I’ve really been trying to wrap my head around the idea of so much that is going on around me. So many that I know experiencing pain, loss, grief and difficult times. I hear stories from friends and I read some of the stories on social media and my heart physically hurts for so many…..

The response of my heart has changed through the years…I’m ashamed to say these kinds of stories used to not have a huge effect on my heart. I mean….being honest here….I’d read it…feel bad for the person…then…go on with my life. There was no hurt…no feeling for that other person out there. Then there was a time when I’d take all of it on emotionally….as if it was my own to bear….in a way that wasn’t healthy for my heart.

Now though….it’s different. I’ve been trying to grasp the why and how it is different and how I can explain it. The following is what God gave me.

You know how some people say that you are born with a God-sized hole in your heart that nothing BUT God can fill? Sure…we try to fill it with popularity, accumulating things of this world, people of the opposite sex, parties and all that goes with that, shopping, eating, drinking…….because we just don’t realize that God is all that we need….. He is the only one that can fulfill the thirst for more that we crave!

photo 2

Well, I feel like the people I have lost in my life….my boys, my mom, my grandparents, my friends…….have all left holes in my heart. Let me explain. Each person and what they meant in my life…..is irreplaceable. When they left my life, they left an empty place that no one else could fill. Each one left a hole in my heart.

Through grief…..some people take that hole in their heart….and instead of letting God heal the edges of it…. they try to fill it up with something else….or worse…they allow it to gape open….raw and ragged….and allow the empty space in their heart to make them feel empty.

Imagine the frayed edge of fabric….uneven…fraying….and ragged. This is kind of, an appropriate image of the edges of the hole left by loss. They are raw and ragged and just don’t look right.

But imagine now…..the edge being sewed up….the hole isn’t gone…it is still there….but God can mend the frayed edges….over time. If we let Him.

And then……..what happens then….to me is amazing. Because as He gave me the visual of my heart….with holes open for each person lost…..He also showed me this………



photo 1As I’ve allowed Him to come in and help me heal….help me grieve…… as I’ve allowed Him to be a part and seek out His purpose…or the Silver Linings in each loss…..He showed me that instead of less of a heart because of all the holes….. He has INCREASED the size of my heart….because I’ve allowed Him to be a part of the healing.

There are still times when the holes in my heart ache….and the loss is very near and very real. But….I’ve also come to realize each time my heart aches in my grief….He increases the size of my heart….and in a way…the way my heart aches and feels for others. It drives me to stop….to pray for each of them. It drives me to action…to see if there is anything at all He would have me do for the others who are experiencing a new hurt.

This might make absolutely no sense to you. But to me….He has shown me how through the years…..through my losses…through my grief….He has increased in me my territory. He has increased the size of my feeling heart and the more I lean on Him in my own grief…the more my heart beats with Him in the grief of others.

That night…..the night my world was turned upside down and I felt like my heart had been ripped out of my chest and I couldn’t breathe or go on…..I cried out to God and asked “WHY AM I STILL HERE?”……I believe He is whispering His answer daily…..and today…..He is telling me it is because He needed me here to increase the size of my heart….to share with others my heart……and to give others the hope that their hearts….although they may feel like they aren’t able to go on….they can’t breathe…they can’t move forward with the holes in their own hearts…..I’m here to tell you that you can. I’m here as a testament that He heals hearts…..He mends them slowly….and then He increases them in size…so that you too, can feel your heart beat for others in a way you never could before.

Death, difficult times….are all a part of this life. I’ve said before that I wish we could all be born and die on the same day so that nobody has to experience the loss of someone they love!! But life just doesn’t work that way. I’ve really been praying hard about this lately….about how there is so much hurt and loss and difficult times in the world. This is the picture God gave me…this is the best way I can describe of how I feel about the massive loss I’ve experienced in my life…and how it has made me who I am today.

Philemon 1:7 NLT says
“Your love has given me much joy and comfort, my brother, for your kindness has often refreshed the hearts of God’s people.”

I want to give others comfort and joy…..through the kindness of my increased heart. It may still have holes in it…..and it always will…..because there is no one or anything that can fit into those places in my heart left by the people I’ve loved. I’ve never tried to “replace” those people….not my children today….my stepmother…my new friends….none of them “fit” into those holes….but God has allowed them to expand my heart. He has expanded the capacity for love in my heart through me allowing myself to be open to those new people and new experience. I’ve not put them into the places in my heart where the holes are…but I’ve allowed them to add to my heart.

