Thursday, December 20, 2012


Flags at half mast.
News stories with small faces.
Babies being laid to rest.
Mothers in terror of sending their children to school.
Conversations about gun control.
Images of candles. Stuffed animals. Shrines to the lost.

It's so much. It HURTS. My heart beats with fear and worry and pain.
And in this collective grief, over all, is a mother's wailing.
Their babies are gone. Never to return to this earth.
Why, God, why?
I don't understand.
Everyday it becomes worse. These feelings of being absolutley wrecked by this world.

This is the world we have been given. This is the world we are expected to live in, to learn from, and bring light to.
Even when it seems impossible. Even when the light, to ourselves, is hard to see.
We are commanded to be light.
In the darkness, light.
And there is no time darker.
And no time better for us to rise up and light the way.
So I say this- take the burden.

Carry the pain for these other mothers like us. Pick it up. Take the pain. Feel it. Feel it with them, carry it with them, and pray for their strength.
In all times, when you think of babies being lost to evil, pray to carry some of the grief for these mothers like us.
So in the times they break, in the times they feel alone and like giving up, they may feel a piece of the light. That they may feel carried in some small way.
That they may feel Him. His presence. An onrush of grace, a peace that surpasses.

Look at your home. Your Christmas tree. Your stockings, your gifts, your wreaths. It is all celebrating this one thing- Christ came. For you, for us.
For those babies. For their mothers, their fathers. For the city of Newtown.

It is all about Him.
His life began.
His life ended.
All for us.

We are oh so weary. All of us. Weary and grieving. But there are those that are broken where we are not.
Share that light with those that have none. Carry the burden of grief for those overwhelmed.
Rise up, beloved. Rise up and fight for those that cannot. Put on the armor of Christ and carry them.
Light into darkness.

Sunday, December 16, 2012


I look at her face. So sweet. Big eyes, round cheeks, ready smile. I feel her heart beat as I hold her. I smell her sweet head, rub her small back. I brush her hair and I help her dress.

And I am so so sad. I am mournful. I am picturing her, and her friends. I am picturing the terror and the fear and the crying.

I am picturing the empty room. And the empty arms. And the empty heart.

Some say after a tragedy like this- dont put yourself in that place. Don't think about it as it relates to your child.

I don't have that skill. I can't not feel it or think it. I can't not grieve with those mothers. I can't.

I can't not look at the pictures of those slain little babies and NOT memorize their faces and their names. Because I am a mother. And I have a child that age. And because I am human.

I will not turn away. I will not pretend it didn't happen. Because I am in this world to learn and be taught. And things like this- horrific, horrible things- these things teach. And they move us to change ourselves. The lessons are hard and terrible. And the change can be very very difficult. But it is important to witness it and let it move you in the way God wants it to.

I am afraid. I am prayerful, but I am afraid. I don't want to send Lily to school tomorrow. I don't want to let go of her hand and let her run into a place that is beyond my control. But if I don't- if I don't do it- does evil win?

This is so so hard.

Hardest of all is what I am sure many of us parents feel- God, where were you? How could You let this happen? For that question, I have no answers. I am angry. I am angry that He did not intervene. I am angry that He didn't stop the bullets, stop the killing, and keep those percious babies with their parents.

But I also know that it is not up to me to know why. Evil exists. Evil does what evil does- it crushes. It kills. And it causes pain. Why this happens, I am not given to know.

The worst thought, the most painful thought-if it could happen could happen here. It could be my child's school. Her could be her.

Tomorrow will come. With it's uncertainty. With it's fear. I will drive her to school. I will walk her to the crosswalk. I will kiss her. I will let go of her hand.

And like all mothers, I will not breathe until I hold her again.

God help us.

Thursday, October 25, 2012


Healing from the past is something I never really thought about. I've never actively sought it, never chased it, never pursued it. Not because it wasn't important, but because it seemed somewhat impossible. An insurrmountable task.

I don't believe you truly heal from childhood abuse. You just learn to deal with it in your own way. I feel tremendously lucky that my own way did not involve drugs or alcohol, because it easily could have. My way has been to feel the feelings the past brings up, deal with the flashbacks, pray to my Savior, and move on.

However, once I became a mom the game changed. Motherhood brings up a whole subset of feelings every single day. I return with vivid clarity to my own childhood in ways that are bitter and hard. For the most part I feel I shield my children from those feelings. But sometimes I can't. And I wonder alot of times if I am ruining them. Am I creating chaos in their minds and hearts? Am I too harsh, too overbearing, too loud, too strict? Or do I let them get away with too much for fear of being like my own mother?

It's alot like walking a tightrope. While holding an elephant. And juggling swords. Balance is difficult.

Enter my mama friends.

I have never, ever, been a girl's girl. I have never truly liked women. Then I became a mom, and got a small taste of what mama friends can give- sympathy, compassion, a kind word, an ear.

I was hooked from my very first mama friendship.

Mama friends can give me something nobody else in my life has- nurturing. Knowledge that the mistakes I make are normal, everyday mistakes. That the way I parent is honest and real. And that I can mess up horribly and still be a good mom.

I sat today in the bright sunshine holding a baby that was not my own as a friend chased Sammy through the grass. I kissed her little one as she corrected mine's bad behavior with love and kindness. I watched with my mama friends as our kids rode their scooters, ate their lunches, and played together.

And I realized just how deeply in love I am with this circle of wonderful women.

Falling in love with my husband was easy. It was beautiful and passionate.

Falling in love with my children was instant and overwhelming.

But falling in love with other women has been hard, difficult, and entirely worth it.

These women who I call friends love my children like I do. They are honest with me when I ask questions. They laugh with me until we cry. They cry with me until we laugh. They celebrate every single thing in my life- from new babies to potty training, to weight loss. They are truly happy for my sucesses and truly help me carry my burdens.

And I looked around today and realized just how deep I am. How in love I am with this circle of amazing women.

We build each other up. We support each others lives. And we do not backbite or gossip. I have confidence that they do not speak of me out of my presence as they do when I am listening.

I know how rare this is. And I want to make sure that I put this right here, right now. How rich I feel in friendships. How much I love my girls. How deeply I feel blessed and uplifted by them. And how they mean the world to me.

Because let's face it. Things happen. Misunderstandings. Hurt feelings. Careless words. Hurt is a part of love. And where there is deep love, the injury can be profound.

But nothing on this earth- no hurt or pain could take away what they have given me. They heal me of my past. They hold the mirror up to me, to see that I am a good mother. That I am not what my past taught me I was. That I can be vulnerable. I can put my hurt and fear and worry out there, and instead of using it as a weapon, they will help me carry it.

My friend told me today that she felt so strongly about her female friendships that it made her cry. I knew exactly what she meant. Sometimes the depth of my love for these women and their babies is scary. There's so much to lose. So much that can be broken. So much that can be lost.

But in these friendships I have found my footing not only as a woman but as a mother. They are an anchor on the sea that tosses me from thought to thought. They ground me and center me and help me to see my way. They pull away what I THINK I am, and show me what I TRULY am.

So for my girlies- the ones who I see everyday as we walk our babies into school, or the ones I see back home, or the ones I see never but hold in my heart, I love you. You have helped me, each in your own way, to understand myself better and to heal myself of all that the past had broken. I feel rich because of you- my life has a depth I would have never known had you not come to me. You teach me. You give me love. And you are special and treasured.

“A friend is one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still, gently allows you to grow.” ― William Shakespeare

“There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature.” ― Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Dear Lily

Dear Lily,

Sometimes I wonder when you will stop loving me. When you will no longer look at me with eyes that shine with joy, when you will lose your taste for me, for being mothered. I wonder when you will become as other girls are, offended by my presence, wishing I would back away and be silent.

Wishing I was not there.

I know this will happen. It is the tide of mother daughter relationships. It is the ebb and flow of the most devoted and complicated of family ties.

I never expected to need you so much. To see your face and feel love so strongly that I could die for you. To smell your hair and close my eyes and feel you again, so warm and new on my chest. So known and unknown all at once.

You spend your day away from me now. In a classroom filled with children and people I do no know well. This strikes me as odd and sad- the idea of sending you off to be among strangers because you are five. But it is the way. It is what is done. No matter that it hurts and that it seems so cold.

