Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Pain Is...

To start my FOL posts, I decided to share with you a few words from the Introduction of the book...

Pain is what I have endured for the sake of survival, mentally and physically.  Pain is silent. Pain is hard.  Pain is self destructing.  Pain is the removal of the quietness in my inner being.  Living in chronic pain tempts me to be envious of those I see walking around  me.  But pain is also the endless echo in my heart that says it is not just me that hurts.  There are others out there that are also in constant pain.  Pain drives me to my passion, my passion for compassion... 

What is pain to you?

My (our) pain has been translated within 142 pages... and every word, every tear shed while on this journey has led me to this place to reach out to those who are suffering the immense pain of loss.  I believe that God heals, and He has healed me, but the pain remains and He allows that pain to produce within my heart such compassion for others that hurt deeply and are searching for hope.  Pain is a great teacher...  and if we respond to it, the pain will lead us on this journey to our healing through helping others.  To suffer pain is to gain compassion... and when you show compassion, you are sharing the love of God and that love of God will shine through the very midst of your pain and radiate into the hearts of others thus bringing healing to the two hearts God has intertwined though His plan, in His timing, and in His care.

Pain is hard friends...  I am no stranger to it.

I pray that through Facets of Life, you may see our pain as we struggle through this journey, but in the end you will have the HOPE God has given to us in the midst of it all.

Love to all,


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

My "Y" Tree

Today I looked out my back door and saw my favorite tree on our property.  I want to share a story about that tree.  The tree I affectionately named my "Y" tree when we purchased this property, and there beside it stands my husband's favorite tree, a big, strong cedar tree.

My "Y" tree, after Hurricane Katrina was stripped of its branches and leaves and there only stood the remains of the tall tree in the shape of a Y.  What was left of my very favorite tree was a sad, sad reminder of the hurricane that had ripped away the beauty I saw in it to begin with.   I had dreams of my boys playing under the shade it provided and maybe a cute little bench under it to sit on when the weather was nice.  

BUT, my poor tree looked alone and bare and so different than it had looked before the hurricane.  There would be no shade to sit under, and there wouldn't be 2 boys to play under it.

{A little background for those that don't know the back story to our journey...  July 2, 2005, our baby boy passed away, due to serious complications, I remained in the hospital for 2 weeks after that, and we would bury our son on July 23, 2005.  August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina claimed my business and my husband's business, and changed our lives even more, if that was possible.  We were building a home when the hurricane came, and God spared our new home.  We have 3 acres and lost some trees, but our new home was safe, unfinished, but we still had a home, and an ugly tree.}

Now back to story...

I remember being on the back porch some time after the hurricane and looking to see my tree... my beautiful "Y" tree had now been renamed my ugly 'WHY?' tree!  I would stare at it and remember what it was... and would see what it had now become.  Metaphorically, it  was like looking in the mirror and seeing my image in that tree.  I hated what I had become... I was no longer able to do 'my job' because our storm stripped me of  life as I knew it.  I was so different, inside and out.  

I may have had a few "Why's" before 'our storm' but they weren't visible or always on my mind and heart... but after our storm, ohmygoodness, WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY?  

When the tree was stripped, it was rugged and kind of scary to me, because we weren't really sure just how damaged the tree was.  Would the tree live through aftermath of the storm?  Would it be able to sustain the winds of another storm?  The cedar tree beside it was as strong as ever, almost intimidating what I once called my Y tree.  I related that to my own life as well... often intimidated by 'women' that could live life as a 'normal' woman, could carry a child, could work, and so on.  Or simply could go through the day unaffected by the wind or rain.  

My tree lived through the storm... it stayed ugly just long enough for me to start seeing the beauty in it... the beauty of life coming back into it...  it had SURVIVED.  Once again, a mirror image of my own self.

So, today, when I looked at the WHY tree... all I could see was  "Y!"  

It has taken it some years to grow, but friends, it is growing! And it is alive!  It went through a heck of a storm... and survived!  Other storms have come and gone, and there it is, remaining tall and strong ~ must have good roots planted in that soil!  God does that for us!  It is so important to be rooted in faith! 

We all have storms, some so severe it feels like we are never going to live through it.  I know, I have been there.  I lived through it!  and I survived! 

You can too!  
Love and much hope to everyone of you today!  

Working it out...

I am trying to figure out how to post things and  not be redundant ~  Some of you have read my book, some have not... I think I am going to have another page for book readers / and or comments on the book and then keep the blog the same way as it has been, but just add another page and when I want to comment about the book, I will use that page.  I found myself wanting to post something about the book, but if you haven't read that part, you would be like, huh?  And I don't want you to be like, huh?  I want you to be like "Oh!" :)

Any feedback would be great since this is new to me~   Just working it out to become a better blogger! :)

I told Fran over at Small Bird Studios, I am used to writing chapters not blogs! ;)  This blogging is harder than writing a book for me because I can talk (write)  for days!  My blogs tend to be long... but I am working on that too!  Who am I kidding, they may always be long ~  I can write, but editing is not my thing!  I love accessories and the more the merrier, so I guess that translates into who I am as a writer and a person!

I have a post for later this evening... just gathering my 'unedited' thoughts for it! ;)

Have a wonderful day!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Baseball Season...

As we are preparing for our first Middle School Baseball Game this evening, (unless the rain stays) I am so excited to see my Moose in his complete uniform playing school ball for the first time!  (Nathan, but his "on the field" name is Moose, always.)  Post to come later about that nickname! :)  We have done little league and travel ball for years,  but this is different... this is the first time in  a "school" jersey!  The little league days are over and a new season has begun.