So there you have it…..I have a “hole”y heart. But what I truly desire….is for God to make it into a “holy” heart. Through the difficult times in my heart…..I believe that is when He is doing just that!

“And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.”
Ezekiel 36:26

Thank you for being a part of my increasing heart!!!

Missing mom……

17 years.

At 2:36 this morning it has been 17 years since my mom took her last breath on this earth…..since she was completely healed of the pain that had overtaken her body. I know at the moment she took her last breath on this earth….and she entered into her eternity….there were tears in my eyes….and nothing but praise…beauty….and joy in hers.

Oh….how jealous I was of her…..even in those first few moments…that she got to see my boys first. How I wanted it to be me…..to see them…to hold them again. But it was her. In her new body. She was running and playing with them…..

I’m so thankful there is no cancer….no pain….no tears….and nothing but joy in heaven for her! I’m sure she ran straight to her father first…then embraced the boys….her mom….and her other loved ones who were there! I know that if she is able to look down on us….on how we’ve lived these past seventeen years without her….she would be proud of the moments we have overcome difficulties….persevered through really tough times….and loved the way we’ve kept going……no.matter.what.

There have been times when I’ve physically ached for her….and wanted so badly to have her here with me. I’ve wanted to share moments with her. I’ve wanted to talk to her…..to hear her voice again. Losing mom…..well…there is nothing like it.

We may not have always seen eye to eye…..or even gotten along all the time. We definitely got on each other’s nerves…..and had differences of opinions….OFTEN! But….there is one thing I always knew…..NO MATTER WHAT….she ALWAYS loved me….and she loved me fiercely! She was tough on me…..and sometimes I didn’t understand it… But it helped to shape me into the strong woman I am today. I didn’t always see her as strong….not when I was growing up. But looking back…she was very strong……

We talked daily…and there were times when there was nothing to say. But I always needed to call her. Just to hear her voice.

It doesn’t matter how old you get…you’ll always want to have your mom around. I don’t think there will ever be a time when I don’t miss her….or wish she were here.

I can’t believe all of the great things she has missed out on…my kids….my sister and her family….our ups and downs. It is hard to think we have lived as much life as we have without her being here with us. But that is exactly what we’ve done. We’ve lived. We kept going….even when it was hard and we didn’t want to….we did.

Part of it is because of who she helped us to become. She wasn’t perfect…..but then again…we aren’t either. Being a mom……makes me miss her even more. Being a mom to a girl….makes me think back on all the times I rolled my eyes at her…and how now I know just how she felt! ;)

17 years…..without my mom. Hard to imagine.

As I sit here today…watching the snow…thinking of her….I remember love. Her smile….her laugh….. I remember the way that, even as an adult, I would lay my head in her lap and she would stroke my hair and talk to me….and the comfort that gave me. Today….I celebrate you mom…..I’m so thankful for you….and everything you did for me….for us. I still love you….and I can’t wait to join you in heaven!

Until then….I’ll be here…working hard to continue to make you proud!
All my love….


I have several friends right now who are going through some very difficult times. I think each of them would tell you I am (at least I try to be) that friend that will always listen….never judge….but also will empathize with you only so much…because I am the one that is very real and honest about what I believe God is asking me to say to each of them.

I truly don’t judge. Why? Because I’ve either been there…done that…or WORSE! And because that isn’t my place or my heart. My heart is to get them to be real about where they are…..in order to figure out how to heal and what God is saying to them where they are right now.

So many times we live “as if” everything is fine. We don’t want people to know how badly we are hurting….how we can’t afford the lifestyle we are living….or that we are literally falling apart on the inside. To me this is so sad! It literally breaks my heart that we are such “surface” people. I just don’t want to be that way. In order to be the hands and feet of Christ…we have to get messy. We have to be strong enough to know that if someone is mad at us…we can love them enough to love them through it!

What I’ve also come to see and realize is that there are so many times, ….that we “test” our loved ones. I’ve seen this in a few situations recently….but it made me remember times that I’ve done it myself.

