death, faith, family, grief, gun laws, guns, hope, school shooting, sisters, suffering

Staring Down the Barrel

“Hope holds a broken heart together.”

~Ann Voskamp


I am sitting in in the thick blanket of nighttime, listening to the steady rain beating the drum roll of its sixth hour on the hollow-sounding roof.  The intense piercings of a familiar pain keep me from my slumber, and I am delicate in my constant re-positioning and pill-swallowing to avoid waking the mounds of purring sleep close to me.  My bedroom started out far less crowded tonight, but as the starlit veil fell, came the padding of feet and the tiny, emotion-filled voices describing fear of the dark, tumultuous dreams, and loneliness that needed the quiet comfort of my presence near by.  So here we all are, their chests finally rising and falling with the rhythm of their dreams, and me wondering when things will go back to normal.

This was a headline week for guns.  A few state lines over, lives were shattered as another troubled youngster unleashed explosive fury on rooms full of unsuspecting  teens and adults, cutting short the futures of many who had planned on having more time.  All the articles and bar-room-conversations and social media statuses are blasting loud the positions and rules and amendments and movements that each are convinced will bring an end to this terror. All of this buzz about bullets and laws and security and the NRA, and all I can think is how will these kids face tomorrow?  Closer to home, how will my daughters face tomorrow?



Just a few days after the most recent school shooting in Florida, my girls experienced their own kind of horror at the barrel of a gun.  My two, along with a roomful of other innocent, energetic young girls had come together to kick off the Spring season of cheer leading.  The room was full of ponytails, giggles, and camaraderie.  As they finished tying sneakers and warming up tight muscles, a new and horrifying ambiance sliced through the room.  My oldest daughter had slipped out for one last dash to the restroom before practice, and when she rounded the corner to go back into the gym, she ran right into him.  No one knew, so the coach opened up the door and let them both inside.  The next 90 seconds were so brief, but stretched eternally in the burning scars of terror that now streak the memory of everyone watching.  A few odd but indubious remarks were made to strike up a conversation with their coach as he positioned himself closer to the cash box where each parent had given the weekly dues.  Then, beneath his slouching hood, he grew expressionless and in the longest instant, the dark, round metal of a gun contradicted the innocence of the hairbows and glitter, and the giggles turned to a fear that would not be forgotten.  My girl, still the closest to him, tried to make a subtle move for a cell phone, but his instincts were fast and he tucked the metal box and dashed for the door.  Then the knee-jerk reactions of the coach slamming her shoulder into the door corner as she lunged after him, the instant tears of the little sister who felt the hysteria of watching her sister so close to a ruthless bullet, and the mayhem of the entire crowd as adrenaline was unleashed.

I am still incredibly grateful that this tasteless man had a thirst for money rather than for blood, and my girls got to come home safely that night.  What was no longer safe though, was their security and peace of mind.  Tears upon tears from the two of them and the best friend as they clung exhausted in an embrace of profound emotion in my kitchen that night.  Panic, flashbacks, sweating whenever they found themselves in a room too far from the safety of knowing a trusted adult was arms-length away.  An incessant need for the security of a cell phone pressed closed whenever they have to leave the house. Nightmares and sleep-screaming through the deepest hours of the night, peace divided by having to learn that sometimes these things happen for no good reason.


Tomorrow my girls will face walking back into that gym.  My oldest will relive the details of his coat and his birthmark as she walks through the same hallway where he first cut into her memories.  My youngest will remember the powerful emotions of watching helpless, wondering if she was going to see her sister’s future rewritten.  They will have to come to terms with these memories and these fears, and I will support in them whatever ways that they need, but I can’t help but wonder… what about the kids who watched friends and classmates and teachers gunned down in front of their eyes this week?  How will they find the courage to walk back down those halls?  I truly cannot grasp it.