As happy and excited as I am as Moose's mom to see this new season of his life start, my heart breaks for the moms that won't be sitting on the bleachers this year because their child has gone to be with Jesus.  As I wash Nate's practice shirt / pants and clean up his cleats, I think of those mamas that are not getting the chance to do that anymore, and that makes me so sad.... breaks my heart and pushes me to go on in this journey knowing how many more mamas and families need hope and encouragement and love.

Just yesterday, there were 4 pairs of cleats (practice cleats, game cleats & turf cleats belonging to my big boy and a tiny pair of cleats belonging to Will, AKA when he is "on the field," Stitch!)  by my front door and I was like, uh.... do these belong here???  And in that same breath I thanked God above they were there.  I was going to pick them up because I had my girlfriends coming over for Bible Study, but I didn't.  I left them there... not for everyone to see, but to remind me to count my blessings... and to remember those sweet mamas and families out there that won't have red clay cleats by their door this season...

My love to all of you and special hugs to the mamas / families out there experiencing this baseball season without dirty socks woven with dirt and grass in them.  I so wish it were different.

With much love & hope,


Saturday, February 25, 2012

My BIG Piece (peace) of Heaven...

When Nathan, our oldest son that is now 11, was about 2 years old, I decided to modify his nursery into a 'big boy' room and along with that came lots and lots of sports and Ole Miss and more sports!  It was too cute after the room was finished.  Complete for a 2 year old Ole Miss fan... ;)

Shortly after that room was redecorated, I went to the Dollar Store to get some laundry detergent and passed by this picture that I will post in a moment.  I thought, wow, I need to buy this for Nate's room, because as I was growing up we had the picture of the Angel looking over the 2 children on the bridge. (anyone know which one I am talking about?)  SO, I purchased this picture for ONE DOLLAR, frame and all.... I thought I would have it re-framed and hang it right up in his newly decorated red/ white and blue room!

When I got home, I ran into his room with the picture and held it up to the walls... WHAT WHAT WHAT was I thinking???  Not an ounce of this picture was going to look anywhere remotely close to looking good in his room...  so I  remember showing him the picture and explaining Angels were always watching over him and I did what any mother would have done that couldn't bring herself to clash colors in a newly decorated room and I tried to hang it in his bathroom... nope, not in there either.  So I packed it away.  Packed it so far away I forgot I ever had it.

Well, that was in 2002.  Fast forward to 2005... and you all know what happened that year, so let me take you to 2006.

I prayed and pleaded with God to let me see Matthew, let me dream of him, what he looked like, what he sounded like, to see his eyes....  every night I went to sleep holding that little blue bear (as I speak of in the book) and would just cry myself to sleep praying tonight God would show me Matthew.

One night, that prayer was answered.  I had a dream... yes ma'am... a dream I consider to be one of the most beautiful gifts God has ever given to me, other than my salvation and my boys...

The dream is so very special and private to me, so I am not able to share the dream in it's entirety, but it showed me different ages and stages of his life, kind of like I was watching a movie with clips of what he would look like at 6 months, 2 years, etc.... Well, when we got to the 7'ish age group in the dream, I saw this beautiful blonde headed boy enjoying life so much and vividly remember EVERY detail of what he looked like, especially at that age and the last age he appeared in the dream, which was about 15 or 16...

The next morning I woke up and was freaking out and told RW (Ronnie) and was just so happy and sad at the same time that I had to wake up... I wanted more.

God knew I wanted more...  Later in the day, I was unpacking a box in our office, and at the very bottom, I saw this frame and pulled it out... it was this picture... the Dollar Store picture...
I fell to my knees and cried and cried and cried vividly remembering the very day I bought this picture for Nate's room that would never be hung in there, but placed in a box for me to find on this day.  Walking right beside the angel on the fence post is the very same image that was revealed to me at one stage in my dream!  WOW, right?  When RW walked in he said "you are so pale, are you okay?"  I turned the frame around and showed him and all he could do was hold me and cry too.

God's tender mercy had allowed me to have a mama moment and to this day when I look at the photo (which is in Matthew's curio) I smile... sometimes I cry, but mostly I smile because this is a tangible miracle, one I can hold and look at....  one I can see how much God loved me and how in his ways his love is shown to us daily.  Those many years ago, he was preparing me for this day... I am so grateful.

I may have paid ONE DOLLAR for this picture in 2002, but let me tell you it is PRICELESS to me today!

This my friends, is my big piece (peace) of heaven I wanted to share with you today...

Love you all,


Friday, February 24, 2012

Balloons to Heaven...

Every year for Matthew's birthday we release balloons at the cemetery filled with messages written on them, kisses and lots of hugs!  I wanted to share a couple of photos taken through the years with you today.  I know you will see the hand of God in several of them... and the love we have for Matthew as well.
 I find rest in God; only He gives me hope.  Psalm 62:5
 For the mind-set of the flesh is death, but the mind-set of the Spirit is life and peace.  Romans 8:6
 Be still,and know that I am God.  Psalm 46:10
 I thank God upon my every remembrance of you.  Phil. 1:3
 Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld.... 2 Chronicles 20:20
Unfailing love surrounds those who trust the Lord.  Psalm 32:10
When we released the balloons, you can see a little piece (peace) of heaven opened up for us to know just  where the balloons were going!  This was Matthew's 4th birthday.  I am so grateful for this photograph!
Kisses before releasing the balloons on Matthew's 6th birthday... holding tightly to the strings attached to the balloons, sometimes I wish it could take us with them!  
This is my most favorite photograph after we had just released the balloons... see the Angel? If you don't believe there is a God, you should!  God knows just what we need, and when we needed an Angel, he revealed one to us that was going to receive Matthew's balloons and carry them to heaven for us! :)
 And then there's this one... when we got home from the cemetery...  Thank you God for your promise! 
Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful!  
Hebrews 10:23 
This, my friends, is my little piece (peace) of heaven that I wanted to share with you today... But perhaps tonight or tomorrow I will show you an even bigger piece (peace) of what God has given so special to us on this journey!  

