Peace Seeker: Oceans

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep my faith will stand
And I will call upon Your Name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine
Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You’ve never failed and You won’t start now


We used to go the  beach when I was younger. One year I misjudged a wave in my attempt to be a wave rider, and got flipped end over end under water. For a brief period of time, I was stuck under water, eating sand and swallowing water. Those seconds felt like minutes, I was sure I was going to die.

Spoiler alert: I didn’t. 

When I first heard this song, I was going through a painful season. Feeling rejected by many I had considered friends. Sleepless from nightmares, reliving trauma, and in a season of absolute pain.

Pain lasts for a season, and then suddenly it ends. I was able to see the blessing in the friend turnover, and developed other friendships. I sought help and am (mostly) nightmare free again. It was gradual, but yet one day I was able to look back and say: “Oh! That season has ended!” 

When a painful season begins, you don’t get a warning. You don’t get a text message, or a heads-up nudge. It just arrives, bluntly. And there you are, with the water closing over you, stuck in a place of pain. A choice needs to be made in those beginning moments, fight or flight.

“Your baby has Potter’s Syndrome. We cannot find a majority of organs. We are sending you to _________ for a better ultrasound. But your baby will not live. I am so sorry, Joy.” 

And so began my painful season. Again.

October 24. We had just lost a dear family friend. We were anticipating the arrival of another baby in our home, and everyone was hoping that the ultrasound would tell us to go buy alllllllllll the pink things. I sat alone in the ultrasound room, the weight of what had just been said laying squarely on me.

I think my first phone call was to Lamar, then to my Mom. A nurse called my friend who was watching my son.

I walked out of the room, pictures of babies on the walls. I stopped at the reception desk. I don’t remember the words, I just know I was to be at another appointment. I texted my best friend, I called my pastor.

My mind was spinning, yet blank. I drove to a near-by fast food place, and went inside to use the bathroom. I ordered a fruit cup, killing time until my next appointment. I went to the car and talked to Lamar. I had no idea where I was going, no desire to even get there.

My best friends dropped their responsibilities and met me at the next doctor appointment. Another ultrasound, a few more organs were found, but zero hope. A bit more information, but short of a miracle, this baby would not live. The doctor was kind, compassionate, and so sorry. He was a Christian man, I believe, and his heart was so kind. My friends walked me out, and I got to my car, at the top of the parking garage.

Briefly, the thought crossed my mind that if I were to drive off the building, the pain would stop. At this point, the dullness had worn off, the pain was sharp and excruciating. It was overwhelming. As I navigated through the city, destination home, I sobbed. I cried. I got home, because God. And collapsed. Lamar met me there, and together we went for Callan. It was now supper time, if I remember correctly. My head was pounding, light of any type hurt my eyes. I took a dish towel and ice pack, covering my eyes.

When we finally got to my mom’s house, I needed to steel myself. I couldn’t let Alex know. We knew we would need to tell him, but in that moment I needed him to be free of the pain I felt.

And that was the hardest part of this entire journey, Alex. Often my grief was put on a back burner, waiting for me to process it and feel it until after my boys were asleep. And I have no regrets, I am simply being honest.

We went for testing. Most came back inconclusive, and a part of me just knew this pregnancy wouldn’t go much longer.

Abortion was brought up, once. Never again.

Our lives were forever changed on this day one year ago. And so many emotions have been felt since.

I have used this blog to speak my heart, reveal the pain but also the beauty in these moments. I have appreciated the support, from family and church family, friends.

If I could go back, would I do it again?

There are life lessons, I do wish I hadn’t learned.

But my pregnancy with Liam? I wouldn’t undo that. As hard as this season has been, pain-filled, and life-changing, I would do it again.

A few days before this life changing appointment, I was headed to church. I was on worship team that morning and as usual, running a bit late. It was a cool morning, so I opted to take the route with less deer. As I was pulling out, I dropped something and bent over to pick it up, and Liam kicked. A sharp, hard little kick. I was so excited. And as I said, I was running late so I was speeding. And suddenly, as I came around a turn, there before me stood a big deer. I had no time, I simply prayed. And that quick, he was gone. Disappeared into the brush from where he had come out of. It seemed to be a sign, I am here and I got you. We were deep in mourning Kevin, and my fears were running a bit rampant at the time.

