The Shake-ups, the Wake-ups, the Results. When my marriage wasn’t working, I got to work.

Today is our 16th wedding anniversary.  Sitting here now, I look back and see a hundred, a thousand, moments that stick out in my mind, like the supporting beams of this life we’ve built together.  Some of those moments are packaged in a nicely wrapped box with a glittery bow – the proposal, the births of our healthy children, family vacations, finding our church home.   Some moments aren’t pretty – they are dark, and splintered, and painful memories.  But nonetheless, they are why we are here and happy today.
I wrote a Facebook post years ago that spoke to many people.  When I came upon it yesterday on my FB memories, I was inspired to touch on the subject again.
In my personal experience, I went into marriage thinking, and maybe on some subconscious level, “what a relief, my husband now can carry some of the weight of this life, my happiness rests in his hands, I don’t have to seek anything out any longer, it’s his job now too”.  While I do think that entering into a marriage you are contracting to give of yourself in ways that are intimate -relationally, physically, emotionally, solely for that one person, forever.  I don’t however, feel it is their job to make, or keep you happy.
Your happiness, or lack thereof, more importantly, is your own responsibility.  It is not the responsibility of your partner, your children, your job,  etc.  That is too much weight for anyone to bear.
Years ago I was complaining to a friend about how I wasn’t happy in my marriage:  I wasn’t his priority.  Life was messy and hard, and no fun – and of course, it was all his fault.  She gave me some sound advice that changed the course of my marriage and my life.  What had I done to make this marriage great, and NOT just staying faithful and handling the kids, house, bills, etc.  Thoughts of resentment would creep in while I was doing some self-reflection – thoughts of his offenses, his late nights with his buddies, his mile-long honey-do list that would sit unfinished for 6 months at a time.  I had to intentionally turn my pointing finger back around to myself.  I dug deep.  I wasn’t kind to him, respectful of him, selfless with my love.  Being a “good wife” is much more than keeping his work shirts ironed, the kids fed and alive,  the bills paid, and remaining faithful to only him.  So, without saying a word to him about it – I set out to be the best wife I could be, regardless of how sad and alone I felt – how low on his list of priorities I felt I was.
My friend asked me:

“if you divorced him today, could you live the rest of your life without guilt – without questioning whether you had done enough, or tried your absolute hardest? Because you have children together, and they will ask you someday, and you will have to carry the weight of that, and I know your heart for your children.  I don’t want you to live with regret for breaking up your family, if you haven’t given it your all”

OOOF.  Like a punch to the gut…
I knew I couldn’t honestly answer that with a yes. I knew I could do better, be better.  I knew it wouldn’t be easy, I knew I would have to turn the other cheek and not say everything I felt I had the right to say.
So from that moment forward:
~I quit nagging, including those passive-aggressive side remarks we all do sometimes.
~I bit my tongue, even when it was nearly impossible to do so.
~I put a smile on my face, had a good attitude and a grateful heart, even when I had to fake it. After all, he chose YOU – no one else to be his forever life partner.
~I quit withholding my love, physically and emotionally.  I gave of myself even when I didn’t feel like it, even when I wanted to remain aloof, walls up.
~I made our home a home he wanted to come home to.  Messes stress him out – I knew this, so I intentionally had all the toys, shoes, school paper mess picked up and out of sight when he got home.  I smiled and asked about his day when he came home, even if it was after choosing golf league or poker night over a night home with us.
~And most importantly, I stopped venting about him to my friends and family.  I didn’t speak unkindly of him.  I didn’t call anyone seeking the validation that I thought I desperately needed.  This was so important – this is a matter of respect.
If your spouse is consistently choosing other things to occupy his time, give him a reason to choose you – make him want to spend time with you, crave time with you.
Guess what – he started spending more time at home, more time with the children, more time with me.  His attitude and priorities shifted, slowly, but dramatically.  And eventually – I didn’t have to fake the smiles, fake anything.  I was happy.  We were happy.  I changed my entire viewpoint – and I’ve looked at the world through this lens ever since.  This has undoubtedly contributed to our successful and fulfilling marriage, my sweet friendships, and my true happiness.  I was in the driver’s seat of my own happiness all along – it was just easier to blame the other drivers on the road, for the problems, bumps, wrong turns.

