Hello old friend…..

It’s been so long since I’ve had the time to sit and write.  Four kids in three schools this year has been crazy.

And I decided to teach a photography class.  (Let’s just make life a little more nuts!)

I am still working through the grief of mom dying 11 months ago.  We made it through Thanksgiving and now I’m staring down the barrel of Christmas.  Mark Schultz has a new song out.  “Different Kind of Christmas”  I cry each time I hear it.  I know mom is celebrating continually with Jesus.  Christmas in Heaven?  Does it even exist?

I pray that your heart and home is filled with the joy and love of Jesus this year.

I pray that you know God loves you this Christmas.

I pray that even if there is a loved one gone, you can celebrate the life that is missing at the table this year.

I pray that the legacy you have been left is celebrated, enjoyed and lifted up!

I pray God will dry your tears, wipe your eyes and lift your head.

All these things I pray for myself……

…the cat’s tail

I was fine today.


I read Scooper’s post – Living Free Through Our Unfixable Days


I found my mom’s obituary in a pile of photographs from NC.  Her face smiling up at me from a piece of newspaper torn from it’s page.  The ache to reach through the veil and touch her hand is all consuming in my deepest grieving.  Knowing I could touch her and see her while in the hospital brought a morbid and twisted, yet sweet sort of comfort.  Until her last breath……when I realized our bodies, no matter what we think of them, are just shells.

Shells on a beach without life inside.

Empty.  Used up.  Done.

And the concept of eternity hits home.  Our lives are just a blink.

Nothing in this world matters except the lives we touch.  The people we help.  The paths we cross.

And the pain spills from deep within me.

It’s a gut-wrenching, unfixable pain.

There is no way around it.  I have to walk smack-dab through it, trusting that on the other side is something besides a balled-up broken woman reduced to a child crying, “I want my mommy.”

The grief is more like a wail only explained and expressed in God’s written Word.

The wailing wall.

I’m there.


It’s there too.  Somewhere.  Calling.  Waiting.  Soothing like a mother’s touch.

I ponder God’s choice to willingly give us Christ.

I wonder how Christ willingly agreed.

The pain and the ache fill every corner of my body.  It’s felt in my bones, muscles and heart.

It’s expressed in solitude when only God watches.

It can not be controlled.  It will not be brushed away.

For this path, I’ve been asked to walk it.  Knowing He only gives us what we can handle.

He must think a lot of me.

And the cry is, “God, my God…..why?  I wasn’t ready.  I needed more time.”

The flood pouring from my soul inexplicable.  All of it boiling down to TRUST:

Day 15 on Facebook:

Grief is indeed a strange animal. It’s back. It’s like my cat’s tail. Sometimes it’s calm and other times it whips violently. In these times gratefulness is something I cling to with my fingernails. My memories of mom are sweet but they have a bite at the moment. I miss her so much.

Tenderness – mom was tender. She was loving. Her touch was tender and filled with love. I’m learning that nothing can replace that touch. I am a better person because of it. I also know that I would have never been ready to lose my mom. Never.

And I have to trust Gods perfect timing and pray for the work he is doing because of her death. I trust.

So I cry out to God and He comforts and loves me.  And the sun shines in the next hour.

For He is good.

What a difference a month can make!


On January 4th of 2014, just about a month ago, we celebrated as the first grandchild in the family got married.  Nana and Grandbo (above) were hamming it up for my camera as I shot candids at the rehearsal the night before.  We spent Christmas at home in Florida and then packed up to spend almost a week in Burlington, NC with my family.  My mom and sister worked tirelessly as they prepared for the wedding.

Two weeks later I got a phone call that mom was in the ER.  She was sick and her tummy hurt badly.

The next day they performed emergency surgery to see why her white blood cell count was so high.

She never woke up.

My mom passed from this world into Eternity with our Lord on January 27, 2014.

One month and I no longer have my sweet mom here to talk to, call on the way to pick up my kids, or to whine to when mommy-hood gets the best of me.

The first week was spent with my family doing all the things one does in preparation for a funeral.

The second week I flew home to Florida.

What I did not know is that I was flying home to a black hole.  One that called to me from a place I’d never been – a place of deep, bottomless grief.

Losing my mom has been the hardest thing God has asked me to walk through thus far in my life.

My reflections on her have become different in the light of God’s goodness and love.  What I once thought of as weakness is now strength.  Silently she walked out Jesus before me.  Often I did not see.  She loved without words.  She loved by serving and doing and being the best mom ever.

How did I ever miss that?

But I did.  Sometimes it was just what moms do.  Other times it was what I had gotten accustomed to and took for granted.  I never want to take kindness for granted again.

