One Day Older….

No….yesterday wasn’t my birthday. Actually, that was last month.

It isn’t my birthday that bothers me. But, if I’m being gut-level honest….today’s one day older….more than any other day in my life time….is the one day that is bothering me the most.

You see…..today…..I am one day older than my mother was on the day she died.

There….I typed it…I said it. It is so hard. Much harder than I ever thought. I’ve been thinking, in the back of my mind, on this for almost a year. Knowing it was coming. Knowing all along that if God kept allowing me to wake up…this day was going to happen.

Yesterday morning was hard for me. As I sat alone doing my quiet time, having coffee and enjoying the silence of my home….the tears just flowed. Knowing…..I was the same age as she was on the day she died.

I thought of what she left behind. Of all she hasn’t seen in the past more than 21 years since she has been gone. I think of my sister, and all she has been through and accomplished that mom didn’t get to see….and realize my son is almost the same age as my sister was when mom died. I cannot fathom not being here when he graduates college…or gets married….or has children. I cannot fathom not seeing his life unfold into adulthood and being here for the good and bad.

Then there is my own daughter. My mom never got to see me be a mom to a daughter. With my relationship with my sweet girl, I feel like I’ve broken the generational curse of difficult mother/daughter relationships. I enjoy every phase of her life and we are so close! I see mom in her. Her tenacity in something or just some of her looks are so my mom. She has this little bump on the ridge of her nose. The other night I was looking at her and then looked at my husband’s nose…no…he doesn’t have it. I looked at mine…no…not there. That was from my mom!

I saw a saying the other day….”I looked in the mirror this morning and my mother was looking back at me!”. This made me laugh. But today….it stops me in my tracks. Because I don’t think I can see her there when I’ve outlived her!

Growing up, mom was sick a lot. I remember her being in the hospital or down and even helping nurse her back to health at a very young age. When I got pregnant and had my first three kids so early in life….I truly thought it was because God was allowing me to have a family early on because I wouldn’t live past 40 or so……. But God had other plans.

Mom…I see so much of you in my world. I looked at my home the other day and thought about how much you’d like it! All the natural light….and the blues! I looked around and realized so much of what I have is exactly what you would have liked! I wished you could see it! I see you in my kids. Their smiles and looks sometimes are exactly what you would look like! I see you in my sister. You would be so proud of all she has accomplished….but mostly of who she has become through all of it!

Mom…I see you in me. I still recall so many tender moments we had in the last year of your life. You taught me so much in those last months…..and those are lessons I will carry for the rest of MY life.

Mom…..today….what I need to say….is I SEE you…..but I’m NOT you!

I am one day older than the day you died. And as long as God sees fit to allow me to keep waking up….I’ll be here enjoying my life and my family! I’m going to take care of this temple He has given to me so that my life on this earth can be long. I want to see future generations of our family and tell them about you. I want to share the good parts of you.

But what I must realize mom…is I’m not you. Just because you had to leave this world early….doesn’t mean that I will. For so long, this has been in my mind….back there somewhere nagging at me. But today I’m saying no more. Momma…..I love you still….with everything I am. Tears are flowing as I’m typing this and I’m missing you still…daily. Dang it….I wish you were here. But you aren’t! And I am.

So I’m going to do what you’d want me to do and put the crazy thoughts behind me….move forward and keeping the past in the past. I’ll only take the good with me…and you….and your love for me….are part of the good.

I miss you momma. More than words can describe. But….I’m going to keep getting past this. One day at a time….I’ll be one day older…..

Today…..is just hard.

I can’t believe it! 30!! Today you would be 30 years old!

I wish I could say today is a “Happy Birthday” kind of day. But to be completely honest…it’s not. It is grey…cloudy…and I just don’t feel “happy”. I am trying hard to wrap my brain around today being your 30th birthday. It is so hard to imagine celebrating you as a man…. because I never knew you as anything more than a sweet boy. You are my sweet Caby-Baby! You will forever be 8 in my mind…because my mind can’t seem to imagine what you’d be like as anything older than that. I’ve celebrated 22 of these days without you here…and honestly…it hasn’t gotten any easier.

My memories of you are still so vivid. Your silly-yet-serious way of living life! That is what I remember most! You had this way about you…so matter-of-fact…yet so silly at the same time! Man…I miss that. My heart literally aches right now as I picture your smile in my head….as I remember your voice and can imagine hearing your silly laugh as I close my eyes. I long to feel what it was like to embrace you for one more time. I remember you were not too cuddly…unless it was on your terms and your time! You were in constant movement..unless playing video games or reading…and then…it was hard to get your attention because you were so engrossed in what you were doing!

I wish I had more memories with you. Eight years isn’t enough.

You are my baby…even though I had more kids…you’re still my baby. Your baby sister is driving…and we went to a concert together last night! Such fun memories I’m trying to create…with her and your brother… But each time I create a new memory with them…I think of you and your brothers…and wish I had some of those with you. I feel robbed of the good, the bad…and have no idea what any of it would have looked like!

