Thursday, May 31, 2012

"Lori's Lullaby"

Almost 7 years ago, I (we) started this (for lack of better words), "journey"... Many times it has been like a great big detour, roadblock, traffic jam, or falling off the cliff on this crazy, broken road.  But somehow, (through God's grace) we have been able to persevere... day after day... month after month, year after year... through the rain, storms, sunshine, hurricanes, laughter, tears, fears, joys, sorrows, hurts, disappointments... all of that and more,  we get through it because we know when we reach our final destination, we will be with Matthew again!

The really hard days when I would like to run away, find a safe place and keep to myself are the days I think persevering is most important for me... those days when it seems like it would be easier to quit, well, it probably would be easier to quit- but it would not be what I know that I need to do... and that is to journey on... to find strength on those days, to overcome them, sometimes with tears, okay, a lot of times with tears, but finding the hope in my faith that I (we) can do this...  I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.  I know I (we) can, I (we) have done some really hard things... and I didn't do them in my own strength.

Having the passion within my heart to share Matthew, our 'journey' or crazy road trip, whatever you wish to call it, has led me to be able to embrace being "Matthew's Mama."  Not in the way I thought I was going to be when my little guy was kicking so strongly in my belly... Not in the way I ever wish it would have been...  but this is what I have, and I will never let it go... I have his sweet memory, the gift of love he left me, and I have what he inspired me to do within 142 pages of Facets of Life, the book I wrote in memory of our precious baby boy.  The book that has helped so many mothers, fathers and families to grasp hope, when hope seems so far away.

I cannot express how many times my heart has been touched / affected by families who are hurting, broken, and just wanting peace in their hearts... some comfort when their heart is bleeding.  And that brings me right back to knowing I need to carry on, pick myself up, dive into the hard days... I read a  book a while back about the loss of a child, and a mother said "we can do hard." - I cannot remember which book it was in, but I will never forget that statement!  We can do hard!

Doing hard (for me) means doing another day... another day without my boy... another day of ups and downs, spontaneous waterfalls of tears at the drop of a hat... whether it is my hat or someone else's!!! 

It seems to be on the doing hard days, the worst days, I am encouraged by so many others in this great big world. The world is full of kind, generous people who care!  Who hurt when we hurt and who are affected by what has happened to us and what we do with the brokenness...  Brave mothers, fathers and families who have stepped up to share their stories so that they can reach out and help those searching for survival tactics, kind words or simply an "I understand and you are not alone..."  many of these precious people you will meet at  Still Standing Magazine, where loss is our connection.  

I often think of the 'ripple effect' that these stories have on people... the stories shared by mama's and daddy's with broken hearts, fighting to preserve and protect the memory of their children, and standing up for the cause they so believe in through advocacy and awareness, writing and art, and I know it is hard!!!  Yet so worth the fight... worth the perseverance and the endurance to keep going.  For it is within these moments the ripple effect goes far beyond where our eyes will ever see...

My mama heart is filled with joy when I get a glimpse of the ripple effect that Matthew's life has...

But this morning, I didn't just get a glimpse of the ripple effect, I felt it ...  as my day started 'doing hard,' my broken heart was hushed when I heard this beautiful melody and song written by 2 very special people to me!  Friends, singers, songwriter's musicians, and 2 people that can bring the house down, Dustin & Jenny Hinkle!

Below are words shared by Jenny...  my precious friend.
"There are times in life when someone touches our heart and it doesn't let go. I met Lori long before her life changed forever. She has always been a bright light and a joy to be around. Before I wrote, "Lori's Lullaby" I took time to see what had been on my heart. I have experienced a lot of loss in my life and had recently been hearing of families struggling with the loss of a loved one. I have read Lori's book and although I knew her story already I was touched by her words. I too could understand how loss affects a life. When I was 16, I watched my mother greive over the loss of my brother who was tragically killed in a accident at the age of 14. With all of that in mind I put myself in that place and from that came, "Lori's Lullaby." I felt God put the song and words in my heart and couldn't rest until I completed it. The emotion that I felt after hearing it completed was overwhelming. I hope it touches many hearts that have an empty spot and are longing for their loved ones. Lori... you inspire me everyday and it was a pleasure to write this song in honor of you!" ~ Jenny Hinkle

