……Because it all Leads Back To Hope.

” I will praise the one whos chosen me to carry YOU.” ~Selah




Dear Sweet Mama,

      It’s almost Christmas and I can feel your heart tugging in a million different directions. I can feel it because mine to, is doing the same.

     December has a way of bringing out the hustle and bustle, the financial struggles, and the family stresses….and with it comes the emotions of it all. You feel them a little stronger and harder as family is placed at the forefront and it reminds you over and over again of the  someone who’s missing.

      Every year I prepare for the emotions…the reminders….the memories. As I dig out the Santa bags with children’s names whom will never be filled. As I hang stockings for five when there should be seven, and the Christmas pictures that will never be complete.

      I feel your confusion as you wonder how to sign that Christmas card or gift tag. I know your desire to write your precious child’s name down with the rest of your family’s, but your weariness of making someone else feel uncomfortable.

      I know because no matter the time. Whether your first Christmas or your twenty-fifth, that child will never be forgotten. I know because a piece of your heart is eternally missing where they implanted themselves the moment you laid eyes on them or found out they were coming.

   Last night I was wrapping presents with tear filled eyes. I was stressing about cookies that still needed to be decorated, the strained relationships that I did not have the ability to fix, and the list that seemed to be getting bigger instead of smaller.

   I was hurting, I was missing my “what should have beens” and longing for my “what could have beens.” As the emotions began to build I felt myself getting angrier and the feelings of hopelessness set in when in what seemed like an instant I was reminded of the most simplest, yet most complex point of it all.

Jesus is HOPE.

Christmas is where HOPE began.

…..and that very HOPE remains constant.

   So as we go into the coming week. When we are consumed with the pain, emotions, and memories of our empty arms and broken hearts be reminded of such HOPE.

    Be reminded of a tiny precious baby who was also born to a proud, faithful, loving mother whom held her baby with no clue that he would die years later. A mother whom God loved yet had bigger plans that she could not see. A mother who watched hopelessly as her son took his last breath.

….and most importantly that beautiful baby who was born to die.

A baby who gave us the HOPE of seeing our sweet little ones again.

The same God who chose us to carry our precious children.

So in the business, and the emotions of this week,

Be still. Remember. HOPE.


Merry Christmas Mama,

PicMonkey Sample





From God-Fearing to God – Loving; life lessons from the front porch.


“She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. ~ Proverbs 31:25”

   I looked down at my weathered garden and couldn’t help but feel I resembled the wilted weeds waiting desperately for that drink of water that would provided them with the energy needed to grow strong. 

  I was tired….and after a long week of wrestling with thoughts and fears of God’s fairness in my life as it seemed to continuously be up-heaved, I couldn’t help but feel the wretch in my stomach with each turn of the hand tiller.

   Abi sat quietly on the front porch watching as every weed root was ripped through the soil and finally broke the silence with expressing her excitement for the Science Olympics that following day. She ended with telling me that her team was going to win because she believed in God.

    I have to admit I had only been half listening. After all I was not only attempting to get the front gardens going, but I was also fighting my own internal battle and while getting ready to give her that one worded, not really listening “ya” I suddenly processed what she had just said.

    For some reason I couldn’t get what she had said out of mind and I could do noting else but to put everything down and sit my God-fearing self right next to that God-loving little girl. We spent an hour talking about God, faith, and that believing in him did not give us a free ticket. That sometimes winning just isn’t in his plan…and what she thought about what I had just said.

She looked at me and said that it wasn’t fair.

…..and believe me I got it.

   Fair has not been a word that I had used to describe God in my lifetime. Knowing he never promised fairness has been something I have feared my whole life.

    Fairness was not something I felt as I laid on a stretcher at 3am when I was told my unborn babe had no heartbeat. 

    Fairness was not the choice of wording I would use to describe the moment I kissed my sweet baby girls cold lips for the last time, or as I watched my husband sign a tear stained piece of paper that would turn our chubby cheeked, twelve pound baby into a mere pile of grey ash.

  As I sat there I began to fear the obstacles that Abigail would have to face in her lifetime. The times in her life that she would be shaken to the core and cause her to questions Gods faithfulness in her life. When I heard the words “This is so much more than you.”

    Fearing God has been something that I had become very good at. Worrying that every angry outburst, mess up, or mischievous thought would end up with a get back at me. Being afraid that every good thing would end up bad. Missing the blessing because I was to consumed with worrying about what would come after..later.