Everyone has an opinion about what needs to happen.  More guns, less guns.  More restrictions, more screenings, more freedom, less.  So many different points of view.  I have an opinion too, but I’m not going to share it right now.  Right now all I can think about is the downright brokenness of it all. The terror, the pain, the distrust and the loneliness that has gone down in irreversible ways.  The truth is, regardless of what decisions are made about whether or not guns are legal and what the process will be to get one, there is an issue at the foundation that is something we all hold the answer to.   This world needs people who care more for the hearts of their neighbors than about how their status will suffer if they are seen breaking bread together.  It needs hearts that can anticipate the needs of others, and read from the eye motions and the face lines when someone needs an extra dose of kindness.  This world needs people who are wholly committed to seeing each other for what they are; other humans who are hurting and struggling and trying to make it, and in desperate need of being loved, accepted, and understood.

We don’t need gun laws, whether for or against, in order for this to happen.  We simply need to look up, and look around, and reach out with everything we’ve got in order to say, “I see you, and I know you’re hurting, and I’m going to walk you through it.”

We all just want to be seen.  Have you ever stopped to think that maybe you are part of the answer?  What is it that’s holding you back?





daily graces, endurance, family, hope, joy, suffering, trials

Bits and Pieces


I have this blank canvas to scribble my thoughts, but lately I have let them recycle, tumbling unsorted in the confines of my mind, timid of what people will think if I speak out loud.  Someone told me not long ago that I should try writing about something else.  I took it to mean people do not want to hear the confessions and wonderings of my soul; they are probably rolling their eyes and turning off their screens.

After talking with a close friend about what else to write about, I came to the conclusion that I don’t want to write about something “else,” and I don’t know how to.  The reason I write about what I do is that it flows quite easily when I need to release and process difficult things.  It’s therapeutic for me to free up some space in my thoughts by unleashing the tangle of words and emotion that sometimes becomes difficult to find space for.  Part of me also supposed, in the beginning of this place, that someone else would find hope and strength in the raw processing of the journey of my life.

I have been learning more lately that it is okay to let every experience, good or bad, shape who I am and how I view things.  Let’s be real; life is never going to be all rainbows and bubblegum, so if we are going to become something other than tainted and bitter, we are going to have to figure out how to filter through our ups and downs and pick out the important growth-inducing bits, and let the rest hit the shredder.  That’s what I’m trying to do here; sift through the daily barrage of twists and turns and cling to the slivers of truth that will deepen my character and make me a softer, wiser human for the other people on this expedition with me.


Think back to the last hard, life-changing thing you went through.  It might have been the loss of a loved one, loss of a job, a difficult diagnosis, a traumatic world-event… you know how you had that numb feeling for awhile afterwards?  Thankfully we all have this mechanism that only lets us take in what we are capable of at the time.  Our simple minds and hearts would simply explode if the full force of things hit us all at once.  So we take it in little by little, in easily digestible chunks that we can begin to process and break down.  That movement happens in the telling of the story.  Each time you share your story, your mind is able to handle a little bit more and apply a greater understanding than it could the last time, until eventually you can boldly tell your story, maybe still with some tears, but with a confident and understanding boldness that has replaced the initial shock and bewilderment.  That is my place here.  I will keep on sharing the plot twists of my life as I continue to find deeper meaning and healing in the new details I understand every time I brave it.  And if in doing that some of you are able to pull out the important truths, the pieces that make you bold and brave and inspired, then even the more reason to keep shouting it loud.  My story.  My unbelievable, true, heart-breaking, beautiful, hope-giving story.

Will you share yours too?




fire fighter, hope, Paramedic

Paramedic Drops the Mic

What do you do when the day comes that you never scripted for yourself? I always joked that the only way I was going to stop working as a paramedic was when someone dragged a wrinkly, gray little me off of the ambulance, kicking and screaming.  Well actually, it wasn’t all in jest, I kind of really meant it.  From the day I started my career in EMS, I knew it was what I loved and always wanted to do.  I never imagined myself doing anything different from that point forward.  I don’t suppose we often take the time to imagine our plan B’s when our plan A is what our hearts are set on.

My plan B is a whole other story, but as I’ve been contemplating that my future may look very different than I imagined, it has made me ponder what, if anything, I am leaving behind on my path through my A plan. I believe every person has the same deep-rooted need to know that they matter and will be remembered in their absence.  Maybe most of us never pause to consider until we are faced with it, but I surely have found myself wondering what kind of legacy it is that I am leaving in my wake. If I take off my badge and bury my toes in the sand next to the ocean, will the patients I cared for remember me? And if they do, will it be in a good way, or should I have done things differently?  After almost half my lifetime doing this gig, what do I turn to my partner and say on the day that I take my stethoscope from around my neck and pull off my polish-worn boots for the final time?