I have no regrets, I fought the best way I could. I prayed constantly, begging God for a miracle. I spent days in tears, days trying to keep life normal for Alex and Callan. I spent nights crying, praying. Begging for a miracle. I finally needed to start a sleep aid, it was the only way to sleep. I withdrew from many people, finding public outings harder and harder. I wanted so badly to hide my pregnancy, I did not want anyone to see my little belly and ask details. No stranger wants to be saddled with: “yes, I am pregnant but the baby will die.”

I have no regrets. The prayers we prayed were answered, just not all of them the way we wanted.

In all things, He is good. It’s taken me about a year to say it and believe it.

He is good.

And He hasn’t let me down.

Through the most challenging parts of my life, He has been there. He has carried me on the days I couldn’t do it. He has forgiven me the days I have been angry, resentful. He has given me grace to extend to the people who say things… He has given me strength, for today. He has given wisdom, and in the moments when life seemed too much, strength to go on and showed me His love.

In all things, He is good.

And today, while I mourn. I can also rejoice. Because my Liam is in the best possible place, Heaven.

With love and tears, 



Peace Seeker: to the Mom

Dear Mom,

Today your arms are empty. And they shouldn’t be. You should be smelling stinky diapers, scrubbing stained bibs, bragging about baby’s growth. You see pregnancy announcements, and complaining moms. You should be one.

should. deserve. wish.

Your eyes fill with tears, as you mourn what should be.

Your arms ache when you see those babies. but the words don’t come.

Oh mama, my heart aches with you when you read those articles about children being hurt because people are selfish.

As you survey your life, as you think over the should, and wishes of your heart, and list your good qualities on the “I deserve” card.. I am right there with you.

Dear mom, we are one and the same. Our journey to this destination may each be slightly different. Some have never had the privilege of a pregnancy that ends in a healthy baby. Some know why they can’t, some don’t.

We have all heard the word “but” followed by a crazy statement that makes your eyes roll. We have all extended grace, and smiled through the pain, knowing this pain is unique and their hearts are in a good place.

I’m sorry. On this day, Infant & Pregnancy Loss Awareness Day, I see you. I see you standing there. I see the silent tears, the emotions you hide. I see the pain you tuck away for the safety of your “spot”. I don’t know your spot, but I have one too. It’s a place we go, mentally or physically or both, to release the pain we feel. There is no time limit, this grief and pain never goes away, yet those outside this group cannot seem to grasp that. And there’s this invisible cut off date, where we realize our pain and grief isn’t welcome where we are present. So we put on these masks, we keep our emotions in check until we get to our spot.

I visit my spot less lately. I’ve been happy. I am choosing joy. But there are some hard dates coming up, and I know my spot is there, ready for me.

Today say that baby’s name. Do something for him or her. If it’s an unnamed baby, a pregnancy lost to soon, do something for that baby too.

Liam. This is for Liam and the other babies I lost too soon.

This is for all you mamas and daddies who lost a baby before you got to meet him or her. For the moms who hear the comments, feel the pain, and feel “stuck”.

I see you. I care for you.


I wish..

I deserved..

I should have..

My days are quiet. While my oldest is at school, it’s me and Callan. I am very rarely not caught up with laundry anymore, unless I intentionally let it go for a day or two. I do the grocery shopping, I clean the kitchen. I am looking for a job even.

My days are quiet and routine. I sleep all night. Last night I was in bed by 9:30. And I am grateful for the life we have, but I can’t help but wish it were different sometimes.

BUT in all things, HE IS GOOD.

And yes, it’s very hard for me to say that. It was hard to believe it. I remember singing that song one Sunday and looking at my pastor, in tears, unable to even say the words. He is good? How so? I believed, I prayed, I trusted. He is good?

He is.

