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Free Handout {grace}

Its dark in our tent and the air mattress whooshes whenever I turn over. There’s the gentle sigh of wind through the aspens and the quiet “oof” of the dog lying guard outside the door.

Night breezes whisper through above me and the even breathe of my husband reminds me That I should probably be sleeping as well.

Our back yard is our camp ground tonight. Its cool and comfy and an adventure of its own kind.

This blog has been a journey into my heart and now is no exception. In just a few days, our Wildflower girl will turn 8 years old. Or will she? I never know how to count years in heaven. My friend who has a son in Heaven told me, with a far away look in her eyes, that she likes to think we will be able to watch our children grow up after we get to heaven. We won’t miss out on their lives at all.

I loved that more then I can say, because to me, Kierra will always be my 3 yr old daughter with the most beautiful hair.

The past week has been tough. I feel my tension rising and my heart rate increasing. You know how it feels to face the inevitable.

Like a birth.

Like a tooth being pulled.

Like the ticket being written out in that flashing car behind you.

Like a thunder storm brewing and no place to run to.

Like a train headed your way .

And you

Can’t

Stop it.

Like the dawn .

Or the sunset.

Thats how it feels right now.

Sometimes I can hardly breathe because all I want is my little girl back. I know deep in my heart that I’d never wish her back to the brokenness in this world. But nothing can stop my mommy heart from longing for that mommy/daughter relationship that ended way too soon .

Kobe was 2 when she died.

He is 6 now. This year has been especially hard for him. Perhaps its his age and the maturity of his brain. Perhaps its because we have been adjusting our parenting method and allowing more wide open spaces and room to explore feelings of anger, sadness, fear, and rejection. Its rung me out and left me sobbing but I feel like healing is coming. Slowly but surely.

He had an especially rough day last week. It wasn’t getting better and finally he broke wide open to me and told me about the deep sadness “so black I’m afraid I will forget her” that made him miss Kierra. He sobbed and sobbed and I held him and wept with him.

Nothing breaks your heart like a child’s grief. And nothing is as healing then those cleansing tears.

I am trying to remember to hand grace around freely right now. But guys, it’s incredibly harder to do then to say.

One of the hardest people to extend grace to is myself. The irony lies in the fact that a graceless life is not likely to share grace. I’m praying for added doses this week, and I’ll take any prayers you offer as well!

I wept today when I let anger rule my response to my little Ky. This was not the mommy I wanted to be at all.

I realize again the importance of rebooting myself. I randomly shut off my phone and hit restart. It always works so much better.

Its the same way with us, my friends!The world will not fall to pieces without us. We WILL fall to pieces if we don’t shut down and reboot occasionally. Life was not meant to live in a frenzy of fear and running from ourselves.

It was meant to be embraced. It was meant to be savored. Shared. Valued.

We diminish that value when we reject our selves and our self worth.

A few of the things that have helped me :

*taking a break from social media once a week. Because of my business, this is not always a 100% break but I shoot for at least 24 hr of minimal social media. We go on drives or explore outdoors.

* writing and reading. It relaxes me.

* doing something creative that may even appear childish or worthless.

* finding a place of beauty. Like a quiet bookstore or coffee shop. A bench by the river. A tent in our back yard.

*

*sitting in the sunshine and feeling the ground beneath me.

*going on a date with my man.

Your list will likely look different then mine. But it will be Beautiful. Because it is YOU!

Grace. Hand it out freely this week.

It is so needed!

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When you Feel -0

I have no idea what to write because 1,000 thoughts are streaming through my head faster then I can catch them.

I want you to know this today.

You are more then your choices. More then your failures. More then your fears.

I woke early this morning to get a head start on my day and my 1 year old had the same idea. I love morning snuggles but what I really wanted was some me time to get the day started strong. Some quiet moments to connect with friends online and straighten crowns with other women.

It didn’t happen and my morning was less peaceful then I had hoped.

Here’s the truth though.

No matter what is happening in life right now, it does NOT have to define you.

You are bold. God calls you HIS CHOSEN.

You are more then the cold coffee and a whole cup of water dumped in your lap. You are more then overflowing laundry baskets and dirty floors. You are more then a gym pole and frizzy hair. More then the unfinished list.

You are not loved more or less because you snapped at your kid and slammed a door.

You are the grace of an apology. The hands of God . The safe place to run to. You are loved. Treasured. Beautiful. Valuable.