Our marriage today looks entirely different.  Jeremy gives of himself in small and grandiose ways every day.  He loves me out loud – sometimes that’s in the form of bringing me my favorite study snack.  Sometimes that’s in the form of showing up for the stuff – the big stuff.  He continually thanks me for putting up with him and literally dragging him through the first 5 years of our marriage – for loving him when he didn’t feel worthy.

I challenge you- take back control of your happiness.  It’s no one else’s cross to bear.  Try to be the best spouse, employee, step-parent, whatever you can be, and see how the world and relationships around you change for the better.

Photos by the incredibly talented Stephanie Horn Photography


{ you are my wild } From Boy to Young Man

He has taught me the true definition of adventure, and curiosity.  He has taught me about quiet love, love that doesn’t shout from the rooftops, but is undeniably there.

The most incredible transformation has happened right before my very own Momma-eyes in the last year.  Every time I tried to put pen to paper to write down my thoughts, I was overwhelmed with a sense of loss, and couldn’t continue.  My once little blue-eyed boy is gone forever and a young man stands in his place.


I occasionally find myself startled by a stranger in my house, only to quickly realize that it is my son.  His hands are so big, jaw structure suddenly defined.  He is taller than me now, faster and stronger.  Those once tight little boy hugs are now different, less often, but cherished even more.

I thought that I would never ever forget the mundane or magical times, the sweet little boy giggles, the noise and dirt….so much dirt.  But those days are gone, and with each passing day, those stacks of memories keep getting taller – faster, as I desperately try to soak it all in, all the unfamiliarity that is my son.

The long sleepless nights and never ending days of the early years of parenthood seemed to last a lifetime.   It was merely minutes ago in my mind, in my heart.  I yearn for those days again, but also feel a tinge of excitement and anticipation of what lies ahead for him.

He grew so quickly, from little boy, to big boy, to all of the sudden this.  I wonder how he feels…like a stranger in his own skin, perhaps.  The changes this year have been remarkable: the physical, emotional, spiritual.  It constantly catches me by surprise.  He now thinks critically, offers input on real-world issues and cares about his appearance.

My son came into the world with soft fine hair all over his tiny body and a grumpy old man expression that I feared would never go away.


He was mobile long before he should have been, trying with all his might to keep up with his big sister.


He toddled around with a baby wipe, cleaning all of the surfaces that he grew to reach.

My son that loved the women in his life with every bit of his chubby little self as a toddler…he was so snuggly and sweet.

He soon after associated “the great outdoors” with time spent with Daddy…which in turn, dethroned Mommy as his number 1.


He cried on his first ever day of preschool, watching us walk away through the classroom window.  Our hearts broke more than his did, that day.

My son that helped the janitor and school secretary get a frog out of the urinal in the boys bathroom as a first grader without a second thought.  Nothing disgusted him…nothing.


He lived in his mud-boots and Levi’s for 4 years straight. (And who could forget that glow-in-the-dark skeleton sweatshirt he never took off!)


The boy that hopped off the school bus every day, dropped his bookbag at the door, grabbed his pocket knife, a rope and his BB gun and took off until I called him in for supper.


My son that could gut his kill and clean a fish before some kids learn to ride a bike.

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The boy that played hours of football in the front yard with the neighbor kids, ripping out the knees of every pair of pants he owned.
Now I hold my breath as I watch him ramp dirt bikes, go in for the tackle, or pull out of the driveway for opening weekend of rifle season.

My son that continually teaches me what it is like to love and truly understand an introvert.  My son that reminds me of his father.  My son that gives me hope for the future generation of men.