I feel like I have been robbed of you in this way. In these hours you are gone you are learning and growing without me. And it feel like loss. It feels a little like grief. It is good and right and wise to let you go. But it is, at the same time, a death of what came before. The hours of you and me. The hours of your hand in mine, your coloring books, your voice singing, and your head nodding as you feel asleep against me.

You are a once my baby and at once your own person, figuring out the world for yourself. You ask questions I cannot answer. You give answers I cannot bear. Yet you still at the end of the day curl yourself like a kitten into my lap for a snuggle and a story. You still want to be held and kissed. I beg all of heaven you never lose that, Lily. Because I need it as much as you do.

Just yesterday you had a consequence for lying. And afterwards, I cried with you. I let the tears of hurt and pain flow, because I knew you needed to see them. I knew that without these tears he impact of your actions would be unclear to you. You sat on my lap, crying all the harder for seeing me cry. You rushed to get me tissue. You dried my tears with your little hands. You SAW what needed to be seen. I was proud of you in the moment for your clarity and your compassion.

I miss you. I miss the baby girl who would fill my days with laughter and joy. I miss my sweet unburdened girl who hadn't a care. You are different now- mature. You think of schoolwork and of things beyond your own happiness. This is good as well, but it is still hard.

I want you to know that I miss you. I want you to know that I think of you every minute of the day- wondering if you need me. If you are wishing for me. I pray every morning that your day be filled with learning. That you are treated kindly. And that you are kind in return.

But I am not complete until I see your little face waiting for me. I am not whole until I turn to kiss you as you get into the car. In some ways I am holding my breath until I see you and have you safe with me.

I hope above all that I am getting this right. That although I walk this road of motherhood in the dark when it seems like all others around me are in daylight, I am choosing the right things for you. I hope that you can say someday that although I made mistakes, I always loved you. I always gave you enough affection and enough care.

It's three hours until I see your face again. And until then I will wait and wish and love you.


Friday, September 7, 2012

Thank you, Lord.

Dear Lord,

Thank you for failure. For the feeling in me that I am not enough, not doing enough, not working hard enough.

Thank you for helping me to feel that I am not mom enough. Not woman enough. That my struggle to be all to all is simply a failure.

Thank you for iniquity. Thank you for frustration. Thank you for uncertainty.

Thank you for always humbling me when I feel like supermom.

I try so hard to be all, to do all. Perfect mom. Perfect house. Perfect world.

And every single time, I fail.

Because I am not leaning into you.

I am not in your word. I am not in your spirit. I am not drinking from your water.

I am thirsty God. I am weary. I am tired.

I cannot do this alone.

And I forget that so so often. I put you on the backburner. I run this race and chase my own shadow.

And I leave you, my Savior, behind.

And with a resounding crash, it all comes down. Crushing failure. A feeling of drowning. A reaching.

Reaching for you.

Reaching for your hand, your words and your love. Because through you I can do this.
I can be the mother I want to be. I can be the wife my husband needs. I can walk through each day knowing who I am.

Because you hold me above this world. You set me apart. In all things and all ways I am not just what this world expects me to be or wants me to be. I am your creation.

Beloved by you.

Strengthened by you.

Father, teach me to be less of myself and more of you. Pull away my need to be everything and replace it with need for you. Help me to be your face, your hands, your feet.

Help me to mother my children as you would have me do. Help me to teach them about you.

Lord by myself I am nothing. I am empty and impatient. I am unkind and sharp. With you I bloom into more than myself.

Live through me. Be with me. And always draw me back when I stray.

Thursday, August 30, 2012


When I was 5, my mother tried to kill herself. She tucked me into her bed, close beside her in the warmth of a Vegas night. I laid with her while the fan turned above me, while the breeze blew hot and scented with sand over me.

And I fell asleep. Against her. To her heartbeat and to her scent.

Sometime after I fell asleep she got up, went into the bathroom, and took every pill in the house. She collapsed there on the cold tile.

I know she didn't intend for me to wake up and see her. But I did.

She was convulsing. Her eyes were rolled back. She was utterly terrifying.

But she was still my mama. So I sat and held her hand and cried.

I closed my eyes with the words of the Hail Mary on my lips. And I felt rising up in me in that one moment- a claiming. A claiming of myself, deeper than anything I could verbalize. Deeper than oceans and sand and scent and hurt. Deeper than the moment I was living in- the horror I was witnessing.

I felt the brush of wings against my face. I felt enveloped. I felt peace.

I ran to the phone and called my father. Soon red and blue painted the space I sat in, painted my mothers now still face with color and light.

I was picked up, carried. But I looked back to see her there, so small and still on the tile. I saw the paramedics slap her, shake her. And I wished for her to live.

She did live. By a miracle, she did. I'd like to say that the rest of her life was testament to how she was saved by mercy, but it wasn't.

It wasn't she who was saved that night. It was me.

It was in those moments, a that small age, that the longing for Christ overwhelmed me. When the reaching beyond myself into a greater something was all I could hope for. When help was not to be found, when the silence was too great and the horror to deep I called out.

How did I know? How did I believe that I could be rescued?

I still don't have the answers.

But I was.

And when I have trouble believing I go back there. When I struggle, I dream of that night. The heat. The smell of bile and the sound of her body hitting the floor.

I go back to the horror. Because in the moment I was lifted beyond myself. I was claimed by God, and held above what was happening to me into what I was. A creature of God. Loved by him. Graced with mercy.

Lily is 5. I can't think about her in these terms, because I would do anything to prevent her pain or anguish. But I do wish for her to feel, at some point in her life, this tidal wave of grace. This uplifting of soul into something bigger than herself, and wider that her world has ever been. I wish for her to know the wonder of a God who rescues from the fire, and who delivers her safe from any harm.

I wish for her to be claimed as His. To know His great hand as she knows her own. To follow the planes of her existence and her spirit as He calls her to do.

I wouldn't trade my circumstance. I wouldn't give it away, or wish it away. I wouldn't want to not remember that night because without the horror I would not know the grace.

My mother and her sickness led me to Him. She gave me a great gift- the ability to reach beyond myself for help and for strength.

So until always, I will remember the sand scented air, the heat, and falling asleep to her heart. And I will remember the terror and the horror...and the love and gentleness I was shown.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Dear God

Dear God,

Promise me. Promise me when she leaves this house,she will find somebody wherever she goes that sees how special she is.

Promise me she will have friends. That she will be happy. That she will smile.

Promise me she won't need me. That she wont cry for me. That she wont be injured.

Promise me she will be as protected away from me as she is with me.

Promise me the world will see her the way I do. That they will see her beauty and her spirit.

Promise me she will not be harmed.

Promise me, promise me.

I know. I know, God. You can't.

But my heart is so tender. There is a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. There is her hand in mine- and it is so small. There is her head on my shoulder and her heart beating next to mine.

I've held her, Lord. I've held her every single day since she was born. I've kissed each booboo. I've wiped her tears. I've loved her through every sunrise to every sunset.

I have given her all of me. And it seems like it is some small way.

I won' be her everything anymore. And I won't be her best friend. And I wont be her only teacher.

I will be mommy. I will not be everything anymore.

Her world will grow larger with each day, with each new friend, with each lesson she is taught. And my place in it will shrink, just a little.

And this hurts, Lord.

It just...hurts.

But her is the thing I carry with me. The thing I know to be most true.

You love her infinitely more than ever could.

You treasure her too.

You see her for the precious creation she is.

You look at her with the eyes of a father and a Savior.

And you can go where I cannot.

So Lord, I cannot ask you to promise me she will never be hurt or never need me.

But I can ask that every step she takes, you take with her. That every experience she has you use for her good. That your hand is over her and protects her.

That your love for her goes where I cannot. This is all I ask.

She will cry. She will miss me. And she will long for her home and her family. Hold her tender heart.

She will be uncertain and unsure. Help her to be confident.

She will look out the window of her classroom, just as I look out the window of her room. And her eyes will fill. And she will feel lonely. Help her to be strong.

I trust you, Lord. I trust you with her heart the way I have trusted you with mine.

Walk with her Lord...beyond the schoolroom doors until I can hold her again.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A thousand small heartbreaks.

Being a mother is what I was born to do. I know this in my heart. It's a deeply peaceful feeling- knowing your feet are on the path God crafted for you.

Peaceful. And difficult.

I stay home, something I give thanks for every single day. Even when it's hard. And even when I want to run away, I am thankful that I have seen my children's first steps. I have taught them their first words. I have kissed all of their booboos.

