A few days ago I was feeling a little anxious. I hadn’t felt little sister move much that day. And, logically, I know that some days babies are just more sleepy than others. They have lazy days just like we have lazy days, too. But it still sends me into a bit of a panic. Most times when this happens, I’m in the middle of my day and something distracts my attention until sure enough I feel that sweet little punch and I whisper, “Merci” – deep breath, or “Gracias”- deep breath, or “Danke” – deep breath. I get bored saying the words, “thank you”, like a knee jerk responding to a doctors’ plessor so many times a day….maybe it’s fun for Him that I change it up every now and again? Or, maybe it’s stupid? Whatever, that’s not the point. I was wanting some reassurance the other day, and I wasn’t getting it in the way I wanted. I decided to take a shower, because that’s what I do when I don’t know what else to do. 

And I heard, “When I am afraid, I put my trust in You.”

And, I responded with blubbering and whimpering like a babe who had just surrendered the fight of an all out tantrum. 

“Trust You!?!”, I said. “How does trusting You really make anything better for me here?” 

I trusted Him with Brooklyn. We all know that didn’t protect me from heartache or hurt. Everything did not turn out alright. 

How do I trust Him, with her? I mean, I know how to trust Him with my wreck of a life as a whole, big picture, story beginning to end kind of trust, but what about right now – in this moment? This is when I remembered that trusting Him looks a lot different than being granted a feeling that everything is going to be OK. 

The story of Cain and Abel kept popping into my head. I had just recently listened to a sermon on worship and the offerings of Cain and Abel were discussed. I said, “Not applicable right now, Lord. I need something on trust. Whatya got on that for me, right now? I’m pretty desperate. I’m about to use up all the hot water, and it’s much less messy to cry in the shower – sooner rather than later would be great.” 

Nothing. So, I just wore myself out and went to bed. 

The next morning, guess what kept popping into my head again? Cain and Abel. What in the world? So, I decided to read through the story again and somehow I saw something new this time. If you’re not familiar with the story, basically Cain brings the Lord a bunch of fruits and vegetables and Abel brings the Lord a lamb. God accepted Abel’s offering, but not Cain’s. 

Bottom line, Cain worked for his offering. He gave out of the curse. Abel, on the other hand, just received. He didn’t have to do much for that offering – just got the sheep together and let ’em do their thing. Cain and Abel were sons of Adam and Eve. The Earth is still pretty new at this point. This could have been the first time these sheep had procreated? Maybe Abel didn’t know if it could happen again? But, he gave anyway.

How’s she gonna land this one….?” You hear in your head, in the Jim Gaffigan hot pocket voice. 

Look at how much Abel had to trust to offer what He did? Cain had prepped the land, he’d tended it, he’d harvested it. They may have been the best of the crop, but He probably knew He could do it again. 

Their offerings came from two different places of the heart. 

When the Lord gave me Brooklyn I may have said she was His. But, my heart was holding on so tight still. I would have fought tooth and nail to get to keep her, as I’m sure any Mama would. But, ultimately I had to give her up. I was forced to give her up. Even though it was my reality, I still had to learn how to give her up day after day after day.

That was one type of offering. 

But, this new baby. This is a new type of offering. A new type of trust He’s stitching into my heart. He’s asking me to give out of my uncertainty. To offer my heart regardless of the outcome. Which is cool and all, but it can be hard as a human being, whose nature wants to protect itself, to connect and bond with something you’re holding “loosely”. And I want to feel every bit of joy and connection I can with this babe! At times it can feel like cupping my open hand to get a drink of water but my fingers are spread apart. The water runs right through. I want to feel the weight of the water in my hand – the weight of the gift that it is today, and tomorrow and each day I have her. 

Just a gushy Mommy side note: I’ve been so very aware lately that this is the only time she will never be far from me. Yes, she will be in my arms eventually, but at some point the nurses will take her away to get all their data down, I will share her with Adam 🙂 and family, and friends. She will nap next to me, and with some time in another room. She will eventually go on play dates, and go to school and move out and get married. But for right now, she can’t go anywhere. She’s all mine and I’m all hers in a physical, spacial sort of way.  

Anyway, He showed me that I am trusting Him when I give her up to Him and receive the gift of her all at the same time. 

And this, in essence, is worship. Giving back to Him what He first gave to us. So, for now He’s given me a new way to deal with the fear. A new place to cast my eyes. And very literally, new songs to sing. 