Close your eyes. Release the tension in your shoulders. Your face. Your forhead. Breathe so deeply you sink into your chair and rest there …..just being.

You. That’s you. Loved. For simply being YOU.

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On Rushing Spring and Healing

Its March 13. At least I hope I’m not a week off. I haven’t looked at a calender in days and gave up adding or subtracting to March 5 since that was my birthday and I actually remember my birthday even if I don’t keep track of how old I’m getting.

Please tell me I’m not the only one that uses their birthday as a mental time anchor.

Just when I thought I might run away as far South as possible, the sun came out and the snow began to melt.

And me, the girl who actually likes snow, knew that this winter really truly has been a hard one.

I’m sitting in my living room with the morning sun streaming across the hardwood floor, listening to Enya and Kyrell’s breathing.

Feeling can be hard for me.

I was that brave mommy that powered through her child’s sickness and kept her chin up and her mind occupied because I had to be brave and strong and as sane as possible for my daughter. I was her voice and her advocate and her home base.

Having Ky had brought back so many emotions that only a baby can bring. Its hard to know exactly how to articulate my thoughts. While Ky is totally his own person and celebrated for who HE IS, he also triggers so many memories.

As most of you know, he was born with a deformed voice box which caused respiratory issues and reflux which has majorly improved with surgery.

He just received a great thumbs up on his progress last week and we are truly grateful.

This week he is sick with RSV. So far we have been able to care for him at home but the fevers, the choking on great gobs of mucus, the coughing so hard that he loses all control of his body, it all reminds me of caring for his sister.

Six years ago, we were in and out of the hospital with her. She never seemed to bounce out of her bout with RSV that spring.

It was well into the summer before she was feeling truly well again. And by then, we had moved across country with her.

She loved resting with her Daddy in the gentle sunlight.

Your body doesn’t forget. Brains are a complex system and triggers can cause amazing feats as well as irrational fear.

I watched Ky breathing the other night, burning with fever and breathing rapid shallow breathes and I suddenly was back in the ER with Kierra and having her decline so rapidly and hearing the Dr say that kids wear out so fast when their respirations are 60 breathes a minute.

I had to firmly tell myself that Ky is not Kierra. That he is strong. I had to force myself to open a window and allow the night air to wash over his sick body. The fever reduced and his breathing became much better but my heart felt weak and spent.

I held him all night last night so he could sleep. This morning, my body is still on high alert. I’m actually not tired. Part of it is a pycologial thing and part of it is because I am healthier then ever because I have been making sure my body gets the nutrition it needs to function properly.

Now before you think I’m amazing, let me tell you a little secret.

I’ve got this big fear.

I saved Kierra’s suction machine because it is so priceless when you have a child with respiratory issues. I was so grateful for it with Kierra and it went with us all over the place. It was the norm and I was fine with it.

Its been sitting on the shelf for 4 years.

I know in my heart that I should most likely use it to do some deep suctioning on Ky. But there’s a part of me that shuts down at the thought. My heart starts racing and my legs turn to jelly.

I’m not sure what to do with all the emotion I feel about it. I do know that unless Ky really truly needs it, I’m going to allow myself to feel that apprehension. I’m going to allow that machine to just stay tucked away.

I’m not going to shake myself into some straight jacket and force my mind to turn off and go get that black case down unless it is really necessary.

There are times when you need to shove fear aside and ‘just did it’ because there ARE no other options.

Thats ok! That’s bravery.

But today, I’m going to be a different kind of brave. I am going to give myself space and time to acknowledge that RSV is rotten . That crackly breathing puts me into over drive. That sittting here trying to decide if I’m overly paranoid for calling the Dr again doesn’t make me a helicopter mom.

That someday I may be brave enough to pull out the suction. Until then, its not going anywhere.

That forcing myself to heal and comply is wildly unhealthy and will produce no lasting results.

So I’ll sit here and hold Ky. I’ll drink my hot coffee (its actually cold by now) and listen to Enya and allow the sun to do it’s magic in my house. And I won’t rush the process.

Because rushing spring can freeze the buds and wilt the blossoms. Beauty is a process in nature. And in our hearts.

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The Lily

Years ago, I had a dream.

Some people may call it a vision.

Dream or vision, it doesn’t matter to me. It was a beautiful picture in my mind that I bring back and look at lovingingly and tearfully.