Just last week I was in a training for my job….the trainer was talking about how when he was in his early twenties he was going through a really rough patch in his life. He decided to go to counseling. After just a few sessions with his new counselor, he said she looked at him and told him she thought he was lying to her. He puffed up and told her that he had no friends…nobody would listen to him…..and the ONE person he was PAYING to listen to him….thought he was lying! What an insult.

You know what happened next????

The counselor began to cry. She cried right there in front of him. No words. Just sobbing.

Guess what he did…..he got up and walked out and never went back.

Why? Why would he not go back??

Because he was testing her!!! He wanted to see if she really meant what she said! He wanted her to be confident in what she said and believed and to stand her ground. No matter what he said or did…..he wanted to know for sure that she was going to fight to make him better!

That is what we do! We push…..we test.
Do you love me enough to stand up to me? Do you love me enough to stay with me? Do you love me enough to fight for me?

I did this to my husband when we were still dating… I’d push…. just to see if he loved me enough to stay. I’d tell him I didn’t know if I could have more kids…and if he wanted them…..he’d be better off cutting his losses now and finding someone that could promise him that. (Code….no matter what … am I enough for you??) I would push and tell him after I was in a mood or something that this was his forewarning…..he better think about it now…because later he couldn’t say he didn’t know how moody I could be!

I’m seeing spouses do this a lot. We push. We test.

IMG_0440.PNGMany times….we do this because of an insecurity inside of us. We may be scared that one day…they might leave us…..so if we say we are going to leave first….. that is just how we push…we test! In this situation…all we want is for the other person to say they want us to stay…..no matter what! We test to see if they will love us enough to fight for us!!! That is what we want…what our hearts desire…we just don’t know how to say it!

Sometimes we say or do something mean….to see if the other person will crumble…or…if they will love us enough to call us out! I’ve told my husband I know I’m not perfect (I know, it’s still a shock to me too!) but if I was constantly telling him what I see in him that needs improvement and he never does the same for me….that it actually hurts. I need him to love me enough to call me out when I’m speaking too harsh….or totally wrong in something. No…..I don’t like it. But I need it and I long for him to “love me enough” to do this for me!

Or if I took off my wedding ring…just because we weren’t getting along or had been fighting…. Deep inside…..I want him to notice…because I want it to be important to him! Iwant to be important to him. By him NOT saying anything about it….in my heart…it is kind of like it is no big deal to him….like I am no big deal to him. It makes me feel like he just doesn’t care. (NO…I haven’t done this…but some have!)

It’s like that friend or family member who you feel like ONLY talk to if YOU are the one who picks up the phone to call. Sometimes…..you “test” them by not calling. You tell yourself, “I’ll just see how long it goes before they call me….and if it goes any longer than you think it should…you automatically feel your relationship doesn’t mean as much to them as it does to you. I mean….the phone works both ways doesn’t it!!???!!

The problem with so many of these situations is that we don’t always know where the other person is emotionally or what their thought process is. What we concern ourselves with is what we think…what we feel….not really thinking how the other person is thinking or feeling. And in our imperfect world….usually…the other person is just as insecure and damaged as we are and they are dealing with their own feelings and thoughts.

So let me start here. Feelings….can lie.

Yes…they are real….but feelings can lie to you. They can make you feel unloved, unworthy, not good enough, fearful, self conscious and just downright unhappy. We “feel” like they don’t love us enough. We “feel” like they are just using us. We “feel” like we just aren’t good enough.

This is just…..well…wrong. Yes. Our feelings are ours to have. But some of them just don’t speak TRUTH! We are created by our Father who doesn’t mess up! We are His perfect creation. Enough for Him. Worthy of His love. And definitely good enough to receive blessings!

We just get so bogged down in our feelings that they soon become our perception and then our perceptions become our reality. The problem with this…is our reality…is not grounded in truth.

If we can just ground ourselves in the truth…..our reality….will become JOY! Joy from the knowledge that no matter what anybody else says or does, we are children of the King of Kings. We are created by the Creator of the Universe. We are worthy of blessings beyond our comprehension! We are strengthened by the Strength of the Most High!

Our joy is not dependent on others. Our joy is part of our choice. Our choice of believing…..our choice of denying what we may be feeling and instead….believing what we KNOW….is TRUTH! We have the power within us to invoke this power….all through our choices!