I am here. I am sharing. I am wanting you to know, you aren’t alone in your invisible cloak of grief. I see it.

I never ask this, but I am today. If you know ANYONE on your friends list who has suffered this, share it.

If you’re reading this and you have suffered a loss, I am here for you. I care for you. I feel your pain. And after I am done typing this, I cannot promise to have anything awesome or perfect to say. But I can nod as you share and say, “I get it”.

“The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” Psalms 18:2

May your spot, your place of safety include Him.

Love and hugs with a definite forecast of tears today,



Peace Seeker: Now What?

(Toxic series, part 3)

There was a situation once, where A was unhappy with me, again. I remember exactly where she and I each stood, and I remember inwardly bracing myself, feeling frustrated. I remember asking her plainly, “What are your expectations?” There was a moment of silence, and I have not forgotten that defining moment for me. While at the time, it was me asking for “rules” basically, I needed a how-to manual, a way to stop feeling like everything I did was wrong. Later in counseling, my counselor would encourage me to think more like this, asking for others expectations and even evaluating my own in relationships.

Another situation entirely.. I have a neighbor who is unkind and very vocal about their unhappiness. After having the police called on us, I attempted to make amends. After listening to a long, angry tirade about how awful we and our friends were and being thoroughly insulted I asked kindly, “How about you let us know when it suits you for our friends to come and go?”  My intent was not to be rude, but it may have interpreted that way. I wish that was a defining moment and we all lived happily ever after, but we are learning the art of long suffering in the meantime.

So you feel you are in a toxic situation and are wondering “Now what do I do?” 

Every situation is different. In some cases the toxicity is caused by both people, in some cases it’s not. A dear friend and I sat and discussed this last week, and we were trying to come up with a clever title. And she shared pieces of her personal story. I planned to take my laptop away this past weekend to our family cabin trip and write, but instead I reflected, and thought.


It was a beautiful weekend, and in the end I was glad to be wholly unplugged and allow my mind to just think. fishingpondcabin18

I thought while I ate, so much food. I thought while I watched the fish in this beautiful pond completely ignore my bait. I thought while I walked and biked with family members.


(These last two photos were taken by Lamar) This has always been one of my favorite scenes. A waterfall spilling down over the mountain. And it’s beautiful. But now there are those black pipes and stuff, and it sort of ruins the view.

And as I walked and biked past it numerous times this weekend, this scene stuck in my head.

I think, as I said before, we are all a little toxic sometimes. And it’s easy to point out the ugly that someone else displays, right? I mean, I have excuses for my “ugliness”.

But so does someone else. 

We all have bad days, bad moments. We all have times we have taken our bad stuff out on someone who doesn’t deserve it. I judged everyone harshly and had unrealistic expectations after I lost the baby this summer. And deep down, I knew I was wrong so I retreated. I snapped off and “set people straight” during that period too. I was miserable and unhappy and there was no magic cure. I simply needed to take time an work through all the junk that was in my life. Which basically sums up my life, forever working through “junk”.

We need to take another moment again, to pause and maybe even have honest conversations about what is troubling you in the relationship. So many are quick to scream “TOXIC!” and run away, but maybe the person genuinely needs support and help.

Here are my tips:

A) Talk directly to the person. Bring up a situation (recent) and explain what bothered you. Ask questions, and really hear them.

B) Consult a friend, IF the behavior continues. Ask someone else who maybe likes you both to weigh in. Be prepared to show grace and recognize you are not perfect either.

C) If there is indeed proof that it is toxic, then it’s your call and how to proceed. My friend, V, said when we talked about this “WALK AWAY!” and she isn’t wrong.

We all have toxic traits, we all react differently to life and it’s curveballs. I recognize fully that I was not an emotionally healthy person, and I also contributed to the pain in the friendship with A. And I am sorry to others I have hurt. As I have thought and prayed over these posts, I have thought of all the seasonal friends I have had over the years, and I wonder if I was toxic to them. I have definitely gone into some dark places, places of pain and blame over these posts. These posts were not at all easy to write, a lot of emotions and painful stuff needed to dredged through.

