Friday, February 13, 2015


It's hard to describe the joy that it has been to raise this little man.  We were talking today on our lunch date that just like my miscarriages since having him, I was almost certain that we would lose him with complications.  My pregnancy with Samuel was so simple and uneventful that it totally shocked me when I started bleeding in my first term with Jo.  He has known the sadness of babies that would have been his brothers and sisters that are in heaven now and I think it surprised him to realize that he also could have joined the ranks of my children that haven't had to struggle in this world but have slipped from womb right into Jesus' arms.

I told him how I sank down in the corner of my living room in Lafayette, in a heap of tears, begging my mom and dad to pray that I wouldn't lose him.  You cannot believe my shock and amazement when on the following day in Dr. Wickert's office, we heard that tiny heartbeat for the first time.  Our prayers had been answered.  In 8 months that little heartbeat would be outside of my body and have arms and legs and a mind of its own and the terror that is the love of a mother would be all too real yet again!

Since that first day 13 years ago, raising Josiah has been a breeze.  I have never known a quieter more contented child than my sweet JoJo.  He would play with a wrinkle in his pants in his carseat for two hours without a fuss.  He's only really been sick once.  He loves home and his room and while he may not be up for all of the crazy adventures out in the real world, I know for certain he has taken more than his fair share in his imagination.

Even today, he wasn't interested in a party or big affair for his golden birthday.  His requests were simple....

1.  Skip School
2.  Have Cocoa Wheats for breakfast (with toast for dipping)
3.  Visit Grandparents for love...and the cards with money in them!
4.  Finish the evening with carry-in Mexican food and a movie at home.

We did them all.

Unlike Samuel, who is chomping at the bit to get out of our house and venture as far away from Danville as he possibly can...Jo is already worried about having to move out.  When asked what his goals are, he unashamedly declared that he wanted to live in the house beside mine and that he was never going to put me in a nursing home...and I haven't once asked him to care for me when I'm older!  That is all his own.

I asked him today as we were riding around what he would change about himself if he could.  He admitted that he would get rid of his struggle with anger and lust.  Lust, specifically, for more things.  I asked if he would change anything about his appearance and he corrected me that the outward man was made up of God-given characteristics that were only his and he would never change that.  (Humbly, I must all of my years of wishing for a beautiful face or a perpetually thin body-Jo's philosophy never has truly occurred to me!)  He then went on to tell me that his cute face was his "bread and butter" and he would never touch it for difference!

After driving him around from one pawn shop to another, looking for a much desired xbox 360 that neither he nor I can afford, he stopped me and told me how thankful he was that I was taking him.  He knows that I don't much care for gaming stores.

So, we did breakfast and Meijers for a new hoodie, both grandparents got a visit, lunch at Benjamin's and then pawn shops and ended our day grabbing Sam up at the school.  I love my Sambo but I was sad to see Jo climb into the back seat of my mustang to make room for his older brother with much longer legs.  When I looked back at him in my rear view mirror, I thought...that just sums up Jo in our little family.  Just a quiet guy, that's willing to sit in the back seat.  He doesn't have much to say and doesn't need much to entertain him.  He's got his own bucket of wisdom but you may never know it unless you sit down at lunch, just the two of you, and pry it out.  He's loving and sweet and very compassionate.  He is very much his father which is why I think I enjoy his company so much.

My sweet JoJo...on your 13th birthday, this is what I hope for you:

That you always love home as much as you do now but that you become willing to go anywhere that Jesus sends you even if that is very far away from us.

 I hope you never feel the pressure to be like Sam.  You are your own person, with your own gifts and God is dreaming way bigger dreams for you than you can imagine.

 I hope you always draw and find that to be comfort to you.

 I hope you find the victory that you so long for to overcome the sins that beset and burden you.

 I hope that you always continue to make the bed even when you have a wife and family because you are so good and stinkin' faithful at doing it everyday to the rest of our shame!

 I'm fairly certain that you will always keep your legos and struggle with sharing them-even with your own kids, but I never want you to lose your young heart.

Most of all, though, I want you to be God dependant.  Trusting only in Him for everything you need or desire...loving Him more than you love me or your dad.  It is with Him alone that you will always feel truly at home.

We love you, Jo.  You have made our lives so wonderful.

Matt giving Josiah a "blessing" as he enters manhood.

