Friday, November 01, 2013

The Year of the Coach

We put way too much work into this year's Halloween not to post of few pix. I looked up several wheelchair ideas on Pinterest a while back, and once Brooklyn declared she wanted to be a "pink princess" this year, well, I knew this was going to be The Year of the Coach. :)

Thankfully, it wasn't as hard to make as it seemed, and it was actually very inexpensive. I am also super grateful that the rain managed to stop long enough to give the kids a good hour of trick or treating. It wasn't looking good earlier in the day.

So there you have it: a pink princess and her carriage -- and two big sisters who were more than happy to make sure she got all of her treats!

Hope everyone had a great Halloween!

Wednesday, August 07, 2013


In the early days of Brooklyn's diagnosis, I wrote. I wrote to heal, and I wrote to release. And I only wrote when I felt led. Somewhere in the middle of that, I started to feel obligated to write, and I hated that. I already have a writing job. This...this was for me. It was also for my family and anyone else who cared to read it, but, really it was for me. For a while, I stopped writing on here because it wasn't helping anymore. In fact, it was making everything confusing.

But today I am going to write for me again. Because I am ready, but mostly, because I need to.

As most of you know, Brooklyn turned 3 years old last week. As in, THREE YEARS OLD. That absolutely blows my mind. It amazes me how far we've come -- how far she has come -- and how life-changing and inspirational these last few years have been. So many questions have been answered; so many unknowns now known. Some of those answers have supplied more joy than I have ever experienced, but some of those answers have been heartbreaking. Some prayers have been answered the way I had hoped, but some of them have been answered in ways I have yet to understand.

It's interesting the way life goes on for everyone else after your world has been rocked. That is just the way it is, I know, but sometimes it is hard to come to terms with that fact when you are the one still dealing with the aftershocks. Most days, you can handle it and maybe even feel blessed by the impact, but there are days -- sometimes, weeks -- when the impact feels a little heavy and scary and maybe even a little unfair.

We are gearing up for Brooklyn to start preschool in a few weeks, which means school supplies and school clothes and lots of excitement. But it also means buying special leggings that will accommodate her braces, special backpacks that will securely attach to her wheelchair, and paperwork that requires me to write things like "paralyzed," "disabled," and "IEP." It also means preparing my heart for the moment when my 3 year old rolls up to a bus and waves goodbye -- a moment that feels way too soon, yet is necessary for the life I want for her.

That is hard.

And as I come to terms with all of this, she, too, is coming to terms with it. We have been talking a lot about her being a big girl now that she is 3 years old. We have ditched the binkie at night and getting ready to transition to a new big girl bed. There has also been lots of talk about big girl preschool and even a big girl dance class. All good stuff.

But then last week, she asked me on two different occasions if being a big girl meant she could stand all by herself..."like Emma."

Then, this morning, she said this to me...

"Mommy, can you get it for me? I can't reach it. I can't stand."

As her words -- "I can't stand" -- played over and over in my head, I found myself responding, "Yes you can, baby. You just need a little help."

But you know what? She can't stand. I know that. My heart knows that. And, now, she knows it too.

That is hard.

I have spent the last few years trying to pretend that this was getting easier. That I could do this...that we were going to rock this. But it isn't easy. It is hard, and honestly, it is getting harder. Physically and emotionally -- for me and for her -- it is getting harder.

And for some reason, I just needed to write that today. My heart needed to admit it, and I needed to also express it as a reminder to myself that saying it is getting harder doesn't indicate a failure on my just is what it is right now. History has shown me that God will get me through this, and in the meantime, there is no pretending necessary.

Like any mother, I am doing the best I can to give Brooklyn and Emma and Kendall what they need. And like any mother, I am also going to have seasons when it feels harder. Those seasons will come and go... and they will come and go and come and go.

Life doesn't usually get easier. I think you just get a little better at it with every step you take. Some steps will come easy, and some steps will take more effort. Sometimes you will fall, and sometimes you will come to a point where those steps are just too hard. As my rock star is teaching me, in those harder moments, you simply need to ask for help. That doesn't make you any less strong or any less able; it just makes you determined and that much closer to your destination.

We will get there, I know. She will get there, I know. But until then, will you say a little prayer for us as we navigate this tougher terrain? I coveted your prayers in our early "hard days," so I am humbly asking for those prayers again today.  Because I am ready to accept them, but mostly, because I need them.

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."
Philippians 4:6 NIV

Monday, February 18, 2013


I am starting fresh. I haven't written for a while, and there are lots of reasons for that. But, lately, I feel led to start sharing again. However, I don't want to share in a way that is self-serving or in a way that disrespects the privacy of my family. I have come to realize that is not what I want. And, really, those aren't the reasons I decided to start writing on a more personal level.

When I first decided to start sharing our testimony, I made a promise to myself and to God that it would be to glorify Him. I pray that in some ways, I did that. But I know that in other ways, I fell short. My intentions were mostly good, but they were also clouded with motivations that weren't entirely pure. When I realized that was happening, I stopped writing.

But I know now that I have to stop letting fear hold me back. If this is really what God wants me to do, then I need to just do it and trust. Even if that means someone won't like what I have to say. Even if it means someone will slap a label on me.

Honestly, I still don't know what all of this means and if it means anything, but I wanted a clean slate and that includes making sure we are all on the same page.

This blog has talked a lot about God. It has talked about prayer. I have even mentioned Satan (gasp!). But I have also written a lot of His and Him and He and thrown a whole lot of other capital letters out there that may have distracted from the fact that most of the time, I was really talking about Jesus.


It feels good to write it. If I am being honest, as more people read my blog, I wrote around that name. I did it in a way that made me feel like I wasn't denying my faith, yet I realize now that no matter how I creatively hinted at my faith, I wasn't exactly telling the whole story. Because, friends, Jesus is the story.

A few months ago, I decided to write a personal essay for a mainstream parenting magazine about my pregnancy experience with Brooklyn. It wasn't hard to write, especially since that is what I do for a living. As I wrote the essay, I purposely left out the details of my faith because as a journalist, I knew I had to write for my audience. So, instead, I focused on the mothering aspect of my experience. I wrote about the pain of Brooklyn's diagnosis and only briefly mentioned that my faith helped me get through it all.

After I finished writing the essay, I wasn't happy with it. I shared it with my Mom and even let her friend read it so I could get some real feedback. Yet even as I waited to hear their reactions, something in me knew I was never going to submit that essay. At first, I convinced myself that it wasn't good enough. Then I decided it would be exploiting my family. But now, after much prayer, I know that the reason that story fell short is because I left out the main character. I no longer want to do that.

Just to be clear -- Jesus is my Savior. He is the reason I have a testimony to share. He is the reason I have hope and joy and love in the midst of my heartache. He is the main character in my story, so He will be showing up here -- on this blog -- more often.

I know this might make some of you squirm in your seat a little. It might make you uncomfortable. It might make you roll your eyes or make assumptions about me and my life. But I can't let fear or rejection hold me back from what I think I am supposed to be doing here.

I don't pretend to know all the answers. I certainly don't pretend to be perfect. But I do have Jesus, and if there is one thing I can say for certain, He is all I need. My hope -- no, my prayer -- is that I'll get to tell you about that some time.

In Him,