A very precious life who intersected our lives. Please pray for this family who lost this precious gift.

From the Heart


At 9:30PM on August 21st, a brave little warrior from this earth was welcomed as a strong and valiant champion into the arms of Jesus.

Our son is gone from our arms, but his life has imprinted each of our hearts with more love than can ever be spoken.

Our family grieves with deep, deep grief. A loss like this is more than our hearts can bear but we lean on the One who created us all.

It was like we were a wheel. Christ as the hub, we the spokes, but Mattie the felloes that held us together, shaped us, set us on course.

He moved us. His life centered us and connected us as a family more deeply than words can express.

On August 21st our lives changed forever….

Mattie has been doing so well as you know. We had a marvelous family vacation, he has been vent…

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My three Ragamuffins - LOVE THEM!

My three Ragamuffins – LOVE THEM!

I have never been traditional in the sense of being a “mother.” When I worked at a children’s home during college, I got my first sense that mother’s day wasn’t always a “happy, sweet day.” Following the rules of the children’s home, I had to take the children who were wards of the state to church. I received my first Mother’s Day card that day. I was only twenty-years-old and knew that card wasn’t meant for me but little James had no one to call “mother” and I was the substitute of the day. He is far from alone. I spent the three years after college being a “substitute” mother to so many precious children at a Children’s Home in California. I saw what my cottage of girls went through when it came to celebrating Mother’s Day in the schools. We had the option of making other plans for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day by avoiding churches. The sting was too hard for some to bear.

Since then I have been in so many different situations where it has been so hard to hear the words “Mother’s Day.” Friends who have lost their own mothers to death or having dear friends who don’t have mothers due to their mother’s life choices or abandonment, I have learned not to take my mother for granted. But this day can be a bitter reminder for so many.

The hardest “Mother’s Day” for me was in 1997. I had a miscarriage the previous September. I was unmarried (*shocking*) and I suffered through alone with only few friends because the judgment was so severe from some I had told. It was so hard suffering in silence and I am so thankful now that I don’t have so mourn her loss in private. My first child was Emily Grace. My children are comforted they have a sister in heaven who is with Jesus and has welcomed loved ones and pets that have gone on before us.

In 2002, I became a foster mom with three little ragamuffins. The first mother’s day was awkward because I was “only” the foster mother. However, I was thrown up on and had sick kiddos and ended up in the ER in the afternoon for a baby with pneumonia. I learned that day what Mother’s Day is truly about; a mother taking care of her children. There were no pomps and circumstance for me that year. And I imagine it was a hard day for the birth mother as well.

By Mother’s Day in 2004, I think I had learned what Mother’s Day for a single parent looked like. If I wasn’t going to do it, it wasn’t going to happen. I bought myself an new oven that year that made cooking for my family of four so much easier.

After adopting my children in late 2004 and moving in 2005, a dear daughter-friend, Abbey, would sneak into my house and awake my children and taught them to cook simple breakfasts in bed for me while making crafts with them to present to me. She did this several years. By her example, the kids continue that tradition to this day.

Mother’s Day is truly a day for my children. It is the one day out of the year they will set aside their differences and work together to honor me. There is no price tag on what they give me because they give me their hearts. I am blessed to be their mother everyday; not just today. But I love seeing them on this day because I do see a glimpse into who they are becoming. And I see a bit of their Daddy (God) in them especially on this day.

I pray my kids will always have their “Father’s Eyes.

Sydney’s 13th Birthday Present Gift… “My most favorite present ever.”

From the Heart

There is an ache in my heart every year on Aiden and Emma’s birthdays. A pain. A longing.

A wishing with all my heart that I could have been there to hold them on the day that they were born.

To whisper in their ear about beauty and hope and destiny and mostly LOVE.

I wasn’t there.

But He was.

He was there…

“For You created my inmost being;

You knit me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

Your works are wonderful,

I know that full well.

My frame was not hidden from You,

When I was made in the secret place,

When I was woven together in the depths of the earth.

Your eyes saw my unformed body;

All the days ordained for me were written in Your book,

Before one of them came to be.”

Psalm 139:13-16

This is…

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A friend of mine said these words today as he described the anniversary of the passing of his beloved mother.

“Time is as fragile and moving as life… …and it is hard to realize that a year has passed… …appreciation is more valuable than gold itself…” Gary Daniels

Those words resonated with me in deep place of my soul. Maybe because this is the time of year I think so much about the life, death, and Resurrection of Christ. Maybe it’s because a dear sister-friend passed away around this time of the year two years ago. Maybe it’s because I know of so many children who are facing huge medical obstacles right now and some have not made it. Maybe it’s because I grieve so much for the beginning childhoods of my children when I wasn’t their mother and I see the impact and sadness that still lingers within their souls. I think maybe it resonated because of all these things.

A kindred spirit mother-friend of mine recently walked through a harrowing journey with her two-year-old son. I am so overjoyed her story has a happy ending. My kids and I were in such prayer for a happy ending. But the journey of Tracie’s family brought up so many things I have been feeling lately. And my friend Gary, as mentioned at the beginning of this post, seemed to sum it up his quote “Time is as fragile and moving as life.”