The new hoodie

Jo and Grammy

The good stuff

Giant Strawberry Muffins from Grammy

Jo and Paw-Paw

Grumpy Jo waiting for his cheeseburger


Gifts from Mom and Dad

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Another Day Begins...

I've found that if you are going to blog about a day's upcoming should probably do so at the beginning of the day and not at 4pm when the day is in full swing.

Story of my life.

I SO want to be dedicated to the cause of my blog if for nothing else to keep my big sister from being disappointed in me, but our life is nuts.  Plain and simple.  Nuts.

Here is a day in the life....

5:00 am-Wake up and sense that something is coming and hope you are wrong.

5:30-Take emergency counseling call from a hurting woman and spend the hour attempting to encourage her and brainstorm a Biblical plan to unexpected trials.  (I was right-something was coming!)

6:30-Check Commercial News for the obituaries.  I'm telling you...I have a silent fear that one day I'll see my picture in there and not only will I be mad at the one that Matt picked because it makes me look fat, I WILL BE DEAD.

7:00-Kids up, dress for Spirit week, lunches, breakfast, dressing myself...PLEASE can someone get me a cup of coffee!?

8:00-Take kids to school and come home to put the finishing touches on my face and begin to think and pray about first counseling session.  Review last weeks notes.  Pray some more.  Try to convince God that I actually cannot do this again for another day and that I'm completely inadequate to the task.  He loudly agrees with me from the Bible but then reminds me of some good stuff....

8:45-First Session

9:30-Interrupt session to take call from Police officer to help me know what to do with 5am counseling call.

11:00-End Session and give counselee a ride home.

11:30-Answer texts and voicemails that have come through.  Check e-mails.

12:30-Eat lunch and wait for the daily call from Stephanie.

12:45-Not hearing from best friend so I decide that I'm going to take a short nap to catch up from morning and as soon as I drift off....

1:00-Stephanie call.  I love my best friend but this was another counselling session as her life is more crazy that mine right now.  Must admit...Counselling session for me, also!

2:00-Go get boys from school

2:30-Finally get that shower I needed this morning but didn't have time for.

3:30-Start to review notes for tonights session's....We have three different couples coming.

4:00-Get distracted and blog

And the rest remains to be seen....

I did not make my bed yet, do homework with Jo, call and check on my dad, call a very important counseling referral that has been waiting for two days, do any sort of school for myself, make dinner, finish laundry, type notes from last week's sessions OR take that nap.

(And don't even get me started on how I am doing logging into My Fitness Pal every day or getting those 8 glasses of water down!)

Oh shoot!  I need to clean the church also!  I totally forgot about that!

...and it all started this morning in my fluffy, leather chair with my cup of coffee and a calming candle.  I'll be honest that I have been waiting all day for this day to be done but God is continuing to surprise me with grace upon grace and some cool moments that can only be experienced by his power.

Until later-when I will hope to blog but will not because I will be snoring on the couch with Pinx!

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Semper Memor

I am always remembering you, dear blog and never forgetting what a failure I am being with my commitment to write in you daily...that has now changed to writing in you "often".

One more crazy day and then I'm back in business!  Even though I haven't blogged in years...I have quickly resumed my expert ability of having an "I should blog this.." list constantly rolling around in my head!  I guess it really is just like riding a bike!


Thursday, January 29, 2015



I love movies.  Matt would be hard pressed to find an evening in or out where I wouldn't rather pop in a movie or plop down at the theatre and get lost for a little bit in the drama.  I'm not sure how I would answer the question of what my favorite movie is but there are a few that have stuck with me for one reason or another.

One of those is the movie "Unbreakable" directed by M. Night Shyamalan and starring Bruce Willis.

It's not a life-changing plot by any measure and it presents with a very unlikely story of a man that has hidden superpowers which in fact, makes him "unbreakable".   The sequence of the events leads the audience to come to hope and eventually embrace that there is a real life possibility of a superhero (and villain) that live among us outside of your classic comic books.

The reviews were mixed back in 2000 but I walked out of the theatre with a sense that I understood myself a little better than I did before I went in.  I so deeply related to a scene in the movie and in a way, it reassured me that while I would never be a superhero, would very much "break" if presented with a strong enough opposition and am no were near as cool as Mr. Willis...

 I did have a calling.