We CHOOSE to be joyful……we CHOOSE to find silver linings…..we CHOOSE to not give anyone or anything any more power over our lives than what we say it can have! WE CHOOSE!!

So….I’m going to choose to stop testing. Instead of waiting for that other person to call me….I’ll choose to pick up the phone when I think of them. Instead of staying mad or upset at something someone has done to me….I’ll choose to forgive them and try to understand. Instead of TESTING my loved ones….I’ll CHOOSE to use my words….to tell them how I’m feeling….to be vulnerable and let them see my insecurities. I’ll choose to replace my untrue feelings….with TRUTH…that I am loved…I am chosen….I am forgiven…

Will you choose the power within you??? It’s up to you!
much love ~cheli


I’m sitting here looking at the cursor on the page…not really knowing where to start.

I mean…there are so many wonderful things that have happened in my life over the past two weeks that I want to share with you….. Speaking events, retreats, birthdays, sweet conversations…….but I can’t. You see……first….


Last night I attended church….and one of the points of the message was to BE STILL. To quiet our lives…..our minds….for just five minutes a day. To allow our souls to hear from God.

This morning…I knew that is exactly what I needed to do…to be still…to unplug….to allow my mind to shut down in order to hear God…..not my cluttered, overwhelmed thoughts…..but God. I knew I’d been seeking Him in so many ways recently…..but I just couldn’t figure out my “next step”. I’d seen beautiful and wonderful things happen…but hadn’t been still long enough to listen to Him tell me what the next part was.

This is where my confession comes in…. This is where it gets real.

After speaking at a retreat a couple weeks ago….I have been messaging back and forth with one of the ladies who attended the event. She is a very brave young woman with a story of her own. She had written some parts of her story and read them after I had spoken. Her words were moving, gut-wrenching-yet-beautiful all at the same time. She has sent me messages….encouraging me…..saying she is praying for me….telling me wonderful things about her relationship with Christ and what she feels He wants her to do since hearing me speak. It was at the end of the last note she sent she said she couldn’t believe my dog ate the flash drive with my book on it…and just how long was she going to have to wait to read it!!??!

As I sat…..being still this morning…..not thinking…..not worrying….her note is what came to my mind. It was as if God was speaking to me. It was then that I knew….it doesn’t matter where I work…or what else I do right now….I am supposed to finish the book.

My confession is…..for over 8 years…I’ve sat at a computer screen or with a notebook and pen in hand and tried to put my story to words in paper format. But it hasn’t happened. I haven’t been able to do it.

I have the cover designed…the title…the chapters and the format. I even have sat and written a lot….but have never come close to finishing.

This morning….in my still quiet time…..God showed me why.

You see…..when I speak and share my story…it’s as if you take a small scalpel and make a very tiny incision. It bleeds for a while…stings and hurts….but when I come home…have a cleansing cry with my husband and talk through some feelings….it heals up….without needing stitches or anything. There might be a small scab…but no outward scars appear at all. It’s safe for me. I control what is said, how it is said. The people listening hear the inflection in my voice and know exactly what I mean by the way I say something.

But….to write this book…..instead feels like the scalpel makes an incision that goes from the top of my chest all the way to the bottom. I think, as I go through the memories, I can feel my breastbone being broken open. Then, as the words go onto the page, I can feel them stretching my skin back….exposing my heart. And then….I feel the scalpel open my heart and it bleeds…..and bleeds…and bleeds.

There I am…..fully exposed….hurting….and it honestly…….feels like…


This morning, in my still quiet….this was the picture He gave me. And the tears ….. they just wouldn’t stop. Because I could physically feel it….all of it.

But…..He has now told me in order to move forward in the ministry He has planned for my life…I must trust Him as the Great Physician of my heart. I must write this book and be obedient. I know I’ve said it before….but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Now, I HAVE to.


You see friends…..two weeks ago….I was blessed to be asked to speak at three separate events…..and see what happens when we yield ourselves to the Holy Spirit and become a vessel for Him to use! I’ve seen it before…but there was something so much more powerful this time that happened. One of my friends said I came back different….I sounded different. And she was right….

I was humbled. I was used. I was His hands and feet and truly saw the power of the comma in someone else’s life! I can’t explain it. There really are no words. I’ve struggled with it…because it feels like I’m promoting myself and my story. But He has shown me those are thoughts from the enemy.