This morning I asked Him what He wanted me to do with my time with Him. I was open to ditching the devotionals if there was something my heart needed more. And He told me to write Him a Psalm. So, I did the dishes.

Then I decided to be obedient and sat down to write Him something. And, I didn’t focus on the “art” of it all, as I may have in the past. I just told Him what my heart felt. And then I read it to Him, aloud. Twice, actually. 


You are more real than I know

More real than I can see

More real than I can feel


You have re-programmed me

You have broken my bones

And reset me, stronger than before.

You have pressed the reset button on my heart

and put a new song in it


My eyes are new 

You have painted my world with fresh colors and meaning

You have shown to me – myself

And rescued me from its destructive patterns


You are not far off 

You have been nearer than the next breath I breathe. 


You haven’t let me down in my greatest disappointment. 

You haven’t left me in my bed, or a pile of tissues on the floor.  

You have become my only hope, my only salvation. 


You have put me under the heavy, rushing waters

And with Your strong and loving arms 

You have held me there….


But not a moment too late, 

You have raised my body – in Yours. 

You let me breathe Your first resurrections breath, with you!


It’s been hard

Many days and nights have been terrible

I never thought I could be at such a low place

But You were on the bathroom floor with me 


I certainly have wanted to die

For it to all be over with

To be in Heaven with You, and her

Sounded exponentially better than to be here – 

Separated, without, corrupted, cast off. 


But You have shown me that there is much I can give You here. 

Much I can give you here that I cannot give to You there. 

Things the angels long to give You. 

Things they wish they could give You. 

They watch in amazement and wonder. 


You have turned my days from a waiting room

From a count-down of breaths 

To notes in a song book

I want to waste them giving back to You what You first gave to me


You have given me a reason to keep breathing 

My forever has already begun

My worship, Your praise will follow me 

And echo its’ way into eternity


-Brooklyn’s Mommy



A Different Side of Pain

All I wanted was to find where my other darn ear plug went before I was settling in for bed last night. I dug through the drawer in my nightstand and found that little purple zip-up hoodie vest I loved to dress Brooklyn up in the most. I knew it was there. I had put it there just a year ago when it still smelled like her. I didn’t pull it out often, but sometimes when I just needed a little bit of her I would hold it close to my chest, and lay in bed and cry. I haven’t done that in a while. I was just looking for my ear plug.

This week, has been good. Really, really good. Surprisingly, I’m not measuring that by the amount of times that I have been sad or not sad but by the amount of times I have cooked dinner. Making dinner has been a challenge for me for over a year now. The idea of even deciding what to make was overwhelming, regardless of its’ ease. Going to the grocery store has also been a challenge at times, but the idea of pulling out the pots and pans, following a recipe, eating, cleaning up after – just felt like too much. When I look back on the past few months especially, I’m wondering what did we eat? But, this week I cooked 4 out of 4 nights. And, the strange thing about it all was I actually enjoyed it! I mean, don’t go sending me your weekly gourmet menus or anything, I am no Julia Child, nor do I ever aspire to be. Things like salad with some sort of grilled meat, an easy chicken chow mien, lettuce wrapped cheeseburgers, spaghetti bake….these are the sort of dinners that I call success. But, nevertheless, Adam and I sat down at the dining room table together, the last 4 nights, and talked about our day and shared a meal like normal, regular, ever day, stable, people. We have been beaming. We haven’t even sat down to watch a TV show together, all week long! We’ve been in the front yard with Maggie, reading books, chatting with the neighbors, attempting small tasks around the house. Pure wedded bliss. No, really. This is my version of happily Ever After – without Drew Barrymore and her fame based on the fact that she probably should have seen a speech therapist as a child on the reg.

