important cause, and that it would take less than 2 minutes of your time and that you could wear your pjs the whole time, you'd be in, wouldn't you?  And what if I told you that you would be rewarded for those 2 minutes of pajama-clad activism with an awesome prize?  Irresistible, right?  I hope so, because I really do have such an opportunity for you, and it truly is important.  If you haven't already seen my short YouTube video about Sweet Pea Project's giveaway in support of the new movie, Return to Zero, then please swing on over and check it out at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WjKNa2sZ_aI&feature=youtu.be.

Here's what you need to do.  First, click HERE and pledge to see Return to Zero when it comes to a theater near you.  Use my name, Stephanie Cole, as your local leader.

Second, enter the giveaway by sending an email to Stephanie@sweetpeaproject.org with the subject line STILL.  Be sure to include your name and mailing address, so that we can send you your prize if you win!  We are giving away 50 copies of Still, so your chances are already pretty excellent, but if I were you I would probably have every person I know sign the pledge and enter the giveaway, too- that way the movie gets more support and your chance of winning increases since your friends and family can always give you their prize if they win.  :o)

All entries must be submitted by Midnight US Pacific Time on Thursday, June 20, 2013.

Here are the prizes:
1st Prize- 1 copy of Still for the winner + 20 copies to be donated to the winner's hospital of choice
2nd Prize- 1 copy of Still for the winner + 10 copies to be donated to the winner's hospital of choice
3rd Prize- 1 copy of Still for the winner + 5 copies to be donated to the winner's hospital of choice
12 Runner Up Prizes- 1 copy of Still for the winner

Why support this movie?  Return to Zero is a rare kind of film, one that tackles the uncomfortably deep sadness of stillbirth head on.  In an effort to get this important film into theaters, Director Sean Hanish has asked us all to show our support by signing a pledge saying that we will be there in the theater when this movie is released.  Hundreds of movies are made each year and never make it to the theaters, and we are determined that Return to Zero will not be one of them.  26,000 babies are stillborn in the US each year.  This is another chance to remove the stigma and break the silence surrounding their deaths.  For more information on the film, visit www.returntozerothemovie.com.

Please feel free to email me at Stephanie@sweetpeaproject.org with any questions you may have.  Visit www.sweetpeaproject.org to learn more about Sweet Pea Project and www.readstill.com to learn more about this book you are trying to win, Still: a collection of honest artwork & writings from the heart of a grieving mother.  And thank you for your support.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Still a Mother giveaway & our Secret Garden

First, we would like to wish each and every one of you a peaceful Mother's Day today.  We know it probably does not look the way you dreamed it would be, but we hope you can find a little beauty in it somewhere as you think of the little one to whom you will always be Mama.

In honor of Mother's Day, we are opening the gates to the new Secret Garden at Sweet Pea Project.  This garden is an album of photographs taken by Sweet Pea Project founder and Still author, Stephanie Paige Cole, and is coupled with some of her short writings.  We would like to invite you to wander through the garden and pick any flowers that speak to your heart.  We hope you find some comfort here.

Also in honor of Mother's Day, we are giving away free copies of Still.  To add yourself to the drawing, please send an email with the subject line "Still a Mother" to Stephanie@sweetpeaproject.org, and be sure to include your name, your child's name and your address (so that we can mail your copy to you if you win) by midnight EST on Sunday, May 12.  Winners will be drawn at random on Monday morning and notified by email.

And speaking of Still, we are very excited to announce that Still's new official website is now live at www.readstill.com!  Stop by the new site to purchase a copy, order books for your hospital, take a peek into the pages of Still, read reviews, share your own thoughts about the book and more.  Thank you for your support!

We hope today is gentle with your heart.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Mother's Day & Erma Bombeck

If you've been a part of this community for awhile, you have probably already read the piece that I wrote back in 2010 about my first Mother's Day and how the weight of it all lifted just a bit when I learned of the history behind the holiday.  If you haven't already read it, please check it out here: http://sweetpeaproject.blogspot.com/2010/05/mothers-day-of-peace.html

Instead of reposting that piece here, I wanted to share something that I stumbled upon  recently.  The woman who owns the art gallery where I have worked for the past decade always calls me "the next Erma Bombeck" because she thinks I am an "honest and hilarious storyteller."  (I can think of few compliments that could ever make me happier.)  And so I picked up some of her work the other day and started flipping through it, and came across an incredibly relevant piece of writing.