I may not feel “happy” today…but what I can say, sweet boy…is I have JOY. I have joy in the blessing of being your mom. I have joy in the wonderful times we did have and share together. I have joy in knowing where you are. I have joy in knowing you are loved. I have joy in knowing I’ll join you for eternity and we will never be separated again. I have joy in your brother and sister whom God gifted to me after you were gone. I have joy in living the life I have left here and knowing that is what you would want for me.

I don’t always have “happy”….but I do choose to always find JOY!

You…my sweet boy…brought joy and silliness into my world. I get so caught up with the difficulty of life…that remembering you….actually helps me to lighten up….be silly sometimes…and then be serious again. You taught me to live in a different way…a better way. You taught me love…and laughter…in your short eight years. For all of that…I am thankful.

My heart aches and misses you…but it also smiles as it remembers you. Your 8 years of life…filled me with love to last my lifetime.

Happy 30th Birthday Caleb Harrison! Thank you for the way you lived those 8 years here on earth with me! I can’t wait…to spend eternity with your smiling face!

Until then….sweet boy…all my love!


Today would be my sweet Cory’s 32nd Birthday! It’s hard to believe. That is a man’s birthday…but he will always be my sweet boy! Forever 10…..forever that sweet smiling face! I haven’t been able to sleep….thinking of you….wondering about what your life would have been like.

I wonder….

Would you have been an actor? I remember you telling me when they were starting to look for the second “Home Alone” movie starring role…you told me, “Just get me to Hollywood mom. I’m their guy!”. And…you TOTALLY believed it too! This makes me smile even now! Your confidence was off the chart and I know you probably could have been right!

Would you be singing? Maybe famous for that angelic voice? You loved to sing….I mean, LOVED to sing! I’d like to think you’d be a worship artist and touring with a band….bringing praises to God through your songs! Helping others worship…..singing along with you!

Would you be a doctor? You were so smart…without even having to try! You had a passion for learning and loved helping people!

Would you be married? Single? Have kids? All things I’ll never know.

What I do know is you cram-packed a whole lot of life into 10 short years! You LIVED every moment you were here! You smiled…ALL.THE.TIME! You loved on others and helped those who needed it! I’ll never forget going to a parent/teacher meeting and your teacher telling me of a sweet moment between you and another student. You weren’t finished with your assignment when you noticed another kid struggling to understand. I don’t know how you knew…but you did. She said she watched you….get up and go to this student and put your hand on their shoulder and comfort them, encourage them and then help them understand it in a way they could continue with the assignment on their own. She said not once did you do it for them…but instead…you taught them in the way they needed to understand it. She said you then went back to your seat…you glanced over at her…and saw she was watching. She said you just grinned and picked up your pencil and finished your own work. She was amazed. I cried then and I’m crying now.

That was your heart! That was just who you were! I was so proud of you! I still am! I try to remember these little things and honestly….strive to live out my life in the same way!

One of my favorite things about you is the way you loved! Even the way you loved me! You were my child who always had to “tag up”! This part about you is something that I miss. You were confident and loving. But you loved your momma! You would fall asleep in my lap and I’d have to carry your long, lanky self to bed….even still in 4th grade!! But if I was ever gone for an evening….or you were just needing some extra reassurance…you’d always come and climb into bed with me. You weren’t a cuddler…you’d stay on the edge of the other side….but your foot would ALWAYS slide over to my side until it was touching me. You’d always “tag up” and make sure I was there. It was as if…..as long as you could just touch me….you were okay. How I miss your touch!

Tears have fallen a lot lately in missing you and your brothers! You would not believe the support…the love…of others! I opened my facebook and was reminded of the ones who wore red on your 30th birthday to show you love! The ones who remember you….that to this day…think of you so often! Your 10 years on earth were short….but impactful! This is the 22nd birthday I’ve had to celebrate without you…without your touch!

What I wouldn’t give for you to tag up again! To feel you….to see your smile in person and not just in my dreams. Oh…how I love you son! How proud I am of you!

In “wondering”….I am reminded of the truth.

The truth is….you ARE a star! You ARE a worship singer! You are “tagging up” still…..it’s just with Jesus! I know your voice was added to the choir to praise God on the day you went to heaven! I know you do nothing but smile every single moment! I know you still care for others and bring joy in every possible way! I know, for you, it has been but a moment since you arrived to the most beautiful place!

But for me…it’s been 22 birthdays without you! It hurts…and there are still tears. One of the first things I did this morning was go to find scriptures to comfort my hurting heart. It’s amazing…how heartache can become physical pain. Like…my heart literally hurts. My throat burns as hot tears roll down my cheeks. I feel like I can’t catch my breath…because taking another breath…living more days without you…just hurts too much sometimes.

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning, or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Rev. 21:4

How I long for this! But for now…I’m comforted in knowing this is what YOU get to experience! I remember having the Point of Grace song, No More Pain, sang at your funeral. Just for you…yes…P.O.G!! ;). But for the gentle reminder of what you were experiencing…to help soothe so many hearts.

Today…I’ll celebrate you! I’ll celebrate who you were….and try to live up to how you lived your life! Sweet boy….I can’t put into words how blessed I am to be your momma. I can’t begin to tell you what the ten years with you have done to change my life….for the better! It wasn’t long enough…at all! But I’m so thankful to look forward to my eternity with you! I can’t wait to join the choir WITH YOU! I can’t wait to see your smile shining again! I’m the one….who can’t wait to TAG UP….one more time!