I don't know how else to parent, but by being THERE for it all. It is overwhelming to me to give up control over their everyday lives. To not make the choices for them. To not see to their physical and emotional needs at all times.
Some might call me a control freak. And they would be right. But I am also flying blind here with parenting, and to make sure I get it as right as I can, I have to see it all. I have to make all of the decisions. Does that make sense?

Lily is 5. She starts kindergarten in less than 2 weeks.

And my heart is broken. I cannot think of it without a lump in my throat.

She is ready. Of this I have no doubt. She is brilliant and kind and makes friends with ease. Her heart is big. Her mind is sharp enough to grasp new concepts. She is ready.

But I am not.

At all.

Other than when I had Sam, I have never been apart from Lily for more than 5 hours. I need her like I need air and water. She is my best friend, my buddy, my sweet angel, and my great joy.

She is my world.

And now I have to entrust her to others, who by a random lottery, get the privilege of teaching her. Will they see how wonderful she is? Will they look at her face and her eyes and know how lucky they are to spend time with her? Will they recognize what a living, breathing miracle she is?How treasured? How much she has been cherished and prayed for?

I don't know. And what if they don't?

What if someone hurts her? What if her sweet sensitive feelings get hurt? What is she NEEDS me, or cries for me?

For those hours of the day, she is no longer fully mine.

I have let her go in small ways a million times. Play dates, preschool, sitters. I have kissed her and prayed she would be okay- that her own compass would guide her when I could not. It has.

But I am her mama. And I have held her, carried her, prayed over her and kissed her a million times. And I don't want that to end, even in this small way.

And it feels like it is- ending.

This is what nobody can ever ever prepare you for in motherhood. You can have all of the physical gear. You can be mentally ready. But every moment after the birth, you begin to let go.

When you lay them in their crib and walk away.

When you let go of their hands as they sit up the first time.

When you watch as they tumble while learning to walk.

When you teach them to ride a bike.

When you watch them jump off the side of the pool.

And when you watch as they run off in their shiny new shoes, with their pretty new backpack, into school and the rest of their life.

Every new begninning for a child is an ending for the mother.
A thousand small heartbreaks. A million tiny fissures in the planes of your heart. Hundreds of letting go's, millions of bittersweet smiles.
All of it in one sweet face. In two beautiful eyes. In an amazing, gorgeous, remarkable soul.

Sunday, May 27, 2012


I really don't want to write this.

And I have been trying to avoid it all day.

And still, I am here at 9:30 pm. Because I am supposed to write this.

God can be so pushy. And I can be so stubborn.

I don't want to admit to this. I don't want anyone to think badly of me.

But I also made God a promise. That I would be transparent in ALL THINGS. Good and bad. Ugly and beautiful. They all have a place here.

I want you to know that I love my son. His face lights me up. His smile melts me. I HURT with loving him. Just looking at him causes a rush of nearlypainful joy.


I have spoken words over him since he was 5 months old. Words about his lack of fear, his common sense, and his intelligence.

All done in a joking, loving manner. But still...the words were there.

When he throws himself off the stairs.

When he goes headfirst off his chair.

When he shows a remarkable lack of self preservation, or impulse control.

In fact, one of my favorite phrases for him is "If you're gonna be dumb, you gotta be tough."

I have said that to him since he was 9 months old, when this daredevil attitude really took flight.

And if I could take it ALL back, I would.

Because words have power. Words cast a net and reap what you have sown.

And I have spoken less words of praise and love over my son than I have words of fear and impatience.

I know you are judging me. And I understand that. I make no excuses. My shame over this is real, and it is profound.

I have said, in his hearing, that I didn't know if he had any common sense. That I didn't know if he was smart. And that I didn't know how we would ever make it to 3 years old without a trip to the ER.

And yes, my son is impulsive and fearless. And he terrifies me with his ability to dive headlong into anything he sees or wants.

But I have wronged him with my words.

I have spoken something over him that has come to fruition.

lacking intelligence or good judgment; dull-witted.
lacking the power of speech
temporarily unable to speak: dumb with astonishment.
refraining from any or much speech; silent.
made, done, etc., without speech.

I know I have said these things with laughter, with astonishment, and with love...but I have still said them.

And it hurts to know I have said these things to my boy, over my boy, and around my boy.

Forgiving myself is going to be a truly magnificent task.

But for now, the lesson I have taken is this: I have to, as a mother, speak over my child what I believe to be true, and only what I believe to be true. Words out of anger and frustration are destructive.

My words are as powerful to him as God's are to me. Until God speaks to Sammy in a way he can understand, I put the face to Jesus. I am His words and His hands.

And I have NOT been faithful in this. I have not done right. I have made a mess of things.

But that's the beauty of a Savior. I am corrected, convicted of my wrongs, and forgiven.


And I can go forward and speak over my son only what I know to be true- that he is a creation of God, that he is smart and kind and good, and that he is perfect as he is.

2 Samuel 23:2“The Spirit of the LORD spoke through me; his word was on my tongue."

Psalm 37:30The mouths of the righteous utter wisdom, and their tongues speak what is just.

1 Peter 4:11If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Dear Sam

Dear Sam,

I want you to know that how you are labeled or diagnosed means nothing to me. You are NOT APRAXIC. You HAVE apraxia. There's a difference. I won't allow myself to shrink you down into just one word, one set of symptoms, or one lack of something essential.

You don't talk. Not in sentences. You speak in one word bursts.

But you are a magnificent communicator. With one look, one sign, or one gesture, I know what you want. You have created your own elaborate language with me, your mama, and it makes me feel so special. I am as close to you as any human being can be, because without even knowing it, I have learned your language. One that needs no words.

I struggle with this, Sam. You were made this way. And I believe you are perfect. Is it up to me to try to change you? To manipulate the way you speak to the world? To force you, in essence, to fit yourself into the mold of everyone else who can talk?

Or do I let you be who you are, and accept the world you can give me? This world of yours with it's sounds and gestures and nods and smiles. This IS your language. This IS your speech. Do I immerse myself in your world, because it is yours and it is easier for me to find my way in yours...or do I pull you over to mine?

I just don't know.

I want to do what is best for YOU. I want you to live in this world with ease and comfort. And, truly, the only way you can do that is by having words. I don't want you to be lonely. I don't want to look at you, and see you watching children playing, and singing...and feel that you are lacking.

Because you aren't, my sweet baby boy. You aren't lacking anything. Your brain just can't tell your mouth how to move very well. And I am going to do everything possible to make sure you never feel different. Special and set apart, yes. Different- no.

I can't say that I know what to do, or how to fix this, or how to make you better. I can't say that I am not heartbroken for our family, because we all feel your silence. Deeply.

But you remain a sweet and kind boy. With mischief in his heart and a killer smile. You dance. You run. You play and you laugh.

And you love with your whole heart, grabbing our faces and kissing us when we least expect it. You walk up to strangers and shake their hands, because you can't say "Hi.". You make people smile with your grin.

You bring about in me the intense need to protect, to teach, and to nurture. You make me work, hard, at being a good and patient mom.

I understand you so much better and so much more deeply for your lack of words, sweet boy. You have taught me that love is more than words. That care is more than physical. And that in me lies a mother who will stand between her child and the world-forever if need be.

I will never be moved from this place for you. I will be your mother, your teacher, your therapist, your buddy, and your words if need be. You will never be lonely in your silence while I live and walk.

You are loved even MORE because of this. Treasured even MORE because of this. And cherished to the end of my days because I get to be your mother.

I love you, more than all the Thomas trains and cars in the world.

Thursday, May 17, 2012


Until this morning, I was in a fog of denial.

My boy is fine. He is simply quiet. He doesn't have anything to say. He doesn't want to talk. He is just stubborn.

No. No to all of it.

My son, my quiet little guy, is apraxic.

And this, this, is why he is aggressive at times. Why he throws himself to the floor. Why he bangs his head. And why only I can understand his wants/needs.

His language skills are at a 12-15 month level. He comprehends all, but cannot communicate beyond gestures and a few words.

And yes, we are getting him help. And yes, I have faith.

But this is my BABY.

And some kids recover. And some kids don't. Some kids never become great communicators.

And what if?

What if he cannot be understood? What if he is made fun of?

Why can't I take this from him?