Have a lovely day and look ahead... you never know what God has to show you!
With lots of hope & love, LW
Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you.  Proverbs 4:25

Thursday, February 23, 2012

It's Thursday...

Thursday, yes ma'am, today is Thursday.  To some, it's a work day, maybe some kind of errands, a dance recital, ball practice, or the dreaded grocery store day.

But to some, Thursday is when their sweet child left the earth to be with Jesus.  Maybe it was 15 Thursdays ago, or 2 Thursdays ago... but it was Thursday.

Thursday is never the same.

My day was Saturday.  So many Saturdays in almost 7 years that I couldn't keep the count in my head... but somehow my heart knows just how many Saturdays ago it was.

What's your day?  Do you have a day like this?

I am so thankful that God sends special people in our lives to bridge the gap between Thursdays and Saturdays and Mondays and you get the point.  God does that!  See today is someone's Thursday and today I will pray her through her Thursday, because someone prayed me through on Saturday!

Some days more than ever, we need to be encouraged and loved through it all... and gifting God's love to others by sharing and caring for them is such a blessing that is full circle in our lives.

Today, if this is 'your day,' I hope and pray that you know in your heart God has you in His hand and there is a big long bridge of mamas out there standing in the gap for you through God connections such as this!

Love to all,


Lamentations 3:19-23  I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall.  I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me.  Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope;  Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

"What Ifs?" got any?

Wondering in this great big world how many "what ifs..." are out there???  Oh, you can believe I have said it, thought it and at times could have beat myself up for all of the "what ifs" I had.

Convinced I should write (in chronological order) how I would ask Jesus these questions when I got to heaven, I began to write a list one day.  Wow.  Did I really do that?  Yes ma'am... I did. Just in case guilt hadn't eaten me up already, I was giving it dessert.  

I am only a few short months from my baby boy's 7th birthday ~  7 years without him here to hold, love, teach, nurture, and of course I could go on and on and on...  I have met so many mamas and families that are new to this 'journey' and I can truly say that my heart breaks for each one  for I know the days, weeks, months and years that lie ahead for them... I know I am living them too.  

7 years is a long time... but if I close my eyes (and I do this often) I can still feel my baby boy's sweet hand in mine, I can still smell the flowers surrounding me at a place I never wanted to be.  I still feel the sting of death, the immense feeling and heartache that comes with the loss of a child.  As much as I want to not feel the pain anymore, I don't ever want to forget it (I know many of you 'get this')... the pain, that is part of Matthew's life and journey here with us.  Pain.  Pain that I will die with.  Pain that you don't outgrow or get over.  Pain that you just live with and "around."  Pain that reminds you of what's missing here on earth.  Pain that drives you to your passion.  Pain that presses you to your heavenly goal.

I struggle.  I cry.  I throw fits.  I buy stuff that won't fill my void.  I get mad.  I cry some more... and sometimes these things happen on good days!  Can you imagine the  bad ones?

RAW TRUTH- that's what this post is today- it's RAW. 

I'm sad.  Today, I am sad.  I am sad because I only kissed 2 boys goodnight at bedtime, I am sad because I only had to buy 2 Gatorades after ball practice and I am sad because I can't see my baby... not here... but if I close my eyes...  (sniff, sniff...) 

I am sad because my friends have broken hurting hearts like mine and I want to fix it for them and I can't.  

How many of you are thinking I am crazy yet?  No, I am not crazy, I am a mama who has buried her son... I think a lot of us act or feel like this, some suffering silently, I am just not so silent, anymore.  

Yes, I wrote a book sharing our testimony, our miracles and messes, yes I have JOY, yes I have HOPE, loads and loads of HOPE, yes I have FAITH, and yes I have Jesus in my heart!  (just in case you were wondering after reading the above!)  ;)

Sometimes in reflection, as I have spoken about in previous posts, I think about walking away from this all...(of course, I am not walking away)  but tonight, reflection is on "What ifs..."  

And my new "what if" list consisted of "What if I didn't share our testimony of hope and faith and healing in Facets of Life?  "What if" I couldn't encourage a sweet mother whose heart is shattered because she, too, has buried her child?  "What if" I didn't have the courage to stand up and say I hurt, do you?  "What if"  this is what Matthew died for?  A huge sigh and a tear...

My new "what ifs" bring me very, very humbly to the sweet feet of Jesus where I will be eternally grateful to him for how he is using  my sweet baby boy's life and death to show love and compassion, hope and grace to other human beings that hurt and that do not  have the hope that we have in Him!  We have to be willing to give it all... ALL to Jesus.  

July 2, 2005, ALL of me was gone.  But as you (will or have) read in our story, some years  later it would be that I 'surrendered ALL' and that is where the healing and joy re-enter my life, my heart and our home.  