As my nine year old little girl got up so nonchalantly, shrugged her shoulders and said “oh well, God loves me anyways” and ran off in to the back yard I realized that this moment on the porch was  less about some science olympics and so much more about my God-Fearing self. 

   I had been brought some clarity that my blurry eyes has been trying to see.  My fear from God my whole life has not only kept me from enjoying his blessings to the fullest, but from loving him wholly. Loving him in fear was not loving him in truth and yet he loved me anyways. He is not the one to be feared.

   What a freeing feeling to finally get that I do not need to fear Him. That I can let that go and take that burden off of my shoulders because my life is so much bigger than me and he will help me carry it. 

   That whether through the unfairness of death, divorce, illness, and financial struggles God is still here to help us through. To show us the goodness in the cracks of our everyday lives.

   So this morning as I sit back down on that front porch where this God Fearing woman was set free, I am excited to open my eyes and heart to soak up the blessings in the here and now and to go through this day not fearing my mess ups or let downs.

Because after all.

Out of the mouth of a nine year old little girl.

He loves me anyways!








Dreams, Dolls, Death & Daughters.


“From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” ~ Psalm61:2

    When I was young I dreamed about having a family of my own.

     Like any little girl, I spent hours wondering what my husband would like, and what my children  names would be as I dressed plastic dolls in lace dresses and carried them around so (un)carefully in my arms. 

    Those young days playing dolls, stuffing my shirts for pregnant tummys, and watching mothers push strollers around the park are what shaped my idea of what a mommy was. 

Cute. Fun. Perfect.

    All words I would have used to describe motherhood back then. Naively unaware of the sleepless nights, illness, and dangers of this world that comes along with the job title. 

   Years later as I sat in a pink hospital chair while breathless hours turned my perfectly pink, chubby, and bright brown eyed little girl into a cold, blue, expressionless being my mind was unable to grasp the reality of what being a mother now truly meant.

 After all I had failed at my biggest job of what being a mom entailed,… keeping my child healthy and alive.

    My sweet little childhood dreams had turned into a complete nightmare in the matter of a mere moment and It broke me so completely that I now felt unprepared for life…motherhood……or even my next breath.

     In all those years of playing, never once can I recall playing mommy to the dead. Not one time do I remember pretending to breathe life into the breathless, or bury my sweet cherished newly gifted doll in to the hard cold ground to never see again.

Because to the world it is “unnatural”…regardless of the one in four women who are faced with this reality every single day.

     This morning as I watched my four year old stuff her pj’s with a furry pink unicorn…..as I saw her face light up as she looked down at her swollen little belly….and as I listened to her giggle as she walked around my room with hands wrapped cherishing around her “unborn”…..I couldn’t help but feel a sense of fear for the life ahead of her.

The unknown. 

     Then I was reminded that I have no more control over my childrens life as I do my own but that someone who loves them and cherishs them….who created them, the someone greater and so much bigger than me does.

 I want my daughters to dream. 

     I want them to dream bigger than me. I want them to strive for those dreams, I want them to follow them as far as the road allow…but I want them to know that Gods are bigger. I want them to be able to let theirs go when he has other plans.

    I want my children to be protected from the dangers, illnesses, and tragedies of this world. I want them to be free from fear, from death, and  from suffering.

That would be my perfect dream.

……but I know that this would be impossible.

    So instead of fearing the dissipation of the perfect life I want so desperately for them, my  job is to lead them to “the rock that is higher than I.”

    My greatest job as a mother is to prepare them for life not with the ways of the world but by the ways of the word. It is to show them a faith and a God that they can hope in when hopelessness hits. It is to allow Gods love to be revealed to them in whichever way he sees fit…and to teach them to trust that through him there is life after death.

    My job is to show them that there is so much more to this life than what I can provide. That I am not number one, that each other is not number one, and that their spouses and children should not be either. 

    Although I hope that they never have to walk the same paths as me, I am desperate for them to be so much more prepared than I was. 

  …..  So that if one day they awake to find that their dolls and dreams have been replaced with daughters and death, they are able to remain standing in a world that without faith would tear them apart.

Because whether in parenting the breathing,

….or the breathless. 

    There is one dream for each one of them that I will strive for every single day until my……. or their very last breath;

A never-ending love for Jesus, and an everlasting life.