Admittedly, there is a long list of do’s and don’ts and tips and tricks for a paramedic to pass on to her successors.  After all, there is a substantial history of education and experience, and trial and error that surely could give the incoming an edge by surpassing all of the “been there, done that’s.”  After so much time of sifting through all of those valuable pearls of wisdom though, it was impressed upon me that anyone can work hard enough and study long enough to become a paramedic.  Rather, it was my patients that taught me what I needed to know most about caring for another human being.  So, standing at the vestiges of a life-changing career, the last time to turn to my partner, I would say this…

Never give up learning, changing, practicing, updating your skills so that you can provide the best patient care possible.  More importantly however, never lose sight of the souls which reside in the people for whom you are caring.  You can have the best technique, the greatest training, and the most up-to-date equipment, but if you are lacking in giving your utmost attention to the delicate soul which makes everything else in that body go ‘round, then you have failed.  Though you may argue that some of them are not delicate souls, I assure you that every single one of the people you are called for have a soft and vulnerable inner being that is craving compassion, validation, and love.  Yes, even the pungent, homeless drunk, and the gruff, arrogant abusive man, and the lonely, obnoxious woman that you’ve run on every shift for as long as you can remember.  Do not presume to know their stories.  Do not come to your own conclusions about how they got the way they are, because the truth is, they have endured whatever life-length of soul-battering their years have brought them long before you even met.  They are still somebody’s daddy, sister, friend, baby girl, regardless of the appearance of the hard shell you see in front of you.  Their tender inner voice is still begging to be valued, and to be understood.

The greatest achievements in my career as a paramedic did not come from a high test score, a record-setting scene time, or kudos from successful resuscitations.  My most valuable triumph was from the tears that flowed when I stopped to embrace a woman standing alone in the chaos, moments after becoming a widow. It was from the giggles that erupted from beneath a blood-stained blanket because I was willing to make a complete fool of myself to distract a little boy who was having the most terrifying day of his life.  It was from the marriage proposal I received from the homeless man whose stench was enough that my partner at the time had begged to drive so that he didn’t have to sit back there with him. It was in the transport that I got ridiculously behind on  paperwork because I set it aside for a woman whose husband had died previously at the same hospital she was now headed for, and she simply needed someone to talk with her and speak truth and peace to her paralyzing fears.  It was in the frail weight of the woman’s hand I held as we transported her to hospice for her final hours.  It was in the grateful faces of the parents we stopped by to check on even though it meant re-living the moments in which I couldn’t do anything to save their toddler, the conversation with the defiant little boy who desperately needed someone to see past his attention-grabbing behavior and just hear him out, and the dancing that happened with a topless drunk woman who just wasn’t going to get on the stretcher until someone had humored her.   I got through some of my toughest patients by always having the mindset that I should be caring for people in the same way I would want my own parent, grandparent, sibling, spouse, child, or other family member to be treated.  It made a world of difference.

