Friday, August 9, 2013


I have not written in this blog in a LONG time. I have had many "that would be good for the blog" moments but for one reason or another I didn't write. In a nutshell though, we are doing really well. Girls are growing up too fast, so I am not missing a moment of it!  We are so blessed!  I need to be better at updating not so people know about me, but because Judy and I made a pact that we would carry this blog on to help other young women in similar situations. 
The other night I was emailing a close friend that is helping me with some projects around the house and planning a girls trip.  As I was about to close the email, I started unexpectedly journal the feelings I have felt for the past weeks, but could not quite put them into words. This is what I wrote...with the help of The Holy Spirit.  
"On another note, but kind of on the same, I think I am going through a new phase of all this "grieving" process. They say it is different for everyone and it is so true. In the past 3.5 years I have lived life and carried on my role of whom I became [9 years ago] - wife and mother. It has not been easy to let go of the wife identity. I think it was easier for me to carry on like that (or at times thought I would meet someone and instantly be "wife"again). It has taken me these past 3.5 years for me to be able to let go of that role [and identity].  It recently came to mind that part of the reason it has been so hard is that Mark and I had made 1 and 3 year goals (the January before). [We actually sat down, discussed, dreamt and wrote them down]. 
I have accomplished most of the goals, at least the ones achievable without him. Things I never in my dreams thought I would do without him. Things that hurt so much to not  have him physically next to me and our girls - [yes that "unfathomable" pain.  The amazing part to all this is that not once did I sit down and tell myself I had to achieve these goals... All have been presented to me - almost on a golden platter - all I have asked for is for God's will to be done.  It has been so amazing to see how loving, gentle and generous God has been with me.  And amazing to share all of this with my daughters. 
 What got me through each of those things was my faith of him [Mark] being right next to us. ..allowing us to never feel alone. The girls and I have spoken about him so much and being such an amazing father and man, I am happy that we have had this time together, the 3 of us, so the girls could get to know - through me- who Mark was as a father and husband and how our marriage worked.  It has helped me validate my married years.[ The short almost 6 years I was married were truly wonderful and full of love. His love for our family has given me incredible strength.]
As I plan for this next year, I am realizing we can do new things, visit new places, make new choices and make decisions with confidence because we are ok.  
..... I am feeling somewhat released yet so loved. It is so hard to describe what I have felt. I have realized that my mom had been so right...she would say that I was completely in love with Mark still. [She would tell me that I still had that glow when I talked about him and that I was not ready.]. I told her "of course I was in love, he was my husband and we loved each other very much!" (and in my head I would tell myself "he is"). I have had to let go gradually... Very slowly. It all happened so quickly.  I know now what emotions to let go and what to keep holding on to. I am ok with being a wife in the past and not being one now, because I am doing the best job I can being a mom and I have honored Mark everyday in that way. 

It is time for newness. I am released. I am confident. I am happy. A facelift to the house (keeping it humble though), venturing out, and living my life the way it is now and liking it even more. Thank you God that I have this in my heart. Please preserve it. 


I became a widow on the third day of my thirty-first year.  Widowed at thirty-one and now a single mom to a son who was one year, three months and three days old.  The single mom thing wasn’t new as I had been without a spouse for sixteen months.  Sixteen months he unconsciously fought for his life in a hospital bed before finally being called Home. 

The months after Keith died are a blur, but one day I was finally ready to start thinking about the future.  I whole-heartedly believed that there was a future for me as well as for my son, Brooks, but I didn’t know what that future looked like.  In my mind I knew what I wanted, but I didn’t know if what I wanted existed. 

I remember finally deciding that I needed to move on.  I didn’t know if the Lord had someone else out there for me, but I knew I needed to allow myself to be open to the idea.  I began to think about this possibility and I came up with two options:  I hold out for the perfect man – someone who meets my criteria for husband material as well as father material – or I find someone that I am compatible with to be an excellent father to Brooks. 

The perfect man would be nearly impossible to find.  I wanted someone that had never married before and didn’t have any children.  I was hoping there was someone out there that fit that criteria because he was too busy focusing on his career and never met the right woman rather than having some giant character flaw that kept him single.  I wanted someone who was sharp and funny and kind and generous.  I wanted someone who loved the Lord and loved children.  And since I was making this list of the man who probably didn’t exist, I added one final desire that would knock out 99.9% of the male population – I wanted someone who knew Keith.  I wanted someone who knew the man that I loved with all of my being because then he would truly understand the heartache that I endured for so long and be able to be patient with me as I lived this thing called life. 

