Posts Tagged ‘cheli porter’

It happened. 

Yesterday, my son turned 16! It’s such an exciting time of life! A time of found freedom, of new independence! It’s a huge milestone…one that I’ve never experienced with one of my children before! 

To say I’m proud of my son…..would be a huge understatement! He is such a great kiddo….hard worker….and has the sweetest heart! He shares stories with me of what he thinks and small things he does that makes my heart melt. I would share all…but he would probably hurt me. πŸ˜‰

Many people think this is a hard one for me because it means he is growing up….getting older…..all those  “normal” things and emotions most parents feel. But to be really honest…..and I’ll admit….I’ve only been honest about this with VERY FEW….. that isn’t at all what I’ve been feeling in the months…weeks….leading up to this monumetous day!

You see…..I’m SO proud of this young man. I’m proud to be his mom. I’m thankful God gave him to me! I have loved watching him grow up! I truly enjoy our talks and the times we laugh and can talk in ways we couldn’t when he was younger! I am great with him….growing up and getting older! It’s something I never got to see in his brothers…..and it is truly a miracle to watch him go through so many stages and ages and I really just love it all! He is so grounded. He is involved in the youth….he is making great choices and very goal oriented in school and in life!! He has made a plan and is working his plan…and I’m just honored to watch all of this process.

But to be honest….and I mean…TOTAL TRANSPARENCY HERE…..I’ve been struggling. 

My struggle isn’t with him…..but rather…with God.

Let me see if I can adequately put into words the wrestling match God and I have been engaged in…..

In the endeavor of looking for a car for Bryce….it started to get more real to me. It became very real that there was coming a day in the near future that I would hand him the keys to this new car….and he would drive off……without me!!!  I don’t think it hit me….until this realization came fully into my brain….just how much that scared me!!!!! It was almost….paralyzing at times. And at the same time…it hit me…..

I was truly wrestling with God. Somewhere in my brain….I had gotten this illusion that I was able to protect my baby boy. I had become so accustomed to this illusion…that I felt like handing him those keys and letting him drive away without me….was giving up the control….of being able to protect him. In this very moment….I began praying….and crying….and screaming at God. 

For you see…..whew…..vulnerable here…….

In this illusion…..of control….of being able to protect my children….I had somehow lost my faith. I lost my faith in my God whom I say I trust!!!  In my God whom I say knows ALL things! In my God….whom I know…has plans to prosper and give hope!!…. not just to me…but to my children!

In this struggle with my faith……I cried out to God…”Okay God….I give him back to you!! He has always been yours anyway! But God please…..with this illusion I’ve created…I’ve not felt scared! And I realize….if I let him out into this big, broken world…… I could lose him….and I just can’t lose another child!!!!!!!” 

Yes, the reality hit me…and I knew my struggle was my fear manifesting itself of not being in control to protect my son. I wasn’t there to protect his brothers….and look what happened!!!! I have felt….without even realizing it….I was here and so present in his life…that somehow I had taken on the roll of his protector…and that…took away my faith…in GOD as his protector!!

I’ve been wrestling…and crying out to God since that day over a month ago. I’ve shared with my closest circle and they’ve encouraged me so much!! One told me she was proud because I was….”DOING IT SCARED!” because I was still looking for a car…. I was still going to give it to him….even though I was scared and wrestling……I was doing it anyway and in that I was trusting GOD!!!!

So, yesterday….it happened….he turned sixteen!! 

And last night we did it…..we surprised him with a car!!

Then this morning….he drove away…to school….by himself!
  He called to tell me he made it when he got there… πŸ˜‰

My husband called to see if I was okay with everything…. I told him I had to be.

No….I haven’t just let him go out on his own into this world……alone.

I’ve sent him into this world…..with GOD…..and an army of angels!!!!

This morning I woke up and watched him drive away. Yes….tears streamed down my face as he drove off. But my heart wasn’t (as) scared as it was before. Because this morning…I knew….God is on my side. God is by Bryce’s side. And I was reminded…He was also by his brother’s sides…. 

My feelings had gotten the best of me….and again I’m reminded…..FEELINGS LIE!!

The truth is what is important!! And I know this. I’m so thankful for a Heavenly Father that loves me even when I wrestle with Him. I’m thankful He doesn’t get angry when I take (even unknowingly) control! I’m thankful He is gentle as He brings me back towards the truth! 

My comma….is just a small part. The book has already been written. I KNOW who wins! I know the battles I face may seem big to me….so they are big to Him! I know there are battles I can’t even see being fought on my behalf…and on behalf of my family! I know….for my part….I just have to raise my son to be the warrior for Christ God calls him to be….and trust God to do His part. For He has promised me He will. He has promised me He will watch over us. He has given me….a glimpse into the end of the story. 

I also know…and see…God has such a huge plan for Bryce’s life! I see such a huge purpose for him and it has NOTHING….to do with me! So….I’ve got to get out of the way and LET GOD….do His thing! 

So, please pray for me….for being able to release my son back into the hands of the one who created Him…into the hands of the ONE….who holds his future! I’m SO EXCITED to see Bryce grow into the man God intends him to become! I’m so humbled God gave him…….to me!!! I’m so thankful….to be given this rainbow…and to watch it grow!