Until then….sweet Cory….I’ll be here….living….because that is what you’d tell me to do! All my love and hugs and kisses!



Do you ever feel like you are just broken? Like the cracks in your life are just too much to mend? I totally get it!

But let me share with you something….

You see….

What I’ve come to realize is that it is through the cracks…..God’s light shines the brightest! You heard me right….I think God’s light shines brightest through the cracks of our hardest times….when we allow others to see us in our true beauty. Cracks and ALL!! This is where He shines.

Think about it for a minute.

Go ahead, close your eyes..no wait…you can’t read with your eyes closed! Okay….just read and imagine what I’m saying!

Take a large vase that is pretty thick skinned….and solid. Brand new! NO CRACKS! Can you picture it? It is dark blue! (Why? I don’t know…I just like blue!) This is the vase you’ve been searching for. There are 2 of these vases on the shelf. You see this one and as you pick it up and turn it around…you see a large crack going right up the side of it! This is NOT what you wanted….not what you pictured! This just won’t do! I mean, I’m not getting THIS vase! And if I did….I CERTAINLY wouldn’t pay full price for it! I mean……it’s DAMAGED!

Are you with me? Can you imagine yourself with this vase? Ok…let’s keep going.

Behind the vase is another one just like it….so you pick it up. It’s PERFECT! No cracks at all! This is what you wanted. This is better. I mean, I didn’t come all this way for something with a CRACK! That is imperfect! I ONLY want perfect things around me!

So….are you following me? Well…let’s keep going.

This vase…this perfect one is the one I’m going to get. I take it home….but this vase isn’t one for flowers. I’m making a lamp out of this one. But as I assemble the pieces….I take the light bulb and place it into the vase…. Yup! Perfection! It fits exactly the way I knew it would. So I continue….this is going to be beautiful and just what I wanted. I continue and get the cord and fitting into the small hole I’ve made in the bottom (with no cracks, I might add) and so it is in place. I screw in the light bulb….and here we go!

I flip the switch….and….the light bulb lights up….but I can’t really see it. There is no light shining through. The beautifully perfect, thick skinned vase…just won’t allow the light to go through it. (Are you still with me? Did your light bulb go off too??)

But…If I had gotten the cracked one…that crack…..that imperfection….would have “perfectly” let the light shine through.

Ok…you see…sometimes we want the perfect. But in God’s plan…our perfection…isn’t always the same as HIS! And His is the best kind of perfection. What we “perceive” as perfect….isn’t always REAL! Like “Fakebook” and “Instaglam”….we see what others want us to see! We see filtered…not real. We see their highlights and don’t get all the behind the scenes yuck! But, this is what we begin to strive for….what we think we are supposed to look like.

What I love seeing is the real….the raw….the messy and the imperfect. Because this is where we see God. When others are real….we don’t feel so much like an island. We don’t feel like we are the only one with this flaw….or the only one going through something tough.

But even better….when we allow God to heal our “cracks”….or where we try to see God in the midst of our cracks…..He shines through those places and OTHERS see Him……so much more vividly. Because they see we aren’t “perfect Christians” who don’t NEED our God. They see us struggling, but they see us seeking Him, what He wants us to learn in this situation….or maybe the fact that we get mad, get frustrated and cry out to Him….. They see us being REAL with Him. And….when they see us in these situations…..yet still loving and trusting Him….they want MORE of HIM who gives us peace.

I see this in the lives of so many I get to call friend. They are suffering, yet they seek Him…and are so public about it! It AMAZES ME! I’m in awe of how real, how raw they are….and how in the midst of their sorrows, they are CONSTANTLY pointing others to Jesus! This my friend….is how we are reaching the world. Not by portraying perfection…but instead, by showing others our cracks and imperfections….our sorrows and our weaknesses!

Let’s go back to that vase for a minute……I was preparing years ago to speak to a group and the theme was taking broken things and making them beautiful. In my praying and researching, I found the art of Kintsukuroi. This is where a broken piece of pottery is mended…using fine metals like silver and gold. The cracks are very visible. And yet, now, this piece of pottery is MORE VALUABLE as a broken piece than the original, perfect piece would be!

This is how God sees us! We are valuable to Him….we are chosen and mended by Him! We are worth more than gold and rubies and pearls! He sees our imperfections and wants to heal them. Then….each one is a reminder of a time when He carried us through…a scar to remind us how He has a plan for us…not to harm us…but to prosper us! Each scar is a crack He has mended and when we share with others how He walked us through…we lead others to HIM!

This my friends….is part of what I talk about when I talk about my two worlds colliding!

Do I wish I had my boys here with me today! You bet! But would I have the family, the faith, the testimony with that changed situation? I don’t know. I would love to say “YES!”….but the truth is…I just don’t know.

Do I love living my life now with the people I have surrounding me? Of course! But do I miss the “What would’ve been/what could’ve been” with the people from my life before? Yes….I truly do.

Life is hard. Life is messy. So, let’s be real…. We ALL struggle. Sometimes….more than others. Some people…more than others. But none of us, not one, is perfect. Only Jesus. I’m learning the more I know about myself, the more I need HIM!