The good father would be easier to find.  I knew he was out there.  I was certain I could find someone that I cared for and who would be a good father to Brooks.  I remember wondering if I should just take one for the team.  Should I find someone that I could potentially love, not be in love with, so that Brooks can have a father?  Should I settle for less than what my heart wanted and marry someone so that Brooks can have that male influence from someone other than his grandfathers and uncles?  Or do I hold out for the perfect man who would meet the needs of both husband AND father?

This was a tough decision and I finally realized that I had to let it go.  I released the burden of my future and decided to live in the present, knowing and being satisfied that I might possibly live out my days as a widowed, single mom. 

There was such freedom in releasing this choice; it was no longer my decision to make because I gave it to God.  That’s when I realized that this uncertainty, the uncertainty of my future, wasn’t my burden to bear.  I was trying to get through the day with this stress strapped to my back when Jesus was at my side asking to carry it for me. 

When I finally gave it to Him, when I surrendered my future to the plans He had for me, there was freedom.  There was so much joy and freedom I decided that I needed a vacation.  I had quite a lot of airline miles accumulated from paying hospital bills that I could literally go anywhere in the world.  Around this time I saw something posted on Facebook from an acquaintance, Patrick, who had recently moved to Australia.  Australia.  I could visit Australia.  I talked to a couple of my girlfriends and asked if they wanted to take a trip over there and they said yes.  I reached out to Patrick, who used to live in the same building as I did when I was married to Keith, to see if he could help us plan an itinerary and maybe let us crash at his place for a couple of nights. 

As Patrick and I corresponded about my trip across the world, we fell in love.  We fell hard and we fell fast.  He not only hit all of my criteria, but he surpassed it and I hit all of his.  I knew he was the one for me and I knew the Lord was just waiting for me to put the ball in His court rather than keeping it in my own.  Without Him and His guidance I would have just been spinning my wheels not going anywhere.  I had to release my plans and be satisfied in the present to gain the freedom and blessings that He had planned for me in the future.

And that’s what He wants.  I think it grieves Him to see the chains we place on ourselves.  Why are we limiting and restraining ourselves when we were made to be free?  The sooner we can release things to God the sooner He can put us on the path to His perfect plan for our lives. 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Finding Extraordinary Purpose in the Ordinary Days...

Four year olds are exhausting.  Twins are exhausting.  Day in and day out, life is exhausting.  The mornings are exhausting; the afternoons are exhausting; the evenings are exhausting and the nights are exhausting.  There are some days that I am so tired that I wonder what I did all day to become so tired, only to become discouraged when the answer seems to be “nothing.”  Days where it seems nothing of purpose is accomplished.  Days where I’m exhausted from the sheer monotony of having three kids at home.  You know the days…the ones that make you feel like this:

Thankfully, I believe we are out of the “trying to survive” stage.  We entered this stage after the girls were born and we began adjusting to life with two newborns.  One baby can be tough.  Two babies can test your limits.  During this stage I would wake up and just try to make it through the day, only to wake up the next day and do it all again.  I remember a phone conversation Patrick had with his mom and she asked what we were going to do that weekend.  Our answer?  Just try to make it through it. 

Currently we are in the “being alive” stage.  There are good days and there are bad days, but days are no longer survived; they are lived.  I can do more than just bathe both girls.  I can bathe the girls, make lunches, straighten up the house, play with Brooks, cook dinner and maybe even run an errand.  Again, sometimes the daily grind can be discouraging, but at least I am able to make a to-do list that no longer has to have “shower,”  “brush teeth,” or "get dressed" on it.  Luckily, showering, brushing my teeth and getting dressed are pretty much guaranteed in this stage of life.  And with the passing of each day I know I am one step closer to once again being in the “able to thrive” stage. 

Our church back in Australia has a blog entitled Selah Moments and it’s a place where women share perspectives based on the word of the month.  The word for July is “honour” and I wrote the following piece: 

As I contemplated this word, honour, I found myself asking, “What am I doing to honour God?”  Initially my response was a superficial one: I’m trying my best to live a life that is pleasing to Him.  But what does that really mean?  I pressed myself and began to dive into a deeper understanding.