Father, thank you for sixteen years (and a day) with this sweet boy! You’ve been so gracious to give him health, a sound mind, a wonderful heart….and I know…you have such great plans for him! May your angels continue to battle for him! May they watch over for him and fight for him…..all while encouraging him to become your warrior! May he step through the doors only YOU open…and walk the path you’ve put before him! Help guide us, as his parents, to point him towards you. For we know…if He only chases after You….everything else will work for YOUR good!! Thank you…from the bottom of my heart….for trusting me with another child. Thank you….for sharing this gift….with me and the world. I, in turn, trust you WHOLLY with his life! 


Happy Birthday Bryce!! You are loved….with an army of angels! And a mom and dad…who stand ready to fight the world on your behalf! Love you more than you could ever dream or imagine! ~mom

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It’s hard for me to put into words what is going on in my head right now. To say my two worlds are colliding….would be a gross understatement!! I can’t even make sense of it all right now…..all I know…is I’m one big, heaping mess of emotions.

Let me try to explain.

This is the last week of elementary school for my sweet daughter. She is my baby…so this is definitely an emotional time for me. But, the fact her three oldest brothers never experienced this part of life…makes the emotions compound. Cody, my oldest, made it to sixth grade…but never to his sixth grade graduation. Sis has her ceremony next Tuesday. The last day of school is next Wednesday. So we are officially in the last week of our elementary time…..ever. 

I’m so proud of my sweet baby girl. She is simply beautiful….and her heart shines brighter with each passing day. Our conversations amaze me and I love the simplicity of her heart. The innocence she still possesses yet the growth she is experiencing is a blessing to watch! She is maturing…day to day I see changes in her…and she isn’t a baby any more. Although, this morning, while trying to wake her…I tickled her to the point of her crawling into my lap…..where she laid her head on my shoulder…and just let me hold her…and rock her. We stayed there for quite a while…  I relished every second. I asked her if she will still crawl in my lap when she is grown and let me rock her. She said she would….though I don’t think it will happen often. These are moments my heart will forever treasure!! She will always be my baby girl. No matter what.

Then…there is my son. We are actively looking for a vehicle for him to have. He turns sixteen soon and will be driving himself…and his little sister…to school….and everywhere. In the last couple weeks….he has amazed me with some of the paths he is considering for his life. To say I love the times when the two of us talk…just wouldn’t describe the joy this boy brings to my life. He is the rainbow…the promise…the continuation of my parenting a boy through life. At this point….I couldn’t compare him to his brothers…even if I wanted to. But I don’t even try. He is so much his own person. His voice is deep and I love to hear it. His smile is huge….(now that is like his brothers though!!) He is evolving into a young man…with an awesome heart…right in front of me. This will be his last week with his friends at his school before starting his new adventure in school in July. 

His heart though….wow. Let me share.

Like I said, we’ve been searching for cars (trucks) for a bit now. He sends me or tags me pics and stuff he finds quite often…so last week when I received a text with a pic…all I saw was …”What do you think?” and that it had a pic attached. I was in a meeting when I received it so I waited to open it. Thinking it was another truck…I opened it. What I saw…..well……it was a hand-written note. I sat alone in a glass room at the conference table and read. My eyes began to “leak” and then full blown cry. 

A few weeks back…he had asked what Cody’s favorite color was. I told him it was blue. ….. and asked him why. He said just wonderin. Okay……

Fast forward to my text….this is what the hand written note said, with my corrections in ( ).

             “C3 – About 17 years ago (actually it’s over 18 years) my mom was married to another man. Toghether they had 3 sons, Cody, Cory and Caleb ages 12 (11), 10 and 8. The dad (he used his name) had some mental issues. (how else would a child consider why he did what he did?) My mom, Cheli, had divorced him. One day my mom went to my aunt’s Graduation (she was in college…but it wasn’t graduation..just a visit) So the boys went to stay with their dad. On February 22, 1997  he (his name) called Cheli and while on the phone with her he shot and killed Cody, Cory and Caleb . Then a couple seconds later he shot himself. (Actually, he only shot himself while on the phone with me…the boys were already gone.)

               To this day there is not a day that goes by that we don’t think about them. On Saturday, May, 23, 2015…Cody Brian Fox would have been 30 years old. So….to honor him will everyone please wear a blue colored shirt (Cody’s favorite!) and put it on social media with #REMEMBERCODY.

                        PLEASE RETWEET/SHARE THIS.”

Yes…all on his own…he wanted to honor his brother…who he never even got to meet. I can’t begin to express what this did to my heart. Tonight…we’ll be tweaking this a bit and he will put it on his fb and instagram. My mommy’s heart is full and exploding all while it breaks at the same time. 

My daughter is also counting down the days until her brother’s birthday. I’ve taken off work…we’ll be together to celebrate.

Yes…my first born would be 30 this Saturday. Yes…my heart longs for the what would it be like? Where would he be? Who would he be with? Where would he work? Would he have kids? …..all of those things travel through my mind. If I allowed it to go on….I could easily see myself sinking deeper and deeper into a depressed pit. It would be hard to bring me out of it. 

But God, in His all-knowing wisdom…gave me a great family! A husband that loves me in all my crazy moods and spoils me rotten….. A son who let me into his world and understands the complexities of my heart…. A daughter who is my baby and lets me love her and guide her as she grows and teaches me more than she realizes!! They are my focus and help me balance the heart-wrenching feelings I feel….while loving and being a part of their world. They get me. They know how messed up I am…how fragile my emotions are….that sometimes mom needs an extra hug and to just hold them close for a bit longer. They accept my crazy and embrace it. They are what God gave me to help keep me grounded. They….love me. And I love them.