I want life. Yes…I’d love a less messy, less tragic, easy-button life. But, that isn’t what He wrote out for my life. To be real and honest…it ins’t what He wrote out for any of us!

What He did write…is HOPE. Hope in Him…Hope in being real….Hope in others who have cracks…loving us through our own….Hope in knowing our eternity isn’t messy…isn’t painful…isn’t imperfect! I choose HOPE! I choose JOY! I choose messy now….with mended parts… so that I can reunited with those I miss….be healed of every heartache and pain…and get to see Him…the one who carried me through it ALL…face to face…for eternity!

This, my friends…is what I want for all of you!

Many prayers…much love….and totally cracked! ~c

Again, my two worlds collide. Today would be birthday #33 for my sweet boy! Yes, 33 years ago Cody Brian made me a momma for the first time! I remember it all very vividly, as if it were yesterday.

But other numbers also come into play on days like today.

Numbers like 11. Cody will forever be 11. My sweet angel only had 11 earthly birthdays. So even though I would be the momma of a 33 year old man today….I can only see or remember him as an 11 year old boy.

#22. This is how many birthdays I’ve had to “celebrate” on this earth without him. 22!!! That is twice as many as the number I had him here with me! This is a difficult realization. This is where it just is hard.

I say, a LOT, that my two worlds collide. In my last post I talked about how it is different than some people think. Let me share something that I heard recently that has really resonated with me.

A few weeks back I happened onto a radio station at the end of a story. I don’t remember who or what…so I can’t give them proper credit…but I truly believe what they were saying. I heard them talking about grief…..and joy. They seem to be two polar opposite feelings….and so it is hard for people to fathom that I can live with both…much less let them coexist in my life. But the way I heard it explained made perfect sense to me.

You see…I grew up a dancer…and I know that sometimes when you put partners together…they don’t always seem to “fit”. But when they learn to allow each other the space needed….they start to move together gracefully. They begin to fit in a way you never thought possible.

This is joy and grief. You have to learn to allow them to be dance partners in your life. This visual for me represents my week! This week I am going through the grief of not having my son, Cody, here with me. His birthday is difficult because I don’t know the 33 year old man I should be celebrating…I only know the 11 year old child he was when I lost him. This is grief. But this week is also my son, Bryce’s, high school graduation. I am preparing my home to have guests coming into town to celebrate him and his accomplishments. JOY!

So, this week is full of JOY….intertwined and mixed with….GRIEF. Over the past 21+ years, I’ve learned to let them dance together. I’ve learned to allow myself to feel joy….even when it seems like I should be full of grief. I’ve learned to allow myself to feel whatever feeling is inside me….and work my way through it….so that JOY…is what I end up with.

GRIEF….can now turn to JOY! What do I mean when I say this? I mean, that even though my arms ache to hold my children…..even though I can’t imagine what they would look like now, what they would be doing in life….or any of those things….JOY…comes in the many wonderful memories I have of them! And then….even more JOY arises from knowing I will get to spend eternity with them! I have HOPE….and in that HOPE….JOY arises!

I miss this boy. I miss him more than words can say….or you could possibly imagine. I’m not trying to say I haven’t cried…more tears than I can count…or that I’m always smiling. What I am saying though….is I know where Cody is. I know he is experiencing true love….and none of the sorrow I have. I know where he is…because I know he put his trust in Jesus! And I know, because of the promise of the cross…I WILL see him again!

Happy birthday sweet boy! I celebrate you today! The 11 years you were with me has helped make me who I am today. You made me a momma first. You were my protector first. You had a smile I will never be able to forget. You, held my heart…and will continue to have it…until I take my last breath.

Until we meet again, my sweet 11 year old angel. I will love you forever… ~momma

Well….it happened. Last Friday night my sweet rainbow baby graduated from college with his associates degree….. THREE WEEKS BEFORE HE GRADUATES FROM HIGH SCHOOL!

So yes….the tears are flowing…the proud momma heart is beating strong….and my two worlds are definitely colliding!!! But let me share something with you about how this has been a different type of event!

You see….I’ve known this was coming. I’ve known his plans were to get his associates and high school diplomas all in the same month. I’ve known for over 2 years. I have had time to prepare my heart! I have had time to watch him grow. I’ve watched him struggle. I’ve watched him overcome obstacles. I’ve held him while he has cried and hurt….. and I’ve high-fived him when he has had major successes! There has been a lot happen in this past couple years…and it is all his.

When I say my two worlds are colliding….they are…but it isn’t what some people might think.

Some people think when I say that my two worlds are colliding…..I mean that as I’m watching him go through these major hurdles and major accomplishments in life…I’m also, at the same time, trying to imagine each of his brothers going through the same hurdles and accomplishments. They think I try to place each of them where he is….or what he is going through.

That couldn’t be further from the truth!

And it takes me back to over 18 years ago on the day he was to be born.

On the day he was to enter the world…I had just been told he would have to arrive by c-section. I was scared….crying…and feeling like I was robbing his dad of the experience of a natural birth. I was feeling like somehow I was failing. Through all of that emotion…my sister, in her wisest 23 year old voice…told me the following….