About halfway through the movie, David Dunn begins to accept what his little boy knew all along, that he had the ability to sense evil and go forth to correct it for good.  He dons a security cape, steps into a train station and simply stretches out his hands to allow people to bump up against him and reveal their personal depravities.

As one person and then another rush past him, he becomes suddenly aware of what they have done and is bombarded with the pain and concern of the actions of each offender.  Eventually, he decides to act on behalf of the victims of one particular perpetrator and after an altercation, saves the day.

So, what does this have to do with me?

For as long as I can remember, I have had a keen sense when someone is hurting or in pain.  Whether it is a good friend or stranger sitting alone at the cafe, it was almost like I could read faces and feel chemistry.  I never told anyone about this...(I wouldn't call it a gift)...."ability".  It's not something that I can help or ignore.  There have been times when I have been deeply entrenched in my own struggles and sorrows and yet, still, I am aware of the emotions of those around me.  I'm often nauseas after certain events like a funeral or a visit to an airport where everyone is saying good-bye and I'm completely drained and worn out after a full Sunday at church.  Raising my children has been challenging in this regard because I have learned them so well that it only takes a little red in the eyes or slump of the posture and I know that something is wrong.  When they are sick...almost unbearable.

If you've ever been hurting and shared that with a group and then gone home and thought to yourself, "I am so sad.  I know all of those people seemed concerned but now they are back in their houses with their own stuff and not even thinking about me."-you're wrong.  I would be the one in the group that is not only thinking about you that night but well into the rest of the week.

This is very handy for keeping me up-to-date on my "thinking of you" cards when someone is going through a trial!

Lest you read this and think that I am bragging, I can reassure you, I'm not.  There have been many, many days and events that I have wished that I would have tunnel vision.  That I could shake the dust of another's hardship off my boots and come back home in freedom to relax.  

The biggest irony, and I know it probably doesn't seem ironic to most, is that God has opened my life and my heart to Biblical Counseling.  I know...makes sense, right?  Person who is aware of pain and hurt should be helper to people in pain and hurting. 

 I don't know.  It seems-not fair, sometimes.  Shouldn't this blessed ministry go to someone stronger, with thick skin, who can balance their help and their home with much more wisdom?

I guess this is on my mind because I meet with several people a week, young and old, couples and singles and I'm coming off my last appointment.  I also lead a crisis accountability group on Tuesday nights for some dear women who have long since become sisters in the faith and share with a transparency and genuineness that would knock your socks off.

After my sessions, I take notes to keep myself updated on each case and this involves reliving the hours again.  

Tonight I got called on an emergency visit to a woman who has miscarried and is suicidal.

So many hurting people.

My memory sees all of their faces from this week, their tears and heartaches.  They fall and they get up again with God's amazing grace but their knees are still skinned.  They have unanswered questions that I have to encourage them to leave unanswered at the feet of Jesus.  They have been victimized, abused, abandoned, and betrayed.  They are stuck in habits that are terribly hard to break and a darkness that seems overwhelming.  All of this, and I haven't even gotten to church this Sunday!

I feel like David Dunn and I'm in the middle of a battlefield...I don't need a cape because I have the armor of God and as person after beloved person brushes up against me, I am intimately aware that life is hard, people are desperate and I am completely inadequate in the process.

At the end of Thursday, when I drop exhausted in my bed, I only have one hope...

There is a Messiah and it's not me.  

There is a real life Superhero and He came 2000 years ago and He is acquainted with our suffering.  His arms were outstretched for us and continue to reach toward us as we, second by second, depend upon His mercy and grace.  He is everything.  He is sufficient.  He is enough.  

I don't resent my special ability much anymore.  I'm pretty sure I will die much younger than my peers and have been known to pop a prozac or two on most days.  My emotions are frazzled but God's Spirit gives me the supernatural ability to rest in His sovereignty over the lives of those in my path and to be able to laugh and sing and dance for joy that I have such great hope.

And the memories of the faces that have surrounded me this week and every week are treasured.  They remind me that life is about something bigger than myself and my small problems.  They cause me to cry out to God in the middle of the night.  They make me love when I want to protect myself.  They urge me to keep going because the time is short and laborers are few.

Unbreakable, I am not.  

Abundantly pardoned and utterly dependant in my brokenness...definitely.