Yes….everyone has a story and there are many stories that would bless others. But He gave me MY story. He gave me a heart to share and teach others. He is asking me to move forward…to trust Him….to allow Him to fulfill the rest of His story through my story. He can do it without me……but I want to allow Him to use me…..to help teach others of His love…and the truth of who He says we are!

So…that is my confession….and my prayer request. I haven’t been able to accomplish what He has asked of me….and I need prayer to move forward and complete it. I hate asking for prayer. I’m a giver…it is hard for me to ask…..and hard to receive. But…that is part of my humbling. I do need prayer…I do need encouragement. I do need the accountability.

IMG_0265.PNG Matthew 6:34

I pray that opening myself up like this is going to help put me where I need to be. I’m just being real…..#mystruggles.

I truly love and appreciate you all…..more than you know…more than I can express.

I’ll be praying blessings over you as well….
much love ~c

Blessed Life!!!

Allow me to share with you….the past 24 hours in my life.

I’ll start with yesterday….

To almost everybody….it was a 3 day weekend and Labor day was just a fun time and a great day to be off work.

To me….it was going to be the first high school football game for my sweet boy!! To say I was excited….would be the understatement of the world!!! I didn’t realize just how excited I was, really, until after the game was over though…..

After he went early….sis and I did a “craft” project together. She had bought a HS team shirt to wear to her brother’s game and we “blinged” it out! It was fun sitting at the table with her coming up with the design.

Then, we got to the game! He had his own little fan section of family and friends there to watch! The game was awesome! It was a close, well played game. Our boys played hard! MY BOY played hard! He honestly played harder than I’ve ever seen him play! He was punched….and the way he reacted…made me proud! He told the kid….to play it out on the field…he wasn’t going to fight him…but he would kick his ass on the field! Reminded me of his brother….the way he walked away…..wouldn’t fight…but did the right thing. To say I was proud….man…doesn’t even begin to tell you how I felt. I got to see him make tackles like I’ve never seen before…..and just watching him….realizing this is HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL!!! I just can’t put into words…or properly describe all of the emotions going on in my head and my heart!




Just a few from last night! Can I just tell you as he sat at dinner next to me…after the game….and talked and talked about the game…what the coaches told him….tears were welling up in my eyes. Sitting there…just listening to him go on and on….I was loving every minute of it. I love being his mom. I can’t tell you how much joy it brings me…knowing God trusted me again with another son….with Bryce….with my rainbow. He is such a light in my world…and to the world around him. I see great things within him….and the coolest thing right now…is I believe he is starting to see the potential in himself. I am just blessed to be along for the ride!

Then, after my boys fell asleep…..my sweet girl…my night owl…..just wasn’t tired at all. On the way home from dinner we saw some pretty cool lightning that I could tell was pretty far away……and she commented how pretty it was. So, both of us in our jammies…went into the back yard…and got on the swing and just sat there talking and enjoying the light show God was providing. What was really cool…is that if we looked straight up….we saw the prettiest of bright, shiny stars…but then if we looked north…the lightning was just as bright and beautiful. We sat……we swang……we talked…..we laughed. It was a beautiful night and it was a beautiful time with my girl. Just sitting out there enjoying the quiet…the beauty….and each other. I am amazed that after four boys….God gave me A GIRL! I joke about it a lot….but really….I’m totally in love with that little cutie. She is growing in to such a lovely young lady…and I am so proud of her. She has a heart that is totally sold out to Jesus. She struggles with normal stuff….but it is so easy to bring her back down because she really is grounded in wanting to be HIS girl. I tell her she has so much that I didn’t have at her age. I probably had more maturity and responsibility…but she has such an innocence and a thirst for God and His plan for her life….it really just leaves me speechless some times. So…after a great day….I got to end it with my girl. My daughter. My love. What a great day.

Then, I went to bed knowing they would be out of school and I’d be off work another day. But it wasn’t just any day…..

You see, I woke this morning…after such a great day with my two wonderful kids…..to …… another birthday. Today is Cory’s 28th birthday. I woke…thinking of the day he was born. I tried…..oh I tried so hard….to try to figure out where he might be today…what kind of life he would be living…and let me tell you something…..MY BOY would be LIVING LIFE to its FULLEST! That is just who he was! He enjoyed everything he did! He had such gusto! Such a love for life!