While considering the question of what I’m doing to honour God, the parable of the talents was brought to mind.  Matthew 25:14-30 tells the story of a master who entrusts talents (NIV says bags of gold) to his servants.  Three servants receive five talents, two talents and one talent, respectively.  The servants who received five and two talents both doubled their portions while the servant who received only one talent dug a hole and buried his master’s money.  To the two who doubled their portion, the ones who went out and DID something with what their master gave them, the master said, “Well done, good and faithful servant!  You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.  Come and share your master’s happiness!”  To the one who buried his talent, the one who chose the safe path, the path where nothing was lost nor nothing was gained, the master said, “You wicked, lazy servant…throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness…”

“Talents” in this parable can parallel many things.  As I began to think about what the Lord has entrusted to me, the first thing that came to mind is my family.  How am I honouring my husband?  How am I honouring my children?  Am I an encouragement to them, doubling my portion?  In what areas are my strengths and what areas need strengthening?  Do I choose to honour them on a daily basis because honouring them truly is a choice and making this choice is easier on some days than others?  What am I doing to honour God?  By honouring them I’m honouring Him. 

“Talents” can also take the form of money, as was the case in the parable.  Am I being a good steward with the finances God has provided?  Is tithing a priority?  Am I honouring Him with how we choose to spend our funds?  Because, again, this is a choice and, again, it’s an easier choice on some days than it is on others. 

Finally, “talents” can reflect what God has blessed us each with – particular gifts and talents.  How are we using these gifts?  Are our abilities being put to use or are they simply buried, not accomplishing anything.  In some cases, these talents might have been buried so long that we’ve completely forgotten about them.  God didn’t bless us in areas only to have us choose to do nothing with it.  He wants us to use our talents so that we might bless others, in turn, honouring Him. 

This word, honour, didn’t encourage me.  It didn’t inspire me.  It convicted me.  I want to choose to live a life that gains the response, “Well done, good and faithful servant!  You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.  Come and share your master’s happiness!”  I want to honour God by honouring what He has blessed and entrusted me with – my family, my finances, my talents. 

I wanted to share it here as an encouragement for those stuck in the daily grind.  I started viewing ordinary, everyday tasks as ways to honor God and it has benefited me greatly.  It has given purpose to the days that seem uneventful.  It has allowed me to see those days for what they truly are:  the opportunity to pour into the lives of my children.  Viewing these moments as a chance to honor God by honoring my family has made me a better wife and a better mother.  There is a renewing in my spirit that was absent before I changed my outlook.  The monotony of the previous days has been replaced with a joy and a love that can only be granted by the Lord and for that I am grateful. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


I recently wrote this for our church in Australia and thought I'd share it here as it's been a while since we've updated this blog.  The original post is HERE.

As I rocked one of our twins back to sleep one night a single word was brought to my mind:  cherish.  The word for June.  I reflected on all of the Lord’s provisions in my life and thought about all that I have to cherish, including our most recent double blessing, twin girls.  I stared at them and my heart swelled.  While rocking my sweet baby girls I was overcome by all of the blessings in my life.  The entire world was right and it was not possible for my heart to feel any fuller.  Back and forth we moved as we were surrounded in total peace.  This time is most definitely a cherished time.

I love the time I have where I can experience them one on one, holding them close and soaking up their presence. There is nothing they can do to make me love them any more and there is nothing they can do to make me love them any less.  They have nothing to give and nothing to say; all they can do is just be. 

This is how it should be in our relationship with God, our Father.  Often times I neglect getting into the Word because I don’t have enough time to really dive into it so I don’t do it at all.  I shy away from praying for others because I fear I don’t have the right words to say or I won’t make any sense.  When I do this, I am missing the big picture: it’s not about words on a page or words spoken; it’s about spending time with Him. 

The Lord doesn’t want my time spent with Him to be burdened; He wants it to be cherished time.  In fact, He cherishes it more than I do.  There is nothing I can do to make Him love me any more and there is nothing I can do to make Him love me any less.  As I draw near to Him, He wants to hold me in His arms and surround me in total peace while he renews my mind and soul. 

It’s been several years since I’ve been reminded of this parallel between parents and newborns, God and His children.  However, this parallel isn’t just with newborns; my husband and I see it even as we parent our four-year-old son. 