When You Don’t Know How You Got Here.


    Have you ever set out to drive somewhere only to realize that you have arrived at your destination but have no idea how you got there in the first place?

I have.

   In fact, there were many times after working a night shift as a nurse that I would get in to my car exhausted and wishing that I had someone to take the wheel for me. Being alone I would shift my car into drive only to find myself waking up hours later in my bed with no recollection of how I had gotten there.

   Life after Audreys death was exactly like that. Day in and day out of complete and utter exhausting, gut-wrenching, heart breaking grief. Grief that prohibited me from focusing on what I was doing, or where I was going. Knowing my girls had ate supper but not remembering preparing it. Feeling my hair wet but having no memory of taking a shower. Waking up in the morning with the most nauseated pit in my stomach and severe crushing pain in my heart and going to bed the exact same way as I had awaken, with no recollection of the day passed.

   Guilt haunted me and fear surrounded me. I was stressed. My marriage was strained. I became scared of my every breathe being my last……my childrens every breath being their last. My nights were spent continually walking in to rooms and checking for breath sounds or a rising chest……looking for anything that would signify that my childrens precious bodies still contained life and that would provide even the slightest bit of ease to my anxious mind.

   Life became a world where a cough wasn’t just a cough, and a bug bite wasn’t just a bug bite. Every living and non living thing for that matter became a possible life changing threat. The ” live every day as your last “mantra consumed me to the point that even my children became exhausted as I tried so desperately to fill my days until over flowing at the brim so to not feel how empty I truly was.

   Through that I became as an expurgated book. I held nothing back. I left nothing in. After all there was no way to hide my brokenness anyways. I was broken from the inside out. From the top of my head to the tips of my toes. I could manage to patch the cracks for awhile but my grief…..my frantic longing to have my sweet baby girl back in my arms always ended up busting at the seams. I deeply missed her. I still do…..

    I will forever remember the immediate days following Audreys death and the heavy feelings of the unexpected that haunted my thoughts. The thoughts of how bad the pain was going to be when it finally set it that she was never ever coming back or the worry that my life was never going to be anything more than a deep, dark pit of grief.

   A year ago, I was scared. I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to smile again…..like really smile. Not just the half moon shape I forced my lips to make when people asked me how I was…but one that I truly would feel deep within. I remember feeling like there was no way that I would never feel any better than I did in those early and raw grief stricken moments. It seemed impossible that I would ever get to a place where the good days out weighed the bad and the smiles out numbered the tears.

   The first year was a complete blur full of expected emotions, unexpected emotions, tears, screams, first holidays without, and a strong desire for a better life than I had before. A yearning for a fulfillment that I had been missing in the first place.

   My life has changed drastically in the past seventeen months……and although I feel at times that I have no idea how I have gotten here……how I have made it this far… every single day is bringing me closer to who I am, and to the truth than the last

   So as I sat down tonight in the quietness of my home….feeling drained from an ever persistent toddler, and the second batch of pickles I not so wisely chose to start in the chaos of it all. Missing my Audrey as her precious picture hung in front of me. Wondering if this is really my life and questioning how I even got here in the first place.

   I realized that this…..all of this, is exactly how I got here. The good, the bad, and the down right ugly. Every single raw emotion, salty tear, and blood curdling scream is a part of my story, but its not the only part.

I am still here.

I survived.

I am now living in the time that I never thought was possible to reach.

   I have had a faith and hope restored more than I could have ever imagined, and I am being used in ways I never would have known. Although I admit my nights are still filled with breath checks and my marriage still has its moments,  I am right where I need to be, stronger and with an appreciation for the fragility of life.

   So tonight I am thankful…..not because I have lost my beautiful precious baby girl, but thankful that with him I am weathering this storm. I am thankful that I am at a place I never thought I would be. A place where I can really smile, laugh, and find joy in the midst and truly feel it. Grateful that I am beginning to once again live a life worth living, and that when those bad days come I have someone driving with me. Someone filling a seat that was meant for him all along.

Someone willing to take the wheel…… so that I can begin to appreciate the drive.

…and that……

That is exactly how I have gotten here.


What I Want Them To Know……..