But these posts were necessary to write. There are many people who feel stuck and lost. To each of the people who messaged me, entrusted me with their story and their pain.. I am sorry. To the children who feel like a parent doesn’t really care, like they can never, quite attain the approval and measure up for the love other siblings get, I am sorry. To the ones who suffer, because it’s their husband or wife, I am sorry. A sister, a brother, a best friend, someone you are sure can’t NOT be a part of your life.

There are no easy answers, there is no go-to response. And every situation is so different. Whatever decision you come to, it will be hard and awful. It will not be a quick 5 minute decision.

There are no rules or how-to’s that fit every scenario. But here’s what I wish for everyone to know:

You cannot control them. BUT you control you. And being respectful and kind is never the wrong decision.

I do not have permission to share specifically, and I won’t. But I have seen friends who still go above and beyond to be respectful and kind, for the sake of the children they love. And that is so hard for them, I hear their pain in doing it. But I see the point, I see their reality if they don’t.

A wise person once told me that to hold a grudge, withhold forgiveness is me keeping someone prisoner. Someone I may have stated I never wanted to see them again, and needing to visit them daily to feed and water them. Of course, I had a smart retort for that, but she wasn’t wrong. When you withhold forgiveness, you need to feed that grudge, live in the pain, and stay angry.

Life goes but one way.


Forgive. Be kind. Maybe you move forward and part ways. Maybe you keep them in you life, minimally. Maybe you take steps slowly. Maybe you jump ship immediately. Whatever you choose, choose also to be healthy in the meantime. Forgive. Get therapy. Be kind.

“When someone can make you see this broken world as beautiful, they’re worth keeping around.”

And to close…

See your value, add to it, and then go add some value to someone else. ~ Sonya Dudley

May we be the ones who add value, and help others see beauty in the broken. Because that’s my heart’s desire.




Peace Seeker: Understanding

(This is part 2 of my Toxic series) 

Last time I shared my story, and today I want to share more about realizing.

Toxic is the new buzzword. We tend to overuse it, apply it to folks who aren’t toxic. And I do not want to add to the misinformation.

I did not realize the relationship I was in WAS toxic. My dear friend, S, told me over and over. And I didn’t understand how she meant, I justified everything by saying “Well, I have flaws too! And I did __________!” 

Looking back, I am so grateful for the truth she spoke to me. I am so glad S never gave up consistently reaffirming that I was not crazy. It took a long, long time for the truth to reveal itself, maybe in part because I wasn’t looking at things as they were, but instead through lenses of unworthiness and self-disrespect.

I think we are all a little toxic.

Yes, I said that. Because the other word for toxic is: selfish

So I will say it again. We are all a little toxic sometimes. I have grieved hard the loss of my son, and my unborn baby. And during that time I “needed” and wanted any relationship to cater to ME. I was unable to step in and carry anyone else’s pain. So I retreated, hard. And Lamar and my family bore the brunt of that. It was as I began stepping towards my friends again, trying to find the inner strength to be a friend again, that I began realizing and understanding this post I am finally writing.

When I think of someone being selfish, I think of children. Not that I believe adults are incapable, I mean, look around. But the best example of the childishness of it, is children. My oldest will pick the biggest cookie, the nicest one, the one with the most chocolate chips. He never pauses to consider the younger brother behind him. My youngest will pick whatever toy he believes, Alex wants, and determines to NOT SHARE. And unless Lamar or I intervene in any of these two situations, they will not automatically “get it” and change their ways.

“When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.” I Corinthians 13:11

“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6 

We don’t just reach a magic age where we realize our selfishness, our sinfulness, and BOOM we quit. We need to be taught, we need to be trained and shown. We need consequences and awareness that our selfishness impacts others. As children, it doesn’t really change much if we choose the bigger cookie. But as adults, when we choose selfishness in relationships, it hurts other people.

Selfishness as adults hurts others, deeply. I asked people to share their experiences with toxic people. And more than one woman messaged me, stating a parent was toxic and the deep wound that left in their life. It isn’t just women though.