Where I once had to protect him from the unknown, he’s showing me and teaching me about the unknown.  He is charting his own coarse now, I’m just hanging on as we go.  He doesn’t need me as much, my affection or time like he used to.  I now find myself needing his.  When was his last “I love you more”, or the last time I had to clip his nails or kiss a boo boo?  I wish I remembered the last, every last.  I wish I knew at the time to squeeze him a moment longer,  read him “just one more book”, and scoop him up in my arms for the last time.


He has taught me the true definition of adventure, and curiosity.  He has taught me about quiet love, love that doesn’t shout from the rooftops, but is undeniably there.  

So , I will continue to steal the occasional hug, and watch for opportunities to take a peak into his beautiful brain.  I will feed his growing body, pray for his maturing heart, and always love him to the moon and back.

Part 2: Accidents & Answered Prayers (6 Degrees of Separation)

There is a phenomenon referred to as 6 degrees of separation.  It is a theory that says everyone and everything is six or fewer steps away, by way of introduction, from any other person in the world.  That each and every person in the whole world is connected by “a friend of a friend” in 6 steps or less.  With every year of age, I believe this to be true.  While it may be explained away by research and statistics, I believe more in divine intervention.
If you haven’t read part 1 of this post, you can find it HERE.  It may fill in some blanks for you and catch you up to speed.
After Kennedy’s accident, our life moved on quickly, as it tends to do.  We have moved cities 5 times since then, keeping our roots in Nebraska.  We landed in Hastings 4 years ago.
Last December I was out to dinner with two of my more recent girlfriends that I met through our Hastings MOPS program.  We were exchanging stories of a local friend we all knew well and her story of loss.  The conversation continued with story after story of people we knew, and some we didn’t, that suffered a tragedy.
My friend “D” started speaking of a family her friend knew.
“There was a fire, a freak accident while vising family out of the country.  They lost their baby girl in the car fire.” she said.
My ears perked up.
I listened as she told the horrific story – one that was so familiar to me.  As “D” stated details, I kept checking things off in my head that I remembered hearing myself so many years prior.
Could this really be the same family I met nearly 14 years ago in a hospital waiting room???
I could not believe what I was hearing.  My new friend, had a best friend, that knew the family that we met in the burn unit years ago.
Couldn’t be the same family, right?!  But how could it not??
“When did this happen?”, I asked.
After my friend calculated the math (based on the ages of her children and what stage of her life she was in when this happened – because that’s what we women do, right! 🙂 ) she settled on 13 or 14 years ago.  I started asking questions based on what I remember the couple telling us about the accident that took their daughter’s life.  D answered each question, and seemed puzzled at how I knew what to even ask.  She had more “meat” to the story, which shattered my heart for this family, even more than it already was.  That day in the waiting room, they told us the bare minimum.  What this family endured that day, and weeks following, was absolutely heartbreaking.
“You guys are not going to believe this.  I met this family.  I was there with them at the burn unit when my daughter was having surgery!” I said in shock.
I explained that I had met a family with a similar story, that they’ve been on  my mind and my heart all of these years.  I was sad, learning more details about their tragedy.  Oh…my momma heart.   I was hopeful of finding out how this family is all of these years later.
The three of us talked about the strange coincidence and God’s hand in it.  We resolved to find out more about this family.  I needed to know they were “okay”…that their marriage survived the storm…that they had been given a chance at a happy life despite such a tragic event.
I rushed home, spilled my heart out to my husband.  He was just as surprised as I was.  He couldn’t believe that we had a connection to this family all these years, and miles away later.
“We were just talking about that family the other day”, he said.
The following week or two it all weighed heavily on my mind.  I just had to know more.  I had to pursue this.  I called my friend “D”.  I told her I needed her to call her friend and ask her how I can find this family she knew of all those years ago.  It took a few days, but “D” came through.  She had the woman’s first name, which was very uncommon, and the city they lived in at the time of the accident.
I found the local newspaper’s website for the town they lived in at the time of the accident.  I searched the woman’s first name in the online archives.
I found one article, the dates matched up with what I knew.  It stated that there was a benefit in place for a family.  It listed both names.
My heart quickened.
I searched their names on Facebook.  There they were…they were still married…they had adorable photos with adorable children.  It was as if some floating pieces of my heart found their way back to their home.  My eyes welled with tears.  I was happy.  I was happy they were “okay”.  I was sad, so sad thinking of how they had to carry that loss with them every day.  There were photos of the piggy-tailed Princess they lost in the fire.  There were photos memorializing her short, but clearly large, life.
I typed a private message:
“You probably have no idea who I am, but I know of you and your family.  13 years ago last August my husband and I were in a waiting room at St. Elizabeth’s waiting for our daughter while she was in surgery at the burn center. We met you (I believe) and your husband ( I specifically remembered him because of his visible burns). Your husband briefly spoke of a car accident and the loss of a baby daughter. My heart just cried for you that day. Your family has been on my heart all of these years, and my husband and I were just talking about you all 2 weeks ago, wondering how you were, feeling grateful that we have never been in your shoes. Many prayers have gone up for you and your family over the years….” I wrote.
I continued on- telling her that I believe God put us in that room to experience that major life event together, because I needed perspective. I needed to remember how fortunate I was.  I told her I was grateful for knowing them.
She replied two hours later.  I was elated to hear from her.
We caught each other up on how I found them, and our current life scenarios.  She said they were so touched to know they were still thought about and how they affected someone else in such a way.  She told me to never, ever, take a day with my children for granted.  It could disappear in a second.  It did disappear for her in a second.  She told me of God’s miraculous healing of her husband, as his prognosis wasn’t great.  His healing surprised his doctors.  He was supposed to lose his hands.  He didn’t.  ❤
This couple walked through the worst storm imaginable- hand in hand.  They survived.  They thrived.  They went on to have two more children.  They were fellow restauranteurs as well…naming their restaurant after the sweet 1 year old baby that passed away in the accident that day.
I am so grateful God let this story unfold and come full circle.  I still pray for this family!  But now I get the pleasure of seeing them do life- through social media.  We’ve kept in contact since December.  My family plans to visit sweet baby girl’s resting place with some pretty, pink flowers soon.  We pass the cemetery when we visit our family back home.
I hope to re-meet the family someday and eat at the restaurant that has her namesake.
You just never know what kind of positive impact you could have on a person’s life, even if it’s during the hardest season of yours.
To the family involved:  I thank you for letting me tell “our”/your story.  I thank you for changing the way I looked at my life from that day forward.  What a blessing it was that God brought our hearts and lives together in this way.  God Bless You All. ❤