I don’t know how I lucked out on having five gloriously happy….wonderful…caring children!! But wow….as I sit here and watch my two worlds collide…once again…..I’m reminded just how blessed I am. Continually….undeservingly…..blessed. That’s the only way I know to describe it.

So, as I struggle for the next week or so….through this massive collision…..please pray for my family…

And if you think about it…… Please wear blue and #REMEMBERCODY

And…….don’t forget to smile. My children all have the biggest smiles. All of Cody’s friends commented on his smile…after he was gone…they remembered his smile. He was generous with it…always giving. It made others smile…..and there is just something about giving your smile away. So please…share a smile with someone…and remember my sweet boy. All my kids really…..

Much love and thanks…smiles too! πŸ™‚ 

enjoy the pics….~c




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Why NOT me???

As this new year begins….and we are all toying with resolutions and wanting more and trying to do better….I really….just decided to try to focus on one word.

God gave me my word for the year….it’s JOY.

Why? Because I’ve come to realize that in the crazy world I’ve been living in this past year…I have been so bogged down in the day to day…mundane must.get.it.all.done mentality…that I hadn’t really been taking the time to enjoy living!

Even after all that God has brought me through…after all the trials and triumphs I’ve walked through….I had forgotten just what it’s all about.

Maybe that is why my word isn’t “happy”. Because I know God didn’t put us on this earth to be happy! But joy….TRUE JOY…..is something we can always have….even through sorrows….even through pain…we can find joy! “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 1 Thess. 5:18

So joy is what I’m searching for this year…on a daily…almost moment by moment basis. But in searching…I’ve had to do some soul searching and ask myself why I wasn’t feeling joy……and that is where it got hard.

In answering this question…I’ve come to realize a couple things I need to work on.

1.) I need to make sure my own cup is overflowing before I give so much of myself.

For those of you that don’t understand quite what I mean by that…..it looks like this to me.

I have to be sure that I’ve done enough for myself before I do for others. I am all about doing for others and helping others out….but I also have learned that when I do it on “fumes”…..I get calloused….worn thin…..short with my family and those closest to me……and just plain not so nice to always be around! I have to be sure I’m doing my part for myself….and giving others my overflow….and not taking from myself or my family….

and 2.) I need more faith in God.

This one is H.A.R.D. for this girl to see.

Now…don’t get me wrong! I have a belief in God. I have trust in God.

But…..if I have to be completely honest ……(which dangit…I really think I should be!)…..I have so much more faith that God will do it for everyone else……and not so much me!!

OUCH!!! That hurt to admit! But it’s true. If any of you were to call me with anything you needed….wanted to step out in faith to try….ANYTHING….I would totally believe God will do it for you!! But….for me….I’m still not sure if it’s because I don’t feel worthy….(trust me….I’ve been with me for over 47 years now…and it hasn’t always been good….or even pretty good…)….or if I just don’t think after all that has gone wrong….there can be THAT much good in my life!

So…..in doing all of this I’ve really jumped into scripture and into trying to remedy this situation…..and then one weekend…my preacher preached on…..YOU GUESSED IT……FAITH!!

He talked about how Jesus is either completely amazed by our GREAT faith….or our LACK of faith. And we had to evaluate just where we thought we ranked on a scale of 1-10.

Again…in scoring myself….I’d have to give myself two scores. In faith for others…I’m like an 8 or a 9 even! But …then..when it comes to faith in my own life…..I’m on the 2 or 3 end of the scale.

Why so imbalanced?? I’m not really sure. I mean, a healthy dose of humility isn’t a bad thing…until it strangles you and you feel so unworthy that you don’t believe anything can happen for you and you just.quit.trying. I’ve been there. People..this is hard for me to admit…and it’s been really hard to be this transparent. In doing so…I’m calling myself out! I’m calling myself to action! And this….is going to require a great big faith in a great big God and it will involve Him…..being BIG for me!!!

And you know what……..I started this blog a couple weeks ago…and now…as I finish…I’m proud to say I’m getting better. I’m realizing I’m the one who has to take action…take massive action…in order for Him to achieve what He wants in and through me. So maybe….it hasn’t been my faith in HIM….as much as it’s been my faith in ME!! I’m getting better……

Because really……


Praying for joy….and faith…for each of us! Step up…step out….and JUMP with me! ~c

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I’ve really been trying to wrap my head around the idea of so much that is going on around me. So many that I know experiencing pain, loss, grief and difficult times. I hear stories from friends andΒ I read some of the stories on social media and my heart physically hurts for so many…..

The response of my heart has changed through the years…I’m ashamed to say these kinds of stories used to not have a huge effect on my heart. I mean….being honest here….I’d read it…feel bad for the person…then…go on with my life. There was no hurt…no feeling for that other person out there. Then there was a time when I’d take all of it on emotionally….as if it was my own to bear….in a way that wasn’t healthy for my heart.

Now though….it’s different. I’ve been trying to grasp the why and how it is different and how I can explain it. The following is what God gave me.