“Cheli….God is giving you the gift of another son. He is allowing you to finish what you never finished with the boys. BUT…..(and this is what I want you to pay attention to)..God is bringing this son into the world in a completely different way than his brothers! He is doing this….so that FROM THE VERY BEGINNING….. you will NEVER be able to compare them!!! This son, will have his very own experiences in life…..FROM THE BEGINNING!”

And this has been true ever since that day!

You see…Friday night….I was so focused on what he was accomplishing….on HIM…I didn’t even think of the boys in a “this is what they missed” way…! I didn’t think of the graduations I’ve missed out on since they weren’t here….. I didn’t go there…AT ALL! All I could do was smile…and be proud of HIS accomplishment!! All I could think of was HIM!! The tears I’ve shed haven’t been in the “look at all I’ve missed” realm…but instead in the “I am so stinking proud of this child and LOOK AT WHAT HE HAS DONE!”

Don’t get me wrong….in the moment……I DID think of his brothers! But instead of the “whoa is me….look what I’ve missed thoughts….ALL I had is…..”Look at what your brother has accomplished and I know you’d be so proud of him!” Thoughts!

I thank GOD for him EVERY DAY! Not for just allowing me to finish what I couldn’t before….but for MY SON….for the gift of being his mom.

I’m so humbled God saw fit to allow me to be his momma….to allow me to be a mom again AT ALL! That is a small miracle in itself…since I truly didn’t think I’d have more kids or trust like that again.

Let me also say though…that since Friday, in my alone time, I HAVE gone there. I have gone through the thoughts of where they might be now…what I have missed….what THEY missed! But….I couldn’t imagine snagging them away from heaven to experience those things just so I can say they did!!! If they can’t be here with me….I’m oh-so-very-thankful that instead….they are in a place with no pain, no tears and no sorrow! You see…they don’t know what they missed! They don’t….but I do. I am here…where there is still pain…still tears…and still sorrow.

It is so hard to have my heart both in heaven and here on earth. To miss my boys who aren’t here and want to be with them so badly…yet…to not want to leave here so that I don’t miss anything in the lives of my two kids here on earth with me!!! THIS…..this is where my two worlds collide! In my head and in my heart. In my alone time and in my head!

I’m so thankful though…that God saw fit to allow me this opportunity. To see his graduation….and….to see his senior prom! And then…to look forward to doing the same things…with my daughter!

This, my friend, is what I call God’s grace and mercy! This…is Him showing up…and showing me that even when I felt like I couldn’t….HE CAN! He gave me the gift of life. The gift of continuing my life…even when I didn’t know why I was still here when my heart had left this earth! The gift of new life…with both my son and my daughter! The gift of life….and seeing it continue! This…is the light in the darkness. This…is Jesus. This is His redemptive power!

I leave you with pics of my baby…..of my family…of accomplishments and milestones. I see God in these….I hope you do too!

If you are hurting, as I know so many are, please know I’m lifting you up in prayer. Please know, God has a plan….He has a way….and your life still has a purpose! I know it doesn’t always feel like it….but I am the first to tell you…those feelings are lies!

Much love ~c

As I sit in the darkness of my home….the clock ticks away…and the time just changed to midnight. My son, my daughter and my husband are all sleeping. My pups are cuddled up…but I can’t sleep.

I’ve known this day was coming. I can’t ever escape it….as much as I’d like to sometimes. It never surprises me…because my mind prepares me…as much as it possibly can…for what is coming up.

Today….marks 21 years since you’ve been gone. 21 years – the span from birth that someone is “legal”. 21 years…. long enough to be in college…have found your true love….married…and maybe even have children. 21 years.

But for me…it’s 21 years since you’ve been here with me. 21 years since I’ve heard your laughs….seen your smile….felt your hugs….touched your hair…. 21 years…since you took your last breaths. At that moment…I thought there was no way I could continue to breathe….but for 21 years….I have. I’ve breathed….I’ve lived….and I’ve loved.

My heart hurts…in such a way I never realized it could. It is constant…sometimes a numbness that lingers with you always….but other times…like now…it seers through my body and almost….stops my breath. It’s suffocating…on days like this. The longing to know you….who you’d be…. who you’d love….where you’d be….what you’d be like…what you’d be doing. I.can’t.even.imagine. Not any more. I just don’t know. I’d like to think I’d know. But really….it’s just me…in my head….dreaming.

Being your mom….was such a blessing. I don’t think I even realized it then…..but I do now. I tell your brother and sister…they are my heart beating outside my chest. Well…you are as well. You just happen to walk the streets of heaven. You were my first heartbeats….and I’ll love you until my heart beats its last beat on this earth…and I get to see you again!

I’ve heard grief described as “a love that has no physical place to go”. That love…never goes away. And on days like today ….. it just hurts. My arms ache for you….my heart yearns for the love to be returned….my head is filled with the few, precious memories of your short years on this earth.

On the day you died….it was gray. So gray and and cloudy.

I experienced the same kind of day recently. I remembered looking up at the clouds on the day you died and remembered you were with God that day….and again….I did the same a few days ago. I took pics….from the plane I was in.

Because God ever so gently reminded me that not every day is cloudy. He is still there with me….with you.

Then I took pics going into the clouds…

..and in the clouds too.