The following is a column written by Erma Bombeck.  It was first published on May 14, 1995 and it was later include in the book Forever, Erma: Best-Loved Writing from America'sFavorite Humorist.  I think all the mothers who have outlived their children, and there are far too many of us, will find it to be a relevant read this weekend.  For so many of us, this Sunday will not feel special or beautiful.  In fact, it might feel torturous.  Worse yet, we may feel excluded and unworthy.  But we belong in the category of mother, and we deserve that recognition on this (and every) day. 

We are still mothers.

Mothers who have lost a child - May 14, 1995
by Erma Bombeck

If you’re looking for an answer this Mother's Day on why God reclaimed your child, I don't know.  I only know that thousands of mothers out there today desperately need an answer as to why they were permitted to go through the elation of carrying child and then lose it to miscarriage, accident, violence disease or drugs.

Motherhood isn't just a series of contractions.  It's a state of mind.  From the moment we know life is inside us, we feel a responsibility to protect and defend that human being.  It's a promise we can't keep.  We beat ourselves to death over that pledge.  "If I hadn't worked through the eighth month."  "If I had taken him to the doctor when he had a fever."  "If I hadn't let him use the car that night."  "If I hadn't been so naive, I'd have noticed he was on drugs."

The longer I live, the more convinced I become that surviving changes us.  After the bitterness, the anger, the guilt, and the despair are tempered by time, we look at life differently.

While I was writing my book, I Want to Grow Hair, I Want to Grow Up, I Want to Go to Boise, I talked with mothers who had lost a child to cancer.  Every single one said death gave their lives new meaning and purpose.  And who do you think prepared them for the rough, lonely road they had to travel?  Their dying child.  They pointed their mothers toward the future and told them to keep going.  The children had already accepted what their mothers were fighting to reject.

The children in the bombed-out nursery in Oklahoma City have touched more lives than they will ever know.  Workers who had probably given their kids a mechanical pat on the head without thinking that morning are making phone calls home during the day to their children to say "I love you."

This may seem like a strange Mother's Day column on a day when joy and life abound for the millions of mothers throughout the country.  But it's also a day of appreciation and respect.  I can think of no mothers who deserve it more than those who had to give a child back.

In the face of adversity, we are not permitted to ask, "Why me?"  You can ask, but you won’t get an answer.  Maybe you are the instrument who is left behind to perpetuate the life that was lost and appreciate the time you had with it.

The late Gilda Radner sums it up well:  "I wanted a perfect ending.  Now I've learned the hard way that some poems don't rhyme and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle and end.  Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what is going to happen next.  Delicious ambiguity."

* * *
To all the mothers out there who have outlived their children, we at Sweet Pea Project are holding you close to our hearts and wishing you a gentle Mother's Day of Peace.

With love for my child and yours,
Stephanie Paige Cole

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sweet Pea News & Picnic Reminder

I realized I never made an announcement about the Unity Awards, so I wanted to share my news with all of you.  Back in March, I traveled to the Unity Awards Luncheon in Scottsdale, Arizona and met so many wonderful people from MASK and many other organizations, all of whom have such charitable and compassionate hearts.  It was amazing to be there, and it was humbling to come in third place.  I am so grateful for all of you who voted for me and helped me make it into the top 15, and for the people on the selection board who placed me in the top 3.  It was truly an honor.