So, on my ear plug hunt I was not exactly feeling a mini-melt down coming on. I finally resorted to grabbing a brand new pair from the bathroom and settled in to listen to music in bed before I fell asleep. That’s when I was hit with the memory and all the pain that came along. When the memories come, they’re so real. It’s like I’ve been put in a time machine, reliving it all over again. This started happening on a fairly consistent basis last week as it was leading up to the anniversary marking a year without her. I’d wake up and feel assaulted by the memories. I couldn’t ignore them. It felt like I was treading water in a choppy ocean, where every direction I turned resulted in a mouth of salty water from a wave lapping up in my face. I couldn’t ignore the pain. I told the Lord how I just can’t handle these memories. I told him I didn’t know what do with them? I told him I needed rest, I needed peace – now! And there on the bathroom floor littered with tissues, in my mind, I saw a pair of hands, and arms, and shoulders. I remember the shoulders the most clearly because they were sort of rounded, curved in towards me like they were bracing themselves for the weight. He told me that He can take them for me. That it’s Ok, he can handle it. It doesn’t make them disappear, it doesn’t make Brooklyn disappear, they’re still my memories but He can take them and I can have rest instead. Almost like a flip being switched on, I said Ok and I trusted Him with them and I laid down in my bed and I rested. Later that night I woke up and I was back in one of the memories I had given to Him just a couple of hours ago. But, this time was different. This time I didn’t feel the pain the way I had always felt it. This time, He was there. There wasn’t a moment, or an inch of the room we were in that He did not touch. He was holding it all in His hands – even then. He was giving me that memory back, but He was showing me a different side of the pain. He was showing me where He was in it.

When I curled into bed last night and thought about clutching the tiny polka-dotted purple vest to my chest – the way I did so many nights – desperate for her, I asked Him to show me where He was on those painful, despairing nights. He didn’t take the pain away, but He showed me that the pain I felt was evidence of a deep love that I was so incredibly blessed to have. Again, He showed me another face of the pain. But, He didn’t stop there. He showed me how this depth of love that Brooklyn has bored into my heart, is a new way, another way that I know Him. I think about that annoying song that us church kids, and adults, sang way too many times in the 90’s…I want to know you, I want to see Your face….blah, blah, yadda, yadda. I had absolutely no idea what that meant. But, it didn’t matter right? Because in a sense that was what we were all singing. We wanted to know Him, but we obviously had no idea what that meant. Because, we’re singing a freaking song about it. Seems strange to me now. If I knew what it really meant to know Him in those youth group days, I’d probably have dropped my guitar and run out the door.  But for the present me, the present pain, the present longing there is nothing more satisfying, nothing that brings me more peace, than knowing Him – the love, the suffering and everything in between.

In the beginning

You were singing

In the end You’ll still be

Singing over me

In this moment

Your right beside me

You’re everywhere

You’re in the air that I breathe

You are an endless ocean,

A bottomless sea

All those angels 

They are swimming 

In this ocean and they still 

Can find no shore 

Day and night

Night and day

They keep seeing new sides 

Of your face

You are an endless ocean,

A bottomless sea

-Brooklyn’s Mommy

The Calendar

If you’ve spent much time with me in the past couple of weeks (which I realize includes as many people as I can count on one, and maybe a half, of a hand) you’ve probably heard me utter something like,

“I can’t wait to trade in my calendar, one day.”

I think I may have alluded to this in one of my recent posts. I’ve been mad at the calendar lately. It acts like a rude finger pointing out the longing, not letting me forget, or ignore it.

The year anniversary of Brooklyn’s death is coming up on me at what seems like hurtling speeds. Each day the calendar brings me closer to the truth that a year, an entire year, will have past since I held her in my arms; since I kissed her chubby cheek. She has been gone 3 times as long as the time she spent here on this earth. But, I think that is to be continued in a different post.

This irritation with the calendar has made me stop and think, will the calendar really be something I get to give up one day?

Even though that thought has presented itself in a question immediately following my angst-y statement expressing my irritation of the calendar’s weighty-ness in our lives, my heart wasn’t really asking that question. It was one of my “thought interruptions”, as I like to call them. Sometimes they come as fastballs or screwballs, but it’s usually the curveballs that make me stop and listen a little closer.

If something brings me pain here on earth, certainly it won’t be in heaven, right?

And then, I looked at the calendar again and realized tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent.


It felt like somebody just told me my arch enemy has actually just made me dinner, cleaned my house, and brought me lots of presents.

Growing up in a more conservative Baptist church in NY we didn’t really observe the church calendar very closely. At least not in the way those – what I viewed at the time – legalistic Catholics, or those other mumbly liturgy observing churches did. Fast forward 15ish years and I found myself working at a theologically Presbyterian-influenced private school. In the early days, I just tolerated chapel and all of its non kid-friendly music and liturgical readings. Chapel seemed to bring out the worst in my kids, and in me, for that matter.