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” Philippians 2:3 

“For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.” James 3:16

As a mom, I can definitely speak to the disorder part of that last Bible verse. Cries of “NOT FAIR!!!!!!” can be heard resonating loudly, followed by retaliation. If you’re a mom, you get it. (Or a dad.) But let’s get a bit more personal.

I have made no secret of the fact that my house makes me crazy. The kitchen is too small, it’s set up weird, the list of complaints can go a mile long. And I allowed it to negatively affect my friendship with someone. I was jealous, she got her dream house, and I felt stuck and miserable where I am. And I still struggle very much with this, because of many reasons. But it does not need to ruin relationships.

We all have these things, the things that make our inner selfishness rear it’s ugly head. But if we allow our selfishness, this ugly sin, to rule us, we become toxic. We then make everything about us, with little capacity to truly care for and love others.

Sometimes life hurts, and we find ourselves unable to love others the way we want to. That’s okay. True friends will understand. But you can’t stay there. You can’t unpack all you’ve been taught, and allow this to change who God has meant for you to be in this life.

I hope this post helps you understand a bit more and in turn helps you to recognize and realize what a toxic friendship is. It is not easy when you find yourself stuck in over your head, struggling to make sense of the other person’s selfish thinking.

And I can’t tell you what to do. What my breaking point was, will be different for you. And I can’t tell you how to heal either, because the temptation will be there to retreat and become selfish yourself with your needs. And retreating is good, self-care is good. But it can’t rule your life.

I often wonder if Jesus met toxic people, and what His response was. And while I highly doubt the term “toxic” existed in Jesus’ time, I do believe He met them and dealt with them. I believe His response would have been kind, direct. As was His style. I don’t believe He would have rejected them, but I do believe He would have shown them Truth.

No one is exempt. It can happen in sibling relationships, parent relationships, friends… It can happen to anyone, anywhere. Maybe there is a common denominator of deep pain that was never addressed. Men and women all across our world are suffering silently because it’s their mother, their father, their partner, someone they love deeply. It has worn down their self-esteem, they feel deserving of the treatment and they justify and even defend it.

It’s a sin issue. There isn’t a magic realization pill and cure. There isn’t a magic cure to recovery and healing.

But there is Jesus. There is safety there. That was where I began, by turning to him every time my phone dinged multiple times with yet another victim based, life isn’t fair multiple messaged text. It took me a long time to not have a mild panic attack when my phone dings multiple times.

I will close now, but with a heavy heart. Because this is hard stuff. This is pain filled, heavy issues.

love and tears today,



Peace Seeker: Realization

This is part 1 on my “Toxic” series.

Before I dive into this series please know: I am not a psychologist, psychiatrist, counselor, or any type of “professional”. I am relating what MY private research shows, what I lived and learned, and if it’s another’s experience, I am crediting them.

My story…

I met “A” a few years ago. Alex was very young and I was a lonely woman. I was making terrible life decisions, and my life was not great. Immediately we “clicked” and were quickly best friends. We texted, Facebook messaged, Facebook interacted all the time. And looking back, there were signs of this being a doomed and toxic friendship and I wish I had recognized them.
We got together often, and she often paid for meals and shopping trips. She and I shared many similar opinions, and I was glad to have someone who seemed to accept me as I was.
But I was naïve.
Other friendships fell by the wayside, for if I vented anything or she met them, she would “share” what she felt was them not being nice. And it totally made sense. (At the time.) We early on had an agreed upon get together night every week. And when busy summer months, or holidays prevented us getting together she seemed personally offended.
A was opinionated with politics, and one time there was a comment made by my husband to her Facebook status. And it caused a massive fight, that honestly to this day still does not even make sense to me. And that was my first, massive red flag that made me stop and pause and wonder. Especially after, when the fight ended, she could never quite seem to “let go” of some things and it eventually led to her unfriending us on social media. Our relationship changed. After that fight I tried to go out of my way to keep the peace, even offering a “no politics” boundary because she would get so heated and dismissive of any view that was not her own. I started to feel very anxious and by Friday evening I was a stress ball, and then it would take me all weekend to recover, it was so draining.
I didn’t know the term “toxic relationship”, I did not know even how to deal with this all. I sought advice constantly, which sounded like complaining, but I was in so far over my head, I felt like I was drowning.
There were instances where I would go to two of my friends, and they’d point out the signs I was missing. I could see they were right, but then I just didn’t know how to walk away. I didn’t want to hurt feelings, I did not want another huge fight.
A eventually decided “it was okay” for us to be friends on Facebook again. And it was good. I thought things were moving forward in a healthy manner.
And then it happened.
A friend of mine posted a public meme. I commented. Because it was public, it came up on her newsfeed. And she responded to it as well. It was a snarky, sarcastic comment. And that was a final straw for me. I knew she did not know him, nor was she friends with him. She was so full of hate and anger towards what the meme was about, that she could not handle even scrolling by.