I don’t know how old I was or the circumstances that surrounded it, but I close my eyes and I am taken back to that time and place in an instant.

I found myself in a vault like prison.

Cold. Grey.

There was no beauty at all.

In anything.

I walked down the dim hallway and turned right. Two wide stone slabs stepped me down into a rectangle room. A feeling of dread and hopelessness walked with me and I felt my heart constricting in my chest.

A window with bars filtered in meager sunlight that slanted across the bare cold floor. And there, kneeling in that one shaft of dim light, was a man kneeling.

White robed and serene, he was totally still. In fact, he appeared to be a statue. The sun slanted in on his shoulders as he faced the blankness in front of him .

I took a step closer and saw a lily of the valley clasped in his hands, folded in prayer. White and delicate with vibrant green leaves, it was a spot of serene beauty in the muddied grey of that cold tomb.

He didn’t say a word. But in the from lighting, his eyes shone with so much love, that I began to weep. Tears poured down my face as I stood there, soaking in the peaceful lily and the eyes.

The eyes broke me. They seemed to reach in and draw me compellingly and I found myself lost in their love.

I wept gut wrenching sobs that erupted from places I didn’t even know existed. That cold grey room became sacred ground.

I woke and my body felt weak from crying and I lay there, wondering what it meant and feeling strangely cleansed and freed.

I wondered what awful darkness lay ahead of me in life, and I shuddered a bit, because that prison was so hopeless. so cold. So ALONE. It was so morbid that I looked the other way.

All through the years, I have hung onto the eyes. The eyes that drew me in and wrapped me up and loved me. The eyes that I knew would never ever leave me. So compassionate. So understanding. So welcoming. And so uncondeming.

There is a beautiful verse in Psalm 32 that follows me as well..

“I will guide Thee with mine eye.”

Fear has to leave when we gaze into that kind of love. Shootings, illness, death and even hard decisions cannot escape that kind of love. It’s the kind that never lets you go. Even on the darkest days. Even when your facing the hardest situation of your life and it takes your breath away.

Those eyes guide you. They are constant. They carry you. You are never ever for one moment truly ALONE.

You can imagine my delight when my husband brought home a gorgeous bouquet of lilies for Valentines Day this year.
Lily of the valley has the flower meaning of humility, chastity, sweetness, and purity. It also means “the return of happiness.”

Sometimes I don’t realize the significance of something until its right in front of me. This was one of those times.

Roses are sweet and lovely and some people feel a deep happiness when they receive a bouquet. They are the flower of love. I get that

But lilies? They touch me in a way roses cannot. I feel real and connected and deep. Fresh and hopeful and constant.

My heart thrills a bit every time I look at them. I feel a oneness with them. Out of the box unaffected.

Wildly unsymentical and free from cultivation. Reaching for sunlight in exotic unpredicatable patterns. Flourishing and heart wide open and laden with the scent of pureness.

That’s the kind of woman I want to be. And that’s what the lily means to me.

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To Laugh Again

I didn’t know how much I missed the laughter. I have a cousin who is beautiful but especially when she laughs. Her whole face turns into joy and just looking at her makes you want to join her. She doesn’t hide the liberating emotion. 

She.

Just.

Laughs.

Sometimes life gets heavy and laugher gets scarce. Circumstamaces dare you to be funny. Situations leave you tired and where’s the laughter to that? 

One can laugh without it catching their face or reaching their eyes. Laughter can be just white noise. Filling in the blank’s. Making One look OK.

My friend, Gracie, gave me this photo along with a baby gift for Ky. I stared at it and scarcely recognized myself. I was laughing. Laughing like I thought  I never would or could again. 

Laughing like I never had in my whole life. Because when laughter is stripped from your heart, the gift of its return is more precious then words and the laughter is deeper. More precious. The heart knows that not all day will be laughing days. That the hard will sometimes silence the thrill. 

But the world needs to hear this….

“Because of Jesus……

photo credits: Gracie O’Brian 

Laughter can be birthed again.” 

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Wildflower

Newborn.


She was lovely so lovely.

Her black hair fell straight

Across her forehead.

She was strong. So strong

Her head raised steady off my shoulder.

She was feisty. So feisty.

Her bright eyes showed intense intelligence.

She was tiny. So tiny.

She fit perfectly in his forearm.

So suddenly, and yet so gradually, things changed.

Her eyes became clouded by seizure.

Her head dropped to her chest.