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand
Isaiah 41:10

Part 1: Accidents & Answered Prayers

I wish I could say that August 2nd, 2003 was a blur.
I wish I could say that I don’t remember the pain my baby felt that day.
I wish I could say that it wasn’t my fault.
I wish I could take back the split second that it took for the accident to happen.
I wish I could forget the sound of the fear in my husband’s voice through the other end of the phone when I called him to meet us at the hospital.

I wish I could say that August 2nd, 2003 was a blur.
I wish I could say that I don’t remember the pain my baby felt that day.
I wish I could say that it wasn’t my fault.
I wish I could take back the split second that it took for the accident to happen.
I wish I could forget the sound of the fear in my husband’s voice through the other end of the phone when I called him to meet us at the hospital.


(Kennedy – 12 months old)

It was our first big outing as a family of four.  We were going to our friends’ wedding a few hours away.  I dressed Kennedy, 18 months old at the time, in a beautiful, lavender dress – made of Satin- with a matching cardigan and patent leather shoes.  I fixed her hair with piggy tales and little Velcro bows.  She twirled around the house watching her dress fly up while I fixed my hair and make-up, and squeezed my newly postpartum body into a dress for the first time in ages.  Our 11 week old baby boy was sleeping in his baby swing, the giggles and noises of his big sister jolting him awake periodically.


