I'm a full-time wife and mom of two adorable boys. When I'm not busy trying to keep up with them I enjoy photography, traveling, planning parties and a little bit of reading.

In February of 2008 I was diagnosed with an incurable terminal lung illness, though God promised me a full and complete healing. While we wait for His timing, we're taking it one day at a time, and standing in awe of how God's using all of this for His glory. The tough road we've traveled has given us a new perspective on the fragility of life. Memories are more important to us than ever before. The goal of this blog is to share some of our family life - the ups and downs, the joys and probably some of the pains as well. It's mostly meant as a personal journal of sorts, but you're welcome to share in it. We'd like to take this opportunity to say ...


Sunday, May 23, 2010

It's about time!

Our last family photo was at Easter.  But last weekend a cousin helped inspire me to take another one.  And then her sister took it for us.  Harrison was fussy, Alex was grouchy (he hates getting his photo taken).  But it turned out okay anyway.  Thank you, ladies!

Alex is now 5 - Harrison is 2 - Aaron has forgotten his age (seriously - just ask him!  He'll have to do the math to figure it out!) - and I'm officially 30 ... for the rest of my LIFE! **grin**

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Several months ago I told Aaron that I'd like to plant a raspberry bush.  I'd like to plant it in the back yard (outside the fence) next to a storage shed that's back there.  He loves raspberries, and was excited by the possibility.  I was excited by the possibility of making my own raspberry preserves (and saving us money at the grocery store).

Doesn't that just look scrumptious!??!  I found that photo online somewhere, but I'd love to have the real thing in my back yard (provided the birds don't eat all the berries).  So, tonight, while we were at Home Depot, I just happened to pass little pots of raspberry plants.  Since the Good Lord gave me two hands, I picked up a plant in each one.  I was sooo excited!  Since I didn't want them to tip in my trunk, they rode home up front with me.  

On the ride home, I got to spend some quality time looking at them, and dreaming of fresh raspberry preserves. ... But the more I looked at the plants, the more I began to wonder....  So, when we got home, I grabbed my camera and went for a walk.  I walked out the back door, across the yard, opened the fence, and went to the storage shed.  I looked at a wild-looking bush that's growing beside it - right where I told Aaron I want a raspberry bush to be planted.

And then I looked closer.....

I think that IS
a raspberry bush!!!!!  

Of course I won't know for sure until those buds burst forth. But, isn't that what it looks like to you??? I'm not sure what to make of this.  Either I subconsciously knew that's what it was, or, God has a sense of humor, or SOMETHING!

So, we have two perfect little raspberry plants free for the taking if anyone's interested!  I'm gonna need to spend some time tomorrow researching how to trim wild-looking raspberry bushes.  I'd like to tame it so it looks less like a psychotic weed with thorns, and more like a lovely plant that produces yummies for us to eat.

Monday, May 3, 2010

The Built-In

This past weekend, friends from "back home" came to visit.  One of the goals for the weekend, was that (since he's a carpenter - specializing in custom cabinetry) he would (with Aaron's assistance) create a built-in for Alex's room.

This was my inspiration photo.

This was what he had to work with (a wall with a HUGE bump-out).  

I requested a desk area rather than a window seat.  And after lots and lots of hard work (with some interruptions by the 6 kids that were in the house, lots of great conversations, a whole day of accidental DECAF coffee, and a couple meals thrown in there).....  Somehow - some power tools and two very experienced and extremely talented hands (along with a pair of "helping hands") were able to turn this pile of wood and supplies....

... slowly and steadily ...

... piece by piece ...

... step by step ...

... measurement by measurement ...

... into THIS!

I am simply ECSTATIC!!!!!  

We're hoping to get it primed and painted in the next two weeks.  I still need to pick hardware for the doors that are being ordered for the bottom parts.  Then once all of that is done, we'll measure and order some tempered glass to go on the desk area.  Then ... I get to decide curtains for the room, and Alex's room will be mostly finished.  It'll be nice to have ONE room in this house done.  I'll make sure to post pics once the whole thing is complete.