You know how some people say that you are born with a God-sized hole in your heart that nothing BUT God can fill? Sure…we try to fill it with popularity, accumulating things of this world, people of the opposite sex, parties and all that goes with that, shopping, eating, drinking…….because we just don’t realize that God is all that we need….. He is the only one that can fulfill the thirst for more that we crave!

photo 2

Well, I feel like the people I have lost in my life….my boys, my mom, my grandparents, my friends…….have all left holes in my heart. Let me explain. Each person and what they meant in my life…..is irreplaceable. When they left my life, they left an empty place that no one else could fill. Each one left a hole in my heart.

Through grief…..some people take that hole in their heart….and instead of letting God heal the edges of it…. they try to fill it up with something else….or worse…they allow it to gape open….raw and ragged….and allow the empty space in their heart to make them feel empty.

Imagine the frayed edge of fabric….uneven…fraying….and ragged. This is kind of, an appropriate image of the edges of the hole left by loss. They are raw and ragged and just don’t look right.

But imagine now…..the edge being sewed up….the hole isn’t gone…it is still there….but God can mend the frayed edges….over time. If we let Him.

And then……..what happens then….to me is amazing. Because as He gave me the visual of my heart….with holes open for each person lost…..He also showed me this………



photo 1As I’ve allowed Him to come in and help me heal….help me grieve…… as I’ve allowed Him to be a part and seek out His purpose…or the Silver Linings in each loss…..He showed me that instead of less of a heart because of all the holes….. He has INCREASED the size of my heart….because I’ve allowed Him to be a part of the healing.

There are still times when the holes in my heart ache….and the loss is very near and very real. But….I’ve also come to realize each time my heart aches in my grief….He increases the size of my heart….and in a way…the way my heart aches and feels for others. It drives me to stop….to pray for each of them. It drives me to action…to see if there is anything at all He would have me do for the others who are experiencing a new hurt.

This might make absolutely no sense to you. But to me….He has shown me how through the years…..through my losses…through my grief….He has increased in me my territory. He has increased the size of my feeling heart and the more I lean on Him in my own grief…the more my heart beats with Him in the grief of others.

That night…..the night my world was turned upside down and I felt like my heart had been ripped out of my chest and I couldn’t breathe or go on…..I cried out to God and asked “WHY AM I STILL HERE?”……I believe He is whispering His answer daily…..and today…..He is telling me it is because He needed me here to increase the size of my heart….to share with others my heart……and to give others the hope that their hearts….although they may feel like they aren’t able to go on….they can’t breathe…they can’t move forward with the holes in their own hearts…..I’m here to tell you that you can. I’m here as a testament that He heals hearts…..He mends them slowly….and then He increases them in size…so that you too, can feel your heart beat for others in a way you never could before.

Death, difficult times….are all a part of this life. I’ve said before that I wish we could all be born and die on the same day so that nobody has to experience the loss of someone they love!! But life just doesn’t work that way. I’ve really been praying hard about this lately….about how there is so much hurt and loss and difficult times in the world. This is the picture God gave me…this is the best way I can describe of how I feel about the massive loss I’ve experienced in my life…and how it has made me who I am today.

Philemon 1:7 NLT says
“Your love has given me much joy and comfort, my brother, for your kindness has often refreshed the hearts of God’s people.”

I want to give others comfort and joy…..through the kindness of my increased heart. It may still have holes in it…..and it always will…..because there is no one or anything that can fit into those places in my heart left by the people I’ve loved. I’ve never tried to “replace” those people….not my children today….my stepmother…my new friends….none of them “fit” into those holes….but God has allowed them to expand my heart. He has expanded the capacity for love in my heart through me allowing myself to be open to those new people and new experience. I’ve not put them into the places in my heart where the holes are…but I’ve allowed them to add to my heart.

So there you have it…..I have a “hole”y heart. But what I truly desire….is for God to make it into a “holy” heart. Through the difficult times in my heart…..I believe that is when He is doing just that!

“And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.”
Ezekiel 36:26

Thank you for being a part of my increasing heart!!!

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17 years.

At 2:36 this morning it has been 17 years since my mom took her last breath on this earth…..since she was completely healed of the pain that had overtaken her body. I know at the moment she took her last breath on this earth….and she entered into her eternity….there were tears in my eyes….and nothing but praise…beauty….and joy in hers.

Oh….how jealous I was of her…..even in those first few moments…that she got to see my boys first. How I wanted it to be me…..to see them…to hold them again. But it was her. In her new body. She was running and playing with them…..

I’m so thankful there is no cancer….no pain….no tears….and nothing but joy in heaven for her! I’m sure she ran straight to her father first…then embraced the boys….her mom….and her other loved ones who were there! I know that if she is able to look down on us….on how we’ve lived these past seventeen years without her….she would be proud of the moments we have overcome difficulties….persevered through really tough times….and loved the way we’ve kept going……no.matter.what.

There have been times when I’ve physically ached for her….and wanted so badly to have her here with me. I’ve wanted to share moments with her. I’ve wanted to talk to her…..to hear her voice again. Losing mom…..well…there is nothing like it.

We may not have always seen eye to eye…..or even gotten along all the time. We definitely got on each other’s nerves…..and had differences of opinions….OFTEN! But….there is one thing I always knew…..NO MATTER WHAT….she ALWAYS loved me….and she loved me fiercely! She was tough on me…..and sometimes I didn’t understand it… But it helped to shape me into the strong woman I am today. I didn’t always see her as strong….not when I was growing up. But looking back…she was very strong……

We talked daily…and there were times when there was nothing to say. But I always needed to call her. Just to hear her voice.