One of the most poignant things I learned was when I was still an EMT, working with a seasoned and soft-spoken paramedic partner.  We were on a psych call where law enforcement had already been on scene for quite some time arguing with a combative man and trying to talk some sense into him.  He had called for police because for whatever reason, this man believed that his garage was full of people who didn’t like him, and who intended to harm him.  He refused to leave his house with all those people there, because he didn’t trust what they would do, and he was very agitated that the officers kept telling him no one was there.  The police were visibly irritated by the time we arrived and had the man explain his predicament one more time.  We peered into the garage, which was as we anticipated, empty.  My partner spoke to the man for a few minutes while I did a few medical checks on him, and the man explained that he would be willing to go to the hospital for an evaluation, but not until the people in his garage were gone. *Cue eyeroll from our poor, exasperated law enforcement friends, * and then my partner did the most ridiculous thing.  He walked out into the garage and started yelling at all the “people.”  He told them they weren’t welcome there and needed to leave.  After a moment, my partner turned back to our patient and asked if the people were gone.  He said some had left, but several others were still there.  So, we joined forces, my partner and I, and we yelled and shooed and stamped our feet in circles all over that empty garage until a look of relief washed over our guy’s face and he announced they had all gone running.  We helped him lock his house up tight, and he then proceeded to very calmly and cooperatively climb aboard the ambulance with us to go to the hospital.  I’m not sure the officers on scene said anything else to us, but I do remember their faces; the wide-eyed, bewildered, astonished, half smirk, half “what in the world just happened” looks that grew smaller in our rearview mirrors.  That may have been the most pivotal day of my career in revealing to me how little about patient care is actually medicine, and how much of it is about caring for the human condition.  Not everyone needs a bone splinted or a medicine given or a dramatic life-saving intervention, but what they all need is to be treated like they have value, every single one of them. The frequent flier you’re tired of seeing, the alcoholic who spits on you and calls you names, the suicidal patient you want to blow the shenanigans whistle on. They are all human souls with hurts and insecurities and fears and needs, just like you and me, and if you as a first responder can learn to care for the unseen just as well as the body, then that might be the most life-saving skill in your kit.  Period.

Never lose sight of the privilege that it is for us to be invited into peoples’ lives, homes, communities at their most vulnerable moments.  Never forget that taking the time to know their name makes them feel like less of a job and more of a friend. Never be too proud to humble yourself and chase away invisible people if that is what is going to make your patient better.  Never forget that we all share the same emotions, and the people you are caring for need your kindness and compassion just the same as you need it from others. And most importantly, never grow so callous that you forget how to be soft.

“May I never see in the patient anything but a fellow creature in pain.”

                                                                                 ~Oath of Maimonides

Now go, run, learn, excel, amaze, transform the world all with the fuel of 2 hours sleep, a cup of cheap gas station coffee, and an adrenaline rush like a rip tide.  And don’t forget to be human.

brain bleeds, care packages, cerebral palsy, child loss, Child Loss Grief, endurance, family, hope, losing a child, picu, VP shunt

PICU Pick-Me-Up

As anniversaries and birthdays tick by,  I will never stop believing that those beautiful, inspiring, powerful 4 and a half months were meant for so much more; that such a short life was meant to be a catalyst for something exceptional.

So here I stand in the heat of another heavy July searching for ways I can use my little girl’s story to encourage kindness and inspire hope.  Well guess what, this one is not just on me… I’m laying this all out there because each one of you reading this has the power to make a terrible day a little bit better, to bring a flicker of hope to a hurting heart, and to keep on shouting that kindness matters.

One of the most trying things you can go through as a parent is having a critically ill or injured child.  Your world stops, and all your focus goes into every detail of the fight for more time with your little one.  I remember it uncomfortably clearly, but because of that, I can see a need that’s easy to meet.

On the 5th anniversary of standing in a crowded PICU room, watching my whole future change, I took a solid breath, and pressed the familiar button in a quiet elevator to be whisked to the 3rd floor.  Stepping off was a shock to every part of me as the colors and smells and sights all came screaming back.  I was on a mission though, for my brave daughter who fought on the other side of those doors, I could help bring a breath of grace to another parent shouldering the weight of the world.

My kids had helped me gather things throughout the weeks that we set aside for this very occasion.  It was easy to remember being a parent pacing across scuffed tiles between a stiff vinyl chair and a bed that contained a piece of your very being.  A parent who when asked, couldn’t actually remember the last time they had eaten an actual meal, a parent that spoke toward the ground so as not to exhale too deeply the breath of stale coffee that had sustained the 72 hours of numb awakeness  preceeding the current sunrise.  I could clearly remember being the parent that in each hurried bathroom break had wadded up wet, scratchy brown paper towels drizzled with disinfectant smelling hand soap and had desperately scrubbed at salt stained cheeks and sweat soaked shirt seams in hopes of concealing the fact that they dare not leave their child’s room long enough to run home for a shower.  I shook my head at remembering the emotionless nurse that had told me they weren’t allowed to spare me a Tylenol for my pounding head, but that I was welcome to check myself into the ER downstairs and have some prescribed by a doctor.  I acutely recalled the desperation coupled with simply surviving without having time to think about your own needs.  Well here is where WE can make a difference.