I am forever grateful, beyond humbled and blessed by the gift of "Lori's Lullaby."  The ripple effect has traveled down the road into the hearts of 2 brilliant songwriter's and made into music... beautiful, soul healing music.  I know that so many of you will relate to the lyrics of this song.   I promise, it will touch your heart!  It may make your 'doing hard' day a little better...

Please take a moment and listen to "Lori's Lullaby" here ~     

You can visit Dustin & Jenny Hinkle at to hear more of their amazing music!  And join them on Facebook here.  I am so blessed by the passion that they both have had for many years to touch the hearts and lives of everyone they meet through their music.

Wherever you are, I know that doing hard is really hard... I wish you hope and  encourage you, when the time is right, to find a way to carry on the memory of your precious one...  I understand the depth and the importance of that love living on  and inspiring others, encouraging others who are behind us, beside us or in front of us on this journey as we all strive to reach our final destination.  

Dustin & Jenny... Thank you... Thank you from the bottom of my heart... For caring and sharing this gift!  For adding another ripple... 

As I am laying down to sleep tonight, I feel my eyes tear up as I hear the beautiful words echo in the song,  "I'll make it through one more night, but baby, I'll miss you..." 

Sweet dreams friends... sweet dreams! 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Today, I went back!

Life has been unusually busy here... a good busy, but a very, very busy.

Appointments, engagements, awards ceremonies, ball games, deadlines, Arbonne meetings, orthodontist visits, field trips, and the list goes on as we are leading into the very last few days of school... then comes graduations!   And after parties and at the end of that - our Disney World trip! :)
{ post(s) to come soon about Disney World! :) }

Arbonne Team!

Brett's Sr. Awards Ceremony

Nathan's Awards Ceremony

Will's T-ball game, and Moose coaching him on 3rd base! Love moments like this!

Last night, I was physically and mentally exhausted... so tired that functioning was out of the question.  I even took my RE9 facial cleaner and put it in my hair when I was trying to wash my face!  Woah!  Okay, I got the memo!  Take a rest!

A rest that doesn't require thinking, planning, organizing or surviving!

That is a ginormous CHALLENGE for me!

But one, I knew I had to face today as I was desperate for rest and unwinding of my mind, body and spirit.

SO, today, it was the pool, hot tub and monster trucks!  And every time my mind wandered to the above, I looked at Will and asked him a question... one that would generate an honest answer from a 5 year old - the answers I was searching for.  One that would make me remember when life was a little less complicated.  A question that would ground me and make me look at the perspective from innocence.  We lose that as we grow up and get hurt... but we really need to go back sometimes and visit the days before loss, before disappointments.

His answers did just that for me... and I was so grateful.

As we were adding some water to the pool, he picked up the water hose and started spraying the plants and as he did, my mind went back to the days when I would play in our back yard with the sprinkler or the water hose and would get so excited to see the rainbow as the water sprayed!  Y'all know what I am talking about, don't you?  The rainbow of beautiful colors that is reflected with the rays from the sun!  I could practically smell the wet grass and hear my sister laughing as my mom was watching close by.

Today, I was reminded that sometimes going back to the simplicity of life, is necessary to complete the tasks at hand or that are on the agenda.  At least for me anyway.

When is the last time you strolled through memory lane without the feelings of grief, and child loss on your heart? When innocence was held in your hand and heart... instead of all the other stuff.

What mattered to me today was looking at my 5 year old and not worrying about the rest of the world.  what did he care about... what did he like to do... what was he thinking?  And try as hard as I could to shut all of the other junk down so I could do just that.  I was 5 once... and when I was 5, pain and grief were not my companions.  I needed to feel that today... to remember that... to believe in that again.