The words etched on Matthew's tombstone are from 1 Sam. 1:27-28 "I prayed for this child and the Lord has granted me what I have asked of him, so now I give him back to the Lord."

Thank you sweet Jesus for Matthew, for my loving family, for all of my friends, for life, for joy and peace, laughter and love, for the beautiful and precious new friends that are sharing their hearts and lives with me on this journey called "Facets of Life."   

With much love and hope abundantly,


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

It is well with my soul...

July 2, 2005, would be the day that changed our hearts & lives forever!  My heart was absolutely crushed, broken and scattered in a zillion pieces!

I grew up a preacher's daughter & very familiar with the old hymns that were embedded so deeply in my heart & head.  Of course, Amazing Grace is probably the most recognizable hymn to everyone, even if they didn't learn it in church.  Well, one hymn written tugged my heart since July 2005, and it was written by Horatio Spafford in 1873, "It Is Well With My Soul."

I longed for my heart to say it is well with my soul... I wept for it to be well with my soul... but it wasn't.  Not at all.

I wanted to know more about this hymn so I started to research the lyrics, they intrigued me so much.  I wanted to know why Horatio Spafford wrote these words and why it was well with his soul and it wasn't with mine!

SO... I began reading, in 1870, his only son at the age of 4 died from scarlet fever, shortly after that, in 1871, he lost his real estate that he was heavily invested in The Great Chicago Fire.  Well, so far I couldn't understand it... so I kept reading...

In 1873, he decided that his wife and him, along with their 4 daughters would take a much needed holiday to England for some rest.  (okay, so I am thinking here was the vacation that would make it well with his soul, right?)  At the last minute, a business matter would arise and Horatio did not want to ruin the holiday so he would have to have his wife and daughters set sail without him, and he would travel to meet them at their destination.

Nine days later, he received a telegram from his wife with 2 words written on it, "saved alone."  The vessel that was carrying his most precious cargo, his 4 daughters and his wife, all that he had left, had sunk,  his wife survived.  Horatio rushed to be by his wife's side and when the captain was passing the waters where his 4 daughters had passed, the captain let Horatio know this was 'the place.'  Horatio, then penned the most beautiful and heartbreaking lyrics to It Is Well With My Soul...  Gasp, that is what I did, Gasped!  and then cried and cried and cried some more!

These words were not written when life was good, when life was easy, when all was well...!!!  These lyrics were written when everything was gone!  I cried to God saying I only lost one son, and here is this man that has lost all 5 of his children and he is writing and singing you this song!  How can it be?

Years later, I would have gone through much heartache and pain and my prayers always led me to God I want it to be well with my soul... please let it be well with my soul.  And I would think of this great songwriter, this father, this man that lost everything but in those tender moments in the very same place that claimed his 4 daughters life, it was well with his soul!!!

God would began slowly taking me to places of pain, places of 'remembrance,' places that seemed too painful to ever go back... but on that journey God was preparing my heart, my soul.  It is amazing the healing that can come when facing the place you fear the most, the 'place' you were when your baby slipped away, when you got 'the call,' when life forever changed...

I want you to read the words Horatio wrote as his boat drifted across the very waters where his 4 daughters lost their lives... I am re-reading them as I am typing this and it still blows my mind to imagine what he was feeling... how he must have felt looking over the waters...  oh how his heart must have hurt.  And still, he penned the following words...

When peace like a river attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
"It is well, it is well with my soul!"
Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin -- oh, the bliss of this glorious thought --
My sin, not in part, but the whole,
Is nailed to His Cross, and I bear it no more;
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
And Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend;
"Even so, it is well with my soul!"

Writing Facets of Life, and experiencing so much of the rawness reliving moment by moment and of grief during that process, and coming to a place of complete and utter desperation, God answered my prayers... and I will never forget the moment I could say GOD, IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL!  Tears streamed down my face in gratefulness!  A man from the 1800's and his love for God and his heart that must have been so full of immense pain, produced within him with God's strength to stand and give to us this beautiful hymn.  God was doing that with me, all the while writing Facets of Life... and I wanted to do that for others!

That, my friends, is the passion through pain that God gives to us when we are hurt so deeply, that passion within us, when coupled with the strength God supplies us with will change lives and touch hearts for the rest of eternity!  Over a century ago, a man that God carefully hand picked, just as he did Job, (and you and you and you!) allowed his pain to overflow into his passion to reach the lives of so many hurting people out there!

My heart still hurts deeply for my baby boy, and there are still moments and sometimes days of ugh.... and ups and downs and round and rounds... but it is well with my soul.  God has given me that peace.  

All the while, when I was a little girl on the front pew of the church, I would sing this song... I surely never  knew I would live it one day.

My sweet friends, I pray it is well with your soul today... and that through Horatio Spafford and the devastation of his losses in his life, that you will be as inspired as I was at what God produced through his pain and that whatever journey you are on today it can be well with your soul...

My love to all,


Monday, February 20, 2012

Scavenger Hunt

I am fixing to take my boys outside for a scavenger hunt... we will look for things like a spider web, a frog, yellow flowers, etc... and I am sure a pile of something gross somewhere, since my boys wrote the list! And as I am getting ready to put my shoes on, a thought crosses my mind about my own personal scavenger hunt(s) I have been on...