(A big sister is born:  Kennedy meeting Konnor for the first time)

I was so excited.  I was so ready to get out of the house and see the friends we moved away from a year prior.  I was so happy to show off our growing family.  I was busy checking things off of my mile-long to do list.  My husband had to work up until the minute we left town.  So, in an effort to ease the stress for him, I agreed to get everything ready for the weekend away, iron his clothes for the wedding, load up the kids and pick him up from work on our way out of town.
It only took 3 seconds.
Baby Konnor was in his travel swing that sat low to the ground.  He started fussing, and in an attempt to delay his feeding until the last minute, I stepped away – 3 steps – from the ironing board, leaned down to give him his pacifier.  “20 minutes, baby…Momma just needs 20 more minutes…”.
I turned around to see the hot clothes iron fall…the cord in her hand.  You see – I ironed Jeremy’s work shirts every day…every. single. day.  Kennedy toddled around the room while I ironed every day.  She had never come near the ironing board.  She repeated “hot” and “no no”  as I reminded her continuously not to come near me while I was ironing Daddy’s shirts.  She pulled the iron off the ironing board and it landed on the top of her right hand.
I was so amazed that her petite little self had the strength to pull the hot iron off of her hand, hold it up, without dropping it on herself.  It was like watching it all happen in slow motion.  I jumped toward her, scooping her up and getting the iron out of her hand.  The skin was burned so badly.  The entire top of her dominant hand was burned.  I rushed to the kitchen and ran cold water on her hand, dialing Jeremy’s work.
“Kennedy got burned.  She needs to go to the hospital now.  I need your help.  Please get here fast!”.
My mind plays this scene on repeat whenever I think of this incident:  my beautiful baby girl, dressed in a lavender gown, pushing the pop machine buttons with her burned hand while I filled out paperwork.  It was unbelievable.  She floated around the ER waiting room, charming everyone she saw…while the top of her hand was completely covered in a 3rd degree burn.
“It was a clothes iron.”, I said, to the nurse taking her vitals.    “I stepped away for a second to give the baby his pacifier.”   What was I thinking?  How could I let this happen?
The next couple of days was a rush of medicine, bandages and a trip to St. Elizabeth’s in Lincoln, NE to the burn unit for our first visit.  I felt myself slipping.  I felt myself losing grip.  I saw the dark cloud forming over my head.  How could I ever forgive myself for this?
I was surprised by the energy and enthusiasm of the staff at St. E’s.  They were so good at their jobs.  They gave Kennedy an oral medication – assuring me that this medicine would give her a kind of temporary amnesia – to avoid her remembering what they were about to do to her, to reduce her anxiety and fear at every follow-up appointment.
She was awake.  They held her down while they took a scrub brush and debrided her wound.  The skin just fell off.  The tears fell, from her face and ours.  Blood dripped from her fingertips.  I was shocked at the color of her newly exposed flesh- the brightest white.  My heart was ripped wide open.  I couldn’t even bare to look Jeremy in the face.  He was so disappointed; I was a disappointment.   We left with pre-op instructions and heavy hearts.
“Would you like us to take the skin from her thigh or the back of her head?” the surgeon asked.  We took into consideration that Kennedy as a young lady would probably prefer not to have a big scar on her thigh, as it would grow with her.  Reluctantly, we decided to have them graft skin from the back of her head to her hand.  “Her hair will grow back immediately”,  the doctor assured us.  They shaved the back of her head and grafted skin from her scalp to her hand.
I watched as they wheeled her down the hallway with her “Dolly” tucked under her arm, into surgery.  I was so angry.  So nervous.  I had never felt such gut-wrenching physical pain from emotional stress before.  It was almost paralyzing.
We sat in a small room lined with chairs, Kleenex boxes, magazines and the buzz of the TV in the corner.
We waited.  We prayed.  I asked God for perspective.  I begged God to ease the pain of the hardest week of my life.  I was desperate for his help, his light.  It was so dark.  It was so heavy.
God delivered.
Minutes later a young couple came in and sat across from us.  The gentleman was bandaged, so many bandages.  I couldn’t tear my eyes away from his wounds, some covered, others not.  We made small talk.   Then we exchanged the details about what led us all to the waiting room of a burn unit on that hot August day.
Their pain was palpable.  They spoke of the car accident.  They spoke of their devastating loss.  They couldn’t save both of their children from the burning vehicle, despite his efforts – the burns, bandages and scars covering his body to prove it.  They lost their baby girl.  She was Kennedy’s age.  My heart, my spirit hurt so much for them.  They had to bury their baby girl…and here I sat – feeling sorry for myself.  They lost their baby girl, and I got to leave the hospital that day with mine.
Thank you, Lord.