It doesn’t matter how old you get…you’ll always want to have your mom around. I don’t think there will ever be a time when I don’t miss her….or wish she were here.

I can’t believe all of the great things she has missed out on…my kids….my sister and her family….our ups and downs. It is hard to think we have lived as much life as we have without her being here with us. But that is exactly what we’ve done. We’ve lived. We kept going….even when it was hard and we didn’t want to….we did.

Part of it is because of who she helped us to become. She wasn’t perfect…..but then again…we aren’t either. Being a mom……makes me miss her even more. Being a mom to a girl….makes me think back on all the times I rolled my eyes at her…and how now I know just how she felt! πŸ˜‰

17 years…..without my mom. Hard to imagine.

As I sit here today…watching the snow…thinking of her….I remember love. Her smile….her laugh….. I remember the way that, even as an adult, I would lay my head in her lap and she would stroke my hair and talk to me….and the comfort that gave me. Today….I celebrate you mom…..I’m so thankful for you….and everything you did for me….for us. I still love you….and I can’t wait to join you in heaven!

Until then….I’ll be here…working hard to continue to make you proud!
All my love….


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I have several friends right now who are going through some very difficult times. I think each of them would tell you I am (at least I try to be) that friend that will always listen….never judge….but also will empathize with you only so much…because I am the one that is very real and honest about what I believe God is asking me to say to each of them.

I truly don’t judge. Why? Because I’ve either been there…done that…or WORSE! And because that isn’t my place or my heart. My heart is to get them to be real about where they are…..in order to figure out how to heal and what God is saying to them where they are right now.

So many times we live “as if” everything is fine. We don’t want people to know how badly we are hurting….how we can’t afford the lifestyle we are living….or that we are literally falling apart on the inside. To me this is so sad! It literally breaks my heart that we are such “surface” people. I just don’t want to be that way. In order to be the hands and feet of Christ…we have to get messy. We have to be strong enough to know that if someone is mad at us…we can love them enough to love them through it!

What I’ve also come to see and realize is that there are so many times, ….that we “test” our loved ones. I’ve seen this in a few situations recently….but it made me remember times that I’ve done it myself.

Just last week I was in a training for my job….the trainer was talking about how when he was in his early twenties he was going through a really rough patch in his life. He decided to go to counseling. After just a few sessions with his new counselor, he said she looked at him and told him she thought he was lying to her. He puffed up and told her that he had no friends…nobody would listen to him…..and the ONE person he was PAYING to listen to him….thought he was lying! What an insult.

You know what happened next????

The counselor began to cry. She cried right there in front of him. No words. Just sobbing.

Guess what he did…..he got up and walked out and never went back.

Why? Why would he not go back??

Because he was testing her!!! He wanted to see if she really meant what she said! He wanted her to be confident in what she said and believed and to stand her ground. No matter what he said or did…..he wanted to know for sure that she was going to fight to make him better!

That is what we do! We push…..we test.
Do you love me enough to stand up to me? Do you love me enough to stay with me? Do you love me enough to fight for me?

I did this to my husband when we were still dating… I’d push…. just to see if he loved me enough to stay. I’d tell him I didn’t know if I could have more kids…and if he wanted them…..he’d be better off cutting his losses now and finding someone that could promise him that. (Code….no matter what … am I enough for you??) I would push and tell him after I was in a mood or something that this was his forewarning…..he better think about it now…because later he couldn’t say he didn’t know how moody I could be!

I’m seeing spouses do this a lot. We push. We test.

IMG_0440.PNGMany times….we do this because of an insecurity inside of us. We may be scared that one day…they might leave us…..so if we say we are going to leave first….. that is just how we push…we test! In this situation…all we want is for the other person to say they want us to stay…..no matter what! We test to see if they will love us enough to fight for us!!! That is what we want…what our hearts desire…we just don’t know how to say it!

Sometimes we say or do something mean….to see if the other person will crumble…or…if they will love us enough to call us out! I’ve told my husband I know I’m not perfect (I know, it’s still a shock to me too!) but if I was constantly telling him what I see in him that needs improvement and he never does the same for me….that it actually hurts. I need him to love me enough to call me out when I’m speaking too harsh….or totally wrong in something. No…..I don’t like it. But I need it and I long for him to “love me enough” to do this for me!

Or if I took off my wedding ring…just because we weren’t getting along or had been fighting…. Deep inside…..I want him to notice…because I want it to be important to him! Iwant to be important to him. By him NOT saying anything about it….in my heart…it is kind of like it is no big deal to him….like I am no big deal to him. It makes me feel like he just doesn’t care. (NO…I haven’t done this…but some have!)

It’s like that friend or family member who you feel like ONLY talk to if YOU are the one who picks up the phone to call. Sometimes…..you “test” them by not calling. You tell yourself, “I’ll just see how long it goes before they call me….and if it goes any longer than you think it should…you automatically feel your relationship doesn’t mean as much to them as it does to you. I mean….the phone works both ways doesn’t it!!???!!

The problem with so many of these situations is that we don’t always know where the other person is emotionally or what their thought process is. What we concern ourselves with is what we think…what we feel….not really thinking how the other person is thinking or feeling. And in our imperfect world….usually…the other person is just as insecure and damaged as we are and they are dealing with their own feelings and thoughts.

So let me start here. Feelings….can lie.