Its neurological. And there is no definitive reason why it happens.

Was it the birth? Was it the vaccinations? Was it a fall?

Did I do this to my boy?

Did I do this???

I am utterly lost.

I drove him away from that appointment today, and watched him in the mirror. He looked out the window, pointing to trucks and cars. His mouth opened, emitting sounds I knew and understood. And I cried.

What if I am the only one who ever understands him?

And have I handicapped him? In trying to honor his quiet spirit and not "force" him to talk, did I hobble him? By letting him be, letting him play alone and in his own world, did I make this worse?

The speech pathologist words echoed in my head- "Sometimes people think they just have a quiet baby. And sometimes it is more than that."

I've sat with him in silence since he was a newborn. As somebody who enjoys silence myself, I thought I recognized in him a kindred spirit.

He took everything in. He watched.

"Still waters run deep." I told myself.

I was wrong.

Today as I drove and as I cried, God spoke.

"I created him."

And as I protested "Yes, but God..."


And it sunk in. God has made Sam just as He intended. Nothing about him is flawed. No part of him is a mistake.

My soul knows this.

But for today, I will allow my mother's heart to cry for my sweet silent boy.

And pray for the floodgates to open, for the words to come...if that is God's will.

And if it is not, and if it is His will that silence reign over my son...

I will stand between Sam and the world. I will relay his gestures and words. I will interpret his needs.

And I will love him just as God made him.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Am I mom enough?

Boy has this subject made the rounds this week, all inspired by the Time magazine cover from my last post.

And it has made me think. Alot.

So, am I mom enough?


I have made no secret of the fact that as a mother, I have no clue what I am doing. I am going on purely gut instinct.

And Lord help me, I mess up. Alot. Everyday I feel the overwhelming guilt and drawing down of myself for something I have done or not done. Something I have said in the heat of anger or frustration. Something I have let go instead of addressing...because I am just...tired.

I am not a perfect mother. Nor am I a particularly good mother. I am impatient. I am unkind at times. And I am hard pressed to spend quality time with my kids when there is so MUCH ELSE to do.

I am not a good mother. Not on my own.

But oh those moments. Those beautiful fleeting and all consuming moments...when I realize I am exactly where I am supposed to be in this life an in this world. When I am content, happy, and joyful.

And those moments ALWAYS involve my children. Always.

I look at them. I study their faces and their hands as they play. I stroke their cheeks and kiss their sweet skin. And I am home. Home to myself, and perfectly at peace.

That sacred space in my soul, one that can, at times, be disturbed by the winds of this world, sits silent and peaceful. The world pauses. The tide stops.

And I am in the moment, with my children. And with my great and loving God.

See, by myself, I am nothing. I am a broken and ruined city, sitting darkened and deserted.

But with Him, I am restored. I am alight with the love He gives me. I am the city on the hill, shining the way for my children

I am alight with the love it is my responsibility to teach these two sweet human beings He has given into my care.

No. By myself, as I am I am not mom enough.

But God be praised I have a savior. One who loves me enough to raise me from the darkness. One who has enough faith in me to give me my babies. One who sees me as a daughter, beloved and cherished.

Am I mom enough?


But my God is certainly God enough. And through him I can be the mom my children need and deserve.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Fed up

I'm hopping onto my soapbox.

This oughta be good, huh?

Listen. This image has been in my newsfeed on facebook at least 6 times. And each time, it makes me more angry.

Why? It's just a mom breastfeeding. Right?


It's conformation to those who think breastfeeding should be controversial. Or hidden. Or not talked about.

Because the image is shocking. And provocative. And wrenching.

All of which, I must say, breastfeeding is NOT.

Breastfeeding is sacred. It is a gift given to us by our creator. It is what our breasts were designed to do- nourish our children. Feed our babies. THAT'S why they exist.

Not to make us look good, or to make men stare, or to be ogled. Although I don't think there's anything wrong with that. I mean a lamp can be beautiful in the daylight and still give light at night. Right?

Okay, maybe that was a bad example. I confused myself. The lamp is the breast. And breasts are beautiful. And useful. Oh gosh. Okay, I'm sure you can figure it out. Oy.

Anywho, tangent much?

So, as I was saying. This cover. This image. It is, simply, jarring.

I don't know of anyone who has their child stand on a chair to nurse. It is MUCH more comfy to lay down and snuggle while nursing a toddler, or to sit on the couch and watch Dr Phil. Or to read People in peace. Gosh I miss nursing.

Nursing a baby is an act of love. It is warm and loving and primal. It is an act committed by mothers every moment of everyday. In the comfort of home, in public, in the dead of night.

But it is not a spectacle. And publishing an image like this makes it one. And that is doing a disservice to every mother who goes to extremes to nurse discreetly, and to the ones that proudly offer nourishment anywhere at anytime. This act is not to be used to sell magazines, or to create discussion.

Just as cooking is not controversial, or bottle feeding, or giving a hungry kiddo an apple, breastfeeding should not be.

It is, simply, the act of nourishing with love.

Shame on you, Time magazine, for making it any more than that.

Thursday, May 3, 2012


This is truly one of the most difficult posts I have ever written.

Sometimes I have a hard time trusting in God.

Are you cringing?

I know.

That sentence makes me cringe.

But if I am going to share with you, I have to share all of it.

And my belief sometimes wavers. I am inconstant. I am disloyal. I am petulant.

When I see tragedy. When I see wrong. When I feel betrayed. I don't want to trust then.

Because I don't want to think of the God I love watching pain and not intervening.

And if I am being completley honest, it is because in a very deep dark part of myself, I don't trust Him with my heart.

It's a part that is reserved, locked behind walls. The part of me that was wounded and protects itself. That part of me does not trust. And that part of me rears it's ugly head far to often.

Today I was running. And I was worshiping. And I was talking to God.

And He stopped me in my prattling and prayer and silenced me.

And I heard, clearly, His voice.

Do you love me?

Of course, Lord. You have blessed me and given me so much...

Do you love me?


Do you trust me?

Not fully. (and that HURT to admit)


Yes, why? Why don't I trust Him? Why is that part of me reserved for disbeleif? Why haven't I plunged into His love and fully committed myself to trust?

Hasn't he earned it? And doesn't He deserve it?

What am I waiting for?

Well, I am waiting for the other shoe to drop. I am waiting for it to all be revealed to be smoke and mirrors. I am waiting for the fallout.

I am waiting for Him to stop loving me.

As I have always done with those I loved.

Ingrained in my soul is the ability to on the face trust, but to pull back the most sacred part of myself and keep it hidden...just in case.

And He said:

In case of what?

And I had no answer. Because with God there is no "in case". There is NOTHING, nothing in this life He does not walk me through. There is not one injury that goes unseen, There is not one sin unnoted. There is not one appeal for forgiveness repelled.

Nothing, nothing, can be hidden from God. And nothing cannot be walked through. There is nothing that cannot be healed. Nothing that cannot be mended.

You may think that part of yourself is hidden. But it is fully revealed to me at every moment.



Allright then.


I guess it is time to shine a bright light on that part of myself. To look and see it, fully.

And to open it, to the One who can at all times, and in all things, be trusted.

There is no point in loving unless you do it all the way. By throwing your heart in despite what may happen. By trusting love. By trusting that if hurt comes, it teaches. By deciding that injury is inevitable, disappointment expected. We cannot love without enduring pain. Opening yourself requires being vulnerable to hurt.

And right at this moment, I am refusing to let hurt worry me anymore. I am refusing to let pain and past regrets determine how I love, now. TODAY.

I am casting all of my belief on Him. I am casting all of my cares. I am giving over to him my heart, and trusting that anything that comes we can walk togther.

And I am opening myself to loving more and with greater abandon than ever before.

Thursday, April 19, 2012


Don't forget!

Donuts for Dad tomorrow!


The small piece of paper slipped from Lily's hand into mine. I read it and sighed. She looked at me.

"I know mama. Daddy can't be here."

Here eyes threatened tears, but her voice was steady.

"But he still loves me and wishes he could come, right?"

"Yes baby." I slip on my sunglasses to hide tears of my own.

We drove home in silence. Hers, peaceful. Mine, boiling with feelings.

Mark's job takes him away weekly. Sometimes for a few days, sometimes, like this week, for the entirety.

It is what he has always done. It is not new. And though I hate it, we get by. It is stressful and hard and I wish it could be different, but it's his job.