I also wanted to remind anyone who is hoping to attend our 3rd Annual Sweet Pea Sisters & Brothers Picnic at Lititz Springs Park on June 1, that registration closes this Thursday, April 25.  All registrations and t-shirt orders must be submitted by this date, instructions can be found online at www.sweetpeaproject.org/picnic/registration. Over 250 people are registered so far, and we are going to have a fabulous time. This year's event will feature lots of family fun such as a concert by Dancing Bears Music, free family portrait sessions with Kulfan Photography, hula-hooping with Acts of Jennius, balloon sculpting by Tony the Balunguy, a bounce house from Big Bright Bounces, live animals from Bob's Critters, a magician from Country Conjuring, a fast pitch booth and froggy fly toss game from Eagle Rental, bubble and parachute playtime with Gymboree Play & Music of Lancaster, flower planting thanks to Shenk's Greenhouse, face-painting stations and tons of prizes!  Grace Photos will be on hand to capture this beautiful afternoon in photographs, so you'll want to be sure your little ones are wearing their Sweet Pea Picnic shirts, which we are offering free to children this year!  (A photo of this year's t shirt design can be found at the bottom of this post- be sure to check it out if you are attending the picnic but hadn't yet ordered shirts, it just might convince you to place your order!)  We'll also be making garden stones and beaded necklaces and kids will be able to draw pictures and write notes to their sister/brother on our Remembrance Wall.  And bring your appetite because we'll be serving a picnic dinner from Freeze & Frizz of Lititz with sides from Four Seasons Produce and Food For Thought Catering, and leave room for dessert from Couture Cupcakes, Country Table Restaurant and New York Bagel Cafe!  For more information, hop over to www.sweetpeaproject.org/picnic.   

And last, thank you to everyone who came out and supported us at the Weeusables Consignment Sale in March.  We raised just under $2000 through donations and sales at the Stuff-a-Bag event and will be using that money to continue comforting and supporting bereaved families by offering blankets, books and safe spaces to remember the children who will forever be held in our hearts.

This year's picnic shirt, with child's name on back

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

3rd Annual Sweet Pea Sisters & Brothers Picnic

You Are Invited!

3rd Annual Sweet Pea Sisters & Brothers Picnic

There is no greater pain for a parent than the pain of outliving their child.  But we parents are not the only ones who suffer.  The death of a baby can be very difficult on our surviving children, and even our subsequent children. These kids witness their parents wrestling with overwhelming grief, and struggle with their own feelings of sadness and confusion. They deserve a day just to be carefree children, playing with their parents in the sunshine and having fun, and that is what our annual picnic is all about.

Sweet Pea Project will be holding this special event for children who have lost a brother or sister during pregnancy or infancy on Saturday, June 1st, 2013.  Parents are invited to bring their surviving and subsequent children to Lititz Springs Park in Lititz, PA, from 4pm-7pm to play, eat, and enjoy each other's company.  This event is free but registration is required.  To register, go to www.sweetpeaproject.org/picnic and click on Picnic Registration Form!  Registration will close on April 25.

Just as we did in years past, we will be offering tons of food and family fun activities.  Dancing Bears Music will be performing on the bandshell stage, Kulfan Photography will be doing free family portraits at the park, Bob's Critters will be doing live animal demonstrations, Gymboree of Lancaster will run bubble and parachute playtimes and Acts of Jennius will be leading kids in some hula-hooping fun.   Country Conjuring and Tony the Balunguy will be wandering through the park performing magic tricks and making balloon animals.  We'll be offering various arts and crafts projects and children will be able to  plant flowers from Shenk's Greenhouse.  We'll be serving a picnic dinner from Freeze & Frizz and dessert from Couture Cupcakes, so bring your appetites!  We'll continue to announce activities as the event date approaches, so be sure to check out www.sweetpeaproject.org/picnic for more.

The idea for the Sweet Pea Sisters & Brothers Picnic came about after Beth Gauthier and Nicole Jackson joined the board of directors in 2010. Both had older children who grieved along side of them when their sons were stillborn and each have had another baby since then. Though support groups exist for parents, very little is offered for children. Sweet Pea Project is excited to be able to reach out to these children through this annual picnic, in honor of Mark and Max.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

March Happenings

Free to the Families of the Sweet Pea Project Community

On Saturday, March 9,at 11 AM  the Fam Fun Fest Series at the Ware Center in downtown Lancaster, PA will feature a delightful bilingual musical by the celebrated Pushcart Players.  The play, entitled "Cuentos del Arbol" (Tree Tales) draws on Spanish and Latin American folklore with plenty of song and dance.   The hour-long show begins at 11 a.m. but the doors open an hour earlier for creative hands-on activities for kids!

The centerpiece of all the stories in this family-friendly event is a tree that has sheltered, shielded and nurtured countless characters that have passed her way over the years. The tree's caretaker, Arbolita, shares four of these stories with Tomas, a storyteller who is looking for tales for his collection.  These stories from Spain, Mexico and Puerto Rico, are told with a lively Latino beat - both in English and Spanish, and are universal in appeal.