Aaron's said that working on this project over the weekend has motivated him to paint more of the house.  (yippee!!!)  It's amazing what a little money and a whole lot of grunt work can do to transform a room!

Thank you SOOOOO much for coming out and creating such beauty out of a pile of wood!  I'm sooooo impressed with the talent God's given you! I'm already figuring out what I'd like the next project to be! **grin**

Echoes of a childhood lost

(I wrote this in college.)

“Echoes of a Childhood Lost”

            As a child of ten, I sit in the living room of my almost quiet house.  I hear only the sounds of my red crayon as I color Mickey Mouse in my new Disney Coloring Book and the clock ticking on the wall.  The echoing ring of a telephone shatters the near silence.  As my mother answers the phone, I instinctively know that something is wrong.  Reluctant, yet self-assured, I quietly go into the kitchen and begin to slip on my shoes.  The thought crosses my mind, I’m not sure what’s happening, but I know this is going to be a long night.
            About ten minutes later, I find myself walking into the Emergency Room of a nearby hospital, accompanied by my mother and sister (who is fourteen years old and just as disoriented).  At this point, we have been told only that my father is sick.  However, my insides cannot lie to me; I know that this night will change the rest of my life.
            It seems like ages until I am spoken to, and even longer until I speak myself.  I feel forgotten, lost in the commotion, but accept my role as child: to be seen and not heard.  I realize that I am not capable to understand fully this situation, and patiently wait for some final word to confirm what I sense.  An eternity passes, and the sound of bustling people fades into the background as the ticking clock on the stark wall drowns it out.  It is just before seven p.m.
            Reality finally dawns on me when Mr. _____ (a friend’s father) gives me a hug and tells me that everything will be all right.  I finally have the confirmation I needed.  If nothing were wrong, he wouldn’t try so anxiously to reassure me; I had never seen him show any emotions before.  But now I’m not sure if I can handle the truth.  The clock, now deafening, mimics the unbearable inner pain trapped somewhere in the pit of my stomach.  At exactly 7:37:26 a nurse comes into the waiting room and announces that my father has indeed died.  Time stops as the laughter of my childhood deserts me and accompanies my father into the vast unknown.  I pull back from the beyond and search for security in the here and now.  I notice that the room, which was bursting with people, has become empty of all except my mother, sister, and me.  I look around, trying to soak in my surroundings, aware that I will later want to remember all of this.  The room seems so big, and I so small.  The three of us are in different parts of the room: my mother standing by the door rocking back and forth, my sister on the opposite side of the room – staring through a painting on the wall, and I sitting on a couch between the two of them.  I note this and decide that only later will I understand why they were so far apart – is this what life will be like?  I feel tired, very tired.  Tears begin to flow silently down my desolate cheeks.  Not of sorrow or remorse, these tears are present because they are expected of me.
            Before I leave the hospital that evening I am permitted to see my father, or rather, the remains of him.  The picture of his hard, unresponsive body lying on the cold metal table will stay with me forever.  While in the room, I remember that when he dropped me off at school that morning, I failed to say my customary “Bye, Daddy.  I love you.”  I try to push this haunting fact out of my mind by reminding myself that I need to concentrate on more pertinent things.  However, its persistence in being acknowledged amazes me.  Before I leave the sterile room, leaving my mother there alone, I whisper the neglected words – my goodbye.  The bitter silence of my soul has been broken at last.  I have spoken, and in doing so have challenged death itself.
            Though completely exhausted, I refuse the consolation of sleep that night.  As I sit alone in the overwhelming darkness of my room, my first thought is that this is merely a dream.  I keep looking out of the window, waiting for my father’s car to come up the street.  I even count the cars as they pass on the nearby National Road; I reach ninety before quitting.  Ninety.  I suddenly speak aloud, breaking the silence of denial. “I’m wasting my time.  This is real: this is my life.  I need to just live it.”
            I spend the remaining night hours sitting in the windowsill, thinking.  My actions will be most beneficial if I figure out how everyone else will react, and assume my role accordingly.  Before morning comes, I decide to go on with life, while picking up added responsibility at home.  My sister will become bitter and use this as another justification for her rebellion.  There are no sons, no adult children.  It is up to me to be ‘the man of the house’. 
            My mother tries to cling to some sort of normalcy in the midst of all this chaos.  I do my best to help her and try to become responsible for as much as I can at home.  I attempt to take on the responsibility for much of the decision-making, even delineating the rules that my elder sister should obey since in her grief she seems determined not to follow the "house rules."  This child has been self-elevated to a pseudo-adult trapped in the body of a child.  The suffocating child within – screaming and longing for expression – is self-repressed for the survival of the ‘family’.
            My transition into adulthood indeed proves arduous.  It gradually becomes difficult, many times nearly impossible, for me to relate to my once close friends.  I now know and have experienced so much, that it forms a chasm between us.  People either see my outward child appearance and fail to see the near-adult within, or see the adult characteristics and overlook the child.  It would be a full seven years before I once again genuinely laugh with friends.
            How does this metamorphosis finally occur?  I myself don’t even know entirely for sure.  But I do know that I first noticed its completion upon attaining full independence.  Perhaps utter exhaustion from the struggle forced the child to surrender to the competing adult.  Maybe the how and why don’t matter.  Adulthood has been achieved.  I have dealt with the past, and am ready to go on with my life.
            An adult of twenty sits on the floor in her almost quiet apartment.  The only sounds heard are those of her pencil on paper as she writes, and the ticking clock on the desk. 