It seemed so dark….so thick…like I couldn’t find my way. That is how I felt on the day you were gone. How I feel sometimes….even now.

But then…..I took these.


took pics above the clouds…..to remind me that He is ALWAYS THERE! Even when we don’t see or feel Him…God is there. The storms will come and they will feel heavy and like they will never leave…but HE IS THERE! The light of His goodness is above the clouds and they are in constant movement. They don’t stay still….and neither do the storms of this life!!

I love to fly! Love it! Maybe because….for some small moment…I feel close to you. I feel close the feeling you must be feeling. Being above the clouds means the storms are beautiful formations…but you see them as beauty…they don’t hurt you any more. I love the light above the clouds….the clear view of the stars… and I can only imagine….the views you must have from heaven.

I just have to admit. Even though I know this…..even though I’m oh so thankful for this….I still hate it. I hate that you aren’t with me. I hate that I’m not there with you. I just miss you so much. Selfishly…I want you here…..but I could never steal you away from heaven….from Jesus…from the God who created you and loves you more than I do! And…..selfishly…I want to be there with you….but I’ve got your brother and sister here….I want to see them grow up…..get married…have babies and have an awesome adult life with them… It’s just so hard.

I can’t even see through my tears right now. I can’t stop my shoulders from shrugging from the sobs…..I can’t stop the burning in my throat trying to silently cry….so as not to wake my family…… My heart…..hurts. Because you are there….and I am here.

I long for the day I can come home and see you again. I can’t wait to see you running towards me and the eternity of stories…songs and love we will share! I’ve got so much living here to do…..so I know for me…..it will be so many more years of these days…..of this hurt….. But I’m so thankful for you it will only be the blink of an eye before we are together again.

Oh….my sweet boys….I miss you…more than there are words….more than I can ever express. I pray….the life I’m living here has been and will continue to be a testament to the lives you lived so well….and fulfills the very purpose of why God chose to leave me here ….in this world….without you.

I could go on and on….but it all comes down to this….

I love you. Cody….Cory…and Caleb…. you are my heartbeat still. With every heart beat…I love you and miss you more. With every heart beat…I’m closer to being with you again.

May my heart beat….until my purpose is fulfilled.

All my love to you…my c3angels!


When I was a little girl…a looong time ago…we used to play a game called “Mercy!”. If you know what game I’m talking about….Congratulations! You grew up in a time where we had to use our imaginations to fill in gaps of time….and we weren’t entertained by electronic boxes 24/7!!! For those of you who don’t know what this game is….basically it was a game where two people faced each other, then joined their hands together……..and then literally tried to squeeze the bejeebies out of the opponent…or twist and contort their hands and arms into a place of pain…..all in trying to get the other person to say “Mercy!” so that you would stop!! This, dear friends, is what we called FUN! Torturing one another and trying to make the other person “tap out”! 

Today, the word mercy has a much different meaning in my life. Today, mercy is something I seek…long for….hope for! 

Here is a definition I found of this complex word.. 

I believe in mercy. The #3 kind of mercy. The mercy my God bestows on me daily…hourly…every moment of every day kind of mercy. I believe that just as Lamentations 3:22-23 states….”His mercies are new every morning”….we just have to remember this and STOP living in the past mistakes that have already been forgiven and forgotten by the One True King and Judge!! 

MERCY – in the game it was the way to make the other person stop. Stop the pain…stop the process of pain. Think about that. Mercy can stop the pain….break the cycle….give new hope!

In my LIFE….it is the continual process of hope! Believing in hope…even after I’ve messed up! Believing in hope…..even after I’ve been hurt! Believing in HIM……and Trusting Him too! If He can forgive and start over….DAILY…..then I should be no different!

So….let me say to those of you stuck….stuck in a place of not believing…of not hoping…..of thinking you are way past the mercies of our Saviour…..STOP IT!!! Just STOP! What makes you so special that the mercy He has given everyone else…..isn’t good enough for you???? What lie are you believing that is stopping you from receiving the very thing…HIS MERCY…that could help you…give you a new hope…and transform your life? 

I want to pray for you…to be vulnerable enough to tell you I NEED His mercy….I need His grace to wash over me daily! I mess up….I disappoint….I get frustrated…I frustrate others…dang it…..NONE of us are perfect. We all NEED Him! Won’t you please….please consider leaning into His mercy? Please….cry out….MERCY LORD! Because this life isn’t a game….and our eternity isn’t a fairy tale. Romans 10:13 says…”Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Acts  2:21 says “And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved”.   Some translations…instead of “saved” say “shall receive life”. 

To me…they remind me of the game still. Maybe you’re hurting…and it seems like life is beating you….  I urge you to cry out….MERCY!! Because I know…when you call on the name of the Lord….and seek Him and His mercy…..you will receive it! I don’t know what it looks like for you…but for me…it looks like forgiveness I don’t deserve. It looks like possibility where there only seemed impossibilities. It looks like grace…when it isn’t deserved. It can look like that for you….even more! 

It’s interesting to me….because I never really knew what the term “rainbow child” truly meant. I don’t think it is ever something I had even heard of…  Even as I was bringing this child into the world and putting Noah’s ark items into his nursery….I still didn’t know this was a “thing”. 