And that broke something in my heart and immediately I began to back away. If she texted, I waited to respond, thinking carefully through responses. I no longer shared big life news with her, or struggles. I started investing in me, growing spiritually and healing. I started investing more time in my two friends, and my husband and my sons. I was pregnant then, and eagerly anticipating a new baby to love and snuggle. Life seemed good.

It was August of 2017, I do not remember the exact course of conversation. Lamar’s friends were over. I had run out to the store for something when she texted. The entire “break up” came via text, she refused to answer when I called. I stayed firm, apologizing for being hurtful yet calmly stated I was not solely to blame for the friendship disintegrating.

Maybe I am half-guy, because in all my years I have never felt the need to announce to someone I was not going to be their friend anymore. Drama like that goes beyond my comprehension. It’s an attention-seeking behavior, a grab for the control they have lost.
We have not spoken since.

I have missed A tremendously. I have often felt the urge to text or call her, but because of how things ended I honestly have no idea what the rules are. So I never have. I carried that hurt, that pain for a long time. It was the starting point of a long hard year for me.
I believe I can honestly say that I am healed. I am moving forward, with more wisdom.
In a relationship that SEEMS two-sided, but behind the drama and manipulation, is toxic and one-sided, the first step is realizing.

Realize and acknowledge the traits that are making you feel “less than”.

I imagine if A read this, she would have an entire argument on how wrong I am. She would raise valid points, as I fully realize I am not perfect. I am sure it was very hurtful when I backed off the way I did. But up until then, if I had ever felt like something was wrong and brought it up, it turned into an ordeal that would cause so much frustration for me. And all through my life thus far, I have struggled with friendships. I just accepted than I must be a terrible, needy friend.

Make a list, talk to a friend. No relationship is perfect but realize that a healthy relationship is very two-sided.

There is room for misunderstandings, there is room for different interests and hobbies. There is room for growth and change, for moving forward towards each person’s individual goals. There is room for mistakes and other relationships, obligations. Relationships grow through what they go through, as should each person. There should be a mutual cheering on of each other, of supporting one another.

I am not perfect. I carry toxic traits myself. I think we all do. I carry fears and scars. I want desperately to be a person that others love and want to be around. But I also don’t want to sacrifice the healthy I finally am. And as I unpacked my story and contemplated various things, I think that’s a universal truth.
WE ALL want be loved and accepted, without sacrificing who we are.

I have growing I must still do, so do you. And our relationships should have room for that. As well as encouragement for it.

Until next time.


Peace Seeker: On This Day

I rode a rollercoaster today.

Not a for real one, emotional.

It started out a decent day. My alarm went, too early. But school is in session. My youngest woke up. My oldest grumbled when I woke him up. My youngest is so tired lately, so i asked him to please just rest for awhile.

His answer: “Yes, Mama.”

His actions: NOPE

And Round 1 was lost to both of us. Tears from both, raised voices, from both, and a general feeling of frustration, from both.

Happy Tuesday.

The fight ended about an hour and a half later, when I put him to bed. One run through of his songs, and he was out.

It’s 9/11 today.

17 years ago, we united together and promised ourselves “never forget” .

