Monday, January 7, 2013

Bits And Pieces 

January 7, 2013

Please forgive me for not writing sooner.  No excuses other than I've just had a tough time getting myself to sit down and write.

I've thought and thought about what I wanted to write here that might qualify as interesting to anyone reading the ramblings of my thoughts and have come up with a couple of things I'd like to share with you.

As those of you who follow this blog and our website have observed,  the Angel Pillows Project began as a way for me to let others know that they are loved and that they are not alone when it comes to experiencing the death of a child, life threatening illnesses and chronic conditions that make life  a struggle.  I try to express my love and empathy through the angel pillows I make and distribute.  I've been told by many that the pillows are cherished and I feel so humbled and happy when I hear this.  Sometimes (often) I wish I could take away the pain of others, but I am not in control of this,  much to my frustration.

I believe that our struggles can make us stronger if we choose to use what seem like stumbling blocks as stepping stones.  What do I mean by that?

It has been my experience since David was killed in 1992 that I have coped with the searing pain of his death in ways that in some cases make my life more difficult (thus causing stumbling blocks).  I have been angry with God, angry with families who neglect their children, angry with people for even suggesting that somehow that my anger is inappropriate.

Anger is part of the grieving process.  That's just the way it is.  However, it becomes a stumbling block when it interferes with living a productive life and I have been guilty of hanging on to anger for much too long in the grieving process.  So today I renew myself and say "anger be gone " and "Heavenly Father, please pour out upon me forgiveness and patience".   

That is my humble prayer that I can be forgiven, that I also can be  forgiving with myself and others and live more closely a balanced and loving life.  If I can be loving, forgiving and patient then, I believe, the stumbling block becomes a stepping stone to help me to progress to a more Christ-like life.

Before you think I am some sort of saint, I'm not.  I struggle, but I refuse to let the stumbling blocks win. To all of us who are struggling, we can make it through.  We can't "get over" the death of a child, but we can make it through our forever changed lives by doing the best we can to use our grief as an opportunity to grow spiritually and perhaps even be a help to others along the way.  If I've learned nothing else, I've learned that life is short and it is up to me to make good choices, no one else can do that for me.

God bless you, my dear friends.  You are not alone.  If I could,  I would sit down with each one of you, hold your hand and look you in the eyes and tell you that you are loved, that I care.  Instead I make angel pillows and hope that the message is conveyed through them. Thank you for giving me the great honor of sharing them with you.

P.S. Please click on this link to hear my song "Forever You"
My amazingly talented friend Paul F. Xavier wrote the music and sings the vocals.  I am eternally grateful to him for putting my words to music. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

And The Winner Is.....

Tuesday, September 18, 2012
I want to thank everyone for name suggestions for my angel girl. There were many entries and they were all awesome.  It was not easy to choose.

Kristin Motter  suggested "Joy" and I like that name for her.  It is sweet, simple yet really so beautiful.  Kristin, be looking for your angel pillow in the mail very soon ! 

It's been a busy time for us here at APPI.  (which rhymes with "happy" (0: ) I just returned home from a visit with some dear friends in the Phoenix area who inspire and motivate me as I stay busy cross stitching pillows and adding music boxes to little teddy bears.  In November we will be selling some pillows, bears, greeting cards and angel charms  at the Hear On The Mesa event in the Phoenix, Arizona area. The proceeds raised from this event will benefit Olive Osmond Hearing Fund.

  If you want to know more about this awesome event, visit the Run 4 Hearing website at Run For Hearing or Olive Osmond Hearing Fund

Wishing you all the best.  Until next time.

With love,

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Tale of the traveling angel pillows

September 4, 2012

Originally the angel pillows were designed only for parents who were experiencing the death of a child.  Shortly after the project got started, I met an online friend who went by the name of Butterflymom.  I later learned that her name was Brenda and I grew to feel a great love and friendship for her over weeks, months and now years of bonding as moms who were grieving the death of our sons.

Brenda lives in Canada and with her help, the angel pillows found homes in the communities in her corner of the world.  Not only did they go to mothers and fathers who had "lost" children, but also to children and families fighting cancer.  Brenda's son, Justin, passed on after bravely fighting cancer.  He was five years old.

Our angel pillows have traveled to homes located in the United States, Canada, Mexico, China, Africa, and the United Kingdom.  With the help of volunteers, pillows have reached thousands of parents and children.

Some of our pillows have also been given homes with families and children with hearing loss. One of the charities we support is called the Olive Osmond Perpetual Hearing Fund, also known as Olive Osmond Hearing Fund.  Their mission is to assist those with hearing loss with the gift of hearing aids and educational support so that they can live successfully in a world filled with sound.

 And to think, this all started with a prayer.

Here is a photo of the most recent angel pillow I've stitched.  The angel on the front of this pillow was the original cross stitch design I created for the very first angel pillow I ever made. 

We'd like to christen this angel on the front of the pillow below with a name. Send your suggestions to:   We'll choose our favorite of the names you suggest,  give you an honorable mention here in the blog for your help . and we'll send you a free angel pillow if we choose the name you suggest.  After ten years, it's time this little angel girl gets a name!

Until next time.  All my best to you.  

With love,

Friday, August 31, 2012

In The Beginning

Monday, August 27, 2012
  Now that our new website is up and running, we want to keep you up to date with all things Angel Pillows Project.
  First, I'd like to introduce myself.  My name is Sandy Riggs and the Angel Pillows Project is my baby and my passion. 
  The back story:  In November 1986, I gave birth to a beautiful six pound twelve ounce baby boy.  My husband, Randy, and I named him David.  He was a happy little guy who brought us enormous joy and we felt blessed to have him in our family.  He was healthy, he was full of energy, he was funny, he was loving and then the unthinkable happened.  He died.  At age five years and five months old, we had to say "good-bye for now" and bury our only son.  I was devastated.
  I am currently working with a co-writer on telling David's life story and I hope you will get a chance to know him and love him.  I'll keep you updated on how the book is coming along, but I anticipate it will be quite some time until it written and polished enough to publish.  After all these years, it still hurts to think about what happened to him, but I determined a long time ago to focus on the happy memories I have of him and live my life so that he would be proud of me.  I believe he is not so far away in spirit.
  The Angel Pillows Project idea came to me one sleepless night ten years ago.  It was exactly ten years to the day that we had buried David and my heart was aching.  I prayed for inspiration and a way to make something good come out of the sadness.  The Angel Pillows Project was born!
  At first, the idea was to design and cross stitch small pillows with angels on them and give them as gifts to mommies (and daddies) who were suffering the loss of their children in honor and memory of their children.  I formed a group on and in MSN groups and "met" many moms and some dads and got the word out about the pillows.  Fast forward to 2012 and I have shared hundreds of angel pillows with grieving moms, dads, grandparents and children.  The project even expanded to other areas, which I will write about in my next entry.  Stay tuned!