I just knew that he was God’s promise to me. A promise to me that I was still “good enough” to be a mom here on this earth. A promise that I could be trusted with another child. A promise that I would get to see and experience things with this son I was unable to experience with my first three sons. A promise….that He was still in control. A promise that….if I would just trust in Him…He would guide my path….into motherhood once again.

I didn’t know the term was “a thing” later on in his life. I most certainly felt like he was heaven-sent….and God’s way of easing my soul… He was never a replacement of the boys I had lost…but merely an addition to my life. He has enriched my life in ways I can’t explain in mere words. He is a part of me….so closely woven into my heart that when he hurts, my heart aches. So much intertwined into my soul that his very smile can make my heart leap and his hugs can melt my heart all at the same time! 

This beautiful child of mine…is truly not a child any more. Just this past week he started his senior year in high school. In less than a month, he will take on his final year towards his associate’s degree. But his biggest challenge to date…was faced this past summer.

Last semester was tough for him. I don’t know how to describe it…but he just wasn’t always his normal self. But it wasn’t until the end of school and first of summer we noticed his drop in weight…without trying. His mood was somber at times and he “just wasn’t himself”. Finally…we got into a doctor to see what was wrong with my sweet boy.

Well…..we were hit immediately with a high hemoglobin and high blood sugar. The doctor wanted to send him by ambulance to Children’s hospital ER but allowed us to drive him if we promised to go straight there. We did….and it is quite surreal when the doctor meets you in the waiting room! They warned us he would be hospitalized for at least 3 days….but to our surprise (but not God’s!) we were able to go home later that night. Those things became the first in our “Small Victories” page.

Type 1 diabetes. This was our new normal. 

Yes, I’m aware it isn’t “as bad as it could have been”. But what I’m also aware of is the fact my son’s life had to take an immediate 180 degree turn and it will never be the same! The next morning we were at the hospital again spending hours finding out what the new normal would look like.

10 prescriptions, calculations out the wazoo, how to give shots, and dizzying thoughts…..we were sent home to this new reality. As Bryce so bravely sat in the dining room going over all the new things he had just learned with his sweet girlfriend, my husband and I were in the back room sobbing. The reality hit. The pain of the life he had known was something in the past. It hit hard. Sobs from my husband as he talked about having to give his son shots….of the harsh new reality hit….were a lot for me to handle.

God reminded me though…of a time when Bryce was in pre-school…and my prayer over him being SO LITERAL….came back to me. I remembered I prayed….”Lord, I know that Bryce thinking in such a black and white way…will someday be an awesome thing and a strength for him to have….but right now help me…because it is literally kicking my ass!”. And I thought….maybe this is it! Maybe…since he knows he has to be vigilant…this will be the strength he needs to conquer this.

That prayer was answered and confirmed just a few days ago when we went for a follow up visit. That  someday is now! At his diagnosis his A1c was 14. This is a 3 month average of his blood sugar…and basically meant he had been living at a 400-600 average for 3 months. At his visit this week….not even 2 months into his diagnosis…his A1c was 7.8!! That is phenomenal! The doctors said they’d never seen it come down so quickly and been so well managed right off the bat! I knew then….this was part of his story. 

It hasn’t been easy. As we were on our family vacation just a couple short weeks after his diagnosis I think it hit him. The reality that we were on vacation..on a getaway…but he still had to check his sugars, take shots…. it’s like he realized this was his new reality. This was something he was NEVER going to be able to take a vacation from. And that hit hard! 

On top of that….his “literal” mind kicked in and when his numbers weren’t in range…he was hard on himself. His literal mind was that of perfection. And with this disease…there is no such thing. And as his body is learning to deal with great numbers….it is not feeling well. His body has been so used to the high sugars…it feels like good numbers are bad! He is having great numbers…but actually feeling worse! 

It’s going to take a while for his body to adjust. He is having to rely on grace….in a very real way. Grace for himself….just as God’s grace has already covered him. He is having to give something truly BIG to God….like he has never done before. It’s hard. It’s hard to give something like this to God and not want to take it back sometimes. Even I struggle with it! 

And it has been a burden I’ve felt like I’ve had to carry. I have tried to learn everything I can….to help him manage and learn. So that as I send him out into this world…..he will be able to manage and cope with this new reality called Type 1 Diabetes. But he will be 18 next month. Next year he will be leaving my home for college. It isn’t my burden to bear. I, too, am having to learn grace and to give it all to God. 

It’s hard ya’ll. Having to watch him go through difficulties I wish, with all my heart, I could take for him! Having to trust that God’s got this son of mine is His hands….and He has great plans for him outside of my home. It hurts my heart and makes my heart burst with pride…all in the same moment…watching how he is managing diabetes and not letting it manage him! Watching him grow into this young adult…watching his successes and failures….all make me one proud momma.

A friend shared with me this thought the other day…which totally touched my heart. She said, “When they are little they step on our toes…their feet are constantly on ours as they learn to dance. But as they grow into adulthood, their footprints instead are on our hearts. Both hurt and feel good, all at the same time!” 

It is so true. His footprint is on my heart. As God takes his path to new territories…that don’t include momma’s house…he will always have my heart. I will always be his biggest fan. And God will always be faithful….in His promises.