I am enough for my children. I can handle them alone for a week. I can do everything that needs to be done- the changing and bathtimes and feeding. I can do it all. They don't suffer any lack of care.

But Lily misses him. She cries for him. Her heart misses his heart desperately.

Lily also knows, when he comes home, he is hers. Fully and completely. If she needs him, he is there. If she wants him, he comes running. When she cries, he holds her.

He is dedicated to her. This is something she knows.

So this Donuts for Dad, this time he is missing, is merely a blip to her. It causes her sadness and a bit of envy of her other friends whose daddies can come, but it doesn't scar her.

Me, on the other hand, I am struggling.

I can feel the devil pulling at me today. I can feel his grip on my mind and my heart, reminding me over and over again of remembered pain, of remembered waiting, of remembered disappointment.

The sad truth is, you never outgrow wanting your daddy. Never.

And I want mine. And I miss him.

Right now, sitting in this chair miles from him, years from the last time I saw him, I can smell his scent. Whiskey, cigarettes, old spice. I can see his eyes, set deep into his face, surrounded by wrinkles. His hair, silver and lush. His clothes, his stature, his cane.

I can call him up as if he were here, beside me.

I can feel him.

The longing is...wrenching.

And I try so hard to tell myself- This is MY time. I have a family now. I am creating good. I am healing myself. I am the soft place to fall. I am there for my babies. My family is strong.

But I still am, inside, a small girl, sitting in the blistering Vegas sun, waiting for my daddy.

She's still there. And at times like these, she makes her presence very known.

And to see any of that longing reflected in my daughter...

It upends all of the emotions like a Pandora's box.

I have learned when my heart gives way like this, it is from God. There is no stopping the emotion or the pain. It gets a grip on me. It hurts, it burns, and it rends.

But it also teaches.

I miss my father. I miss him everyday, when I see other grandfather's with their grandkids. I miss him when I smell smoke. I miss him when I see a great sunset.

And I have a thousand what if's. And a million regrets. And alot of guilt over not reaching out, now. But what I have to say to him he will not answer.

Why didn't you save me, daddy? Why wasn't I important enough to rescue?

And that silence is more damaging than what I feel at this moment.

I am in a limbo state. Not at peace. Not at rest with him. I love him. I will always love him, but his lack of care and silence wears on me, and always has. He loved me and cared for me when it was convenient for him. This is the truth. And although I have forgiven him for that, I cannot be pulled in again, when the truth of who we are to each other is never spoken of.

I AM his child. I deserved to be taken care of. I deserved to be safe, and not abandoned. I deserved his love.

And I wasn't.

Yes, I am 35. You may be thinking I should get over it. But one thing my life has taught me is if I DO NOT remember these things, it will slip away from me. The immediacy of the pain will be lost.

And then I am at risk for doing to my babies what he did.

So keeping the pain close, keeps them safe.

This pain comes when I need it, when I am at risk of forgetting.

I know it is God given. I know he has stripped me bare as the tide pools. He is showing me my voids, my wounds, my ugliness.

And I know the tide also returns, covering these places with life and nourishment.

So now, I wait for the tide to come in.

Friday, April 13, 2012

An Open Letter

To all of the people who frowned at me, shook their heads, and whispered as I passed them in the mall last night:

My son is 2. He doesn't talk much yet. He doesn't have words for his frustration or his anger. He can't figure out how to get what he is feeling from his brain to his lips, so he cries. And he screams. And he hits himself with his little fists.

No, there is nothing wrong with him.

He is simply, angry. And he can't say so. And that makes him angrier. Which spirals into an epic fit.

And yes, I knew this would happen when I took him to ride the train. I knew he would scream and cry for an hour after coming off of it. I knew.

And I did it anyway.

So sue me. So You had to hear him scream. So you had to make judgements in your head, or whisper to whomever you were shopping with. So you had to give me fake sympathetic smiles.

I'm not sorry.

Because seeing that little boys face as we rode that tiny train through the mall, as he got to call out "Baaaaaaaa!!!" (bye) and "Whooooo Whoooo" as we passed people and stores and the food court was worth it.

The 5 minute ride was worth the struggle of the hour after. The hour of screaming and kicking and crying.

Why? Because he is 2. And so few things are simply joyful at 2. Bubbles, cars, swinging, and the train ride at the mall top the list.

All the rest of the day he is at my whim. He goes where I go. He doesn't choose to go to the grocery store, the gym, the post office. He doesn't choose to eat grilled cheese for lunch or to have a nap. He doesn't choose what to wear or when to leave the house.

I choose it all for him. And he has no control.

And he is 2. And behind in his verbal skills due to repeated ear infections. And he is easily frustrated. AND HE WANTED TO KEEP RIDING THE DANG TRAIN.

And I GET him. I understand his little heart and his feelings. That's why I wasn't scolding him. That's why I gave him a cookie. That's why I stopped to hug him and kiss him while he cried. That's why I got down on my knees in the middle of the mall and talked to him, again and again.

Imagine you are 2. You can't talk. You can't communicate. And something you treasure is given to you and then abruptly removed. What would you do?

So next time you want to cut your eyes at a mother with a screaming child, just remember: She is probably doing her best. She is probably trying. And your comments, your frowns, and your looks cut right to the heart of her as a mama. They make her doubt herself. They make her feel ashamed and angry.

See that little face? It is precious to me. It is precious to God. And despite his faults- temper and fierce independence, he is a joy to me. He is my baby. Not just a screaming child to be annoyed with. Somebody's baby. Beloved.

Kindness is never ever futile. Next time, try to be kind instead of judgemental.

Thursday, April 5, 2012


Today is an ultra special day.

This morning I stepped on the scale, and I was down 35 lbs.

My daughter weighs 35 lbs.

I am 35.

The walkway around out subdivision is 3.5 miles.

So, can you imagine what I did? That's right- I loaded my baby girl in the stroller and we took off for a 3.5 mile run.

My first run since surgery.

My first all out cardio since surgery.

(I am 7 weeks out)

And, I did it. Not only did I do 3.5 miles, I did 4.2. Mostly because Lily fell asleep and I didn't want to disturb her by stopping, but hey, I still did it!

I couldn't run the whole time. And a few months ago, that would have made me upset with myself.

Not today. Today I picked up my feet and put them down without a thought of how fast I was going, how far I was going, or of how long it would take.

I set my feet down one in front of the other today, enjoying the feeling of my body coming alive under it's own power, with the only goal being to finish.

And finish I did. Before I could even blink it was over. And I was sweaty and out of breath and completly joyful.

Starting weight 2.14.12- 229

Today's weight 4.5.12- 194

Thursday, March 29, 2012

I don't know.

The text message came to me. The words, sad and angry and fearful all at once.

"Why? Why can't God stop this?"

And my heart hurt. My words froze. All of the things that I could say got lost under my own remembered pain, my own remembered helplessness.

And I answered: I don't know.

Because I just don't. I don't know why things happen to people. I don't know why good people become different, struck down by disease and addiction.

I don't know.

I've walked this my entire life. I have loved God my whole life. And I still have no answers.

The situation has peeled away all of my layers of healing I have applied. It has unearthed all of my own sadness. And I thank God for that. I thank Him for the remembered feeling, for the pain, and for the feelings of being at odds with this world we live in.

Because it reminds me that I don't have any answers.

The world is a broken place. Filled with broken people. A world that is becoming more and more lost and broken by the day. And the only thing we have to cling to when the world shatters is God.

But to do that we have to lay down all of our own understanding. We have to look past the people in our lives to see the creatures God has made. Creatures who have their own path to walk. Nobody's walk is our own. We can't walk for them. We can't drag them along.

And we can't make anyone better. Even those we love more than life. And even those who should be our shield and our fortress. Those who should protect us and those that should hold us up.

They fall too. And their falling resonates forever in our own world.

We get angry. We shake our fists and we cry. We beg and we plead. But some things cannot be reasoned with. And some things cannot be fixed.

Some things can't be fixed.

Not by human hands, or human words, or human deeds.

My parents had their own walk, long before I was born. The had their own path to God. Do I agree with their choices? No. But I have come to know, through tears and agony and self blame, that there was nothing in this world I could have done to change they steps they took.

It was their path. Not mine.