Five or six months into that first year at City School, one of the school buildings flooded and we were sent over to the Methodist church down the street to set up camp for the next few weeks until our rooms were repaired. Towards the close of our stay at the ever-so-kind and gracious Parker Lane United Methodist church our school participated in their Ash Wednesday Service. I had been to an Ash Wednesday service maybe once or twice before, but there was something about watching my kids engage this service that made me see the hymns, and the readings with different eyes. I felt this strong connection between the many Ash Wednesday Services held in the past, and the one I was participating in at that very moment in time. Many of the same things being said, prayed, sang, practiced that were observed hundreds of years ago. I remember looking over my shoulder to see an elderly couple singing and reciting the same words my 7 year olds were singing and reciting. I had never seen liturgy as the bridge that it can be more than in that moment. As my time continued at City School I began to love teaching my kids about chapel, what it has come to mean to me, and why we do things the way we do them. I cherished the chance to get to worship with my 7 year olds, both of us under the very same authority.

I still attend (and I use that word loosely) a church that would not describe itself as “liturgical” and they follow the church calendar in a more modern sense of interpretation, but ever since that Ash Wednesday service I’ve been making more room in my heart for the observance of these age-old traditions that the church has practiced centuries before us.

So here I am in this love-hate relationship.  Yet another great duality to hold in this one heart I’ve been given.

Can it really be the calendar itself – that points out my pain AND the chance to engage an intimate time of reflection and communion with my King – that is my enemy?

Deep down I know it’s not really about the calendar itself. It’s time. More specifically, the passing of time. But reality is, time – whether passing quickly or dragging on – is not the enemy either. It is merely the thing in which I experience my greatest threat and anguish; death. The passing of time can hurt because of an existing separation, the impending inevitability of it, or even the death of moments that we just aren’t able to access in our finite bodies.

The last enemy to be destroyed is death. I Corinthians 15:26

One day, time will no longer bring me loss, whether it be remembering what I have already lost or anticipating what I will inevitably lose in the future, time will bring me gain. The passing of time will lose any – and all – threat it has held for me here. Talk about a pillow to rest a weary head on.

For Brooklyn’s Memorial service we asked friends and family to record what they experienced or learned through Brooklyn’s life. In one of our college friends’ video she referenced Brooklyn being in Heaven where she didn’t have to count days anymore. I think about that often as we were so diligent to count her days here on earth. It felt like the only important thing we could do. We wanted to cherish and number our days with her, each of them carrying weight and significance. But, she no longer has to count days and neither will we (Psalm 9-0:12). We will experience the fullness of the Eucharist – deep communion – forever without the sting of separation and death ever again.

When we’ve been there ten thousand years

Bright shining as the sun,

We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise,

Than when we first begun

-Brooklyn’s Mommy

P.S. I realize this post made it sound like I have it “all together”, and that logic and a little bit of theology fixes it all. Nothing could be farther from the truth. But in between the deep pangs, sometimes, it feels good to step back and look at the big picture.

P.P.S. And for your Lenten listening ears try this on for size.

The lead singer of this band pulled off a Trains, Planes, and Automobiles-esque sort of journey just to sing at Brooklyn’s service for us. She is awesome. You can purchase her band’s stuff here and other places like itunes and such too…

Broken Hearted

Those dreadful boxes. The ones with the little numbers glaring at you. How I will be so happy to trade in my calendar one glorious day.

The memories of celebrating her 3 month birthday, which was also Valentine’s Day, has been nagging at me all week. I don’t know if it’s because my body was finally getting used to the newborn thing, or the shock had worn off, or I had learned how to live with the anxiety, or that I had stopped pumping and was sleeping more but I remember her 3 month birthday very well. 

I have certain memories throughout her life that are just the, “oh yeah, I remember we did this on that day and the weather was like this…she was wearing that…” kind of memories. And there are many other memories that I remember exactly how my heart felt in those moments. Like when Adam came in as I was waking up from the surgery and told me that it was a baby girl. Or, a few days later when he told me they thought it might be Trisomy 18. Or, when I finally got to hold her on her 5th day of life. My heart was so full and so, so heavy. And, I remember how it felt to dress my little miracle up in the 3 different Valentine’s Day outfits she had. l felt so thankful that I was getting to do this. It was another holiday I didn’t think I would have with her.

I think Adam had gone to work that day, so it was just me and her….and the camera. I took WAY too many pictures. She was starting to put on some weight and I couldn’t get enough of her little chunk in the pink frills. And in between the photo shoots we did lots of snuggling. I felt really connected to her that day. My heart was getting better at allowing itself to feel the depth of the love. 