My personal scavenger hunt(s) can be completely itemized as follows:  peace, joy, happiness, contentment, love, forgiveness, gentleness, mercy, grace, compassion, faith, righteousness, and a heart that isn't broken. (okay and a new pair of fabulous shoes, but you knew that, right?  Can you see me with my big bag trying desperately to shove these things in there?  Store to store, place to place looking for the next item on my list (remember, it can't be bought, but we sure try to, don't we?)  I could simplify this list and mark all of it out if I wrote the word GOD on the page... I need to seek GOD with my WHOLE heart!  And He will in return supply me with all of the above.  ( I am even believing for the shoes! ;) ) AMEN! ;)

I mean, who doesn't want these things?  Who doesn't need these things?  I will be the first with  my hand up high in the air saying I cannot live without them.... and on the days I try to, or think I can, are the days I am completely messed up!

As much as I don't understand some things in life, I do understand the goodness and mercies of God!  And I understand walking in God's grace, (in fabulous shoes, of course) is a necessity in our seeking ALL that God has for us!  If we do not understand God's grace, we will never believe we are worthy enough to deserve God's goodness and mercies!

You are worthy!

I cannot wait to share a story with  you all about a man from the 1800's that had a HUGE impact on my life!  (Post to come soon!) and if you have heard me speak, you know who I am talking about! :)

Phil 3:14 'I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.'

Today, when I walk outside with my boys, our goal is to find all 25 items on our list, our 'prize' may be the frog with the spots on it, or the spider on the web... but friends, the goal in this journey of life that we are pressing toward is to win "OUR PRIZE" and it is far more than we could ever imagine... Once again, I can only imagine... (smile)

Love to all,


Saturday, February 18, 2012

and the thunder rolls... ;)

Our oldest son, Nathan, was just 5 years old when Matthew passed away, so as he would question us about heaven we would give answers that he could understand the best that we could.  One day as a storm was over us creating a lot of thunder he was scared and we told him that it was the "angels bowling in heaven."  I remember him hearing the loudest thunder after that, and he said "Well that  must have been God and I think he got a strike!"  It was almost as if he would anticipate another stormy day so he could hear the "angels playing and bowling with Matthew."  And to tell you the truth, we did too.  

This afternoon has been very bad weather here, lots of lightening and to our boys delight, thunder!  In case I was wondering what Matthew was doing up in heaven today... ;)

I often look to the sky wondering what Matthew is doing, often.  And usually playing around in my head are the lyrics to the song "I Can Only Imagine."   This song touches the hearts of so many people, has graced even the secular radio stations and reached an entire genre of people in incredible ways.  And when I hear the song, I can't help but wonder just what that day will be like... to see Jesus and to see Matthew... (insert big mama smile)  I can only imagine...  

That day WILL come and that fills my heart with such hope and joy.

Do you ever wonder what it will be like?  Do you ever wonder what your child is doing in heaven?  How awesome it is to know there is no suffering, no pain, no tears!  I love knowing Matthew is happy and full of peace and joy like none of us here can even imagine, although we try to!  I am smiling as I type this because the thunder is rolling...  :)  GO MATTHEW GO!  I think that was a strike! :)

Love to all,


Friday, February 17, 2012

Bad day?

Follow me on this one...  and please take no offense, this is just a reflective expression of my words ... just food for thought.

There are some moments as a grieving parent that it is incredibly hard to step 'back into society' because once you bury your child, perspective on absolutely everything changes.  And reality is, in society, we are listening to people complain about their day and in our heads and hearts we are screaming silently "at least you have your children... all of them!"  Okay, at least I can say that I have had this experience a time or two or twenty five!  And to be honest will probably feel like this for the rest of my life in brief moments when I am overwhelmed.  And truth for me is that I don't mean these things, I just don't see things with what I call "I have never buried my child glasses on" anymore.  Know what I mean?

This happened to me;  one day a lady (in the grocery line- I did not know her) was complaining to me as she showed me her broken nail...  I lowered my head and looked at my nails, dirt was clearly visible under my own nails where I had been weeding Matthew's grave.  I really wanted to say 'REALLY LADY?  LOOK AT THESE NAILS... THIS IS THE DIRT THAT IS ON TOP OF MY BABY'S GRAVE!  NOW TELL ME AGAIN ABOUT THAT BROKEN NAIL!'  but I DIDN'T tell her that at all.  Thank you God for giving me moments of grace!  But, I have had a time or maybe three hundred times that I have not offered so much grace after a comment I couldn't handle.  Thank you God for forgiveness.

For the record:  I really can't stand to have a broken nail either.

The following words are just an illustration... maybe some of you have felt these things, I know I have.  Some of you are reading this with the same "glasses" I am wearing... and you will totally get it!

So you are having a bad day?  I'm so sorry you had a flat tire that made you late for work.  I, too, had a flat tire on my way to the cemetery, and work, maybe one day I can be strong enough to go back.  Oh my, and you broke a nail while getting the jack out of the trunk.  Ironically, I broke a nail as well trying to dig up unwanted weeds that were surrounding my child's tombstone.  I understand, being late for work meant you had to stay late, so no time to cook or clean.  I stayed a long while at the cemetery and when I got home, I was so exhausted from crying I couldn't cook or clean either.  And, wow, you have to fit baseball, basketball and cheer practices in your schedule today too?  I am sorry you say the gnats are so bad this season.  I would do anything to be going to ball practice swatting gnats today... anything.  I understand, all of this running means you don't have any "me time."  I will  have "me time"  and it will consist of spreading photographs all over the floor while my fingers trace my child's face and I close my eyes to remember that moment.  Oh, you have tons of laundry to do still when you get home?  I am minus one in my family, but what I wouldn't give to have those dirty socks to wash.  I am so sorry you will have to spend the remaining energy you have yelling at your kids to go to bed tonight since you are in such a state of exhaustion and so tired...  I too, am in a state of exhaustion and so tired but tonight I will grab my child's teddy bear and hug it until it is soaking wet with my tears sending all of my bedtime kisses to heaven.  