Cory was my dreamer…my actor…my singer! He was my clown…my sing when you are down…..He was my constantly smiling….always loving….sweet baby boy. For the life of me…I can’t imagine him as a man. He never got to hit the time like Bryce is now…where his voice changed and his body changed…. I know…with his features…his eyes….his sharp jaw line…that he would have made a very handsome man! But…I can’t quite see it in my mind…I can’t imagine it….not at all….

I spent his birthday making great memories with B & B! We had a great day together!

I know Cory would love his brother and sister….and I know he would have been in the stands last night cheering his brother on! I also know he would have loved sitting on the swing with us last night looking at the stars too! But…you know what…as sad as my momma’s heart has been today….and as many tears that I’ve shed today…and so many other days…..

I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that my Cory….and Cody and Caleb too….WERE in those stands with me….and WERE sitting on the swing with us….and they ARE with me….every day! They will forever hold pieces of my momma heart that nobody else can have. They will continue to live in the way I live…in the lives of my children now…because they are a part of me….a part of US! And most importantly…..the ministry of their lives will forever be continued…..as long as I live….and as long as their story is shared.

All of my children…all five of them….are leaving a legacy that I am so proud of. They are leading and loving others…they are being disciples….now and always. To say I have a blessed life…is an understatement. I’m blessed…because I “get” to be the mom of five absolutely amazing kiddos. They all hold my heart….and forever will. I will spend the rest of my days…trying to live MY life..in a way that would make each of them proud to say…..yup….that’s MY mom!

Happy Birthday, sweet Cory. Thanks for all the smiles….the lessons…the laughs and songs! I miss you…more than I ever thought possible… But I’m so thankful for the promise of eternity with you! To hold you again…..makes me long for that time to come soon. But…until then..I’ll go on enjoying your brother and sister…and trying to live up to the mom I think you’d want me to be!

Forever in my heart…~momma

Today is the first day of school for my kiddos!! My heart is bursting because I am so proud of who each of my kids has become….and grown over the summer!

But….I have to be honest…..my heart is also just raw and I can’t stop crying. It hurts still…….even though my older boys would be in their upper 20s by now…..it’s just so unfinished….so unfair…..it just still hurts.

Today is Breanna’s first day of sixth grade!! Here she is….all beautiful, sassy….and ready to tackle whatever God sends her this year.


Yesterday we were blessed with some girl time…just the two of us….shopping, pedicures….and some very sweet conversations. Conversations of what we think God is asking and expecting from each of us in this coming year. My heart is bursting with love and admiration for this sweet young lady. She is kind, loving, fun-loving and so wonderful to be around!! I have such admiration for her because she is so much more than I was at her age….. her relationship with Christ truly guides her heart. She is open to what He is telling her and who she is becoming in and through Him.

Today is Bryce’s first day of high school! HIGH SCHOOL!!!??? When did this happen???? I think it would be so much harder on this mom if he weren’t so stinking excited for new opportunities this year! Here he is from this morning…


I’ve totally enjoyed watching the evolution of my son over the past few months. He has grown…physically, emotionally and spiritually! To say, I’m proud of him, just doesn’t quite give you the whole picture! Physically, he has grown several inches….still growing…and he has lost A LOT of weight! I’m so proud of the hard work he put in to accomplish his goals! Emotionally, I can tell such a difference in him. The sweet heart he has always had, seems to be even more evident in our conversations…as is the maturity he is gaining. Spiritually, he attended three church camps over the summer….and I’ve seen his desire to be an ambassador for Christ in his school and in the locker room increase tremendously! I can’t even begin to tell you how proud I am of this young man. I am thoroughly enjoying this stage of his life and relishing in the talks we have!

I really thought I was doing good this year. I really thought I’d made it through and wasn’t going to go through some of my usual difficulties at the first of the school year. We got up this morning, made some cinnamon rolls and I took him to drop him off. I was really good through it all. But when he opened the door and got out of the car it hit me…..like a ton of bricks. My eyes started leaking immediately. I didn’t snap a picture of him walking into the school…because a picture just wouldn’t show what my view was. I didn’t just see him walking into that school building today……I saw four boys………I can’t begin to explain it. I saw Bryce……but I could see his brothers too…and I lost it. I totally lost it.