Yes…they are real….but feelings can lie to you. They can make you feel unloved, unworthy, not good enough, fearful, self conscious and just downright unhappy. We “feel” like they don’t love us enough. We “feel” like they are just using us. We “feel” like we just aren’t good enough.

This is just…..well…wrong. Yes. Our feelings are ours to have. But some of them just don’t speak TRUTH! We are created by our Father who doesn’t mess up! We are His perfect creation. Enough for Him. Worthy of His love. And definitely good enough to receive blessings!

We just get so bogged down in our feelings that they soon become our perception and then our perceptions become our reality. The problem with this…is our reality…is not grounded in truth.

If we can just ground ourselves in the truth…..our reality….will become JOY! Joy from the knowledge that no matter what anybody else says or does, we are children of the King of Kings. We are created by the Creator of the Universe. We are worthy of blessings beyond our comprehension! We are strengthened by the Strength of the Most High!

Our joy is not dependent on others. Our joy is part of our choice. Our choice of believing…..our choice of denying what we may be feeling and instead….believing what we KNOW….is TRUTH! We have the power within us to invoke this power….all through our choices!


We CHOOSE to be joyful……we CHOOSE to find silver linings…..we CHOOSE to not give anyone or anything any more power over our lives than what we say it can have! WE CHOOSE!!

So….I’m going to choose to stop testing. Instead of waiting for that other person to call me….I’ll choose to pick up the phone when I think of them. Instead of staying mad or upset at something someone has done to me….I’ll choose to forgive them and try to understand. Instead of TESTING my loved ones….I’ll CHOOSE to use my words….to tell them how I’m feeling….to be vulnerable and let them see my insecurities. I’ll choose to replace my untrue feelings….with TRUTH…that I am loved…I am chosen….I am forgiven…

Will you choose the power within you??? It’s up to you!
much love ~cheli


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I’m sitting here looking at the cursor on the page…not really knowing where to start.

I mean…there are so many wonderful things that have happened in my life over the past two weeks that I want to share with you….. Speaking events, retreats, birthdays, sweet conversations…….but I can’t. You see……first….


Last night I attended church….and one of the points of the message was to BE STILL. To quiet our lives…..our minds….for just five minutes a day. To allow our souls to hear from God.

This morning…I knew that is exactly what I needed to do…to be still…to unplug….to allow my mind to shut down in order to hear God…..not my cluttered, overwhelmed thoughts…..but God. I knew I’d been seeking Him in so many ways recently…..but I just couldn’t figure out my “next step”. I’d seen beautiful and wonderful things happen…but hadn’t been still long enough to listen to Him tell me what the next part was.

This is where my confession comes in…. This is where it gets real.

After speaking at a retreat a couple weeks ago….I have been messaging back and forth with one of the ladies who attended the event. She is a very brave young woman with a story of her own. She had written some parts of her story and read them after I had spoken. Her words were moving, gut-wrenching-yet-beautiful all at the same time. She has sent me messages….encouraging me…..saying she is praying for me….telling me wonderful things about her relationship with Christ and what she feels He wants her to do since hearing me speak. It was at the end of the last note she sent she said she couldn’t believe my dog ate the flash drive with my book on it…and just how long was she going to have to wait to read it!!??!

As I sat…..being still this morning…..not thinking…..not worrying….her note is what came to my mind. It was as if God was speaking to me. It was then that I knew….it doesn’t matter where I work…or what else I do right now….I am supposed to finish the book.

My confession is…..for over 8 years…I’ve sat at a computer screen or with a notebook and pen in hand and tried to put my story to words in paper format. But it hasn’t happened. I haven’t been able to do it.

I have the cover designed…the title…the chapters and the format. I even have sat and written a lot….but have never come close to finishing.

This morning….in my still quiet time…..God showed me why.

You see…..when I speak and share my story…it’s as if you take a small scalpel and make a very tiny incision. It bleeds for a while…stings and hurts….but when I come home…have a cleansing cry with my husband and talk through some feelings….it heals up….without needing stitches or anything. There might be a small scab…but no outward scars appear at all. It’s safe for me. I control what is said, how it is said. The people listening hear the inflection in my voice and know exactly what I mean by the way I say something.

But….to write this book…..instead feels like the scalpel makes an incision that goes from the top of my chest all the way to the bottom. I think, as I go through the memories, I can feel my breastbone being broken open. Then, as the words go onto the page, I can feel them stretching my skin back….exposing my heart. And then….I feel the scalpel open my heart and it bleeds…..and bleeds…and bleeds.

There I am…..fully exposed….hurting….and it honestly…….feels like…


This morning, in my still quiet….this was the picture He gave me. And the tears ….. they just wouldn’t stop. Because I could physically feel it….all of it.

But…..He has now told me in order to move forward in the ministry He has planned for my life…I must trust Him as the Great Physician of my heart. I must write this book and be obedient. I know I’ve said it before….but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Now, I HAVE to.


You see friends…..two weeks ago….I was blessed to be asked to speak at three separate events…..and see what happens when we yield ourselves to the Holy Spirit and become a vessel for Him to use! I’ve seen it before…but there was something so much more powerful this time that happened. One of my friends said I came back different….I sounded different. And she was right….

I was humbled. I was used. I was His hands and feet and truly saw the power of the comma in someone else’s life! I can’t explain it. There really are no words. I’ve struggled with it…because it feels like I’m promoting myself and my story. But He has shown me those are thoughts from the enemy.