I'm sorry you had a bad day... I hope tomorrow is better.

©2011-2013 All rights reserved

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Battle Scars

The "battle scars" all over my body do not symbolize the remnants of a car accident or recreational play, they symbolize the tragic day when I lost my son.  Each time I see the scars or the damage from the injury that has come upon me, I remember that day.  Not one moment goes  by that my body does not feel the pain, the loss of muscle, and the agony of neuropathy.  I get so tired of pain and the pretending to the world around me that all is well, physically.  I don't want to complain, I don't want pity and I certainly do not wish to hear "poor Lori."  So what I have learned to do quite successfully is slap a smile on and be someone who looks so normal on the outside that no one will know the real pain I live with on the inside, physically or emotionally.

It's on my worst of days that I try the hardest to hide the pain.  Even to those who love me the most, I hide the hurt from them.  Why I do this is actually a very simple answer.  I know my loved ones have suffered greatly with the loss of Matthew and they have seen me suffer through so much medically, that I do not want them to see me hurt when they don't have to.  If I can control what emotions and pain that I am experiencing when in their presence, I do.  I know that if they see me hurting, it will cause them to experience pain.  So unless I am in the hospital bed or down where it cannot be camouflaged, I do my very best to remain strong and smile... through it all.

This, however, I do not recommend for anyone going through an emotional or painful experience.  Those who love you want nothing more than to be there for you.  I've learned that.  It took me some years and I still try to fake a "yes ma'am. I am fine."  But it doesn't fly anymore.  It is as if a burden has been lifted where I can admit that I am just having a really bad day.  Instead of feeling like I am a burden to those who love me, I must allow them to support me on those bad days.  I need that.  I've needed that all along, but by thinking I was protecting them from pain, I was actually inflicting more pain upon myself and them.

My disappointment with life caused me to almost lose myself in grief and anger and pain.  It's like I lost myself the day I lost my son.  I lost my life as I knew it, I lost my health, I lost my career and my dignity.  I was a shell, a very empty broken shell.  I didn't know who I was.  I remember vividly staring at myself in the mirror not recognizing myself, wondering where did I go?   What happened to me?  I remember saying over and over, but I just went in to have a baby....

Page 102 ~ Facets of Life: What I Didn't Expect When I was Expecting

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Shopping, Painting & a 'little' Rearranging

Yesterday, on Valentine's Day, I called my sweet friend, my mentor, and as mentioned in my book, one of my 'honorary mamas.'  Her husband of 50 plus years passed away recently, and I knew I wanted to call and tell her I loved her and was thinking about her.

We, are much alike.  We both love to shop, paint and rearrange!  (a lot!)  So in our conversation, we were talking about her loss and our loss and we were expressing how some moments will catch us so off guard and before we know it, grief will have surrounded us.  And we both agreed it can happen anytime, anywhere for any reason at all or for no reason at all.  Grief.  That's a mighty little word that can cause a lot of damage.

She began to tell me that she was doing a little rearranging... and in that moment, I reflected on all of  the MANY talks we had prior to Matthew passing and our talks always led to shopping, painting or rearranging. I have always admired her eye for the finer things that one day I had hoped to afford.  From her wardrobe to her draperies, class act, all of the way.

But since Matthew passed, and now her husband's passing... our talks are, well, different.  When we talk now of shopping, painting and rearranging, we have different motives for doing those things.  When you are grieving, you go to the mall looking for the perfect pair of shoes and matching handbag, come home and accessorize your latest dress purchase, look in the mirror and there you stand...   You may have the finest ensemble when you walk into the room, but the purchase didn't do it, didn't fill your heart with what is missing.  You may repaint a room 1000 times and each time the end result is the exact same, unsatisfying as the day is long.  So you move on to rearranging the furniture... this chair here, this couch here... nah, doesn't look right... oh but this lamp here and okay, maybe... or  maybe not.  Nope.  Nothing.  So you wait until it is dark outside hoping the dim light in the lamp will give the room exactly what it is missing, the ambiance, the glow that will warm your heart. (anybody?)   And night comes, and standing there in shoes that any girl  would love to have, along with the finest threads adorning your body, in a room that still smells like wet paint, freshly organized and rearranged furniture and the lamp is turned on, and you cry.  Yep, you cry.

The outfit, the walls or the room filled with furniture will never give you what you want.  Peace.  You cannot put a price tag on peace, but I sure know a million people who would buy it if they could.  I tried.  Epic failure.  Epic.

If you are searching for peace today, I know where you can find it friend, and it is free!  Completely free to us, in exchange for surrendering ALL to Christ!
Phil 4:7 'And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.'

I still shop (a lot), love to paint and really love to rearrange and sometimes grief is beside me while doing so... but God is also right beside me.

So as I close today,  my mind is already thinking where my new frame should go and what I should rearrange to make it look better... ;)  Not to mention looking at the calendar penciling in a shopping date with my sisters and mom! ;)  (Maybe my husband will paint while I am gone!)

Love to all,


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

"Chin up, Wilber..."