Then I had to drive home and finish getting sis ready. She was dressed and beautiful already when I walked in the door. Before I walked in, I dried my tears so she wouldn’t know…..and greeted her with a smile. I was happy to hear she still wanted my help with her hair. When we got to the school she went straight over to her friends….I was taking pics! :) She did walk with us to her class…..but was horrified when I asked for a pic of her and her teacher….she obliged…but then was ready for us to be gone! It was pretty cute really. I could feel her tugging a bit….yearning for us to let out the parental rope just a little more. My baby is growing up…..and becoming more independent. I walked out the school…….knowing it was the last “first day” of elementary school for me……..

I had appointments and lunch with a friend…but now that I’m home with my thoughts……I have to be honest…..My heart is happy….and hurting….all at the same time.

Today my last child….my baby, started sixth grade and is eleven years old…..and her oldest brother….I can still remember that first day…….when he was starting sixth grade and was eleven………….. That was it. It was his last “first day” ever. Believe me…..I don’t compare my kids now to their brothers…..but my heart aches for the realization of what they missed out on……..for those sweet boys not to get to experience some of the things their brother and sister are getting to experience. It just hurts my heart….even though Cody would be almost 30 years old now……..this beginning of school thing…the ache…the sting….just hasn’t gone away. He is forever in sixth grade and eleven years old to me. And soon….his baby sister will be past that! It’s a very difficult thing,that I believe, only those who have experienced the loss of a child will understand!

And today….my son walked into high school. I have four years to prepare to release him into the world as an adult. I absolutely love him…..love this season…but it too reminds me of the other boys that should have been “Jaguars”! At one appointment I had this morning right after I took the kids to school, one of the ladies there greeted me and asked how my day was……I told her I had taken one of my babies to high school and it was hard!! She said, try having a child that is getting ready to turn 29!! I told her…I know…kinda…my oldest WOULD BE 29!!
But I haven’t gotten to experience his life as those birthdays flew by…………I know she didn’t mean anything by it at all…but it’s my reality. And some days, like today, it’s just a difficult reality that is just really hard to put into words. It’s very hard to paint the picture of just how happy my heart is today….how proud I am of Bryce and Breanna…..but at the same time…..how terribly sad I am and how much my heart aches for Cody, Cory and Caleb.

Thanks for letting me try……

I’ve said it before…and I will say it again…hug your babies. Love on them and enjoy who they are TODAY! Don’t wish they were still young…..don’t wish they’d hurry up and grow up. We aren’t promised tomorrows…….so take a deep breath….and enjoy today. That’s what I’m going to do….


I don’t even know where to begin!!

First, I MUST say thank you to all of you! Thank you for the words of encouragement! Thank you for sharing with others! Thank you for watching the show with me! Thank you for allowing me to open up my home and share with you and your friends and family!!! I love each one of you…and thanks just isn’t enough for all you’ve each done for me! Your words of encouragement mean more to me than I can adequately express!

Now….. I must say..the last week has been an emotional whirlwind! The actual show and seeing that video always brings back so many emotions. To say it is hard to watch, is a little bit of and understatement….to say the least. The part where they show one of the boys being wheeled out of the house is so hard. I remember being on that first show and seeing that video for the first time! (remember…it was a surprise….so I had no clue!) I remember when it got to that point I looked at Oprah and said I had never seen that before and didn’t know if I could go on…..she quickly grabbed my hand and turned me around and I didn’t see the rest of the video…just heard it….. You see….my family didn’t allow me to watch television for over two weeks after they died. I had asked my family to not speak to any media and had absolutely no idea that the story had made national news. So…all those images….were some I’d never seen or imagined.

Then, my dad had sent Oprah the video of the boys…….the part with them at SeaWorld and to see them waving to me…..every time…it just grabs my heart and makes me stop breathing…for just a moment. Seeing that….is always hard.

But then came the update part. I have to be honest….this was where I was holding my breath. It is hard to give someone else control of my story…..and that is what I did. I did the skype interview…and talked with them for almost an hour. Then…we sent lots of videos and pictures and from there……it was all the producers and production crew at HARPO. They were totally in charge of how the update would go and what it would portray.