The moment of letting go of that was the most heart rending of my entire life. The pain of it was intense and searing. I felt like I was going to die. I felt sick. I felt angry and ashamed and disgusted.

Until I handed it to God. Until I said. "I cannot."

Cannot carry this.
Cannot hurt this way.
Cannot feel responsible.
Cannot worry this much.
Cannot hurt this much.
Cannot take into myself their pain and make it my own.

That is the only answer I have, after 35 years in this skin, loving my Savior.

I Don't know why these things happen. I don't know how to fix them. I don't know how to make the pain go away.

But I do know who can, and does and will. And until I reach Heaven, that will have to be enough.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A Milestone

Today it is 6 weeks since my surgery.

I got on the scale today not anticipating a change, but there it was: a full 30 pounds lost.

30. It seems like so much. It is halfway to my goal of 60.

But it is just a number. It cannot compare to the lightness of my breath, the difference in my energy level and stamina, the way I can feel my heart settling into a steady beat as I push myself with weights.

It is in the way my body responds to all I am demanding of it- carrying babies, cooking, laundry, workouts. My body gives with flexibility and strength. It pushes beyond endurance into excellence when I ask it to- when I lift an extra 20 pounds, when I bump up my cardio.

It's as if all this time, my body and myself were separated, and now it is fusing.

In short, my outside reflects my inside now.

So today instead if going to the gym, I wanted to celebrate my small victory.

Days are gone when I would have eaten something decadent, or taken a nap.

Today I strapped my Sammy into his Beco carrier, grabbed the dog, and went for a long walk.

Sam is 31 lbs. Just a little over what I have lost. And as I carried him I felt every pound. It was there in the small ache of my feet, the burning in my thighs, and the cracking of my knees. It was a heavy, sweet reminder of what I have left behind.

And when I finished three miles and lifted him from my back, I felt like I could fly.

I have a feeling that there are many more moments like this to come, but today, walking in the cold breeze and warm sunshine with my boy chattering in my ear, life was very very sweet. And it's only going to get sweeter.

Thursday, March 22, 2012


Yesterday I walked by a floor to ceiling mirror at the mall. As I passed, a woman in a long purple maxi dress and a big white cardigan caught my eye. She was shapely, curvy, and elegant. Her face was free from all makeup except gloss and mascara. Her hair was twisted up tightly, showing off her slim face and neck.

I did a double take.

The woman was me.


And in that split second between knowing I was looking at myself, and thanking I was looking at a stranger, I thought I was beautiful.

I can tell you that it was the first time since I was called "fat" at age 10, that I liked what I saw in the glass. The first time I didn't pick myself apart, my hand going immediately to my stomach, my lip curling at the sight of my thighs.

This has been, by far, the deepest prayer of my heart, the one I prayed out loud in the surgery room as I went under anesthesia: "Lord, change me inside as you change me outside."

And He has. As in all things, He has been faithful. He has been gentle. He has been comforting when my doubts got in my way.

In all ways He has reminded me that this was a choice He and I made together. That it was for my good. That it was to unshackle me.

I feel the hold food has over me peeling away, revealing what food truly is: fuel. Nourishment for life. To move, to care for my children, to be strong and healthy. It is only that- fuel. It is not to hide behind, to take refuge in, to drown in. It is not to bury my feelings in or to create a body that keeps others away.

It is to live that I eat. To subsist. I have been freed.

I feel every word that has every been hurled at me disappearing slowly. Washed away by the tide of my own confidence. Realizing that these words are not ME. They are not my body, not my spirit.

I am opening to the world. And it has nothing to do with the number on the scale, or the number on my jeans.

It has to do with me and my Savior. It has to do with giving up all that binds me. That makes me sit in fear of speaking up, being seen, or living life.

Freedom is sweeter than anything I could ever taste. And I am rejoicing in the breaking of bonds.

Monday, March 12, 2012

The skinny

Tomorrow is my one month surgi-versary!

One month out, and I have zero regrets. None. My recovery has been awesome. I have felt good from the beginning, only hanving a handful of days when I was tired or dragging.

My belly has healed. I will always have scars, but in a weird way, I don't care. The scars are from a positive life choice- I put them up there with stretch marks from pregnancy.

Two things that have been downers- I have rapidly lost muscle tone in my legs and butt. They have always been big, but also muscular. Those muscles have dwindled quite a bit, leaving me feeling very loosey goosey. However, I know I put on muscle very quickly, so I am psyched to get back to lifting weights daily to restore it. The second- the hair loss has started. Luckily I have a ton of hair, but I am praying that it doesn't thin too much.

So far, I've been super lucky.

Daily I am still on protein shakes and a few bites of other things. I can't eat much still- around 1/4th of a cup at most. But I am back to being able to drink ice water, which made me gag post surgery.

And, I am down 24 lbs. I can see the change in my face and my body- everything seems easier. Moving, walking, biking. My ankles and my knees don't ache. I have energy. And this is after just losing 24lbs of my 100 lb goal! I can't imagine what life will look like in a few months. Just being able to wear a swimsuit without being embarassed- it truly brings tears to my eyes.

Thanks for taking this journey with me. Please comment with any questions, or e-mail me. I am an open book!

Surgery weight- 229

Weight today- 205

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


I am going to pull no punches in this post. Because I am angry. And I am disgusted.

Today I read this post on Barefoot Foodie, and my head wanted to implode.

How is this possible? How is it possible that somebody feels that they can spew their venom onto somebody they have never seen before? How?

And more importantly, why?

What about us is so broken we feel that we are entitled to break others, or entiled to burden others with our words?

Because we can break others. With the most destructive weapon of all- our words.

Words have power. They have weight. They are something we all must carry- the words that have been thrust upon us.

And maybe I am more sensitive than most, because I have been abused. I have been bullied.

And you are going to say- let it go.

And I would love to. I would love to release those words. But I can't. And I make no excuses for it. I am simply not somebody who can shake off what others say about me.

I am not the only one either.

Are you one of these people? One who hurts for the sake of hurting? One who delights in the tears of others? If so, you sicken me.

Think about it. Think about the words you have said in anger. Or in malice. Or to see somebody cry. Think about your venomous tendencies. Think about how you have taken something broken and bloodied in your own mind and pushed it onto somebody else to make you feel better.

How dare you?

Do you not realize that the things you say are weighted? That the person you say them to carries them always? Words do not disappear. They transfer. They break hearts. They cause pain. And they injure. Forever.

Am I naive to think that people can be kind? Should be kind? Yes. Maybe I am. Or maybe my viewpoint is one that reaches farther and deeper, one that know I will have to answer for everything I have said or done.

I will answer for gossip.

I will answer for words that injure others.

I will answer for the pain I cause.

I will answer for it all.

Everything I have given to anyone else, good or bad, I will have to face.

If you are somebody who carries destruction in your words, somebody who hurls lies and hurt onto others with your mouth, you need to know something.

The power you think this gives you is false. The fleeting moment of seeing your hurt register in somebody else's eyes is a lie. Your words are bullets, taking down anyone in their path.

You are only a coward, hiding behind words.

I urge you to claim the power of your mouth. To keep it for the things of God- love, kindness, mercy and praise. To utilize this amazing instrument God has given us to uplift and pray for those you would normally insult.

And if not, I pray you will be mute and not injure.

Job 27:4
my lips will not say anything wicked, and my tongue will not utter lies.

Psalm 19:14
May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Isaiah 51:16
I have put my words in your mouth and covered you with the shadow of my hand— I who set the heavens in place, who laid the foundations of the earth, and who say to Zion, ‘You are my people.’”

Monday, March 5, 2012

Dear Lily

Dear Lily,

Yesterday you were so sleepy. Your eyes were heavy, and your words ran short. I asked you to go to your room, sure you would lie down and fall asleep. I watched from my place on the couch as you struggled to keep your eyes open while watching a movie.

I was annoyed with you. Why can't you just sleep? Why must you fight what you know is good for you?

Then you looked at me. You sat up, and stretched your arms out to me, asking to come.

How could I resist?

So you slid like a puppy into my curved space, nestled tight against me. Your head was at my breast, your hand curled into a cup. And as I watched you, it was as if 5 years disappeared and you were a baby again, so small and sacred in my arms.

Your ears are the same- small and pink. Your lips heavy and full, your lashes long and elegant against your pale cheek. Your hair is longer now, but still so much the same- fine, wispy against your face. Your hands are bigger now, of course, but so perfect, the lines of them heartbreakingly fragile as they curled into the space under your chin.