I know this isn’t the most eloquently written post, and there’s not really a point to it at all. I just miss her so much this week. My heart just feels broken, and it’s hard to want to acknowledge this holiday without her. And, today marking 11 months since I held her in my arms just feels impossible. The year marker is less than 30 days away. I wish that I could press pause so it won’t come and hit the fast forward button all at the same time. 

Here are some of my favorites from that day. 






I love and miss my little Valentine.

-Brooklyn’s Mommy

A Belly Full of Jelly

If there is one thing that we learned through getting to be Brooklyn’s parents it was how to celebrate in the face of the unknown.

At that 20 week ultrasound appointment in July of 2012, we had no clue how to do this. We definitely lived our lives with an undertone of dissatisfaction, but we believed that we were just on the brink. If only, the new career would work out. If only, the possibility of buying a home looked less like a fantasy. If only, we would finally have enough money and time off for that summer vacation. We were really good at looking at the things we didn’t have. The “If only’s” that would finally send us into a place of satisfaction. If we couldn’t have the typical DINK (dual income no kids) lifestyle, then maybe it was time to just have kids? In no way was this an actual part of our thought process when we decided to trust Him with growing our family, but sometimes I wonder if it was swimming around our subconscious?

“Your ultrasound results came back abnormal.”

My brain had to catch up with what my ears just heard. We had a pretty jovial relationship with our doctor, could this be a joke? When she mentioned the words “heart defect”, I thought even harder about the ways this could play out for her to be “messing with us” and her still be our doctor. The reason this felt so absurd to me was because her youngest son was born with a heart defect. He had actually just had a surgery to replace his aortic valve and many of our conversations in the past 4 months were peppered with updates on how he was doing. I heard the silence following her initial statement louder than I had heard her words. And the reality of what I was hearing settled into this dreadful weight in my chest. Then there were words like specialist, cardiologist, surgery, difficult first year of life. But, I couldn’t keep up with the sobbing my heart was doing on the inside. Then shortly after the actual sobbing came.

We were supposed to be on the brink. And, we were. But, we were on the brink of something completely different than I had hoped for.

We still had hope of a long life with Brooklyn then. Specialists gave us the hope of surgery dates, but no matter how many hours of ultrasounds scouring her tiny heart they ended every conversation with, “we will know more once she’s born.” That kind of hope kept us looking for the positives, anything that we could hold on to to justify and cling to our hope for the future. Yet, even in that we were whispering the “if only’s”.

Once she was born and it all became clear. Her destiny. Our destiny. It chased every ‘if only’ we ever knew away, crushed our hope of a future, and painfully drew our hearts to look at this very moment in time. That was all we had. It slowed everything down and sped everything up all at the same time. When moments are all you have, you have a decision to make about how you want to live your moments.

This is how we learned to celebrate. This is how we learned to give thanks. This is how we knew any peace, at all. This is how the Lord showed us how to look at what is and allow that to be enough, and sometimes more than enough.

Yesterday we had our 20 week ultrasound appointment with little Squirmy-worm. We were pretty anxious about going through all of those same motions that we walked through a year and a half ago. As I envisioned walking into that ultrasound room, I thought of my heart racing the entire time. I thought of how I would probably be trying to analyze everything the sonographer was saying and doing as her eyes carefully searched my second little miracles body. I thought of how it would be hard to breathe until it was all over. And my thoughts were interrupted with, “Look for another way.” And, I thought of the moments I have been given. How did I want to live these moments as we would get to peak into our new baby girl’s body? Her big sister had taught my spirit that new way. I wanted to celebrate them! So, we did. And, we did that with Jelly Belly Beans. What better way to celebrate the unknown than with a mixed bag of jelly bellies? Every time we heard our sonographer say, “looks good” as she worked her way down the check list, we celebrated with a jelly bean. We even brought some for our sonographer, nurses and doctor to celebrate with us.

We are thankful to report that Squirmy is growing just fine, with the exception of a smaller than average head measurement. So, that specialist word did come up again, but only to go and have an expert fetus scour-er say, “Yup, just a small head.” As a Mama hoping to have a VBAC, a small head doesn’t sound like the worst thing in the world.

In all of this, He has been faithfully showing me my fear and anxiety does not have the final say on how I live my moments.