The pics below are from his first day senior year. The one is of him…the other is of God’s promise that showed up that evening as I was driving home from work. 

He is amazing. Both God….and my son. I am oh-so-thankful for both of them in my life. For their love….for their grace…and the promises they both fulfill in my life.

I pray you always trust God. Look for the silver linings in the clouds….and trust His promises to be true. ~c

1 Samuel 1:27-28 “I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. So now, I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.”

Well…here we are. 20 years since my boys were taken away from me. 20 years past the day I didn’t honestly think I could live through. 20 years have passed and 20 years of life has been lived! …..and yet…I can still see so many things so vividly in my mind….as if it were just yesterday.

In preparing for this anniversary….God placed it on my heart to do something different. You see…I’m VERY private on these days. VERY! I take off work, I stay home…I don’t make phone calls…and I don’t take all the phone calls I receive. I allow my self to “go there”. I give myself permission to go back, to remember….to hurt and cry…and fall apart. I do fall apart…usually pretty hard. I usually wait until my husband and kiddos are gone…and I release it all. I cry out to God….I cry and allow myself to feel the ache…to feel the emptiness. I allow my mind to go to the places I try to keep it from on a daily basis. These are usually the days I reserve for me.

But this time…this time God reminded me of some very true realities.

This…didn’t just happen to me. They weren’t “mine” only. There were other family members, friends, neighbors, schoolmates, teammates, teachers, coaches…..just a lot of other people who also experienced the loss of my wonderful boys. And…there are people that have never met them….didn’t know them while they were here with us on this earth. These people didn’t know them…but they know us…and so they know their story. And..they love us!  And…this being such a momentous anniversary…I needed to do something…something to include everyone.

So, I took it to my kids and hubs to see what we should do. This was at the beginning of February…we talked about it…but then life happened and we got busy…and the next thing we knew…we were about a week away and still hadn’t planned anything. In talking to each of my family…..it seems we all had the same idea. We should do a balloon release to celebrate their lives! We agreed to release blue & silver balloons, the color of their school. Then, where to have it? We talked about the school….or the ball fields where their trees are planted…but ended up deciding on the cemetery. It was decided.

I then created a graphic for each of us to share. I remember my daughter asking if I thought there would be a lot of people there. I said…”maybe”. And by “a lot”…I was thinking 30-40!

Little did I know…this would get bigger than I ever imagined. I wanted to just get together…play some music and release balloons. And that is what we did…but it truly…turned into an event. Not an event I had envisioned…but in looking back…it is exactly the kind of event my heart needed!!!!

In listening to God and opening myself up to others on this day….He did a work and a healing on my heart through others!!! I’m so thankful for His provision!

We had news coverage, 2 professional photographers, friends helping plan, donated balloons…..and friends and family….there to support us.

It was overwhelming…the love I felt.

I told everyone…that 20 years ago…on that awful, dark grey day…I had crawled into the lap of God and let Him hold me. But on this day…..it was their texts, calls, facebook posts, faces and sweet messages that I felt…and it felt just like the arms of God were wrapped around me again! It was them….who gave me my strength. And it wasn’t a dark, grey day at all…. There was a beautiful blue sky, with wispy, angel-winged clouds….that evolved into one of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen.

We had close to 150 people gathered to remember…to celebrate the lives of my sweet angels! It was overwhelming to see so many people from so many different facets of my life represented there with me! Seeing the love…and you could truly see love….was more than my heart could have imagined. The hugs I received….were just like the hugs I received 20 years ago today.

20 years ago today was the funeral. I remember it being dark and cold and grey…again. But I also remember staying there….and hugging every single person …..long after the graveside service was over. I remember the hugs…the love…and the way it made me feel supported and that I was not alone. That…is exactly what happened, again….at the balloon release. The hugs…the love….the smiles…the stories…the tears…the presence….of those who loved the boys…of those who love me…and my family…were like raindrops in the desert! They were the salve my wounded heart needed on this anniversary date.

I’m hoping these links work….because if you are reading this…no matter where you are in the world….you are now a part of my story….of their story and I want to share this day with you. I thank you for the time you’ve taken to read my blog…to allow me and my part of His story…to reach into your life. This is a video…of the day I had…of remembering…of loving…and of being loved. These are just some of the small reminders…that God shows up!!! He showed up 20 years ago….and He has continued to show up…through the hands and feet of the people who love HIM!

Click here to watch the coverage from News 9. A big shout-out and thanks to Steve Shaw for being so kind and respectful of my family while covering the event.

And this video is a small representation of the day we had…taken by my sweet friend Mary from ToMorrow’s Memories Photography! Please take a few moments…to watch…to see God…and to thank God…for life…for love…and for each other.

So…if you can still see this…through the tears…I know you are really wonderful and I thank Him for you! I ask that you share…so that others can see the goodness in life after death……in hope after tragedy….in love over hate!! I am asking God to do big things…in and through this day of remembrance! He….has done such a good work through this tragedy…and I know…He is just starting to “show up and show off!”. I’m just praying….I’m strong enough…and up for the ride He has in store!!

There is so much more to share…but for now…this is enough. Until then……………

Much love and thanks! ~c



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