We live in a world where everything happens immediately and instantly. I love Facebook. It is my mommy safe haven, my family journal, my photo album, a place I learn how to be a better mother, to eat healthier, a place I am challenged politically and sometimes intelligently. But sometimes I see how quickly I move from saying something somber to then posting a funny caption. Is it possible to go through the emotions that quickly? I really realized this while my kindred spirit mother-friend was in one of the scariest places a mother can be emotionally (facing childhood cancer) and how overcome with emotion and compassion I was that I backed away from Facebook (except for all the updates and dialogue with her). I didn’t want a distraction that would keep me from feeling the passion to pray fervently without ceasing. I was grieved that in the past I have said that I would pray for some people to realize that I was distracted by the next funny thing I saw and forgotten to be in prayer.

I keep singing this song in my head. It came out of the blue and I have been singing it to myself for a week just reflecting on the words.

Brother, sister, let me serve you,
let me be as Christ to you;
pray that I may have the grace to
let you be my servant too.

We are pilgrims on a journey,
and companions on the road;
we are here to help each other
walk the mile and bear the load.

I will hold the Christ-light for you
in the night-time of your fear;
I will hold my hand out to you,
speak the peace you long to hear.

I will weep when you are weeping;
when you laugh I’ll laugh with you;
I will share your joy and sorrow
till we’ve seen this journey through.

When we sing to God in heaven
we shall find such harmony,
born of all we’ve known together
of Christ’s love and agony.

Brother, sister, let me serve you,
let me be as Christ to you;
pray that I may have the grace to
let you be my servant too.

Words: Richard A. M. Gillard , 1977

I want community with my friends and I want it to be authentic. I want to be a Christ-servant to my children, my family, my community, and to my friends. I want to laugh when my friends laugh. I want to weep when my friends and community are weeping. “I want to share your joy and sorrow until we’ve seen this journey through.” I want to be real and journey with you through this life.

So, how do I do this in an age of Facebook with instant notifications that cause such a wide array of emotions that can cause me to feel sorrowful, happy, silly, and angry in just a matter of minutes? How do I convey to my friends that I want to be a Christ-servant to them? I want to reflect agape love in all that I do including what I do online. But do I reflect that when I am telling a friend I am fervently praying for them yet two seconds later post a funny video? This is where I am challenged.

One reason I love Facebook is that it keeps me in community with those I love but because of schedules or distance, I can’t see in person. Phone calls are just hard to handle with three children who need my attention. I cherish the time I have with those I hold close when we are together in person but those times are so hard to plan. Facebook allows a temporary fix that is on my children’s timetable. I love Facebook because it archives my family’s life and I can create photo albums in an organized way that I have never been able to successfully achieve offline or in another format. I love that I learn so much and have been challenged to think outside my little box because of information posted by friends with differing viewpoints on Facebook.

But I truly think that “time is as fragile and moving as life”. Facebook operates on a non-human timetable. Information can hit my thoughts and I move on before I have processed the emotion. And I am an intuitive-feeler. Maybe this is just a struggle for those like me.

I am going to consciously slow down. But I am not going to quit Facebook. I am going to challenge myself to not speed through the lives of my friends and family in the newsfeed. If you post a need, I am challenging myself to take time to hear you, to “see” that you’re not invisible, and to pray. Forgive me when I have not wept with you. Forgive me when I haven’t spoken the peace you needed to hear. Our time here is fragile and it is moving as life.

And to illustrate because I think blog posts are “super-awesome” when accompanied by photographs, I am including a recent picture of my children to remind us all of time and how fragile one day is. Each day our children grow and we can never go back and as Gary also so wisely quoted, “Appreciation is more valuable than gold itself.”

Sydney, 12 years and 331 days old; and Katyana, 14 years and 74 days old.

Sydney, 12 years and 331 days old; and Katyana, 14 years and 74 days old.

Ethan, 11 years and 166 days old.

Ethan, 11 years and 166 days old.

Beautiful Dancer, My Daughter

Blue is for Autism Awareness Day 2 April 2013

Katyana, age 14, Asperger’s Disorder, Christian, Brilliant, Learner, Daughter, Sister, Knitter, Performer, Writer, Friend.

Posted on: March 28, 2013

My son. Childhood disease. An imperfect world. I love that God speaks through our children; those with a voice and those too young or too sick to have a voice. Prayers for Mattie and all the children who are are walking through the hard journey of childhood disease and their families that care for them. And I am praying for a heart like my son’s heart.

From the Heart

I’m in awe of the number of people Mattie has impacted in his first 2 1/2 years of life. People from all walks of life. Young and old. Near and far. Friends, family and strangers.

Mattie has a way of drawing you in and grabbing a little piece of your heart. He has made his mark. Delivered joy. Poured out sweet love on so many.

When I get emails, messages, or mail from children who pray for Mattie, my heart is just leaps. Precious, faith-filled hearts, loving so beautifully.

Our far away friend Ethan is one of those dear children who has faithfully prayer for Mattie from the very beginning.


Ethan’s is witty, charming, and full of life. He too is a survivor, a fighter, a brave warrior.

He sent this to Mattie in the mail yesterday.

Sometimes love comes wrapped in a cardboard box from Amazon.


Yes, that is…

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