To reserve your free tickets, please contact Barry at barry.kornhauser@millersville.edu and be sure to mention Sweet Pea Project!

AND don't forget, this Saturday, March 9, Beth Gauthier and Stephanie Cole will be heading to the Ware Center at Millersville University's 42 North Prince Street, Lancaster, location to represent Sweet Pea Project and bereaved mothers everywhere at the International Women's Day Celebration Event.  The event is free and offers a morning filled with inspiring & engaging speakers who will share about the work they are doing here in Lancaster and around the world to positively impact the lives of women. There will be speakers, breakout sessions with Q& A time, and a room filled with organizations working on behalf of women worldwide where you can purchase fair trade items such as jewelry, clothing, purses and more!  Sweet Pea Project will be handing out information as we work to educate the public about this important women's issue, and we'll be collecting donations of blankets and monetary contributions.  Please stop by and say hi!  Check out the event's facebook page for more details, www.facebook.com/events/557590290937107/?fref=ts

Also, Weeusables Spring Consignment Event in Lancaster has chosen Sweet Pea Project as their organization to support this year.  Donations will be collected each day of their sale (March 21-23) and we will be receiving all the proceeds of their Stuff-A-Bag event on March 23 from 4pm-5pm.  More info can be found at www.weeusablesevent.com/locations/lancaster

Thank you to everyone who voted for Stephanie Cole to receive the Unity Award.  The winner will be announced at a luncheon in Arizona on March 21st, cross your fingers for Sweet Pea Project!  And look for Stephanie's photograph in the spring issue of MASK the Magazine!

Thanks for all your support.  Hope to see you at one or more of these events this month!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Free Shows at Ware Center for Sweet Pea Project Families!

Because we've been through a lot as a family, and we all deserve a little fun and laughter.  A little special treatment.

The Ware Center in downtown Lancaster is opening its doors to us this weekend.  For free.  All you have to do is email Stephanie@sweetpeaproject.org no later than Feb 21 and let me know how many people will be attending with you.  Here are the details, as emailed to me by the Winter &Ware Centers' lovely family arts collaborator, Barry Kornhauser.

We have TWO great shows coming up this weekend at the Ware Center, both totally appropriate for children and adults - and we are happy to offer Sweet Pea Project community families FREE tickets to each!!!

Both of these shows are being performed by Dan Kamin.  He's the guy who taught Robert Downey Jr. and Johnny Depp their physical comedy chops (for the movies CHAPLIN and BENNY & JOON).  More recently he trained the actor starring in the Broadway show CHAPLIN.   That's probably why Robert Downey Jr. called Dan America's "foremost authority" on Charlie Chaplin.  He's also a wonderfully funny performer himself as you will see if you come to these shows.

On Friday evening, Feb. 22, at 7:30, Dan is presenting FUNNY BONES: THE COMEDY OF CHARLIE CHAPLIN.  This show includes live silent comedy routines, audience participation, and a silent film clip of a Charlie Chaplin with live musical accompaniment.  Lots of laughs and even a little bit of learning.

On Saturday morning, Feb. 23 at 11:00, Dan is presenting COMEDY IN MOTION, a completely delightful show that's been called "a breathtaking display of theatricality that's sharp, funny, and highly inventive."  One hour before the show, we'll have free fun activities in the lobby for all kids, and right after the show, he'll offer a comedy workshop for kids.   We'll also provide a home activity guide, a free snack, and a toy surprise to every kids that comes.

And, again, for you, this is all FREE!!!   All you have to do is show up.  Just email first to let me know how many of you might be coming.  That way we can be better prepared.  Hope you'll take advantage of this offer.  It's good wholesome fun for all ages - from 5 to 95.   Please join us.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Some Sweet Pea News

Sweet Pea Project is having a busy little winter this year, so I thought I'd quickly share with you some of the things we have going on.