I love how He uses our every day lives and situations to give us a glimpse as to who He is and what He’s about.  How humbling and truly awesome it is to know the Creator of the universe cherishes His time with us, regardless of our age and the season we’re in.  That He would look at us and desire to soak up our presence is a concept I can barely wrap my mind around.  I John 3:1 says, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!”  And as children of God we have unrestricted access to this cherished time with Him. 

Thursday, January 31, 2013


January 6th marked a year that I've lived in Australia and it's been an INCREDIBLE year.  There have been so many different times over my duration here that I've sat in awe at what the Lord has done for me and for my family.  Anyway, I'm not sure when it first hit me, but somewhere along the line I saw a parallel between my time here in Australia and our time here on Earth. This comparison will be grossly generalized and obviously will not apply to everyone, but hopefully it will be something to think about.

When I moved over a year ago I knew that it was temporary; there has never been a time when I thought we might live here permanently.  Because of that knowledge we have made it a point to do and see things while living on this side of the world because we know we won't have this opportunity again.  Several times we've had conversations with people here and they've said, "You've seen more of Australia than we have and we've lived here our whole lives."  I can think of three different trips off the top of my head that we took only because we knew we were leaving sooner rather than later.  It was a 'now or never' mentality so we did it.  On one of those trips we ended up meeting another American family living here temporarily.  They had been here for four years at that point and were saying how they haven't really done anything while they've lived over here and that they probably wouldn't start until they knew they were moving back.  At that point they would probably cram in whatever they could.  I couldn't wrap my brain around that mentality.  There were all of these things they wanted to do and all of these places they wanted to see, but they weren't doing anything about it.  They had the time and resources but seemed to be okay with cramming in whatever could be crammed once the time came.  It was this conversation that got my wheels turning.

Isn't that mentality so like life?  We get caught up in the day-to-day.  We have a bucket list with all of these phenomenal desires but we don't really do anything about making those desires a reality until we have to, until we know we're almost out of time to do so. 

I don't think our lives are intended to be lived that way.  I think our world is so vast and so beautiful that God wants us to experience it.  I think He created such majesty among us for our enjoyment.  I believe He's given us these gifts to whet our appetites for what's to come because even the most magnificent image we can capture in this life will pale in comparison to what's waiting for us when our time on this earth is up.  And how exciting is that???  The places and things of this world aren't meant to be crammed in at the last minute; they are meant to be savored and enjoyed and truly experienced to get us ready.

Much to our families' dismay, we don't know how much longer we'll be here.  We have already exceeded the original time frame of only being here until September 2012, however I'm fairly confident we'll be back in the US at some point during 2013 - although I really have no idea.  That being said, apart from being so far away from friends and family, we're in a really good spot.  We love being here.  We love where we live.  We love the life we live here.  But we're ready to go home.  Overall, we've lived life to the fullest and we'll continue to do so, but this is not our home and our hearts are being pulled to where we can begin our next chapter.  We are longing for permanence, to establish our family and put down roots.  As we know our time here is drawing to a close, I love that we can look back on our experience here with full hearts.  I love that we're excited to still be here every day, but know we'll be even more excited when it's time to leave to begin the next phase for our family.  And I love that we'll leave with no regrets. 

I'm reminded of the "not of this world" Christian t-shirts.  It's true; as Christians we are not of this world.  However, how do we get excited about the world that awaits us for eternity?  I think the simplest answer is to truly experience the world that was given to us during this interim.  How great would it be to know our time has come and be able to look back with excitement at all we have done and seen knowing that as awesome as the journey has been, the best is yet to come.  The end isn't a time to look back with regret at what you weren't able to accomplish; it's a time to play your life's highlight reel and celebrate knowing that those experiences are just the beginning because our minds can't fathom what's waiting for us.  This world is not our home; it's our temporary dwelling.

I hope that I have many, many more years to come and that I can see my grandchildren as adults.  I hope I can live life to its fullest and be excited to greet each and every day.  I hope I can continue to experience all that God wants me to experience.  And I hope that when my time draws near I can look back on the life that I've lived with a full heart and no regrets.  I want to look at those I love and say, "I love you.  I'll miss you.  I'll see you again soon.  But for now, I'm ready to go Home."   I can't imagine being in a better spot than that.