"A soldier doesn't fight because he hates what is in front of him. A soldier fights because he loves what he left behind." - unknown

"God is our refuge and strength. He will protect us and make us strong" (ps 46:1). For those who will fly today, for those who are there now, and for those who will soon join the fight, Lord, shield them from all evil, strengthen their hearts, and bring them home safely.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016


I think there are moments, simple moments, that happen during grief that bring you to something vastly deeper. Moments that seem insignificant in their timing, or perhaps so significant that we almost try to ignore them.

To scar is to heal, to heal is to scar. Medically I have this thing that happens internally and occasionally externally when my body experiences trauma. My scar tissue basically multiplies a great deal (keloids). Physically, internally, it makes me a mess. Every surgery I have had (two giving birth and two preserving and healing organs damaged from disease), caused these scars to expand even more as more and more tissue forms over them.

My scars literally have scars.

What is so interesting about them is that every single part was necessary. Every procedure after the first happened knowing that there was this same risk and outcome. It was a known negative result of a necessary action to produce something better. Necessary hurt for necessary healing.

I am physically changed. I am emotionally changed.

There is a song that my sister shared with me many years ago. During the previous year, it had become a personal anthem in the process that is grieving loss.

"Praise You in This Storm"
by Casting Crows

...And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm...

At the home we purchased a year ago, there are many places that daisies have popped out of the ground. The green of the plants at least. In December, during the week that we most likely would have met our Daisy, the beautifully simply white daisies bloomed for the first time. It was awe-filling. 

Life in the dead of winter.
In April, one year to the day of when we found out we were pregnant, a new gerbera daisy plant that I had not planted, began to bloom just outside my home office.

And in May, one year from the day her heart was no longer beating, as friends and family began to leave after a joint birthday for our boys, I stood outside in the rain of the far outer bands of a tropical storm and watched as the petals of a beautifully, simply white daisy opened.

Quietly as I picked up outside while the soft rain continued to fall, I sang my anthem to myself.

And I'll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
And every tear I've cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

There is a Goodness I cannot begin to tell.

There is a Grace far beyond description.

Simply, clear as if said beside me, I heard: 
shelter in the storm.

And almost immediately I knew what it meant.

That was my turning point in grief. That was the both the hardening and the softening of the scar. There was a calm and an understanding and a purpose.

For the first time in too long a time there was true, soul-filling joy for what will come. There can be joy in grief and hope in loss and purpose in the path that we did not plan.

My help comes from the Lord
The Maker of Heaven and Earth.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Gift of Hope

My birthday was yesterday. 

I have never been one for birthdays. 

I love to celebrate others but for me, I never make a big hoopla. I don't dislike them, don't hold any negative stress over them, I just don't focus on my own very much. 

One year I even forgot it until it was mentioned to me. 

I am fortunate to have so many good friends who "gently" nudge me to celebrate anyway.

I know that makes me a special kind of special. 

I am quite awful at some dates, far too on point with others. 

One year ago today is the day I found out I was carrying Daisy. I realized it the day before - the evening of my birthday actually. Knowing how slim my chances were that it would make it to viable pregnancy, I waited until the next day to take the test. If I lost that child, if he or she would not make it to my arms, I didn't want my birthday to be the day I had found out. Morbid thinking, I know, but when you go through the roller coaster that is our roller coaster ... I didn't want yesterday to be that day. So I waited.

That positive result was and remains one of the most precious gifts I have ever received. 

Even with the loss that followed. 

A daisy that I didn't plant bloomed in my garden today. 

Something that I thought was a weed when it first started making its way out of the pine straw earlier this month, that I nearly ripped out of the ground to throw away, bloomed this day - the day she became a "possible".

One year ago today, for the first time in far too many, came the gift of hope.

Thursday, March 24, 2016


He ran over to me at the picnic table with a dandelion in his hand. Hilariously, it was the second grade boys picking them up and making wishes at lunchtime while they yelled to each other, "You can't tell anyone your wish or it won't come true!" Logan closed his eyes and blew the tiny wisps of white into the wind. "Mom, I want to tell you my wish."
I nodded and he leaned in to whisper it in my ear. 

"I wished that dad could come home early."


My husband has been deployed for seven months. We are seven months down into what on paper is our easiest deployment to date. 

Seven months should seem like nothing when you have lived this life for a while. 

Maybe it should. Maybe it doesn't matter how long you've done it.  

I'm a "thriver". I'm a "get it done, do it well" kind of person. The "eye-on-the-prize-I-can-do-this-bring-it-on" kind of person. 

Except not this time. 

This time I've been a "just-keep-swimming, hang-on-a-little-longer, push-push-push-come-on-keep-pushing" kind of person.

In January (month five) I resigned myself to the fact that this time I couldn't be the "thriver". This time I wasn't. This time was different. We took a positive turn then. Murphy chilled out, things fell into place, and we finally, finally found our groove. 

We are breathing, we are making it through, our heads are above water. 

It took me until today, seeing Logan's smile after he whispered in my ear (not overwhelming sadness that his daddy wasn't here, not pain, but joy at the thought of his daddy coming home) to realize that sometimes, many times, the surviving in itself is the thriving. I haven't curled up in bed and refused to get out. I haven't failed my kids. I haven't broken to where I couldn't heal. 

And I have broken - mentally, emotionally, physically broken. We are still here. We are still living while we heart-breakingly endure the waiting. 

I have been enough. I have been present enough. I have held them enough. I have held myself together enough.


Surviving has been enough.