Jelly beans do 🙂

-Brooklyn’s Mommy

My Greatest Fear

Corrie and I have always enjoyed candid conversations.  It’s one of the things that attracted me to her, and it’s always been a component of our marriage that can be difficult and incredibly rewarding.  I love that our marriage is a safe place for us to share our struggles, joys, dreams, and fears.  I’m confident that these conversations need to happen.  We can’t bottle them up and hold them in.  An incredible amount of freedom and connection occur in our relationship when these honest conversations happen.

Corrie and I were having one of these conversations sometime in the first couple years of marriage.  The topic:  What is your greatest fear?  For some reason, I had carried around but never vocalized my greatest fear to anyone until that day.

You may not believe this, but a unique fear became a permanent resident in my subconscious around the age of 10.  I’m not sure where or how it began haunting me but the possibility of personalizing the fear scared the crap out of me.  When I try to think about its origins, I always think about the kids with special needs in my elementary school.  I would pass them in the hall or see them in the cafeteria, and their daily struggles scared me.  I couldn’t imagine being in their shoes.

As I got older and my desire to have my own kids grew, the fear was still there.  But now, the fear had a unique component and became personal.  I couldn’t imagine having, nor did I want, one of my kids to have special needs.  So I told Corrie…

My greatest fear:  Having a child with special needs.

Based on many metrics I’ve lived a comfortable life, so the thought of not getting to enjoy my child through “normal” interactions and development was very uncomfortable and disruptive to my ecosystem.  I would find myself thinking about this possibility and the myriad of ways that these special needs would impact my life.  I was confident I couldn’t handle the perceived stress of providing acute-care for my child…every day.  The fear was real, but I still believed it would never happen.

Enter Brooklyn.  My sweet, beautiful, miracle daughter.  It became very clear in her first couple days that she had special needs.  She ate through a feeding tube, was continually on oxygen, had seizures, didn’t look like “normal” babies, and her body was continually fighting against itself because of her extra copy of the 18th chromosome.  She had many special needs.

My greatest fear was realized.  This reality didn’t settle in until several months after Brooklyn passed away.  While she was with us, I never looked at Brooklyn as a child with special needs.  Of course she needed acute-care, but I loved taking care of her.  In fact, I ‘quarterbacked’ her medical care.  I learned everything about her diagnosis, needs, meds, medical equipment, etc.

Although taking care of Brooklyn was disruptive and uncomfortable, I would gladly take it all on again in a second.  This would mean Brooklyn was in my arms.  Through Brooklyn’s short life, I learned that special needs don’t define a person.  God used Brooklyn to show me the unique beauty that is underneath the “normal” or uncommon exterior.  Her medical needs, diagnosis, etc. don’t define her nor do they define anyone.

I feared special needs would prevent me from connecting with my child.  God shattered that fear. I was able to connect with Brooklyn in ways I could never have imagined and in ways that wouldn’t have been possible apart from her unique needs.  God proved he is bigger than any fear, and Brooklyn changed me forever.



The tears have came with company today.

Company that doesn’t come around as often as it used to,

but when they do I’m always surprised at how they bring the hurt that feels so fresh.

Could it have been the memories of watching the Superbowl with her last year,

that told them it was time for a visit?

Or, the calendar bringing us closer to the retreat

where my wounds will be exposed in a way that even I might be a little frightened to see?

Was it the color of the sky? Or the smell of her skin in my minds’ eye?

Has my brave run out?

Has my heart caved in?

Maybe the hurt just couldn’t keep quiet;

It just needed to be let out, given a voice to float away on the wind.


The fence!

I had absent-mindedly given into Maggie’s scratching and whining at the backdoor while on the phone. Finishing up my phone conversation I put the phone down, took a big swig of my coffee, and remembered the hole in the fence where the rotted boards had started to fall away again. Our jimmy-rig hadn’t held up to the wind from the previous night.

Still in PJ’s and robe, I ran outside looking in all four corners of the yard, “Maggie! Maggie! Come here, Maggie! Treat? TREAT!”

She was nowhere in sight.

I walked over to the hole in the fence and called her for a few more seconds and then waited to listen for the jingle of her collar. Silence. I had forgotten to put on her collar this morning. It’s official, I’ve now turned into crazy, panic-ed lady in the red striped pajamas, blue robe and slippers. It’s noon by the way.