But farther back, a bit of awesomeness happened here in America. Particularly in a small town in Pennsylvania.

On this day in the early 1990s, I was adopted. My parents officially gave me their last name, and I belonged to them.

My story is an interesting one. A puzzle. Some pieces are still missing. Some are filled in. Some will wait for Heaven. Some are beautiful. Some are not.

But it is my story. All mine. Well not all, but you get my point.

Back to my rollercoaster.

I took a trip down memory lane. And it took an emotional toll.

I am so grateful for this life. And I often take for granted the life I was given.

I rarely dwell on the what if side of my life. My birth mother died in her early 30s. My birth father was never known. There aren’t many what if things to dwell on, there are too little facts for those trails.

Growing up the biggest what if trail I traveled down was what if Tom had adopted me? Tom and his wife were foster parents. He had a soft spot for me. At one fishing event, he saw me eyeing up a stuffed animal that I liked. And when prizes were given out, my disappointment was obvious. As my dad and I got into his Suburban, Tom came to the truck. “Here,” he handed me something, with his mustached smile. And it was the little leopard I had wanted. My boys have long claimed that little animal. But it never ceases to make me smile. There was never any doubt whether he cared for me, or any of the girls they took in and loved. And his smile often pops into my memory, and in turn makes me smile.

Other couples loved me, deeply. Not just aunts and uncles. Though I am blessed with some incredible aunts and uncles, and cousins. But another elderly couple from the foster parent group who loved me. They would randomly drop off Easter baskets. They never failed to send a card for holidays and birthdays.

It would never be fair to say “no one really loved me” because my love language was thoroughly spoken as I grew up.

I can point to pieces of my life that did not glow with hearts and flowers. But everyone can. And those pieces left their marks, alongside with the blessings those hard times also helped to shape me.

The roller coaster ride is emotion-filled. Sometimes the bad things overwhelm me. I look at my life and the highlight reel of pain automatically plays. But today’s memories, I remembered the blessings too.

I have two biological sisters. Their stories are not mine to tell, but they do not have the same childhood memories that I do. And that makes my heart hurt. The unfairness.

On this day 20 plus years ago, I became a daughter. Fully belonging. Fully loved. I completed a family who didn’t know they weren’t complete. I fully recognize that my life was changed the moment they followed God’s leading and said yes, but so was theirs. I am the youngest of 5 brothers. And each of them, their life was changed by my arrival as well. We all were many parts to one family, we loved and cared for and fought with each other. Granted the fighting part existed first. But the love part was there.

Someday I get the share my story with my boys. These two sweet, biologically mine boys. And that was the sweetest part of giving birth…   The moment I held them, the moment I kissed them, I knew they were mine. My DNA ran through their veins.


And while my family never, ever made me feel less than because our DNA was different, there was something beautiful in cherishing my boys and knowing they were mine.

There was something devastating in my life. The abandonment issues were so strong. While my love language was spoken often by caring and loving adults, it was hard to receive. Not that I took it for granted, I just felt undeserving. I often felt “if they only knew-” and whatever grievous sin I considered, I was sure it would make everyone abandon me.

And that’s where my emotional rollercoaster dumped me tonight. Way back there in the middle of abandonment-ville.

And I’m hiking back. Journeying back. Remembering each person who chosen to love me. Starting with my parents, my siblings, wonderful people from church, aunts, uncles.

There’s a special little girl I think of now, she reminds me of me. I hug her every Sunday. I smile at her. I want her to know, whatever was in her life, now she is chosen and loved. Now she matters more than whatever caused her story to begin where I’ve met her.

This weekend Alex shared with me that he told his teacher he knows 2 adopted people. His friend at school and his mommy.

And it made him proud.

I have friends who have adopted, are adopted, are fostering and hoping to adopt. And someday I want to share my current life with kids who need it.

I am proud of my history. And I’m grateful for the story God is giving me.

Each and every piece.

If my birth mother were here, I’d say Thank You.

If my birth father were here, I’d say Thank you.

To my parents this week, I will say Thank you.

Sometimes I forget to intentionally remember.