I’ve decided to chronicle parts of her life in a small celebration on Facebook.  It’s allowed me to think and write just a little at a time.  I’ve not had the brain power for a full blog post.  I still don’t.  So here is a few FB posts for those of you who haven’t read them:

Monday marks the two week mark of mom going to live with Jesus. So I thought I would try to write something great about her for the next two weeks. Please join me in praising our moms! My Mom was the kindest woman I have ever known. She always put others first.
Day 2 -Today marks two weeks since mom died. Today I remember selflessness. Mom always took the time to play board games with my kids. Whether we were at the beach or visiting Burlington you’d find her taking the time to soak up her grandchildren. Mom, thank you for loving them!
Day 3 – I’ve thought about what to write about mom a lot today. No particular word has come to mind except the overwhelming feeling of LOVE she imparted in my life.Mom loved. She loved gently, silently at times. But always with the peacefulness and quietness of Christ. She was a behind the scenes kind of worker. This is seen in her dedication to the church’s Altar Guild. She got things ready for Sunday morning, only a few knew she did it. She went to the grocery store every Friday. She cooked for our birthdays. She sent cards. She bought me a Holly Hobbie doll figurine on my adopted birthday just because I wanted one. I miss you mom. You made my life better


Day 4 – I have missed mom a lot today. The weather is cold and the kids are home sick and I have wanted to pick up the phone and call her because it’s snowing in Burlington. There was a word on my heart this morning, but try as I may I can’t get it to come to mind again.
So today, I choose funny. My mom had the same quirky sense of humor that my grandmother (her mom) had. I remember at the beach this year that she put on a funny hat and walked into my sister’s room acting like a rapper. OMG did she make us laugh. I have the picture on my phone and everytime mom would call that photo would pop up and I would smile just remembering how funny she was. 
It was just like her to stick out her tongue and for dad to be looking away as I tried to capture a “sweet” shot of her at my niece’s wedding. But no, out came the tongue and dad looked away. OUTTAKE!  (photo above)
I miss your laugh mom. I miss your silliness and your smile. Danielle just said “I miss Nana greeting us at the door no matter what time we got to Burlington.” Thank you again for being such a special mom, grandmother and friend. We still really miss you Nana!!!
Day 5 or my Two Weeks of remembering my mom with thankfulness in my heart. No one can say it better than Kid President today. So go ahead, take a few minutes to laugh, cry and hug your mom! Loving you today mom.


Hug your mom today.  Or call her.  Or give her a kiss.  I was blessed with two moms.  One who gave me life and another who raised me.  Now I am without both.  I know there is a party going on in heaven, but one earth, this child’s heart breaks.

Life through a different set of glasses – Adoption Part 8

When I think of life since last Tuesday when my birth mother died I am faced with my own mortality.

What do I want to do before I leave earth?  What does God want me to do before I leave earth?

What will my own death be like?

Will I fight as courageously as my birth mom did?  Will I stare death in the face and say, “Not now.”

She fought brilliantly for as long as I had her in my life.  As I have gone through the last week I’ve been amazed at the people who actually read my blog and whose lives I have touched even though they never leave a trace that they’ve been here.  Hello all you ghost readers!

The last few days have been good days.  At first I thought I’d never survive the sadness I felt.  But I feel the prayers of the saints around me….. lifting me up, allowing me to function, to serve my family.

This beautiful arrangement from my husband’s work associates in Utah arrived on Saturday.  It reminds me so much of the seasons of life.  Although generally a fall arrangement reminding me that all things end it also reminds me of the blessing of being raised my adopted parents.  The cattails remind me of carefree days spent in my childhood by the lake with my aunts and uncles.  The details are sketchy of the house or the exact lake but oh how I remember the cattails.  The greenery reminds me that I still have work left here today.  This is the season of my life.  The yellow daisies remind me of the sunshine brought into my life by the Father, my parents (all four of them) and the orange and yellow flowers remind me of the brilliance of heaven.

Can you imagine what awaits us?  I asked my birth mom that if God allowed her to break the rules and send me a telegram I wanted to know what heaven was like.  And then I thought to myself, “Why would HE ruin the surprise and the splendor for any of his children?” And does He greet us all the same?  I’m kinda thinking he doesn’t.  Since he knows each one of us and he made each one of us I’m thinking he’s got something spectacular planned for each one of us.  Can you fathom that?

For any of you reading who do not know Jesus, may I introduce you to the most wonderful person in the universe?

He really is here.  And all it takes is you turning to see Him.

He’ll be the gentleman waiting at the front door of your heart.

Adoption Story – Part 6

My mom died this evening….quietly and at home.  I had to leave Green Bay last night.

I wanted to hold her hand but God had other plans.

That’s all I can write now.  I miss her.

Day 19 – Reality

I was looking back at all my photos I’ve uploaded onto Photobucket and found this one.

This little sweet thing turns 10 tomorrow.

Where does the time go?

She is 7 going on 16 and wants her ears pierced, a new pet and all her clothes to match.

He’s 11 and wants a phone for Christmas.  This shot was taken with my very first digital camera.  Everything had to be date stamped because I had 4 little ones and couldn’t remember when I took pictures!!  I also was a scrapbooking fiend then.

This guy is 12 and turns 13 (A TEENAGER) on Christmas Day this year.  Reality!  It’s amazing how the time on this earth flies like it does.

It makes me think of eternity, a mind-boggling thought.

I’m so glad I know I’ll spend it with Jesus.  I wonder what it will be like…when I breathe my last breath and open my eyes to heaven’s glory.  My birth mom is dying from cancer.  God blessed me with the chance to get to know her some 8-9 years ago.  My time with her last month in WI was so precious.  She’s stubborn and hard-headed and likes things the way she likes things.  I see me in her.  It’s a wonderful feeling.  There have been times when she says she rests and goes into this strange, quiet, peaceful place.  We talk about whether that will be what dying is like…just slipping further into that peace.

I asked her to ask God to send me a telegram (just break the rules once) to let me know if that is what it’s like.

I wonder what he’ll say?

I love you mommy Janet!