Start children off on the way they should go,
    and even when they are old they will not turn from it. – Proverbs 22:6   11960112_10154143320265110_2618242373285066123_n (2)

My children are now growing up in a world where they will no longer know what it is like to be picked last, or maybe even not at all for a team. A world where a passing grade will be handed to them regardless of whether they are ready to advance to the next level or not.  A world that is continually finding new ways to remove the one who created it in the first place. A world that in some ways will have the power to prevent our children from shining to their full potential because the drive for them to work hard for what they want is no longer there. 

  As a mom this scares me.

I want my children to make mistakes, to fail sometimes, and to fall down and scrape their knees. Not because I want them to feel pain, but because I want them to learn from them, to problem solve, to have a drive to succeed, and to get back up and try again. I want them to need Jesus, to seek him when they need help. I want them to learn these things now so that when their backpacks are exchanged for brief cases they are not confused as to why they were not picked and given that promotion. I want them to be ready for the world that they will soon have to navigate, and work their way through. A life where you only get out of it… what you put in.

I want them to know that they won’t always make the team. That sometimes there will be someone who plays better than them. That sometimes they can practice, practice, practice, but it doesn’t always make perfect….but that no matter what they are always on my team, and I on theirs.

I want them to know that they do not need acceptance from others. That in this life they may be called dumb, not good enough, annoying, and weird at times….that those names will hurt them and cause them to question themselves, but that the one who loves them most in this world….that the one that created them in his image thought they were perfect enough to die for. 

I want them to realize that people will hurt and disappoint them in this world. That I will hurt and disappoint them. I want them to not look for or depend on human perfection because there is no such thing, but to instead rely on a God that is.

With that comes the fact that you cannot please everyone. That the choices they make for their life or family may be best for them although others may disagree. That I may disagree. I want them to know that my path and dreams for their life are just that…mine. That I may sometimes unintentionally push my own on to them.  I want them to be confident and strong enough in their selves and in their faith to stand up for what they believe in. To stay focused on God-pleasing instead of people-pleasing.

I want them to guard their hearts. I want them to choose their spouse wisely. To choose quality over quantity. I want them to learn that sometimes the most beautiful of people may not come in the prettiest of packages. That the wrapping paper doesn’t matter as it gets tattered and thrown away…but that what is on the inside of that gift is what we treasure. I want them to choose a man with a caring heart over a muscly bod. A love for God, over a love for money, and a love for them, over lust. 

  I want them to wait for marriage. Not because I want them to miss out on ” normal high school experiences or college life.” Not because I want them to be made fun of or ” teach them to summit to a man”, but because I want them to know that their worth is not defined by their bodies. That they themselves are enough.  That sex is not something you give away to win someone over, but is a gift you give to the one who has won you. I want them to know that sex before marriage can lead to pain and comparison to other partners. That you can not get that first time back. That I am not just “preaching” it, but that I have lived it. 

 I want them to know that marriage is not the fairy tale that they watch continually in their Disney movies. That it is like a roller coaster full of excitement, fear, and butterflies. That sometimes there will be hills so steep that you just make it to the top. I want them to know that their spouse will drive them crazy. That they will argue, make up, and argue again. That there will be times in their lives where they may love them, but not like them. That there will be moments that they question if their partner is really the one…if it is worth it. That like anything their ride will sometimes need repairs…to try and fix it, but that if they choose to get off I will be there to help them put their feet back on solid ground. 

I want them to know that in this life they will fail….but that failing leads to determination to try again. Sometimes with a better outcome then they would have had before. That they will experience pain. Pain they cause themselves, and pain that they don’t deserve.That things will happen that will shake them to their inner core and will be beyond all understanding, but that through pain comes knowledge, growth, and strength that they would never have had otherwise. 

I want to share with them my mistakes and my own failures. Not because I want to “give them ideas”, but because I am not embarrassed by them. That they are mistakes and they do not define who I am, and will not define who they are. That they have a chance to make better choices. I want them to know that I have messed up….that I am not perfect and I do not expect them to be. 

 I want them to know how much they are loved and cherished. That the moment their tiny slippery bodies were placed on my chest that was it. That in that moment I became theirs. That I am their biggest advocate for their needs. That I would do anything to protect them from this world but I cannot. That all I can do is be there to help them up, to comfort them, and to guide them until I am no longer here to do so. That no matter how old they get I will forever brush their hair out of their face, and hold them tightly. I want them to know that this parenting thing is hard. That I am trying my very best, and sometimes I may unintentionally make the wrong decisions in their lives. That I will sometimes not know the answers or not have the ones they want to hear. 