(Kennedy – 18 months old)

Kennedy’s recovery went about as well as expected.  We made frequent trips to St. E’s weekly for dressing changes, physical therapy, and follow-up appointments.
My heart’s recovery (not that it really ever completely recovered) came only by God offering me the pain and perspective of a family much worse off than me that day.  I have carried this family in my heart over the years.    They came up in conversation between my husband and myself many times over the last 14 years.  We wondered how they were doing, if their marriage survived such a loss.  We wished we would have had enough foresight to get identifying details to keep up with them in the future.  I’ve prayed countless prayers for them: anytime I noticed Kennedy’s scar, listened to her explain what happened, or heard a story of the loss of a child.  These people…we sat there broken, hearts open…sharing one of the hardest moments of our lives…together.  My heart was changed that day.  These people changed my heart, my perspective, my life.  And they had no idea.
Part 2 of this story on the blog soon. ❤


(Kennedy – 3 years  with her coveted Dolly)

The BB Boy

It has been said that the most dangerous place to stand is between a woman and her child.  I wonder when that maternal instinct is born, perhaps while carrying the baby in the womb for 9 months.   Mothers have been known to fight for and protect their young with superhuman strength and ability that defies all logic. 

On this day, April 24, 2010 – 7 years ago:

Life in the country in rural Nebraska was quiet with many hours spent outdoors making our own entertainment.  My kids were quite good at finding something to do on our land.  Every day Konnor, 6 years old at the time, had a BB gun and pocket knife in tow from the minute his feet jumped off of the school bus until I called him in for supper.  He was a natural born adventurer and outdoorsman.

KON squir

On this particular day, Konnor got grounded for playing rough with his little brother.  On the rare occasion that Konnor got grounded, his BB gun was the first thing to go.  It was his most prized possession.  While I was busy cooking supper, Konnor came rushing into the kitchen coughing a beastly cough, which wasn’t that unusual as he was born with Asthma.

“Mommy, I swallowed a BB!”  he mustered between coughs and gags. We rushed to the bathroom, as his coughs soon forced him to gag and throw up continually from the intensity.

After getting the full story, I determined that he must have inhaled the BB into his lung.  He had made a pea shooter out of a straw and a BB.    I called my husband at work first to explain the situation and ask his advice.

“He just swallowed it, honey.  He will pass it in a couple days…kids swallow things every day.  No need to worry.” said Jeremy.   I hung up surprised and frustrated with his lackadaisical response.

Konnor was forcefully coughing for 30 straight minutes when I called the nearest hospital which was in a small town-11 miles away.  The nurse assured me that the BB most likely went into his stomach and that he would pass it in a few days.  I asked to speak to the on-call doctor.

“I’m sure it’s fine, he will pass it in a few days.  It’s very unlikely he inhaled it into his lung.” said, the doctor in a calm, cool voice.         “I am just not comfortable with this.  I would like an X-Ray to prove its location, so I can sleep in peace tonight.  I know something isn’t right. I can feel it.  I’m bringing him in.” I said.

We checked into the ER 30 minutes later. By this time his cough had completely resolved with the use of his asthma inhaler, creating more doubt in the emergency staffs’ minds.  “Well, you will have to wait in this office, as we have serious emergencies to deal with first.” I remember the ER nurse saying as she directed us to a small administrative office.  Konnor curled up in a corner chair with Frank, the big, floppy-eared, stuffed puppy that he slept with every night.  Doubt started to creep into my mind as I looked at my sweet boy, smiling at me, talking to me…he couldn’t have really inhaled a BB, right?  Maybe everyone was right, maybe I was overreacting. But I still had a slight tugging deep down in the pit of my stomach reminding me that I was there for a reason.  Whatever the outcome, I needed a definite answer.