May 3, 1990

My life changed forever on the evening of May 3, 1990.  I was ten years old.  My father was playing racquetball. He went to return a serve, and collapsed on the floor.  Dead.  It was not a heart attack.  It was not a stroke.  He simply DIED.  They say it was a "cardiac arrest" - his heart just stopped beating and he was dead.  It was instantaneous.  It was painless.  There was no time for him to "contemplate his eternity." There was no time to "make his peace" with loved-ones.  One minute he was living, and the next moment he was face-to-face with his Maker.

Grief, however, is NOT instantaneous.  It's more like this ...

I've had to "deal with" my father's death several times during my life.  ... I had to deal with it that first evening at the hospital, when I came to grips that HE really wasn't in that motionless body anymore.  ... I had to deal with it the next morning, when I was in denial, and sneaked behind my mother's back and had a neighbor drive me to school. ... I had to deal with it a year or so later when a loving teacher took me aside and talked with me about how I needed to make a choice - either continue to use his death as an excuse (not to do well in school, not to participate in extra-curriculars, to just sit by and watch life pass me by) or to use it as a stepping stone and grow from the experience. ... I had to deal with it at family reunions when his presence was sorely missed. ... I had to deal with it when as a teenager my mother and I would disagree and in my anger I was convinced that HE would have let me do such-and-such (in all reality, he wouldn't have, though). ... I had to deal with it at my wedding, when he wasn't there to walk me down the aisle. ... I had to deal with it during my first pregnancy, when he wasn't there to tell me how excited he was - or to say what an adorable grandson he had - and that he was so proud.

I accepted his death years ago.  I have no idea when, it just slowly happened, maybe 10-15 years ago?  I don't know. I've accepted his death.  But I still miss him, and think of him, and periodically wonder if he'd be proud of how I'm turning out.  Of course, I'm glad he's not here to have gone through the pain of a daughter who's diagnosed with a terminal illness.

Today marks 20 years since his death.  And today I remember him.  Today I thank God for giving me a godly father, who wasn't perfect (by a long shot), but who sincerely TRIED.  And because of my father, I have married a godly man, who isn't perfect (by a long shot), but who sincerely tries.  Thank you, God, for my Daddy.