At this point, I realized the only hope I had of finding her is driving around to the other side of the neighborhood to see if she had gotten out from the neighbor’s front gate. I flung off my robe and pajamas and tried to yank a bra over my head and suddenly felt my head yanked back. The hook was caught in my mop-of-hair, bed-headed mess. Insert repetitive whispered expletive of your choice, here.

PJs back on, robe slung over my shoulders, bra dangling from my hair I grab the car key. I have never noticed how incredibly slow our garage door opened before? Priorities in order, call out-of-town husband and when I can’t stand the beeping anymore, fasten seat belt. Frantically fill him in, omit the part about being in my pajamas with my bra dangling from my hair. He calmly reminds me to roll down the windows and start calling for her and check to see if all the gates are closed in the neighbor’s front yards. After driving back and forth by the same four houses 5 or 6 times, I finally realize that all the gates are indeed closed and theoretically she’s still in the neighbor’s back yard.

Adam says, “Go home. Get treats, her collar and her leash.” I decide to take the robe off and put a sweatshirt on over my pajama shirt instead. It matched my new hair accessory better anyway. Running through the backyard to the hole in the fence, jingling her collar this time, I saw her through the neighborhood’s wooded backyard.

Expletive, “Stinkin’ dog.” I didn’t know whether to give her a fresh slap on the rear-end or hug her and let her kiss my face all over? I decided a confusing combination of both was appropriate.

After my heart rate had decreased and had a chance to warm up my coffee in the microwave I sat back down to finish my devotions that were interrupted with that distracting phone call.

“When I am afraid, I put my trust in You.”

It had been at least 7 minutes into really asking, what do you want to show me here, Lord? How do I respond when I am afraid? I mean, I was really thinking hard. Suddenly I felt the bra hanging down against my back, and it all came flooding in.

Ohhh. Right. Got it. When I am afraid, I respond like a frantic, crazy person.

God bless my husband.


The holidays have come and gone and I’m finding the pace of life to be a little refreshing. As scary as it was to step with both feet into 2014, a year that won’t hold any new memories with Brooklyn, there’s something about a new year that brings hope even in the aftermath of heartbreak and loss.

A few months after Brooklyn died I carried around her passing like a secret mark. Not in the sense that I didn’t want people to know, or that I was hiding it from people, but in a way that I felt afflicted by my story; I felt marked by it. I was a 27 year old woman who had loved and cared and lost. I had a baby, but she died. The truth of it didn’t really make it any easier to accept. And, I felt a strange sense of shame when I talked with strangers or met new people. I’m sure this sounds absurd to many, but maybe some of you out there know the feeling. I am still reminded so often of the bitter truth that marks my life, my story. But, I’ve noticed there’s a different tone in the voice that whispers and reminds me of my loss. It’s no longer wrapped in the question of whether or not I can really survive this pain. It doesn’t leave me feeling ashamed of this sad story that is now part of me. It sounds more like, “I have lost a baby, and I have survived.”

I guess I’ve let it in. I hate to use the word acceptance, because I don’t accept and will never accept what happened to Brooklyn. I don’t know if I’ll ever come to a place of making “peace with it”. All of those phrases make me cringe. That’s not what this is.

I believe, this is learning to live in light of hope.

And for me, that hope is that this world is not the end.

It’s just like after those first few tries on your bicycle without the training wheels. In the beginning it’s pretty rough, full of shaky handle bars, feet that feel a pull to be planted back on the ground with every wobble, and a face marked with worry. As the wobbles and falls become fewer and farther between, the tension in your face begins to ease, and you can feel the confidence in your legs as they more firmly and confidently push your feet on the pedals. There’s even a chance for a smile to break through.

I had to learn to trust that the living hope inside of me was enough.

My hope was enough to keep me steady when ‘the goings’ felt wobbly.

Maybe that’s why it’s listed last in the progression of attributes our suffering brings us in Romans 5…perseverance, character, and then hope. I had to practice walking into new situations and answering the question of whether or not we have children many times before it didn’t completely take my breath away. I had to force myself to engage other kids and babies again in order to let myself have a chance of feeling joy with kids, instead of it only reminding me of the future I would never have with Brooklyn. I certainly haven’t done this perfectly. I have “bowed out” from many baby showers, neglected relationships, and opted to sit on opposite sides of the restaurant than the family with a newborn. But each time I allow myself to look down into the stroller that passes me, or stop and tell a Mom or Dad how cute their new baby is, I feel stronger. In those little moments I’m practicing being the person I really want to be; a woman of character. Broken, but strengthened by a living hope.