I had to pick my oldest son up from school today because he was sick.  On the way home, we stopped at the cemetery to place a Valentine balloon on Matthew's grave site.  We cleaned up, as we usually do,making it look as best it can and spent just a few minutes reflecting on life / death and how it seems more natural for the older people to pass away before the younger ones. The simplicity of that seems so easy to comprehend, yet we all know, that I wouldn't have been visiting our son's grave site if that were true.  And neither would you be visiting the sacred ground where your sweet child was laid to rest either.

On the ride home, he said with tears in his eyes, "Mom, I cry sometimes when I think of Matthew, or when I hear someone talk about your book."  Of course, I affirmed to him that is okay and that I do too.  He said "I would give anything to play with him one time."  (Mama tears... big mama tears)  Me too...

After a few tears and his head hanging down, I said "Chin up Wilber..."  He said "Why does that story have such a sad ending?" He continued, "It's like Matthew, when he left us." 

I said, "Nathan,  Charlotte was sent to leave Wilber with a message and inspiration, and she left when her work was done... and in life, people may have to leave us, but when they do, what they leave with us is amazing.  Matthew left with us his beautiful legacy and taught us so much.  Sure, we wish he were here, but we are also so grateful we had him, if even for a short while... and we are even more grateful for the message of hope he left us with."  He looked at me and smiled with those big brown eyes, still teary, and said "He did leave us a wonderful message!"

Today,  if you find yourself looking around for hope and encouragement and the will to go on... remember if your chin is up, you will probably find just what you are looking for!

From my heart to yours....


Monday, February 13, 2012

6 months, now what?

I am posting part of my reply to a sweet blogger from yesterday and wanted to share a few more thoughts with you all today...

After experiencing our loss, and speaking with many families, I believe there is a great shift of something in your heart when the '6 month' marker comes. I really believe it is after that 6 month time period, it is the hardest. Seems like shock and survival are the first six months, and reality, coping and life follow after that. And for people who have never lost a child, it seems they may have the assumption that after 6 months, we should be doing better... It's not a fair assumption at all. No disrespect to them, by any means.

Yesterday as I wrote those words, many conversations with personal friends of  mine went through  my head as well as conversations with some readers of Facets of Life, who have all been at this monumental 6 months marker of time.  Not to mention, our own personal experience.  

6 months perhaps is enough time to get over a boyfriend, get adjusted to a move somewhere, or whatever the situation, it may be long enough to be settled in a new routine or atmosphere.  BUT something is different at 6 months when you lose a child... Life (for others) has gone on... seasons have changed... perhaps snow is falling or flowers or blooming, school may be starting, but whatever the season, it has changed.  And within every seasonal change, there are memories full of the last spring, fall, winter or summer that you had before you lost your precious child.  Or your hopes and dreams of your baby's very 'first Christmas' have left you with empty arms and "In Memory Of" ornaments adorn your tree instead of "My First Christmas" ornaments.  Seems so cruel and not fair, I know.  I have those ornaments. 

Walking into a room, gym, church or wherever your destination, takes every ounce of courage you can muster up. Your mind wanders what they are thinking and if they are going to pity you.  Or if they are going to label you as a 'bad parent' because you should have kept your child safe and protected.  The list is daunting and goes on and on.  It is hard, just plain hard to learn to live again... It is possible and it does happen... eventually.

I find friends and some family may be trying to encourage you to get 'back into life,' at this point.  Of course, they want you to be back 'to normal,' but as we all know, there is no normal anymore. We don't fit our old lives, somewhere in our routine now, we have to visit our children's grave site, that's not normal!. And I know it is their love for us that drives them to try to help us 'get back out there.'  For me, no one else could drive me... I had to be ready and drive back out there in my own time.  Fear was my friend, grief my companion and heartache, my best friend with every step I took in trying to live again.  However, my God was still MY GOD!  And we will experience the grief that is so natural, but we are not alone in it!  And when we are ready, we can give God the front seat, and move fear, grief and heartache to the backseat and let Him drive us around.  I remember when I came to that place and it was such a relief.  I still hurt, badly and would continue to have some really down  moments but some really good ones were creeping in!  It is amazing the joy that one can have when at the midst of the most tragic of circumstances.  Happiness is circumstantial friends, but joy is God given!

6 months, yes friends, it may be a half of a year, but it is a half of a year without our children, and there is another half of a year we are going to have to face without them too... not to mention a lifetime here on earth without them.  

As I mentioned above, the beginning seems to be shock and survival, and around 6 months, reality sets in and we have to learn to cope with our new life, then we learn to live, again.  I think sometimes we may feel pressure to "be okay" after 6 months, and we may tend to throw the "I'm okay face on."  Does anyone have one of those?  I do!

We eventually learn to live, differently.  We learn to love without abandon and we learn to never, ever take one moment for granted.  

If you are a parent who has experienced this loss, I am so very sorry.  If you are a friend to someone who is facing loss of such, please understand the seasons of life after death and that there is no timetable.  Give love and encouragement, support and hope!  Chances are, that is just what they need!  

I am reminded of Ecc. 3 and would like to share that with you in closing today...

A Time for Everything

1 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: 2 a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, 3 a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, 4 a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, 5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, 6 a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, 7 a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, 8 a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace. 9 What does the worker gain from his toil? 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on men. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

Whatever season you are in just remember God will certainly make everything beautiful in "HIS TIME!" 