I must say……I WAS THRILLED! I was so happy with the way it was put together and how respectful they were of my story. All of my fears were gone and thankfulness set in! I couldn’t have asked for a better segment!! What a blessing the HARPO staff is to me and my family! I am so thankful for each one that I came into contact with….and for the ones behind the scenes who helped!

You can view the first part of the segment here.

The second part with the update is here.

Now…..although this was not my first Oprah appearance…..this WAS the first time I’ve done an Oprah show with Social Media going on!

What a crazy thing!


I was having a Twitter party with the producers of the show…leading up to and during the show! I had my iPad on my lap and my phone at my side! Before, during and after my segment…..each of my devices was beeping and dinging at a rate I just couldn’t keep up with! I’d attend to one…and come back to the other and there would be over 80 new items to review!

Facebook….Twitter…..my texts…..all were going off! And, I’m so thankful that every single word was extremely encouraging to me! I don’t think everybody realizes how much I am encouraged by others… When I feel down or like I am stepping out too much….I see all of the sweet encouragement you have given me and I am reminded that I am an ambassador for His Kingdom and am just doing what He has asked of me!

Finding out Tuesday evening that the story was on the Huffington Post main page….literally knocked the wind out of me. I received a message from a friend who told me it had come across her feed….sure enough….there it was! As of now…..there are 2.9k Likes….and 376 shares on this story! I am totally blown away! Talk about humbling! You can see it here!

But I want you to know what I see from this…… I see people that are craving happy endings! I see people who want and NEED hope in their lives! I see that the message God has given me to share….is just that! It is HIS story! His HOPE! That is what people need….and that is exactly what I’m here to do!

Then…Thursday afternoon…I received a message on facebook from someone who had seen my story on a mutual friend’s page…and she wanted me to give her a call to do a “local” update! I called my family to see if they were up for it…and they agreed! So we did a whirlwind interview with the reporter and her wonderful camerawoman…..and then sent out messages for our friends and family to watch the 10:00 news that night!

Again, I have to thank the reporter and her crew for their fabulous editing…..in less than 2 hours I might add….and the way they respectfully put together my story! Again….I couldn’t have been more thrilled with the way she told my update while leaving the emphasis on Christ….instead of me!

You can see the news interview here.

But…..to me…the most amazing thing about this past week….are the messages and private messages I’ve received. From people finding hope from hearing my story….to others wanting to start sharing their own trials, tragedies and triumphs…because they’ve realized God can take them and use them for good…. Those are the moments I’m going to cherish forever. I’m printing each message….and using them as my own messages of hope. So again, I thank each of you for reaching out and touching my life in such a positive and encouraging way.

As always…I am asking you to pray. Please pray for myself and the wisdom to know what my next step is. Yes…I’ve revved up the writing process and kicking myself for not having more done….but all in His time. Please pray for God to open doors of opportunity for me to share and for me to continue to be strengthened by Him in order to share.

Please pray for my family. In less than a week they’ve been the focus of two news segments and this is new to them. I have felt God holding me back from taking this message to the world…and I have believed it was to protect my children. They were so young and didn’t know the whole truth when I began to share. They are still young, but I believe God has prepared them for what is ahead…and I truly believe their part in His story…could very well be bigger than mine!

Please pray for my sweet husband and our marriage. He is my safe place…the one I take all my emotions to and the one who comforts me. Yes….God is my Father…but He gave me my husband to feel the presence of His arms around me! My husband is so good at this….he comforts, cries with me, encourages and strengthens me continually! Please pray his cup is filled to overflowing for all he has to endure with me! I’ve told him….I’ll never be “normal”…..and he chose me anyway! :)

But mostly….pray for this message. Join me in praying Ephesians 6:19-20
“Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.” Pray that I boldly enter into the arena God is preparing for me and walk through the doors He is opening!

Friends~ we all have a story. Remember….it’s your part of His story. He is the author…but you choose some of the chapters. Your story….just might….be the hope and change….someone else’s story needs. It takes many parts…to create the whole! He has made you……and given you purpose! Step into it! It is freeing to know you have a purpose….and living it out……is ……well…..try it. :)

Many blessings! ~c


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 412 other followers

%d bloggers like this: