Memory: Our Morning Cuddles

Rory was my only kid that would sleep in. Every morning when I’d wake her up for school, I’d crawl into bed with her and we’d cuddle and talk for a few minutes.

If she was up before I came in, she’d run back to bed. Or if she was still in bed but awake, she’d drop her toys and books and pretend to be asleep. She enjoyed those few minutes we spent together.

My arms ache for her.
My ears crave her giggle.
My soul yearns to connect with hers.

Reminder: She Still With Us

Last night I dreamt that Lance, Rory, and I went to the hospital to visit a friend that recently had a baby.


While we were there, there was a mom who just had a baby and was really struggling. I touch her shoulder and asked if I could hold her baby. She place the baby in my arms and laid back, closing her eyes.


I went to the bed next her where Rory and Lance were and sat on the end. Lance was pushing off the wall and making the bed glide back and forth. (Magical gliding maternity beds to rock babies! Genius!) Rory laughed and laughed with Lance as they glided together. Rory always loved having fun with her dad!


It brought a bit of peace to my heart this morning.


Rory’s still with us.


As we serve.


She’s still with us.


As we love.


She’s still with us.


As we have fun.


I really needed that reminder.


I miss my girl. 💜

Growing Through the Hard Times

A little over two years ago we planted three willows in our backyard.

Weeping willows are my absolute favorite trees! I love them!

We planted one in our last house and it just took off. We wished we would have taken yearly pictures to mark the progress. So when we planted the ones here we did that.

2018
2019
2020

As you can see in the last picture, our tree on the right isn’t doing well. The tree started budding then we hit a cold spell and all the leaves died.

The branches turned black.

We cut off the discolored branches. Hoping to reserve all the energy for the tree to stay alive.

At the base there were a few tree suckers. Normally, we’d cut off them off but the tree had no leaves so we decided to leave them so the tree could get at least some nourishment.

The loss of this tree affected me more than I’d like to admit.

I thought, well, this just fits perfectly into our lives. Another loss.

This summer I watched these suckers grow taller and fuller.

My dad said, “Now you’ve got 10 trees!”

This morning as I examined the suckers I realized we really are like this tree.

Our family has experienced a loss. Such a big loss that it left us bruised and part of us dead.

While in our despair, we find ways to continue to grow.

We cling to each other.

We search for hope.

We rely on faith.

The more we did each of those, the fuller we became as we stretched toward the Son.

The truth is, we’re never going to be the same. Our lives forever changed November 13, 2017.

But that doesn’t mean we’re done.

Everyday we learn more.

We work through the unknown.

And we love harder than the day before.

We might be suckers instead of the trees we used to be, but we’re not giving up. We’re fighting to keep growing.

The Power of Connection

I was thinking about an experience I had watching Hamilton last year.


Eliza and Alexander plead with their son to stay alive.


Moments later, he’s dies.


His parents cry over his body.


I know that moment.


I know what it’s like to touch my daughter’s face and hands for the last time.


To pray and scream in my head, please just stay alive.


I glanced around the theater. Tears ran down cheeks and sniffles filled the quiet of their moment.


They were feeling for Alexander and Eliza’s unimaginable loss.


And in so doing, felt part of my loss as well.


For a second we were connected in our grief.

That’s the true miracle of sharing our stories and listening to people’s experiences.

It connects.

It broadens our understanding.

It allows us to grow in who and how we love.

As I looked around the theater, having this transcendental experience, a hand touched mine, bringing me back to reality.

My son.

A physical connection to provide comfort for our shared understanding of that painful moment of loss.

Is there anything greater we can do than truly connect with one another?

Mourn with Those that Mourn

There is so much pain in the world.

On Monday my mind clouded, thinking about the knock.

The knock that every military family dreads.

Their serviceman or servicewoman wasn’t coming home.

Within the minute it takes them to answer the door, their life will never be the same.

Then, on the same day, George Floyd’s last pleading words are caught on video as he was murdered.

Last words.

Some of his last words were very similar to Rory’s last words.

I’ve thought a lot about George’s family.

Their haunting minutes, the ones that forever changed their lives, are viral for everyone to see.

Their pain is everywhere.

George was a father. Son. Brother. Friend.

I mourn with them.

And I’m listening.

Not only to their pain but to those that share their same fear. That because of the color of their skin their loved one might not come home safely.

I hear you.

I’m sorry.

I love you.