And most importantly, Will needed me to remember that!  Will needed me to have some time  when "time" was not on my mind... when I could just dote on him and be his mommy!  Nothing else, just his mommy!

We played in the beach entry of the pool with monster trucks and then had a race to see which monster truck would fly the fastest into the pool off of the hot tub... we tried to catch the waterfall...

and laughed at butterflies... We watched Dave and his new 'wife' fly back and forth while the dog wasn't looking... we were totally lost in the moment... and that was just where I needed to be.

Will was eating a cracker on the lawn chair beside me and I looked right above him and directly behind him was our "Y" tree... and I noticed, the big "Y" was covered completely by new leaves and new growth and there was a tiny "Y" that stemmed out from the big one.  That spoke volumes. (you can see the tiny "Y" just below the cloud.)   If you are wondering what my "Y" tree is, read this- 

Were there 1 billion things for me to do today?  YES YES and YES!  Did I get them done? NO NO and NO.

Am I going to be better at my tasks, a better mom and wife, friend and sister, supporter and encourager after today?  ABSOLUTELY!  Because I remember what it was like when I was little and I saw that rainbow in the water hose, when my feet hit that wet grass and I just believed God would take care of everything... I remembered the trust in God and in my parents that I had...  and I saw that my Will had the very same today...  and I went back... I went back to that place, that time and I am refreshed and renewed and have rediscovered my place of rest through the eyes of my 5 year old son.

I hope you have the chance to go back to your place of rest today...  It wasn't 'scheduled' on my calendar, but I am sure glad I penciled it in!

And will I wash my hair tonight with RE9 Facial Cleanser?  Um, no!

Lots of Love from Will's mama! :)  (and Nathan and Matthew, of course!)  But today, it was about me and Will!
Thank you God for my boys and for today!  And for reminding me just how my heart felt the day I saw the rainbow in the water sprinkler!  JOY!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Memoir of my 1st Mother's Day without Matthew

"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" ~ page 61

May 14th, 2006, was my first Mother's Day without Matthew... a day when I tired to find a way to celebrate being a mother to two boys instead of one... a day when my sorrow was so overwhelming that I almost missed the beauty of the day... But as Ronnie and Nathan uttered the words below, my heart was touched, my mama heart was blessed... and six years later, it is still the sweetest story I have ever heard.

(taken from Facets of Life- page 52)

Isn't that beautiful?

Melts my heart... Matthew gave his life so I could live.  I so wish it could have been the other way around, but I needed to be here for Nathan, and my husband and just months later for our little Will that would come into our hearts and home giving us so much joy and making me a very proud mama of 3 beautiful blessings!

Choosing to see the blessing in Matthew's life when I miss him so very much, and choosing to celebrate being a mother to 3 boys now comes very natural to me.  It didn't back then, but eventually I was able to understand just because I couldn't mother Matthew like I could Will and Nate, surely didn't mean my love for him would be any less.  I learned loving him is a gift... he is one of the three of my greatest accomplishments!  I didn't fail at being his mother.  Yes, I have felt much guilt and some days still do, that I wish I could have helped him and that he is not here with us, but I know that we are all pressing toward the goal that Matthew  has already attained, heaven.  And as a mother, with great faith, that is my prayer for all of my children, heaven.  Watermark sings a beautiful song "Glory Baby" and one line says "you just have heaven before we do..."  Matthew just has heaven before we do.

My great joys!  Not one day goes by that I ever feel like I am not the mother of three boys.  I AM!  And proud of all of them, absolutely!  

This Mother's Day, I will be sharing my journey of motherhood with some beautiful friends at Chapel Community Church in Sun, LA... I have never spoken about this journey quite like I will tomorrow, but as I prepare my words, I am grateful for every step along the way that has given me the grace and the mercy to have these three precious boys.  I am in awe at the way God has entrusted us with such gifts.  And how He has prepared our paths and steps for what was to come long before we knew what was going to happen.

I recommend you all to write your journey to motherhood...  yes, there will be some very sad pieces, but sprinkled in that will be the flavors of God's grace, mercy and beautiful blessings of peace, comfort and love.

At one point tomorrow, we will visit the cemetery, yes, I will cry as the lump in my throat grows with each step it takes to get to his sweet little tombstone... and I will feel sick, and sad, and emotions many of you know I am talking about.... but I will also feel a GINORMOUS LOVE AND PEACE.  A LOVE that only parents who have lost a child will understand... it is far bigger than us and is a beautiful gift from God.

I am sure the day will be so full of gratefulness, joy and some sadness for missing my sweet baby....There is really never a day without that.  I  miss Matthew, I would do anything for him to be here... but since he is not, I have to do my very best to be his mama.... and part of being his mama is being an author, a speaker and an advocate... so tomorrow on Mother's Day, I will do my very best to make him proud as I share his precious life and the journey of motherhood.  I wouldn't be here with you today if Matthew were here with me.  That I am certain of.

There would have been 500  less Random Acts of Kindness done, this blog would be non existent, Facets of Life would be 142 pages of blankness, Still Standing Magazine would have one less mama on their team and I would be a mom sitting on a pew tomorrow listening to someone else speak...

BUT as God has predestined all of this, Matthew is with Him, and I am with you... and I hope and pray that each one of you will understand that you are special, you are a beautiful mother no matter what the circumstances are, and that I am so very grateful to share the hope that I have within my heart with you.

Will and Nathan, the two I am honored to take care of here on earth, remind me every day how much they love Matthew, and I so cherish those moments!  It is really beautiful!

I tell my boys "I love you to the moon and back" every day and every night... always have.  Well, Nathan's reply is "Mom, I still can't find anything far enough!"  (can you see my heart melting?)  How awesome it is to have that love to give but also to have that love given right back to you?

I walked into Nate's room a couple of days ago, he left me a note on top of his laundry basket of clothes he was to put away and the note said "Mom, don't put up the laundry, I will!  I <3 U!  You're the best!  P.S. Still can't find anything far enough!'  Love Moose"

Now, as for my little Will, he might leave me a note saying he loves me, but I am pretty sure he would never say "don't out my laundry away!"  LOL!  It might would say "Mom ,thanks for putting my laundry away and while you are doing so, please organize my Sperry's!" ;)

Oh my boys!  And oh the joy they bring to me, each one, so individual and each one so very special!  All three of them! :)

This is my precious family- the presence of Matthew is physically lacking, but within our hearts, he remains... remains our love, our hope and our inspiration for everything we do!

Thank you God for Matthew!  Thank you!!!

If you are a mother that cannot hold your children in your arms today, but you hold them in your heart, you are beautiful and loved... you are supported and encouraged by a great big community of mamas and daddy's that understand and that hurt too.  We send our warmest hugs to you today and always.

Happy Mother's Day to all of you special friends! 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

July sun....

  • My brother's baby boy passed away on July 3rd 1989, my 15th birthday. He, Christoper, was stillborn and he was so beautiful... I held him as my brother sang Happy Birthday to me in the hospital... life changing moment for any 15 year old.  My heart was broken for my brother and his family.  And I was so young, I had no idea the grief they were in store for.  For those of you who have read my book, I write about this on page 60.  Life changing on so many levels...
    My son passed away the day before my 31st birthday, July 2nd, 2005. 
    My parents have had to bury 2 of their grandsons... our family has kissed 2 beautiful boys goodbye...  We have our boys buried by each other, just about 20 feet or so apart.  
    My brother, Chuck's son, Christopher, will be 23 this coming July, Matthew will be 7.  
    It is heartbreaking to remember the day we were there supporting my brother and his family on that hot day when the dirt was fresh, and the tears and unexplained shock we all felt was so present.  And then just 16 years later, we would all be back at that very place, putting my baby boy to rest... in that same shock, under the same July sun... 
    Grasp that for a moment... 2 babies, beautiful perfect boys, leaving this world all too soon, and leaving our family devastated not once, but twice.
    It is very sobering to go to the cemetery and let the memories come back... and it makes me so sad... sad for my brother and his family and sad for our family... for our whole family.  When we are all there together on certain occasions, the love, the sadness and the pain that can pull families apart, make us cling to each other more.  
    It is heartbreaking.
    We lean on each other, hug each other, and without saying a word, we all know there is nothing that any of us have to face alone.  When one of us suffers, we all hurt... together. 
    When we rejoice, we all rejoice together.
    Family... I love my (our) family.  And all of the bad stuff we have been through has rooted us further in faith and love with God and with each other.  You can build upon it or take away from it.  We choose to build.  Together.
    Just a week or so ago, my brother went to the cemetery and this was his Facebook post for the day:
    Dear Christopher , I know it's not your birthday or anything but I just want you to know that I love you and miss you very much ! I can't believe that it has been almost 23 years since you have been gone . I wonder all the time what it would be like to have 4 amazing sons here on earth . All of us on the golf course with pawpaw . Wow ! Anyway I hope you are being good and helping me keep an eye out for your brothers here . (And give Matthew a big hug from Uncle Chuck ! ) always thinking of you , love , dad
    And by the way, thank you Jesus for sending those two birds that showed up and played around in the small trees as I was visiting the grave site . Felt like it was a sign that Christopher and Matthew were in good hands !
    Of course when I read this post, I sobbed... I miss being Christopher's Aunt here on earth, but am so glad Matthew has a cousin in heaven with him.  I often too think about how my brother would have grasped 4 teenage boys... 4 driver's license'.... (big smile) and then I think the same way I would have handled all 3 of my boys here with us!  GRATEFULLY AND HAPPILY AND LOVINGLY!  
    Not just anyone can understand the way a bird can make your heart feel, a butterfly, or even a flower bloom like those of us who have lost our children.  God gives us those moments... when we are alone.... (or rather think we are alone) and he gives us that peace within. I am thankful for the 2 birds that visited Chuck that day... 
    Is is surreal to me?  YES!  Do I think how could it be that me and my brother both had to bury our baby boys... YES!  It is unfathomable at times... 
    I ache for our parents... for they have endured watching 2 of their 5 children bury their babies.
    I ache to know the July sun is coming...
    July is  a tough month for us... and it has been since my 15th birthday... I am pretty sure that it will always be tough... but we get through it, together.  
    August always comes.
    If you have a family member who has suffered loss, let them know if they want to talk about it,  you want to listen.  Please don't act like it never happened, because I promise you in their heart "it" will never go away. 
    Much love...

Monday, May 7, 2012

Mothers NEVER give up HOPE!

This is Mother's Day week, and as I am preparing to speak Sunday morning at Talley's Chapel in Sun, LA on this most special day, many thoughts are swarming my head as I try and follow my heart on what to share  with these special people.  Seems  my heart is overflowing with emotion and tears on so many levels that I had to blog tonight so I could focus!

I have random thoughts floating around and I need to corral them together...

This will be my 7th Mother's Day without Matthew... without one of my boys, without my baby.

I am surrounded by women who are literally doing all that they can to bring a baby safely into the world, women who have kissed their babies goodbye, women who are precious mothers yet have no baby feet running around their home, no messes to clean up, just empty arms and broken hearts and dreams.

I am also very aware of the mothers who are spending day after day nursing sick children, praying today will be the day they get a miracle... I am surrounded by photos of little babies and toddlers with IV's and pic lines...  and watch as the mothers and families do what they have to do to survive one more moment clinging to hope.