I watched your eyes close, smiling as you drifted off, your body against mine going heavy and lighter all at the same time. I wrapped my arms around you as you sleepily whispered "Mama." Then you were asleep. It took a matter of seconds.

And I thought about this moment. All you needed to sleep was my touch. My arms, my scent and my breathing is a lullaby to you, a sailing space that is safe and known. You can drift with me, fall away into darkness and calm.

And as I held you, I thought of how I am held. How the safety I give to you is an extension of the safety God gives to me. How I drift on the words of my prayers and the hope that they give me, sailing to a place this world cannot touch.

Oh my sweet Lily, you have taught me so much. But the most remarkable and wonderful gift you have given me is the knowledge that I am more than your mother. I am a child of God, and He gave you to me. To raise, to carry, to hold and to nurture. Your presence in my life has helped me to know what is important and what is right.

And most of all, you have taught me to love with everything in me, to give of everything I have, and to allow myself to be held.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Dear Anonymous

Anonymous said...
Sounds like you need to be thanking the surgeon who cut most of your stomach off and made you stop being such a fatass. Ever thought about that one?

February 28, 2012 11:34 AM

Dear Anonymous,

Hi there. I just have a few quick words for you, and then we can part ways.

Thank you.

Thank you for showing me that in a moment within reading something that should have been devastating, I can feel...nothing. Nothing at all. No anger, or sadness. That I can freely call out to my Savior in the moment between the words and the feeling and can be protected from it.

Thank you for showing me that I have amazingly supportive friends, who not only comfort me but also pray for YOU. Such Godly women I have in my life- such blessings.

Thank you for being an exact example of where I have come from- from bitterness and anger and misery to where I am now.

See, the worst thing somebody used to be able to hurt me with was the word fat. It got under my skin, made me cry. It angered me and made me lash out.

But not anymore. I am more than just this body. I am more than these extra pounds, and more than what can be seen.

I am a child of God. I am loved. I am treasured. Despite anything I may think of myself, He tells me differently.

And it is true for you as well. You are loved. You are treasured. And you can give yourself over to this peace of knowing that you are accepted. You don't have to hurt people to feel good about yourself. And you don't have to injure to feel less pain about who you are.

You can just be you, and let God sweep change through your life. You can just be you and be loved. And you can let go of bitterness forever.

I am praying for you, anonymous. I am grateful to you for reminding me of an invaluable lesson that is easy to forget- that I am sheltered and protected and the words and pain of this world cannot double me over anymore.

I honestly have love for you, and pity for you. I pray that God changes your life like he has done mine.

Take care, and may God bless you richly.

In His Love,


I feel like I am a different person already. And it's not because I am down 18 lbs. It's not because my clothes fit better or I have more energy.

It's because with every pound shed, I am released from a bondage that has held me for 25 years.

Food is a prison. Eating out of anger or guilt or sadness is something I had done for so long that I didn't even realize how I relied on food to help me through emotions. And I did. Very much.

I have eaten out of pain since I was little. Boxes of mac and cheese, cookies, candy. My parents didn't give me much, but they did feed me. And food became love.

I just cringed at that last sentence. Because it sounds cliche. And it sounds like I am excusing myself. And I'm not.

I own my mistakes. I own every cupcake and cookie and candy I ate. I own the addiction to the numbing feeling food would give me.

And I also own my lonely struggle to break it. And how I could not.

The diference between before the surgery and now is that I have hope. I have hope that I will be here when my kids need me, that I will be agile and strong. That I will be fully present and un-numbed by food. That I can model an addiction free life and inner strength and reliance on God. That I will be here.

God pushed me through something I didn't know I could do- give up my crutch. He healed me from bondage. The healing took shape of incisions, staples, and blood, and pain...but it was healing none the less.

And so. Hi. It's the same me. Same face, same hands, same voice, same words.

But the inside is a different landscape, one that I am allowing God to build up at His will. I surrendered my addiction to Him. I left all of my ability to eat and feel nothing on the surgery table.

Now it is just me, inside here. Me and my thoughts. Nothing to numb them or make them become distant. And it is tough. But like many things that are hard and painful, it is worth it.

I am a new creation. To God be the glory.

2 Corinthians 5:17
New International Version (NIV)

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here!

Friday, February 17, 2012

In the light

Well, as you can see, I made it!

The surgery went so well. I have no words. My doctor said it was one of the easiest and fastest he has ever done- just under an hour start to finish. I know this is because The Great Physician was there, fully present.

I woke up from anesthesia in a bit of discomfort. I was nauseous and disoriented, but the nurse who was taking care of me had a beautiful St Mary necklace on. I took one look at that, closed my eyes, and let peace fill me.

Mark came to the room after I was settled. He was so relieved. So was I. I can't give any details of what that afternoon or night was like, because it is a bit hazy. But I walked 7 times around the ward before sleep. I got up at midnight and washed up, brushed my teeth, and put lotion on. Suffice it to say, I felt really well.

I went home on the 15th. I can tell you that my most unconfortable times were that afternoon and evening. The gas pains from the co2 they fill you with are AWFUL. Very, very uncomfortable. They settle up around your shoulders and neck and the only way to get rid of them is walking and time. Let me tell you, I am one to be very embarassed about getting rid of gas, but everytime I have the past few days I have cheered! :)

Yesterday my daughter had her 5 year old birthday bash. I was basically just a spectator, since we combined it with Lily's bestie Kayley's party. Her mommy did almost all of the work- I just showed up. But I can say I was on my feet nearly the whole two hours. And I felt fine. Tired, but fine.

I woke up this morning feeling nearly normal. Now normal is not the same- I haven't had anything but water, crystal light, and jello since Sunday. But I am able to vacuum, help with the kids, and empty the dishwasher.

And I am down 10 pounds.

And I owe all of it to my Savior. He put me on the path. He made the way before me with the doctors. He guided my surgeons hands. He gave me wonderful nurses. And He has continued to give me strength beyond what I could have on my own.

I am in the light now, with the tunnel firmly behind me. And it is beautiful.

Starting weight- 229

Weight today- 219

Sunday, February 12, 2012


I feel like I am on the edge. Standing, toes over the line, between darkness and light, looking into a long tunnel of suffocating unknowns.

I am standing on the edge of what terrifies me, a journey through something I cannot control with changes I cannot anticipate.

It's light on the other side of this tunnel. I know it, with a profound certainty that only comes from God.

But this darkness before has humbled me. It has forced me to confront just how much I need to control everything- how hard it is to surrender.

I am terrified of the surgery. Scared of others having control of my body, of hands opening wounds in my stomach and rearranging my insides. I'm scared of waking up in pain. I'm scared of being alone in the hospital.

I'm scared. And I don't get scared very often. I don't feel fear over much of anything. If I am anxious, I take control over the situation.

But I can't do that. I have to trust other people. I have to commit my body into the hands of what I have been told is a brilliant surgeon. I have to close my eyes and allow myself to sleep as I am being operated on.

And everytime I think about it, I can't breathe.

But I know, I know, God is in that darkness. That He exists even when I am asleep and cannot call out to Him. That even in the midst of my terror and uncertainty, He stands beside me.

After all, I am a believer. And we have been given words for these things-

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:6-7)

Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall. (Psalm 55:22)

When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul. (Psalm 94:19)

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
(Psalm 139:23-24)

And I believe that God led me through this entire process, from beginning to the end. He went before me into this, allowed me favor with the doctors, the insurance, and the hospital.

And I have no doubt that He will be with me, guiding my surgeons hands, watching over me as this life changing procedure is done.

But my humanity cries out with fear. I am here, on the edge. At any time I can back away from this.

But if I do, I walk way from health. I walk away from something that can only help me to be better, freer from the things that take my focus from God. I am shackled right now, held deep under by this body that causes me shame and keeps me from living the life I want to.

This surgery frees me from chains I have wound around myself. It will be the greatest tool I will EVER have to be healthy and free.


Tuesday morning, I will be terrified. I will be tearful and I will be anxious. I will stand at the mouth of this darkness trembling with fear.

But as I walk forward, His hand will touch mine. And He will lead me through to the light.

Monday, February 6, 2012


Dear Sam,

I am writing to apologize to you, my sweet baby boy.