The kids and I put together care packages meant for the parents of each of the children in the PICU.  Took time to think through all the things I remember needing or wishing for during our long hours there, and tried to put together a smattering of things that would actually be used and appreciated.  I’ll share with you some of the things I came up with, and I hope some of you will run with it from there.  You can do as much or as little as you want.  It could even be just one good care package; I know that you will be making a difference in someone’s life during one of their hardest days.

If you decide to go spread some “Ellie Love” on your local PICU, I would so love to hear about it! You can reach me in the comment section, or by my email displayed in the sidebar.  Remember that whole “ripples in the pond” analogy?  This is one of those opportunities!  Get out there and spread some kindness and encouragement, make those small but meaningful moments spread joy in a way that’s contagious; that shouts the victory of the short but mighty lives like Ellianna Grace.


I grabbed an “adult” coloring book for some mindless distraction.  Something to keep you occupied that doesn’t require much thought.  Crayons break, colored pencils need sharpening, so I tried to play it safe with markers.  BONUS was coming across little LED clip on book lights. No more straining your eyes trying to use the dull glow of your phone because you don’t want to wake your sleeping kiddo.


Tissue that is not made from recycled sandpaper.  Or whatever it is that the hospitals use.  I realize they probably get a discount, but after the 37th time of scrubbing at your teary eyes and runny nose with those things, people start asking you how you got rug burn.  And seriously, look at th sweet message on this package of Kleenex.  They get it.


It’s safe to say a good majority of the meals a PICU parent has consumed were rattled from a vending machine with various pocket change, chased by some carbonated mess of sludge which is going to give them the mother of all sugar crashes later.  Its hard to be portable AND nutritious when doing this, but do your best to think outside the box of cookies, pop tarts, and potato chips.  Peanut butter and a spoon perhaps?  We love these fig bars because you get a decent serving of fruit, and they tend to fill you up for a good stretch of time.  Also think what you can do other than soda… something they can’t get from the hallway vending nook.  Again, not going to be the healthiest choices out there, but it is a good change to have something refreshing to snack on. The Werther’s?  Well those are just all out comforting, and perfect for keeping your mouth moist and your jaw doing something besides clenching.


GOOD gum.  Many of these items I was able to get at my dollar store, but a few things I specifically hit up the grocery instead, because quality mattered.  Imagine your breath already reeks from days blending into nights blending into days of eating whatever you can wherever you can, and usually washing it down with a steady flow of whatever coffee is most readily available.  Well then you’re talking to doctors and techs and asking questions of the nurses, and let’s just not have to worry about whether or not they can smell that you haven’t brushed in 3 days.  Splurge for a gum with a powerful flavor that’s going to l a s t.  I love the 5 brand flavors.  Especially their mints are super strong and not only wake you up and freshen your breath, but you’re more likely to spit it out because you’re tired of chewing rather than the flavor having worn out.  Again with the eating and the coffee comes along these handy little disposable mini toothbrushes, pre-loaded with toothpaste.  Come on.  Those have to have been invented with the hospital parent in mind.  CHAPSTICK!  Basically my security blanket, I think most women and some men would agree it’s always good to have some within arms length.  Excedrin tension headache is what I picked, but any similar product that’s going to fight a headache or an ache or pain could be a daysaver for one of these parents.  As I mentioned before, the hospital is too legally bound to slip you a few Tylenol, and most parents are probably just going to suck it up and fight through the rest of the day trying not to think about their throbbing head or aching muscles from standing vigil for 11 hours.