As you may have heard, Sweet Pea Project's founder- Stephanie Paige Cole- was nominated for the Unity Award, which is given to a "Mom making a difference" by the organization MASK once a year.  She has made it to the top 15, which means she will be featured in the spring issue of MASK Magazine, and she will be honored at a luncheon in Scottsdale, Arizona on March 21.  Voting is now open to determine who the winner is, and with our strong community we have a real shot at this!  If you are able to, we would be so grateful if you would vote once a day from now until March 1, and share the link with your friends.  It is super fast and easy.  http://www.maskmatters.org/stephanie-cole

Sweet Pea Project's next free community event is also right around the corner.  Coffee & Conversation with Catherine A. G. Bayly will be held on Friday, March 8 at Mulberry Art Studios in Lancaster, PA.  It is going to be such a peaceful, yet powerful evening. Candle light and coffee and desserts, the company of other parents who understand our wounded hearts, an opportunity to hear the talented poet and professor Catherine A. G. Bayly speak and a chance to sit down and, with her gentle guidance, explore our grief and put the unspeakable down in words.  All spaces filled up rather quickly, and so we decided to open up 5 more seats.  If you would like to join us, and we really hope you do, please reserve your seat today.  Registration will close at the end of the day on February 15th, as long as spaces remain.  More information, and the link to registration, can be found at www.sweetpeaproject.org/coffee.

Then on Saturday, March 9, Beth Gauthier and Stephanie Cole will be heading to the Ware Center at Millersville University's 42 North Prince Street, Lancaster, location to represent Sweet Pea Project and bereaved mothers everywhere at the International Women's Day Celebration Event.  The event is free and offers a morning filled with inspiring & engaging speakers who will share about the work they are doing here in Lancaster and around the world to positively impact the lives of women. There will be speakers, breakout sessions with Q&A time, and a room filled with organizations working on behalf of women worldwide where you can purchase fair trade items such as jewelry, clothing, purses and more!  Sweet Pea Project will be handing out information as we work to educate the public about this important women's issue, and we'll be collecting donations of blankets and monetary contributions.  Please stop by and say hi!  Check out the event's facebook page for more details, https://www.facebook.com/events/557590290937107/?fref=ts

And last but not least, our Winter Book Drive has been incredibly successful so far and we're not done yet!  We have had the opportunity to honor so many children through this drive, and we will be touching the lives of so many as we distribute these books.  676 books have donated to date, and we still have 2 weeks left to collect donations for the book drive.  If you would like to participate please visit www.sweetpeaproject.org/winterbookdrive to learn more.  Thank you to everyone who has contributed so far, it is an honor and a privilege to be a small part of your child's remembrance.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Sweet Pea Project Presents Coffee & Conversation with Catherine Bayly

Sweet Pea Project Presents Coffee & Conversation with Catherine Bayly

Sweet Pea Project invites bereaved parents of our community to join them in the Loft Ballroom at downtown Lancaster's Mulberry Art Studios on Friday, March 8th, 2013 from 6:30pm until 8pm for an evening with poet and professor, Catherine Bayly.   Catherine, a bereaved mother herself, will speak about her experience and her writing.  Guests will have the opportunity to participate in a writing workshop, or they may choose to simply enjoy coffee and dessert. 

This event is free to all bereaved individuals in our community. As always, donations are greatly appreciated so that we may continue to offer serve our community's grieving families. Seating is limited and registration is required.  Reserve your spot online at www.sweetpeaproject.org/coffee.  Registration will remain open until Feb 15, as long as space is available.  

Catherine Bayly studied English Literature and Creative Writing at University of Maryland, College Park.  She is currently an adjunct professor at that same university.  In addition to teaching English, Catherine is a journal editor and runs occasional bereavement writing workshops at Howard County General Hospital in Columbia, MD.

Catherine began writing poetry in earnest after her daughter's death in 2005.  Since losing Sophie, Catherine has had two healthy daughters and completed graduate school.  Grieving, raising children, and theorizing on literature simultaneously was most fascinating in its blend of the very real and the very abstract. So, although much brilliant, if distant, theorizing is done in academia, Catherine's greatest scholarly interest lies in the intersection of literature and deep feeling--and she refuses to see the two as ever disconnected.

Catherine's work can be found in Exhale magazine, as well as moonlighting on Youtube and The Lifespan of Butterflies.  Her poems are currently under review at The Little Patuxent Review, and she is working on a collection of poems which traces the connected, relentless processes of grief and craft.