Her tiny feet did not straighten

And her smiles were infrequent.

We cried and prayed and bounced

Her wailing little self though the days and nights.

A mouse ran across the bedroom floor

Late one night.

And I closed my eyes, and pretended I didn’t see it.

Because I was tired. And my baby took up

All my brain space.

The heart hurts when life changes your child.

When chromosomes stick and genetics happen.

When Doctors have no answers and Heaven is silent.

When your child chokes and drools and seizes.

When hospital beds become comfortable.

When Enya becomes a lifeline of music to calm the restlessness.

When you lose so much sleep, that you can’t sleep.

When life has question marks stamped all over it.

When Goodbye is the hardest word to say.

Three years later, I thank God for allowing the pain and hard to slowly

Morph smaller then the joy.

The beauty of blue eyes.

The snuggles and giggles and hand clasps.

The Kierra head turns and coos.

My body will never forget,

But the edges of hurt are softened.

The slash of pain less raw.

Because while I miss her wildly….

The wonder of HER, our Wildflower Child,

holds the trump card.

And that is enough.

That I got to hold her.

Kiss her.

Love her.

Be her Mommy.

It’s what will have to be enough.

Until I reach Heaven.

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Was I ever Surprised! 

A year ago I would have laughed if you had told me I would be in Nevada with a darling baby today. Totally said “phewy. That’s not gonna happen. ”
A year ago, I was feeling physically well, but achingly purposeless. I was feeling desperate and broken. I wanted a baby, but that wasn’t an option. I wanted to help others and make a difference, but all my leads were falling through. While I enjoyed working at the hospital, I was feeling God nudging me In a different direction and it was feeling very confusing. It was increasingly hard to work in the medical world when memories of Kierra’s hospital stays kept appearing out of no where on my radar. It was hard. Really hard. 
I knew winter was coming way too fast in Montana and I’d have to go back to working night shift MUCH MORE and that alone made me want to hide under the bed. I was desperate for leading and direction and something to plug into. I felt like my whole life was on hold and no one could find the resume button. I really wanted to just fast forward and get some answers. I was searching. Praying. I wasn’t sure what it was for. 
A few months prior, I had started taking these amazing supplements that were making me feel so much more balanced and giving my health back to me. I LOVED them, BUT we were strapped financially and I had tried calling in to the company several times to cancel my membership simply because I didn’t think we could afford it anymore. 
Now this sounds crazy…literally, but I could NEVER actually speak to them. I would be put on hold for so long that I’d have to go do something more important then canceling my membership before getting through to anyone. I look back now, and Thank God! He knew exactly why I wasn’t suppose to cancel that membership. In fact, I think He was up there, smiling at my frustration, wanting to say, “Surprise! Trust me on this one, girl!” 
Last July, we went camping with friends back In The beautiful Little Belt mountains. I sat, weeping, in my friends RV, wondering when life would ever begin to make sense or start falling into place again. “Why don’t you work for this amazing supplement company?” My friend asked me. “ANYONE can do it right from their home, plus, you’re already taking their products.” 
It was that weekend that I saw a glimmer of hope again. I saw the edges of a dream. I felt something click with me and I knew this was something I couldn’t turn my back on. 
I went home and got out my computer and started working from my kitchen table. It scared me silly but I was desperate. My dreams got bigger and I started to see my purpose unfolding. 

I could weep happy tears today …..
Because now I get all my products for free and I feel absolutely amazing. I get to offer hope to other people. I get to watch folks dreams come true. I get to have people tell me how much better they feel and how thankful they are. I get to make new friends and deepen relationships and rejoice  at changed lives. I get to see God being glorified. I get to travel to amazing places and learn how to be a better person and friend. 

I get to dream of staying home this winter with my sweet baby boy that God gifted us with when I thought it would never happen. I get to dream of spending more time with my sweet Kobe and my handsome Steve and helping others who are struggling through the pain of life in honor of my Kierra in Heaven. 
That makes me so excited I could weep. 
I’m so thankful I took a chance on something that took me out of my comfort zone. Something that was so much bigger then me. Something that is real and genuine. Something that honors God. It’s why I’m passionate about my business. Its why I am in awe of today. It’s why I want to tell you, my friend, to hang on. Dream big. Keep Believing. Because when you truly believe, nothing can stop you! You’ve got what it takes! 

Dream big! Reach high! Don’t be afraid to spread your wings and fly!