Yes….everyone has a story and there are many stories that would bless others. But He gave me MY story. He gave me a heart to share and teach others. He is asking me to move forward…to trust Him….to allow Him to fulfill the rest of His story through my story. He can do it without me……but I want to allow Him to use me…..to help teach others of His love…and the truth of who He says we are!

So…that is my confession….and my prayer request. I haven’t been able to accomplish what He has asked of me….and I need prayer to move forward and complete it. I hate asking for prayer. I’m a giver…it is hard for me to ask…..and hard to receive. But…that is part of my humbling. I do need prayer…I do need encouragement. I do need the accountability.

IMG_0265.PNG Matthew 6:34

I pray that opening myself up like this is going to help put me where I need to be. I’m just being real…..#mystruggles.

I truly love and appreciate you all…..more than you know…more than I can express.

I’ll be praying blessings over you as well….
much love ~c

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I don’t even know where to begin!!

First, I MUST say thank you to all of you! Thank you for the words of encouragement! Thank you for sharing with others! Thank you for watching the show with me! Thank you for allowing me to open up my home and share with you and your friends and family!!! I love each one of you…and thanks just isn’t enough for all you’ve each done for me! Your words of encouragement mean more to me than I can adequately express!

Now….. I must say..the last week has been an emotional whirlwind! The actual show and seeing that video always brings back so many emotions. To say it is hard to watch, is a little bit of and understatement….to say the least. The part where they show one of the boys being wheeled out of the house is so hard. I remember being on that first show and seeing that video for the first time! (remember…it was a surprise….so I had no clue!) I remember when it got to that point I looked at Oprah and said I had never seen that before and didn’t know if I could go on…..she quickly grabbed my hand and turned me around and I didn’t see the rest of the video…just heard it….. You see….my family didn’t allow me to watch television for over two weeks after they died. I had asked my family to not speak to any media and had absolutely no idea that the story had made national news. So…all those images….were some I’d never seen or imagined.

Then, my dad had sent Oprah the video of the boys…….the part with them at SeaWorld and to see them waving to me…..every time…it just grabs my heart and makes me stop breathing…for just a moment. Seeing that….is always hard.

But then came the update part. I have to be honest….this was where I was holding my breath. It is hard to give someone else control of my story…..and that is what I did. I did the skype interview…and talked with them for almost an hour. Then…we sent lots of videos and pictures and from there……it was all the producers and production crew at HARPO. They were totally in charge of how the update would go and what it would portray.

I must say……I WAS THRILLED! I was so happy with the way it was put together and how respectful they were of my story. All of my fears were gone and thankfulness set in! I couldn’t have asked for a better segment!! What a blessing the HARPO staff is to me and my family! I am so thankful for each one that I came into contact with….and for the ones behind the scenes who helped!

You can view the first part of the segment here.

The second part with the update is here.

Now…..although this was not my first Oprah appearance…..this WAS the first time I’ve done an Oprah show with Social Media going on!

What a crazy thing!


I was having a Twitter party with the producers of the show…leading up to and during the show! I had my iPad on my lap and my phone at my side! Before, during and after my segment…..each of my devices was beeping and dinging at a rate I just couldn’t keep up with! I’d attend to one…and come back to the other and there would be over 80 new items to review!

Facebook….Twitter…..my texts…..all were going off! And, I’m so thankful that every single word was extremely encouraging to me! I don’t think everybody realizes how much I am encouraged by others… When I feel down or like I am stepping out too much….I see all of the sweet encouragement you have given me and I am reminded that I am an ambassador for His Kingdom and am just doing what He has asked of me!

Finding out Tuesday evening that the story was on the Huffington Post main page….literally knocked the wind out of me. I received a message from a friend who told me it had come across her feed….sure enough….there it was! As of now…..there are 2.9k Likes….and 376 shares on this story! I am totally blown away! Talk about humbling! You can see it here!

But I want you to know what I see from this…… I see people that are craving happy endings! I see people who want and NEED hope in their lives! I see that the message God has given me to share….is just that! It is HIS story! His HOPE! That is what people need….and that is exactly what I’m here to do!

Then…Thursday afternoon…I received a message on facebook from someone who had seen my story on a mutual friend’s page…and she wanted me to give her a call to do a “local” update! I called my family to see if they were up for it…and they agreed! So we did a whirlwind interview with the reporter and her wonderful camerawoman…..and then sent out messages for our friends and family to watch the 10:00 news that night!

Again, I have to thank the reporter and her crew for their fabulous editing…..in less than 2 hours I might add….and the way they respectfully put together my story! Again….I couldn’t have been more thrilled with the way she told my update while leaving the emphasis on Christ….instead of me!

You can see the news interview here.

But…..to me…the most amazing thing about this past week….are the messages and private messages I’ve received. From people finding hope from hearing my story….to others wanting to start sharing their own trials, tragedies and triumphs…because they’ve realized God can take them and use them for good…. Those are the moments I’m going to cherish forever. I’m printing each message….and using them as my own messages of hope. So again, I thank each of you for reaching out and touching my life in such a positive and encouraging way.

As always…I am asking you to pray. Please pray for myself and the wisdom to know what my next step is. Yes…I’ve revved up the writing process and kicking myself for not having more done….but all in His time. Please pray for God to open doors of opportunity for me to share and for me to continue to be strengthened by Him in order to share.