Hygeine.  Well, let’s take a poll about how many parents are stepping away from a PICU bedside to indulge in a hot shower.  That’s going to be basically… none of them.  Having a few things available that allows a parent to take a quick bathroom break and come back feeling a little fresher is  a valuable investment.  I grabbed packs of disposable body cloths (basically thick, better smelling baby wipes that you can essentially take a sponge bath with), hair ties or clips… because any woman like me is never going to be able to find one when she actually needs it, and dry shampoo.  That’s one of those inventions I would like to shake someone’s hand about.  It can go for guys or for girls, and when you’re skipping out on your shower for a few days, it’s really refreshing to be able to get your hair looking and smelling cleaner without much effort.
A deck of cards…. realizing no one may be in the frame of mind to be concentrating on a game, but they can just as easily be a stress relief used to shuffle and shift through idle hands.  ALCOHOL FREE HAND SANITIZER.  We have all noticed that around pretty much every corner in the hospitals is a handy dandy machine quick to eject a foamy mess that will kill most every germ, as well as the texture of your hands.  For a parent that has been in the hospital for several days or longer, that stuff starts getting really harsh on your skin.  If you can find an organic, non-alcohol hand sanitizer, get that in your care package pronto.  Of course I pitched in the brand I stand behind, which is Young Living’s Thieves anti-bac.  It smells amazing but not overpowering, and leaves my hands feeling smooth and refreshed in contrast to the goop so readily available around the hospital.
I packed each care package into a gift bag with a hand written note, not sharing the details of my journey, but letting them know I have stood in their shoes and hope in some small way these packages can make a few things simpler while they are fighting a bigger fight.  So get out there, find a PICU or a NICU near you and reach out.  It may seem trivial, but standing on those broken grounds, it’s the little things that fix the big picture.
In honor of my Ellie Grace, I will never stop saying your name, sharing your story, and spreading the love that you so easily coaxed out of everyone who met you.
hemiplegia, hope, MRI

It’s just my brain, not my mind…

Many of you know the battle I have been engaged in the last few years, and some of you may not.  I do not widely share details because I don’t want my struggle to become my identity.  There have been times I have felt frustration when meeting up with people who would say “how are you feeling” or “what are the doctors saying,” instead of wondering how I am doing as a person, as a mom, as a woman with dreams and emotions and cravings for cold beer and hot wings just like the rest of you.  I am not what happened to me, I am so much more.

That being said, ok, I’ll talk about it.  It has been a difficult few years wading through this.  Between stretches of feeling strong and well and brave, there have been cycles of unfathomable weakness, agonizing pain, and joy-stealing defeat.  There have been periods of weeks where I feel like I spend more days sitting in a hospital or doctor’s office than I do anywhere else.  All of the testing and trying and  treatments leaving me wondering if I felt worse before the medicine, or after.

Right now, with some questions answered and many remaining, I’m taking a hiatus from the needles and the side effects and the seeing doctors’ faces in all my days.  I’m giving my body a chance to respond to some more natural therapies, and cashing the extra time in on the things, well the someones, that I love.  Having to step away from my passion on the ambulance for awhile seemed devastating at first, but experiencing the strengthening in the slowing of time has brought hope to my broken frame, and perspective and empathy to my heart, as well as to the loves caring for me.

There are so many voices willing to extend input and suggestion, and I ask that you please give us the freedom we need to pursue the avenues we have chosen.  There is so much to medicine, and so many possible equations that could be the catalyst to complete healing, but it can be overwhelming, and certainly impossible to try every regimen and procedure that’s out there.

When you look at me, please see past my illness…because really, it was there before you even knew to look for it.  Sure, there will be some days harder than others, but I’m still a wife, a mommy, a paramedic, a hemiplegic? Ehh, just makes things more interesting.

I appreciate your prayers as we change gears for awhile, that I would continue to gain strength and energy, relief from pain, and my story would bring glory to the One who chose it for me. 

Please leave me a comment, it lets me know you’re listening!
child loss, faith, hope, VP shunt