Much love to you all,


Friday, February 10, 2012


"There is no longer walk than to walk the path a mother has to take to bury her child. And no path more frequently visited, whether on foot or in her heart or mind, the path always lies deep within her soul." LCW ~ "Facets of Life ~ What I Didn't Expect When I was Expecting"


Does anyone ever just sit back and say "seriously?"  I have found myself, all too often, questioning if this is really what has happened to me and my family.  Did I really lose my son?  

Can anyone relate?

The moment our car turns into the cemetery... a lump in my throat, a knot in my gut, and a quiver of my lip is a sure sign this is my reality.  There is a crushing harshness to a parent living after their child's death.  

I could say there are some days that are harder than others, and yes, I do believe that to be true... but I also believe the moments that can come and go just like the wind are sometimes equal to a day in the life of being a companion to grief.  

A fragrance, a song, a toy, a picture, one memory that can take your breath away and leave you almost incapable of taking the next breath.  Looking ahead, it is almost unfathomable that our lives will be lived without ever seeing our son throw a ball, ride a bike or just say "hey mom!"  Through all of the long moments of reflection, I have learned I cannot look ahead to life without him, but through my faith I can look ahead to what is to come, the day when I see him again.  In that, lies my hope... my only hope.  And that hope can carry me through moment to moment, day to day.  

Yesterday, I was completely overwhelmed with grief.  My heart just hurt and the burden I feel when a parent loses a child is, for a lack of adequate words, it's hard.  Really hard.  It's really hard to know the journey these parents will face... the guilt, the "if only's", the anger, the sorrow, the hole in their heart that takes their desire away to even want to live... It's all there and then some.  One cannot run from the stages of grief... they will catch up, somewhere, somehow.  

I am no expert, I do not have a degree in any kind of counseling or special titles that would give my words any credit... But I am an expert at being a mama whose heart was broken when I had to kiss my boy goodbye.  

I was not a "Best Selling Author" or a known speaker when I decided to share our story in Facets of Life, but I was a mama who was being "real" about losing my boy.

This week has been incredibly difficult knowing several families that in the last few days have had to take the walk I took in July 2005... and I wanted to quit.  I wanted to walk away from Facets of Life, because I thought it would be easier if I did that.  And you know what?  It would be easier. I could keep my distance from the hurting parents and therefore, I would be shielding my heart from hurting because of the journey I know lies ahead for them.  Yep, if you are not thinking it already, I will admit it... I was being selfish.  It is emotionally exhausting to hear so many sad stories day in and day out, and I was tired.  I am tired.  I was trying to run from the God given gift of compassion that has been given to me...  I was trying to run from the pain of memories that all too often come back to me of my own sons death when I hear of deaths of other children. 

I am so grateful God snapped me out of that, because running from Facets of Life and from the precious families God puts in my path would have been a disaster!  I don't want anything to prohibit my heart from being touched by a family's story or a mama's tears... ever.  This is who I am... I am Matthew's mama... and Matthew's mama is the author of Facets of Life... and Facets of Life helps others who are on the journey we are on... and on this journey there is HOPE!

I admit I was at a serious fork in the road of my journey yesterday, I saw an easy route and a route that is full of unknowns for me, but God knows just where He is leading me, and that, my friends, is good enough for me.  I was reminded of Nate's words he has said many times to me while recovering from surgeries, "Mama, quitting is not an option. Persevere!"  SO I will persevere ahead on this journey relying on God's strength to take me through these moments with these precious families, all the while, He is carrying me through my own mama moments!

So I guess the appropriate answer to the above would be, "YES, SERIOUSLY!"

Seriously, this is my life...

Love to all,


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Our Journey

July 2, 2005, life would change for us.  Our son, Matthew, would lose his life, after a uterine rupture while I was in labor.  The day was tragic, the weeks, months and years to follow would prove to be harder than ever imagined.  Losing our son, and the physical damage my body would sustain during the most tragic day of our lives would challenge us in many ways.  Grief met us and would accompany us for quite some time.  And occasionally still takes a seat somewhere in our day.  Along our journey, we have learned to live after great loss... but learning to survive was our first step.  Learning to cope, our second, and somewhere along the way, we were living again. 

Our journey is written in my book, "Facets of Life; What I Didn't Expect When I was Expecting."  It is a beautiful tribute of life and loss dedicated to our sweet boy, Matthew. 

Along this road we are on, I have had the opportunity to meet many families, and one thing I have clearly understood is that they all want to remember their precious children, whether the loss they sufffered was in utero, or their child was an adult.  Losing a child changes you.  It changes the friend you are, the spouse you are, the parent that  you are, the daughter or son  that you are... forever.  Life is never the same, and I believe that when we try to go back to live the life we had before our loss, it is too great of an obstacle to reach for something that is no longer there.  Finding a new way to live and love is a necessity.

I knew one day I wanted to start a blog for all of the families that I have met through Facets of Life, and I am doing so now.  For the journey that we are all on, one thing is for certain, our babies and children are part of who we are yesterday, today and forever and always.  We may not have them here to see and touch, but in our hearts they have never left and never will.

I am proud to be a mother of 3 boys... I have the blessing of keeping watch over 2 here on earth, and the angels have the honor of keeping Matthew until I see him again.  Not one day goes by I don't love him, miss him or think of him...

This blog is dedicated to all of our precious children who have left us too soon~  and to all of the families who have the daunting task of living after their loss. 

There is hope and there are so many others who are searching for someone who can understand how much their "mama" heart hurts...  I hope this blog will provide just that!

With much hope & love,