So today I’m glad I took the time to remember. And tomorrow I will remind myself to be glad.

And if you have the opportunity to love on a child whose first family could not provide all the love or care he/she needed, do it.

Because it’s worth it.

It’s like when concrete is poured and little handprints or footprints or initials are carefully put in it. You get to do that. You get to help create a foundation of love, of trust, of being wanted. And in doing so, you etch yourself into their foundation.

Well, I am officially drained. Tonight I needed to remind myself to never forget. Because I got lost and I did. I did forget the ones who loved me when I desperately needed it. I focused on mistakes. I focused on pain. That needed to change. I must remember it all.

But now, now my house is quiet, my sweet boys are snoring sweetly. And my soul needs to rest.




Peace Seeker: Deserving

I hate this word: deserve

“But Mommy, I did my chores! I DESERVE __________.”

Um, you what?!

I hate it.

I read a news story about a woman who demanded guests pay *only* $1,500 towards the wedding she deserved. 

Entitled, much?

This post has been mulling around in my brain as I have healed physically.

Because as I took my grief to God, my prayer (well, part of it) went something like this:

“God, why?! I didn’t do anything to deserve this? I serve at church, I am doing my best to be the wife and mother that honors and follows You.”


What do we deserve? As sin cursed people, living on a sin cursed world?

As a woman who suffered various traumas, I do plan someday to ask God why He allowed some things.

As a mom who has lost so many babies, I look forward to Heaven even more. And since our fatal diagnosis with Liam, my Bible reading and prayer time is daily and deeper. It was a terrible thing to go through, but I see blessings.


I am choosing to be more intentional as a mother. Having more babies is not something my body can do, so I am choosing to accept that and be more intentional as a mom with my boys.

Callan and I enjoy quieter days at home, today is a bit lazier than yesterday. We were both up too early, so computer time for me and a learning show on Netflix for him.



My oldest turned 7 and started school. And Callan misses him. But I am enjoying the break from sibling rivalry and have been able to mostly catch up on house work. Mostly.

Today I am being intentional. I need to catch up on this blog. (It’s been official for a year now! YAY!!) I have some catch up with my direct sales business to do. And I have a needy toddler today.

And he DESERVES a mommy who is all in, as much as she can be each day.


I think it pricks me, reminds me of my selfishness, my entitlement. I am guilty of feeling like I am deserving of specific blessings, or favor.

de·serve- do something or have or show qualities worthy of (reward or punishment)

I am so often guilty of feeling deserving or entitled to things… I work hard and expect a reward/ payment. And that isn’t always how life works.

And it gets me a bit frustrated when I hear this word thrown around casually.

But in these last weeks of healing, as I am spending time in prayer and giving Him my heart, my concerns, my fears, my everything… I catch myself taking on this attitude of what I feel I deserved.

I deserved those babies, every single last one of ’em.

Yet often, I gaze on the sweet faces of my boys, whether the day was good or bad, and realize they have been entrusted to me but I don’t deserve them. I fail, often.

I yell. I get angry. I am too lenient. I spoil them. The list can go on for miles in how I have failed. And we are not promised tomorrow.

Often after a rough day, I will cry. Feeling that undeserving of these two amazing boys.

And Satan sneaks his lies in, whispering how it’s good I don’t have other kids, blah, blah, blah  ….

Mama, you gotta know: These babies you’ve been entrusted with DESERVE you love. Period. These boys and girls we are raising DESERVE our best every single day. And if you screw up, if you fail, WHEN you fail, these little loves DESERVE to have you come to them and apologize.

I am not entitled to something I have not proved worthy of.. I should not be handed a college degree without putting in the work.

But there are innocent exceptions. I have two, Alex and Callan.


I choose grace. 

GRACE. Because one time, a Man took on all so I could come before my heavenly Father and pour out my heart, in whatever words I have. 

Grace. Because one time, a Man suffered tremendously to win a war over sin and Hell and to defeat the one who comes and whispers lies.

I have two. How about you?

How can you show grace, and love today? Do you need grace today? Forgiveness?