Friday, March 30, 2012

When it rains...

You grab your fanciest umbrella,

some fun rain boots,

and you let it rain.



Knowing all along,

that you are covered.

Making it work... (and linking up with Small Style)
Hoodie and leggings: Target, Emma hand-me-downs
Boots: Kidorable, gifted
Umbrella: Kidorable via Zulily

Sunday, March 25, 2012


When the tears are falling and the aches are tearing,
Use me, Lord.

When the laughter is healing and the sun is warming,
Use me, Lord.

When the day is flying and the child is asking,
Use me, Lord.

When the friend is hurting and the feet need washing,
Use me, Lord.

When the world is searching and the answers are missing,
Use me, Lord.

When you are prompting and I am listening,
Use me, Lord.

Until your work is done,
Use me.


"Yet, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand."
Isaiah 64:8

Thursday, March 15, 2012

No Words

I love to talk. To ask questions. To find good answers. To read and write it out until it makes sense.

I like to lose myself in the words because it is then that I often find myself.

But some days, I want -- no need -- to be quiet. Some days, I just want to watch them.

No words. Just love.


And I usually find myself there too.


Making it Work...
Shirt and vest: Baby Gap, niece hand-me-downs
Skirt: Old Navy, niece hand-me-down

Monday, March 12, 2012


I hesitate to write this, and I'm not entirely sure why. It is real. It is honest. Things I promised this blog would be. But I'm still nervous. Maybe because Brooklyn might read this some day, and I don't want her to ever think I don't love her exactly the way she is. Maybe because I wonder what you'll think of me. Or maybe because I don't want others to feel weird -- or guilty -- around me because their children don't have physical challenges.

But, today, I am pushing all of that aside, and I am going to "just write" it for me. It needs to come out, and I need to make sense of it. So here goes...

For the first time the other day, I imagined what it would be like if Brooklyn didn't have Spina Bifida. I mean really imagined. Lately, I have been watching, noticing other little ones, and I started to wonder, what if...

I tried to envision her running along side her sisters, her cousins. Climbing onto furniture. Cruising along the edge of a coffee table. Getting up onto the fireplace.

I wondered what she'd be like. Would she be a monkey like Kendall -- climbing onto everything -- or a busy bee like Emma -- running around in circles (literally) until she fell down laughing.

What would it look like to see her pigtails bounce as she skipped? Would her personality be different? Her smile bigger? Her giggles louder?

Would she walk on her tip-toes? Would she spin and spin until she collapsed to the ground in exhaustion? Would she chase her sisters around the house, or would she prefer to be chased?

As the tears clouded my already cloudy vision, I tried my hardest to see it. And for a second, it was there. All of it.

I've never done that before. I did write this piece, but that was different. That was imagining her years from now (in Heaven) and it was from her perspective, not mine. I never actually tried to see my Brooklyn -- the one I see every day -- as anyone but who she is at this moment.

And now I know why.

It hurts. A LOT.

But more than anything, it is confusing. It makes me feel guilty, and it does not make me happy.

I have written in the past that I have felt a loss, but no regret, and I think that is very accurate. From the beginning, my heart accepted God's plan for Brooklyn's life. Even if I didn't always want it or agree with it, I accepted it and I trusted Him. And I am grateful for that because otherwise I would constantly feel what I felt the other day, and let me tell you, that is NOT a good feeling.

I'm not sure if there is a lesson here or not, but I have to remind myself that not everything has to make sense all of the time. Sometimes things just are what they are, and you feel what you feel. And that's okay.

But going through that -- feeling that -- confirmed that it is a total waste of time and emotional energy to picture what could be when the real Brooklyn is wonderful and beautiful and in front of me RIGHT NOW.

And it wasn't until I went "there" that I realized just how much I accepted Brooklyn for who she is. Up until this point, I never even thought about picturing her any other way. For some reason, my images have always involved crutches and braces, even as I felt her squirm in my womb.

So, now, as I write this, I am deciding that I am not going to feel guilty about going "there" because as I'm sure you would all would tell me, it was a natural, human thing to do. And second, and definitely more importantly, because it showed me that focusing on the here and now is so much more fulfilling than focusing on what could or should be. There are some things in life that you can change, but there are other things in life that require you to simply change your perspective.

I guess that is a lesson after all -- one I can apply to many other things in my life that have nothing to do with Spina Bifida.

And that really is one of the greatest blessings of this journey. How it is teaching me to live. To not imagine a life I want, but to dig down deep and create the life I want with the many blessings I have been given. To accept, to trust, to appreciate, and simply love. At the end of the day, that is really what this life is all about. We just junk it up with a lot of other things that really don't matter.