KONsurg   (Konnor waiting in the ER for his turn)

We waited nearly two hours in the office.  Konnor drifted off to sleep, time and again, between the beeps and noises of the ER startling him awake.  It was finally our turn.  The doctor assessed him and said she would do an X-Ray to appease me.  A few minutes later, the entire situation went from calm to very urgent and serious as 2 nurses and the doctor rushed into the room, exclaiming that the BB was in fact, in his left lung.  After a brief explanation from the doctor, the nurses grabbed Konnor by his ankles and held him upside down as the doctor pounded on the left side of his back with her fist, trying to dislodge it. While rather unconventional…if this would work, we could avoid surgery.   Konnor was so scared and confused.  The doctor did another X-Ray to see if the BB had changed location, hoping Konnor could expel it with a cough.  With no change, she called Children’s Hospital in Omaha and called for an ambulance to transport him there for surgery.

I will never forget that somber four hour drive to Omaha in the middle of the night, wondering how this happened, how they would remove it, and what would have happened had I listened to everyone else, and not the nagging feeling in my gut telling me something wasn’t right.

We entered the ER of Children’s Hospital at 3:20 am. “The BB Boy is here.”  the receptionist said as she phoned the nurses station to tell them of our arrival.  Those words rang in my ears.  This was really happening.

KONsurg2 (Konnor waiting to go into surgery at Children’s Hospital)

Konnor had surgery a few hours later.  A team of doctors removed a BB from the lower lobe of his left lung. They handed me a jar containing the BB and gave us the rundown of how surgery went and how recovery was going.

I was told how serious this could have been had we not found it right away, more times than I could count, during our stay at Children’s Hospital, given his already compromised respiratory system.  Konnor was a celebrity there. Numerous doctors and medical students popped into his room to meet the dubbed BB boy and to ask our permission to examine the unbelievable X-Ray.

My son was safe and healthy, with a fully functioning and in-tact lung because I listened to my mother’s intuition and I acted on it.

It has been said that the most dangerous place to stand is between a woman and her child.  I wonder when that maternal instinct is born, perhaps while carrying the baby in the womb for 9 months.   Mothers have been known to fight for and protect their young with superhuman strength and ability that defies all logic.  Perhaps it is a phenomenon that can be explained away by research and science. Perhaps it is a gentle nudge from God, saying “Pay attention!”. Whatever the case may be, my mother’s intuition has proved itself time and again as a trusted compass, guiding me in this season of my life.

Making women friends is hard; doing life without them is harder.

Vulnerability is not about fear and grief and disappointment.  It is the birthplace of everything we’re hungry for.
-Brené Brown