 Most importantly I want them to know a God that does have the answers. I want them to know him not because they feel pressured to, but because they desire to. I want them to learn to pray when they need guidance, to lean in to him when they are pain, and to praise him not only through the good……but through the storms. I want them to experience a love far greater than my own. A love that they could never imagine. A love that will remain present and constant in their lives long after I am gone.



To The Medical Examiners Office Of Nova Scotia…..


        You don’t know me. In fact, you have never seen my face before……but you have seen my daughters.

        After my baby girl suddenly passed away, my heart not only broke to learn the grisly news that she would be leaving my hands for yours…but as a parent…as her Mama I was frightened. Scared not because I didn’t know what an autopsy would entail, but because I knew it was going to be performed on my most precious of treasures.

    I was given no choice but to entrust you with my beautiful little girl. I had no other alternative but to physically release her from my desperate arms that awful afternoon and watch helplessly as she was carried out of the hospital room to be handed over to you.

  See, I felt guilty. I felt anxious. Part of me felt responsible for her death and you were going to be the place that would provide me with the answers I needed to move on. You were going to be my healing…….my closure. When your call came that next day to tell me you could find nothing…..no cause as of yet, I was devastated…. yet I remained hopeful that the answer would soon come.

   But it didn’t.

     My husband and I waited impatiently for months, we called insistently, we got angry, and we cried. We became disappointed in the lack of compassion, empathy, and support we were given. We almost gave up every time we were greeted with an annoyed voice at the end of the phone or we never received a call back as promised.

   But we didn’t.

   See, my daughter, my Audrey was not my job….she was my life. She was to me what you leave your work to go home to each night. She was not a lifeless body or a combination of slides and tissue samples….she was full of life. Her smile could and still can brighten even my darkest of moments.

   Thirteen months later, when frustrations and exhaustion had finally set in…..you once again cheated me of my closure. Reading through those two pieces of tear stained papers, the words “Undetermined” killed me more a little bit each time. 

  You wrote, ” Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is a classification  that has been used in infants one to twelve months of age for whom no environmental, anatomic, or functional cause of death can be identified…..many who certify these type of deaths prefer the classification of “Undetermined”. As I continued to read how you had found no changes that would have had revealed themselves if my baby girl had suffocated, but how you did find that my sweet girls case was identifiable to SIDS….. you also went on to say because of bed sharing, that because of my choice to pick up my baby and lay her beside me…that because of your new system based on what you “prefer” to call these tragic sudden deaths…..that my Audreys death would forever be undiagnosed.

   I want you to know that your “preference” will always haunt me. That your undiagnosis will forever cause me to think what-if? I want you to know that this case may be over for you….that this report may be filed away in some back room never to be looked at by your eyes again, but that I……but that other families in my position, will continue to see it every single day for the rest of our lives.

  So today…..as I sit in anxiousness……anxiousness that I could have been responsible….anxiousness that I could have prevented it….and anxiousness that I may never truly know an answer……..

  I am thankful that my God is bigger than you.

When The Proof Is In My Arms.



“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. “~ Romans 8:28


Three-hundred and sixty five days ago you were merely the size of a blueberry in my tummy. When some would consider you nothing but a cluster of ever changing cells… to me you were a child. My precious child. To me, your fragile life became a new hope, an answered prayer, a promised blessing, and an indescribable feeling of Gods amazing love for me.

Today you are four months old. You are and always will be cherished and loved. Not only by me but by your Creator. Your life so far has been nothing but a breathtaking tale of hope, faith, and healing. A story that proves with exhaustion, comes endurance…….and that with fear, then comes peace.

Because of you I have never been so thankful for middle of the night wake-up calls. I have learned to see my unwashed hair and sweatpants not as battle scars, but as badges of honor. Thankful that I have been chosen to be a part of this battle in the first place. I am so blessed to be a part of such an awesome testimony of Gods love and redemption.

Your beauty does not just exude from those long eyelashes, perfectly positioned ear dimples, or your round chubby cheeks….but already radiates through your spirit. I have found beauty in your chest as it rises and falls while you sleep…thankful for each breath you take. I have learned to not only be grateful for nap time, but also for your fussy spells in the evenings.

In these past four, short but quickly passing- by months….through you, God has shown me that in my mistake making, grief stricken, messy, and imperfect life…that you Asher are truly living proof of a God that really does cause all things to work together for his good.

Love, Mommy