You see, I was not prepared for you. Since you were 8 months old, you have been on the go- always moving, always active. You have been an intensely physical child from the very beginning- at all times you challenge yourself to do more, climb higher, reach further. You are determined and stubborn. You are all boy. And it is exhausting just watching you, let alone trying to keep up.

I wasn't prepared for a child who didn't want to talk. For a child that didn't want to sit and cuddle, or read books and play quietly. I looked at you- your boyish spirit, your need for action, your adventurous ways, and I thought "Oh no! How am I going to deal with this?"

And at times, I resented your lack of need for me. I ached for you to want me to hold you, or for you to look to me for comfort.

But you don't.

And I am realizing the beauty in all of that sweet boy. I am looking at you with new eyes- eyes that are opened to the wonder that you are. I am embracing you as a whole- your active ways, your expressive eyes, and your silence. I am waking up to what your world is like- so physical, so driven to move and to play that words get...lost or forgotten. Words lose meaning in the face of a line of monster trucks in the sun, or a swing swaying in the breeze.

I am loving your quiet and sturdy presence. You take everything in. You absorb it all. And your heart is so big. Despite being so focused on what you want, you have an amazing empathy for those who are sad or hurt.

Sometimes I just watch you as you watch your world. I see you sit in your own silence, your eyes and hands always moving, moving. Pushing cars, climbing furniture, stacking legos. I see you turn your eyes to your sister with such love. You wrap your arms around her and squeeze her tight. You call for her when she is at school.

I have a confession: for a long time I wondered if you were okay, if your silence spoke of something broken inside. If it was something I did...Is it me? Am I not nurturing you as you need?

But now I know differently. All of your lights are on buddy- glowing brighter everyday. You are funny, and kind, and remarkable. You are determined and loving and stubborn. You are smart and compassionate.

And you have shown me all of these pieces of yourself, without speaking. And that, in itself, is wondrous.

So here's to you, my sweet quiet one. I can't wait to see what else you have to teach me.

Monday, January 30, 2012


We all encounter silence in our lives. Stillness. Emptiness. Moments of soundless agony.

The second after angry words are hurled.

The quiet of sadness that breaks upon us in waves.

The moment we realize we are utterly alone.

The seconds before the hurt child utters a bone breaking wail.

The time when the child should cry, but is still. So still.

In these moments, He can be found. Close as skin, speaking to us in the silence of our pain. Holding us as we scream for mercy from providence, from circumstance.

From death. Unfair death.

He is there. He is faithful, and close to the brokenhearted. Even in our angry demands of "Why?", He sits with us.

When the moment of birth becomes filled with stillness, when the cry doesn't come, when the pain is a breaking of the soul and heart so terrible the angels cry...He is there. In the midst of it all.

And I believe His tears fall with ours. Our pain is His pain. And I also believe he is the mightiest of comforters, the strongest of pillars to lean on.

Somewhere under a wintry Nebraska sky, a baby was born. In silence.

I pray that He is close to those who this breaks upon. That He holds them like the ocean holds the sand. I pray they feel His closeness and His comfort while the stillness of the birth echoes in their world.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

By the light of my IV bag...


Remember me?

I kinda deserted you for 3 weeks, eh? Sorry about that! But I promise I have lots to tell and some good stories!

The biggest of all? My baby turned 2. My precious little guy has been here for 2 years! It's amazing. He is bright and active and funny. He cracks us up with his babble and yelling into the phone. His face melts my heart. 2 years! It has gone SOOOOO fast! (and some days SOOOOO slow. Just being honest. Ahem)

And now we are looking down the pike at Lily's birthday, where she will turn 5. I seriously cannot think about it without tearing up. My sweet angel girl will be 5. Next year, she will go to kindergarten. It seems like yesterday I was holding her little apple sized head in my hand, tracing her ears, turned so pink and perfectly against her skin. And now, she is turning 5. Every single day with her has been a joy.

In other not so important news, I have done all of my appointments and doctor visits for my surgery, and I have a date- Valentine's Day!

Isn't it romantic?

I can just see Mark and I gazing into each others eyes by the light of the hospital fluorescent, or watching the sunset through grainy hospital glass windows. Maybe, if he is really lucky, he can hold my catheter bag while I walk the halls. I may even let him punch the button to give me more pain meds. Ain't he a lucky guy? I know, I spoil him.

I'm a little freaked out. I struggle with this daily- I LIKE myself. I would want to hang out with myself. Why am I doing something to change myself? I also struggle with the whole- "Big is beautiful" thing. It is beautiful, yes, but is it healthy? No.

I have started to think of it like this- I am already running a race. I am actively CHASING health. I have taken alot of steps already- being active, exercising, changing my diet, controlling portions, GIVING UP COFFEE FOR GOD'S SAKE!!!!!!!!!! GIVING UP CAKE AND COOKIES AND CARBS!!!!!!!

The surgery is the biggest step, the most important step. I can be afraid of it, but I am doing it anyway- fear or no fear.

Because you know what's scarier?

Hating myself. Pulling myself down. Wrecking my own psyche. Damaging myself.

I am going to be in pain. I am going to have to struggle to figure out what I can and cannot eat, and I am never going to be able to sit at a meal mindlessly.

And maybe that's good. It's GOOD to focus on what you are fueling your body with. To truly see it for what it is, examine it, decide if its nutritionally sound. All of that is good, and I am up for it.

My biggest problem right now is feeling as if I am burdening anybody with this. I do not want anyone to have to go out of their ways to help me, to take care of my kids, or to do anything for me. But that's just not possible. I have to allow people to help- because they want to and they love me. I need to realize that nobody will feel obligated or resentful. But damn it's hard to ask for help. Very hard. But I need it, so...

Please pray for my kiddos. For my family. That this will be an easy recovery and the results will be worth the work and tears that went into the decision.

Thanks friends. Love to all.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Off the rails

So last night was my first nutritional class for post op.

It scared me to death.

And not because I was worried about never drinking 30 mins before, during, or 30 mins afer neals ever again.

And not because getting enough protein into your small stomach pouch is WORK after surgery.

Not because I have to take chewable supplements 3-4 times as day for the rest of my life.

Not because it will be a struggle not to get dehydrated or anemic.

But because for the first 6 months, I will have to focus ALOT of time and energy on ME.

And I don't do that.

I am a caregiver. I take care of people. And it's not that I don't take care of myself- because I do. But this will require ALOT of time and focus. And it makes me very uncomfortable.

I don't want this to burden anyone.

I don't want to burden anyone with MY care. That's not my role right now. My role is to TAKE CARE of everyone.

I am overwhelmed with the details. I am overwhelmed with figuring out how I am going to balance feeding my children, caring for them, and all of my other responsibilities, along with finding the time to eat when I am not hungry. To cut my food into pencil eraser sized bites, chew it to applesauce consistency, and get in my 1200 calories, 60-80 grams of protein every single day.

Can you imagine?

I can't.

But I CAN imagine a cold white winter day. A cold granite stone with my name on it. And my children crying.

And that is why despite my worries, and despite my concerns, I am going to keep going.

I am going to need help, and prayers, and good friends. My kids will need playdates and other mamas to pick them up and hold them when I won't be able to. My husband will need a break and time to work. We will have to financially sacrifice to hire help if need be, to buy supplements, to pay for the nutrition classes and therapy afterwards.

It seems so so selfish. And so wrong. And entirely the wrong time to focus on myself.

But if I don't do this NOW, I will have to do it LATER. When I am older and less able to recover. When I weigh more and have less mobility. When I have diabetes or my blood pressure isn't controllable anymore.

And so NOW, in this moment, I am choosing my health. And I am choosing to take the time to make this work, to keep myself healthy, and to be HERE for my children.

I am choosing to burden my husband with my care. I am choosing to worry my in-laws and friends. I am choosing to remove myself in some capacity from my children's lives. Even if it is for just a few days.I have never spent a night away from them. I have never been away from either of them for more than 5 hours.

And it breaks my heart. I know that that sounds dramatic, but it is not. My children are my world. I am involved in every aspect of their day. I make all decisions for them. I feed them every meal. I tuck them in every night. I wake them every morning.

And I know that with this decision comes risks. Death. Complications.

That scares me more than I have words for.

And I have no words for that. I have nothing that I can comfort myself with. I can only pray.

And I hope you will keep praying with me.