Before I got pregnant with this new little one, it felt like the only thing that would make me happy again was being pregnant, or having some promise that I would get pregnant one day, and that our story would not just continue on this despairing storyline. But in reality, getting pregnant has not done any of that for me. If anything it has made me realize how unsatisfying anything circumstance can bring us really is. Don’t get me wrong, I am incredibly thankful for this gift and know that that’s exactly what this is, but I know that nothing about this new baby girl will take the pain of losing Brooklyn away. At times I can imagine, it might even make it feel worse. Because when, Lord-willing (I hate this phrase, but I don’t know how else to communicate the idea that I realize I have no guarantee of a healthy baby), I am nursing my new baby girl I will be reminded that I never got to do that with Brooklyn. Or, when she starts to respond through a smile, or a giggle it will make me stop and wonder what Brooklyn’s giggle might have sounded like. And, the depressing thing about this, when I really sit and think about it, is this could be endless. This could be a part of motherhood for me for years and years to come. Will my joy be  paired with grief and longing forever?

No! Not forever! Praise the Lord.

There will be a day when my faith will become sight.

And, that is enough to carry me through the parts of life that feel really uncomfortable when you have a child living in glory. It’s enough to motivate me to keep allowing myself  to experience the joy and the sorrow simultaneously, without getting frustrated about it. And trusting that the sorrow I feel may even make my joy deeper.

– Brooklyn (and Squirmy’s) Mommy

It Was Way Too Familiar

Last week while waiting for our flight to Steamboat Springs, CO in the Austin airport, I walked up after a coffee run to find my sister-in-law, Courtney, frantically elevating Corrie’s feet with luggage as she lay on the ground.  Corrie had blacked out and fainted.  Thankfully Courtney and a random bystander caught her preventing any injury from the fall.  Corrie was awake and sorting things out when I walked up.  I was confused, scared, and didn’t know what to do.  At this point, an airport employee had already called 911 and we were quickly greeted by 6 firefighters and 3 paramedics…it was quite dramatic.  The paramedics checked her vitals, but her blood pressure wasn’t returning to normal levels.  They determined that we should take an ambulance ride to Seton for further tests.  After a 3 hour stay in the Seton ER and a generous visit from Corrie’s OBGYN to check on the baby, she was released because everything was back to normal.  We ended up cancelling our family vacation, and Corrie had a check-up at her OBGYN’s office a couple days later and everything is OK.  Bottom line, Corrie ‘just’ fainted (which I learned is common during the 2nd trimester) and everything was a little more dramatic because she was in a public venue.  We are very thankful for this and that the baby is doing great!

For me, this experience was way too familiar, and I hated it.  After caring for Brooklyn and quarterbacking most of the medical side of things, it became clear to me that God’s grace has given me the strength to care for my family in this capacity.  I’m truly thankful for that.  However, I hated walking into this situation because it scared the crap out of me.  We were in the same hospital that Brooklyn was born in, there was another ambulance ride, I heard the exact same alarms that told us Brooklyn’s vitals were off tell us Corrie’s vitals were off, and we were back in a hospital waiting for answers.  I believe we often walk through life expecting results/outcomes based on similar experiences we’ve had in our lives.  Although reality was telling me Corrie wasn’t in grave danger, history told me that this wasn’t going to turn out well.  Thankfully it was different.

I’m still processing this experience and asking God “Why?”.  “You know what we’ve been through.  Can we please have an ‘event-free’ pregnancy?”  I really want a healthy family and an uneventful pregnancy for Corrie.  After walking through hell, I want a break from crisis and for life to be easy and pain-free.  Unfortunately, that isn’t going to happen and there will be more pain.  The pain may not sting as much as losing Brooklyn, but it’ll be there.  If you know me well, I’m an optimistic guy…but I still believe this.

I’ve spent a lot of my life trying to avoid pain.  I follow rules, am nice to people, and stay away from extreme sports…except for the time I almost drowned in a class 4 rapid on my first day of whitewater kayaking.  We can try hard, but it’s clear to me that none of us can avoid pain.  This is why Corrie and I trusted the Lord when we decided to continue growing our family.  The emotions that flood in when pain shows up will always be real and appropriate, but we choose to stay in the game.  We have to.  God has given us today, we have a vision for our lives, and a hope for a time when pain is gone.

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4)