July 14

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” ~Winnie the Pooh

My precious, beautiful Ellianna Grace,

This day has been written in the scars on our hearts.  The fourteenth of July will always remind me that it was the last day I got to smooch your scrumptious cheeks.  I can’t help but remember the deafening fear that rose when I saw you slipping away.  That last kiss, last breath, last holding you in my arms.  I still remember the feelings of helplessness, and whispering screaming prayers that you would get to stay.  This day, this beautiful summer day will forever inflame the lasting scars that were torn in my tender heart.  But tucked within what’s left, the fourteenth of July is also an Ebeneezer, reminding me of the graciousness of our God in welcoming you into His arms; His healing of your every pain and struggle.  I can celebrate in knowing that you are whole, and well, and safe, and that after all my waiting is done I will get to see you again.  My story is not a story of loss, of heartache, or pain.  It is one of absolute Grace.  Pure blessings.  Answered prayers.
I love you indefinitely, my little girl.  Sometimes I touch the things you used to touch, looking for echoes of your fingers (Iain Thomas).  I long to breathe the essence of you, trace your delicate features, and tie ribbons in your hair.  Someday, my sweet Ells.
I will revel in every joyful memory I have of your precious life, and will live with the purpose you inspired me towards.  Someday I will hold my treasure again, and I am so excited to hear your giggle as I pepper your face with kisses.  The veil is thin, my sweet.
You are adored, cherished, held dear.  Your little, magnificent life has left a beautiful impression on so many hearts.
Until Forever, 
Mommy xoxo

                                    Please leave me a comment; it lets me know you’re listening!

faith, hope, trials

Rolling With the Punches

Be still, there is a healer
His love is deeper than the sea
His mercy, it is unfailing
His arms are a fortress for the weak.”

~Chris Tomlin
I love this song.  Words that remind us of One who is greater than our troubles, a refuge we can run to.  I have to admit though, some doubt has made me challenge these words the last few weeks.
In the midst of keeping up with busy schedules, work, school, and travels and holidays on the horizon, we were thrown for a loop.  I started having some health problems.  Exams and test results came back concerning, and after seeing a specialist I was told I could be having a blood clotting problem, or it could be cancer. 
What?!?  Even as much as I have been learning about having faith, I was shouting at Heaven.  Surely, I thought, God would not do this to us right now.  We are still picking up the pieces from losing our daughter.  My husband and kids need me to be there for them right now.  He wouldn’t let us get kicked when we’re down, right?!  He promises not to give us more than we can handle.  I’m not sure I believed that right then. 
As the day neared for a procedure to take biopsies, I was wrestling.  I could see the fear in Mark’s eyes, and all I could do was avoid talking about it, trying to ignore what we might need to face.  I was washed with guilt… surely my friend who lost her daughter didn’t think she would also have to say goodbye to her husband and raise her remaining children in the thick of so much grief… and here I am complaining.  God never said we would go through something hard and then get a free pass from any more heartache.  In fact, He said in this world we WILL have trouble… but the promise in that is He has overcome the world.  That is a powerful promise, but still difficult for me to cling to when I felt so much fear.
As I felt myself begin to doze under the anesthesia, my only prayer was “God, please.”
The news is outstanding…. NO cancer, NO clotting.  It is so much easier for me to praise right now than it was for me to trust.  But God promises to use even a LITTLE faith, so I guess He’s not done with me yet:) 
We are breathing a huge sigh of relief and trying to teach ourselves that no matter what comes our way, we are more than conquerors.  We will continue to forge a path through the wreckage, one step at a time.
Please leave me a comment; it lets me know you’re listening!
hope, love, marriage

The Love of my Life

This week Mark and I are celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary. A whole Decade. Wow.
Are there people who thought we would never make it? Most certainly. Were there times that nearly broke us apart? You betcha. But the thing is, when God looks on something and says it is good, IT IS GOOD. We have been continually molded and shaped and taught how to love each other and rise above the hurdles that are thrown in our path. In spite of every attempt the enemy has made, God’s hand has faithfully been on our lives, pointing to the beautiful purpose that He is fufilling through our love.
So 10 years later through the raw grit of life, I have a greater love and understanding of the man that I chose to spend every day of my life with…
10 Things I Love About Mark…
1) He still kisses me goodnight, even when he *thinks* I am sleeping.
2) He is not afraid to show his tears.
3) He always makes time for our children.
4) He kills all the spiders.
5) He supports me and helps me reach my goals.
6) He is “better than me” at driving the babysitters home.
7) He makes sure our girls know they are beautiful– inside and out.
8) He is SO patient.
9) He is a darn good cook.
10) He is the glue that has held us together through some of the hardest days of our lives.
Celebrate with us. God has chosen something impossible and made it something beautiful, and we hope that we will be a reflection of that promise of healing to anyone who sees us.
Happy Anniversary Buddy!!!