In my eyes and my heart... NO MATTER WHAT THE CIRCUMSTANCE, A MOTHER NEVER GIVES UP HOPE for her children.  Hope that tomorrow there will be a cure, a donor, a life line...  hope that tomorrow will bring a positive test with 2 little pink lines... hope that tomorrow at 32 weeks, the baby she is carrying is healthy and has a strong heartbeat...hope that tomorrow she will be able to bring her baby home... hope that tomorrow she will be able to look back at yesterday and know she is doing all that she can to protect, cherish, and be the mother that she longs to be... in heaven and on earth.

This last week has been hard on  my oldest son Nathan, and my heart bleeds for him knowing that he is hurting.    What can I do, as his mom, but pray and hope that tomorrow is better?

Well, as I am doing the above, I am also encouraging him along the way...  I do believe that every trial, hardship, and adversity that we face makes us stronger... maybe not today, but it will.  It will make us better and more compassionate for someone that we will cross paths with down the road.  It is a life lesson that we have to just grab on to and be determined to persevere through until we are on the other side.  It is kind of like growing pains... growing pains hurt, they cause us stress and pain... but we are GROWING... and we will grow STRONGER as we take these moments of hardship and apply life lessons to them.

We must never give up.  As a mother, of course I want to fix everything, I want to make him okay, make it all better... but I also want him to become a young man that faces adversity with an attitude of gratitude and a heart filled with hope.

And as I am reflecting  upon all of these challenging times for Nathan, I am reminded of all of my sweet friends above that I mentioned... the ones clinging to hope for a cure, a heartbeat, two little feet running down the hall... and I am completely grounded and I recognize and acknowledge the hardships and the growing pains they are enduring.  And with all of my heart, I hope their prayers are answered right now.

I know there is great pain in our big world, babies are suffering, mama's and daddies hearts are broken, and my heart is so affected by this.

How can one not be?

As a mother, the feeling like I couldn't protect Matthew shattered my heart, and as my boys are growing up, it pains me greatly to know that I cannot protect them from everything and that sweet friends, is very hard to grasp... and is so very difficult.  When  you lose a child, your mama instinct is to protect, protect, protect any other children you have or protect and preserve the memory of the one in heaven... I am not sure really how to put into words, but I know y'all know what I am talking about.

So, as this week is here and Mother's Day is close, I want to express my sincere gratitude to God for giving me 3 blessings, each one making me a mother in the most special way... I get to mother our biological son, our adopted son, and our son in heaven... and my love for each one is the very same!  THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE! And that is a GIFT FROM ABOVE!

I also want to express my deep admiration and love for those mamas rocking their babies in the hospital rooms, with metal cribs, and doctors and nurses in the room every 2 hours, fighting for a cure.  I am praying for you all... Your babies are so precious and you are never alone in that hospital room!  God sees your tears, your fears and your pain...

And to my friends with empty arms, empty wombs and grave sites to tend to...  oh sweet friends, beautiful mothers...  Never give up...  God sees your pain too!  He knows the amount of steps it takes as you walk from your car to the monument where the fresh dirt is fading...  He knows the hurt and disappointment of another month with no baby news... He knows the anticipation of the "what ifs" and He has the answers.  Have  hope... and don't let go.

And finally as I wrap my head around all of you precious people I am thinking of, I know what disappointment is, I know how many steps it takes from my car to my baby's monument, I know the sting of death and the emptiness of joy sucked right out of my heart, and I also know that God took all of that and re-purposed my life, trading our sorrows for joy and our ashes for beauty... in extreme adversity, we became stronger, it wasn't easy and it definitely wasn't an overnight process, but that pain challenged us to choose to live again.  I will be totally honest and say my heart hurts so bad on some days, just as bad as it did the day I kissed Matthew goodbye... the day the red dirt covered his little white 'bed.'  Yes, that bad.