Please pray for my family. In less than a week they’ve been the focus of two news segments and this is new to them. I have felt God holding me back from taking this message to the world…and I have believed it was to protect my children. They were so young and didn’t know the whole truth when I began to share. They are still young, but I believe God has prepared them for what is ahead…and I truly believe their part in His story…could very well be bigger than mine!

Please pray for my sweet husband and our marriage. He is my safe place…the one I take all my emotions to and the one who comforts me. Yes….God is my Father…but He gave me my husband to feel the presence of His arms around me! My husband is so good at this….he comforts, cries with me, encourages and strengthens me continually! Please pray his cup is filled to overflowing for all he has to endure with me! I’ve told him….I’ll never be “normal”…..and he chose me anyway! πŸ™‚

But mostly….pray for this message. Join me in praying Ephesians 6:19-20
“Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.” Pray that I boldly enter into the arena God is preparing for me and walk through the doors He is opening!

Friends~ we all have a story. Remember….it’s your part of His story. He is the author…but you choose some of the chapters. Your story….just might….be the hope and change….someone else’s story needs. It takes many parts…to create the whole! He has made you……and given you purpose! Step into it! It is freeing to know you have a purpose….and living it out……is ……well…..try it. πŸ™‚

Many blessings! ~c

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Okay!! Okay!!

So…maybe I’ve been toying with a few of my friends…..telling them I have big news but not quite spilling the beans! It’s been kinda fun….I have to admit! And I’ve loved all the guesses!

Before I spill the beans….I do want to turn your attention to something a bit more serious.

On my way to work this morning I heard about the family in Texas where the mother, father, two boys and two girls were murdered and only the 15 year old daughter survived. She was so brave….and even in her own suffering and through her own injuries…she was able to dial 911 and identify the attacker so that police could catch him before he went and killed more of her family members.

So now, as she is fighting for her life and recovery….she will have to start the process of redefining what her life is and her new “normal”. She will forever have a date in her life that is before….and after. A date that to some….will define her.

My prayer is that she will cling to the One who held her and her family during that very day and trust that she is still here to fulfill a purpose for His Kingdom! I pray that she doesn’t go through “survivor’s guilt” and that she is surrounded by people that will allow her to heal emotionally as well as physically….in her own way….and in her own time.

I know these feelings. The before and after. The feeling that my life, being National news for a while….was not my own any more. I pray for space for this girl. Space to grow up and to make her own choices. Once your story goes public….it’s as if the public feels they have a say in your life….a say in who you are or even in how you’ve responded to the tragedy that put you into their news in the first place!

Let me tell you….this is NOT an easy place to be. When your life is exposed to the public….it’s as if people think that since they know a part of your story…that they know you! This isn’t true! Partly because what you see isn’t always the whole story. You don’t see the emotions and everything that has truly happened. I pray…..I sincerely pray….that this girl is given her privacy as she grieves and mourns her family.

I went to work in silence. I turned off the radio and just prayed. It brought back a flood of memories. I asked my family NOT to speak to the media after the boys died. And my family and friends respected my wishes. I was given a police liason and was told national shows like Geraldo and others were calling….and I didn’t respond to any of them.

But then, the Oprah show came along.

The first show I did was such a surprise. It wasn’t like they were calling me and doing a show on my story….it was a contest. One that THOUSANDS entered. I thought….NO WAY…..but then it happened.

Then, when they found out I had remarried and was going to use the trip Oprah gave me as my honeymoon….I went and did another show. This one was more low key……….. and really not as big a deal.

But then I got the call to do the third show. The premise was to help someone who had been through a similar tragedy. Their hope was that since I was farther down the road…that I would be able to help. Instead of the “textbook” answers, they wanted to provide hope from a “survivor”….so I did the show again. The show was title, “The Worst Day of My Life”. It was difficult…but my thought process was that if I could help someone….then that is exactly what I felt I was supposed to do.

I REALLY would rather just live in my house with my sweet family and be a mom and a wife and live as “normal” a life as I can….

But God has shown me…that those aren’t His plans for me. He has been revealing that to me in a mighty way over the past several months.

So….here is my news!

In case you haven’t figured it out…..I’ve done ANOTHER Oprah show!!!!


The Oprah Winfrey Network has a show titled, “Where Are They Now?” and I was asked to be a part of this show. I just received confirmation today that the show will air on OWN (the Oprah Winfrey Network) on Sunday evening, July 20th!

This has really not been easy for me. Please join me in prayer that God will use this update to speak to people that don’t feel like they can make it through whatever they may be going through……and give them some hope!
That….truly…is the reason I agreed to open my life….my family…up to this in the first place.

This will be the first show you will hear from my ENTIRE family. My sweet husband, son and daughter will get to be a part of this show and I’m so proud of each of them for stepping up and doing this with me! I can’t even begin to share with you how much they each mean to me!

Please just be in prayer with me that God will use this show to give someone out there hope. Pray that if this be His time, that this could be the catalyst of someone becoming interested in having me speak and for me to gain more of a larger voice that could help spread the love and hope in our Lord and His Kingdom!

Pray that by opening up my family to the public again…that we be protected from the difficulties that can sometimes cause and the protective hands of Christ be over our household.

But mostly…..just pray that others will see Christ through me…in me….and want what I’ve had…through Him!

Much love to you all……
May you step outside your comfort zone to glorify His kingdom and be blessed by so many friends….just as you’ve each….blessed me!!

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