When I think about living life to the fullest, I often imagine myself running through a field of wild grasses on a sunny day without a care in the world. And I got to it the feeling of running through the field that makes you feel alive, or is it the breeze running through your hair?

I didn't realize it until now, but for me, it is the breeze. I can't see it, but I can feel it. Whether my eyes are wide open or whether they are closed, I can just feel it. We can all feel it.

That, my friends, is my blessed assurance. I pray it is yours as well.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012


Today, sandwiched in between therapies, preschool pick-up, and a few conference calls was a small pocket of time. A time that could have been used to tackle the mountains (yes, mountains) of laundry sitting on my bedroom floor or the extremely neglected toilets and floors, but instead I grabbed an adorable two-braided girl by the hand and we skipped outside.


No phone, no nagging minutes, no plan. Just me and my middle enjoying some rare time alone in what ended up being the most gorgeous day we've had this year.


She rode her bike. I took pictures. We had a picnic with veggie straws and giggles, and we played baseball until Brooklyn woke up and joined the party.


The sun was bright enough for sunglasses, and fur-trimmed coats were shed and replaced with polka dot and plaid hoodies.



We had stroller races until Emma got off the bus -- the only indication that our time was almost up. Therapy #2 at 4:15.

As Emma headed down the driveway and handed me her coat, she pulled out a bottle of pink Hello Kitty nail polish from her sweater pocket -- the nail polish she asked me (about 103 times) to "pleeeeeease put on" this morning.  But between outfit wars, half-made lunches, and eggs on the stove, there was no time for nail polish.

"Why did you bring that to school with you?" I asked her.

"Because I wanted to," she said with a huge grin on her face. "I carried it with me all day."

With that, she put it back in her pocket and suggested we play hide and seek until Miss Julie arrived. I smiled, soaking up her wisdom, and agreed to be the seeker.

~Linking up to Just Write

Monday, March 05, 2012


I did not buy one piece clothing you see Brooklyn wearing in this photo. (Okay, I bought the socks, but you can't see them, so there. ;). Every piece was given to us either as a hand-me-down or as a gift. And although I didn't plan it this way, I cannot think of a better way to depict this past week.


For many reasons, the past few weeks have been emotional for me. Really emotional. Nothing major happened, I guess. It was just the pile-ups of many smaller things -- burdens -- I was carrying, that suddenly seemed too heavy, too much to bear alone.

But one of the many things I love about God is that He often uses your weakest moments to reveal some of the greatest blessings in your life. And this week, that blessing was my friends.

These past two years have taught me a lot, but one lesson I have really learned is what it means to be real friend. Don't get me wrong, I am no where near the perfect friend -- I am absolutely horrible at phone calls! -- but I do know what it means to be on the receiving end of friendship when something happens to rock your world.

I know how it feels to have thoughtful care packages delivered at exactly the right moment; what it means to have someone just listen; and how healing it is to see tears forming in your friends' eyes because they love you enough to hurt with you.

Too often, we back away from being there for someone because we don't want to bother them. Trust me, I have done that way too many times. But I have learned that there are many ways to let someone know you care, and let me tell you firsthand, they want to know that. And many times, they need to know that. 

It is really, really easy to isolate yourself when life throws you a sucker punch. The pressure to put on a brave face -- to be strong -- and then suffer behind closed doors. But God encourages us to share our burdens. With Him, of course, but also with others we love and trust.


I have taken that lesson to heart as both a giver and receiver of friendship. Seeing my friends love me makes me want to give more to them. It inspires me -- convicts me -- to be a better, more compassionate friend. To them and to others.

Nothing changed this week -- nor likely will change any time soon -- to take away some of the burdens I have been carrying. But I can definitely say that the load felt lighter, more manageable after I removed my mask and shared my heart.

There is no greater gift than knowing we are not alone. God is always there, yes, but I truly believe He puts people in your life for times when you need the warmth of a hug, the sound of a voice that says nothing more than "I'm here," or even a text to remind you that someone is praying right along side you.


The sweater Brooklyn is wearing was given to me by a friend that once showed up at my door during a very stressful time with brownies and my (extremely detailed) Starbucks order. The shirt and shoes are hand-me-downs from my sister-friend who joyfully watched my girls more times than I can count during my many OB and specialist appointments. The jeans are a hand-me-down from a friend that I know with all my heart has prayed for my children and wasn't afraid to text me the day after Brooklyn was born to see how I was doing. And the necklace is from my other sister-friend who did everything in her power  -- including ridiculous taxi fees -- to be there for every one of my girls' birthdays.

All precious gifts that were given to me out of true, God-given love. Gifts I treasure with all my heart.

Gifts I fully intend to share.