Stepping out of my comfort zone to befriend another woman can be so nerve wracking sometimes.  I suddenly feel insecure and question whether said person even wants to get to know me better.  My mind fills with doubt…they’re so much younger/older than me…they’re so much more successful that me…they have no children and I have 5, what in the world would we have in common…they “outrank” me on every level:  education, career successes, life….etc.   Reruns of every previous interaction with this person plays on repeat in my mind while I try to sort through the pieces.   Eventually I remember that I have yet to regret reaching out to every woman I have.  Eventually I remember every solid, wonderful friendship that has developed from putting myself out there and taking a chance on rejection.  Eventually I see the flourishing friendships that continue to lift me up and teach me more than I ever knew I needed to learn.
Soon I hush the negative voices in my head…send that Facebook message, text, or verbal invitation to get together with me.
I can not adequately verbalize the importance of the women friendships in my life.  These women guide me spiritually, professionally, emotionally.  They deliver freezer meals to my home for a night that I may need a break from cooking.  They visit my children in the hospital when they’re sick.  They send me heart-shaped brownies in the mail.  They bake me a birthday cake. They watch my children when I have a last minute appointment.  They are there at every milestone in my life, and my kiddos.  They diet with me, and encourage me every step of my journey.  They share their talents and God-given gifts with me and ask me to share mine with them.  They drop off gifts for me and my kids, that just “reminded them of me”.  They check-in with me when it’s been awhile.  They send me cards, funny memes, sweet quotes, and bible verses.  They take the time to listen or talk me through the difficult times, funny times and sweet times.  They offer to pray with me.  They love me.  I visualize these women hand in hand, surrounding me with so much love and support that I am nearly blinded by the light.  These women are a warm smile, a comforting voice and a safe place to be who God intended me to be.
I have intentionally guarded my marriage by investing in female, and not male, friendships.  I have improved my marriage by leaning on my friends, as well as my husband.  His shoulders shouldn’t have to bare the weight of being my only emotional support…he already bares the weight of being my lover, provider and co-parent.
To every woman out there reading this today, you have more than likely brought something special to my life, a lesson or a blessing.   To every woman reading this today, take that leap, hush the voices, be vulnerable and open to trusting another woman.  Keep your expectations low, but your standards high.  Reach out to women that you feel with lift you up.  Invest in women that sincerely want the best for you and your family.   It can bless your life in so many ways.


Happy Birthday Kennedy Marie -15 years old – Bonus: Birthday Interview

It’s a tale as old as time….the sweet little chubby babies, turn into clumsy toddlers, then into big kids with scraped knees, then into awkward tweens, and  then into something older…yet still young….someone that can hold a conversation with adults, someone that can drive and fend for themselves but still can’t keep the giggles at bay in a situation where laughing is inappropriate.   And yet it always surprises the parents, every time.  As if they didn’t know this is how this works…this is the way it has always worked.  They grow up.  Right in front of your eyes.  OUCH.  It hurts.  I heard it referred to once as looking directly into the sun.  It stings.
Miss Kennedy turned 15 years old a few weeks ago!  She had a great day full of balloons, ice cream cake, Chinese food lunch date with Dad, Mom and Khloe, and our annual birthday dinner out with just her parents…at Olive Garden.

Kennedy is the little Momma (well, not so little anymore, as she’s taller than this Momma) of the Howard Home.  She is assertive and opinionated and happy.  She is organized, which always catches me off guard, as I remember my bedroom (and my childhood best friend Kelli’s room) growing up being a complete and total disaster.  Kennedy is kind, sweet, thoughtful, smart and funny.  She has made this parenting gig pretty wonderful.  I’m constantly impressed with her ability to juggle her insanely busy schedule, between school work, athletic schedules, volunteering at church, babysitting and her commitments at our home.  Kennedy loves the Lord.  She reads her bible daily.  She prays, and she isn’t afraid to speak His truth in a situation that might be uncomfortable for her.   That’s pretty awesome.  She’s pretty awesome.  I have had this post started for a few weeks and just couldn’t find the space in my heart to put into words how I feel about her getting so old!  Well, my words will never do her justice.  But I will continue to watch her grow into her body, in Christ, and into her true self.  Here’s the annual birthday interview:

Nicknames:  Nenny, Ken

Favorite Food:  Chinese

Favorite Drink:  Strawberry Smoothie

Favorite Color:  Aqua

Favorite Song:  Holy Spirit

Favorite Book:  My Bible

Favorite Subject in School:  Science

Favorite Movie:  A Walk to Remember

Favorite TV Show:  Criminal Minds

Favorite Holiday:  Christmas

Best Friends:  Jersie, Nate, Abby Klammer, Tori Splitt, Amber Hollister

What do you want to be when you grow up?  Jr. High or High School Teacher

Where would you like to go on vacation? Mexico

What is one thing you wish you owned right now?  A nice car that doesn’t scream (her car needs some love 🙂 )

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? With a degree in education, married with a kid or two

What is 1 goal you wish to accomplish in your lifetime?  Run a marathon

God is within her; she will not fall.

– Psalm 46:5