Nate & I were talking yesterday about life always having seasons of growing pains, life lessons to be learned, and I told him every hardship would mold him to be a stronger young man if he accepted these as challenges and chooses to overcome them.   He knows this all to well,  he was just 5 years old when he lost his baby brother and almost lost me and I know that changed  his life and his perspective.  He remembers every detail...  and he is the first one to remind me to persevere, have faith and never give up.  We talked  about all of the sick children and how we wish they were not sick and that they could experience life outside of the hospitals.  I believe it is very important to bring awareness to our children that they are blessed to be healthy, and to be in school and to be walking and talking.  It always puts 'problems' into perspective when you look around long enough to see the needs of those who are hurting beside you.  And compassion fills your heart as the other stuff comes out.

So now, we are in a new place as Nate is beginning to mature and  puberty is in effect... and he is taking those experiences and connecting them with things he is going through... bottom line is he is growing up and this is a new hardship for his mama...  growing up is harder than I thought. (but I am so grateful he is here with me to grow up and that I am here to watch him grow up)

Mamas cannot always protect (big sigh), but mamas, we can always hope!  

And I hope that you all know how very special you are, your babies and children are, whether they are in  your heart, your living room, the hospital room, your belly or in heaven... they are precious and loved and wanted and remembered!  This Mother's Day and EVERY DAY,  I hope you remember that!  

With much hope to you all...

PS- I still don't know what I will talk about on Sunday, but sharing this with you all just fired me up a bit, so I think I am on to something! ;)

Friday, May 4, 2012

Facets of Life: HOW?

Facets of Life: HOW?: Today, I was on my way to get Nate from school and tears began to stream down my face when I crossed over a bridge...  and grief, as it does...


Today, I was on my way to get Nate from school and tears began to stream down my face when I crossed over a bridge...  and grief, as it does out of the clear blue, for no particular reason, was my companion as I finished the last few miles.  (I know many of you know what I mean!)

I used to try and not give in to the grief, but I have learned to embrace those moments... those tears are for my son... those tears are what I have left... and I have accepted when those moments come, that I need to just let it happen.  Let grief breathe over me and let the tears clear my hazy vision.  For in those tears and pain, comes inspiration and passion...

Today, I wondered HOW in the world have I lived almost 7 years without my son?  How???

As I cried, I knew the answer... the only answer.


Tears, pain, heartache, grief, scars, burying our son, losing hope and finding it over and over again serve as permanent markers and reminders of our lives over the last 7 years.

That pain, led me to places I didn't want to go sometimes... and back to places that hurt me really bad.

But when I was ready, that pain led me to share Matthew with the world by taking my friend's advice and doing Random Acts of Kindness in Matthew's honor.

Then I wrote my book, Facets of Life, in memory of the most precious baby boy in the world... with cheeks that I would do anything to be able to kiss right now.

And  as I journeyed on, I became a speaker and an advocate for hurting families...

Then I began this blog...

and that journey led me to Still Standing Magazine...

I have survived almost 7 years without my son... it hasn't been easy... it's been the hardest thing I have ever done, to persevere, to face my fears, to find my faith again... but sweet friends, there is something so beautiful in my heart when I know that as I journey every day with you all, I am remembering my sweet Matthew and reaching out to hurting families that are on this journey too.

Almost 7  years, and  my tears still flow as if it were yesterday.

But my heart knows that it has been a very long 7 years since I have kissed those precious cheeks hello and goodbye.

If you are on this journey too, I encourage you to take your pain and allow it to funnel a passion within you...  find a way to honor, remember and cherish the life that lives on within your heart, always.

Where there is pain, there is a passion... where there is passion, there is purpose.  Where there is purpose, there is a need...  someone needs you today to have the courage to step out and share your heart, your story, your pain.  And in that, healing begins...

Had I not allowed myself to be vulnerable to share my pain and my heart, my journey above, would have been quite different.  And perhaps I wouldn't be here with you now.

As Matthew's mama, I  know I am right  where I need to be... Still Standing...

In just a few minutes, Still Standing will launch and the journey will continue...  What an amazing moment!

God bless all of you...