Posted in Joy

17 years have come and gone…

It’s been 17 years since I walked down that cement path to the gazebo where we wed… 17 years since we said I do and promised to love each other forever… 17 years since we decided to become one in front of all our family and friends.

But it has been 5 ½ years since I was able to hold your hand, hug you, kiss you, and have you tell me you loved me back.  Some days it feels like yesterday and others another lifetime completely. 

I have learned a lot about how we process grief and loss this year.  I have learned a lot about who I am in light of grief and loss.  And I am continuing to learn how marriage to you has shaped me into who I am now.

Some days I don’t recognize the me that was married to you anymore… I’ve changed and grown so much since I lost you.  But I believe for the most part you would be proud of the me that I have become.

I’m braver.  I speak up for myself and share what I am thinking with others.  You would never have believed that people think I am opinionated and have a strong personality.  The me that has survived grief and loss stands up for what she believes in, embraces what she wants, and expects big things from others.

I love bigger.  I’m more vulnerable.  And I am also so much more insecure than ever before.  I attribute that to having been married to you.  You loved the chase and made sure I knew I was wanted every single day from the moment I met you.  I can hear you proudly telling everyone we met that you were a “stalker success story.” You always ran after the things you wanted with your whole heart!  Marriage, school, children, and work.

This year I have been bold.  I have conquered fears and stepped out in faith to do so many new things.  Friends have encouraged me to finish my children’s book, my book about life with you, and to embrace new ministry opportunities.  I have jumped up to chase after things I think will help grow me as a person, a mom, & a friend. And I am making so much progress on moving forward!

I have not improved on overanalyzing, but hey we can’t all be perfect 😉 I can almost hear you laughing about that and telling me that I should have been a lawyer.

Loving you and losing you has truly reshaped me.  I am so thankful that when I face struggles and storms like I have had the last few weeks that I can look back and remember how you faced everything head on and with all your might.  It gives me the strength to keep going and know that what God has ahead of us is bigger than anything we could ever imagine. 

I miss you every day… but this year I have slowly realized that while I miss my best friend, I am more sad that our kids do not get to see how you lived and loved with everything you had in you.  I am so thankful for your family who has embraced us and let our kids have a glimpse into what life with you would have been like if you were still here.

Thank you for teaching me to love big.  Thank you for teaching me to reach for the stars.  And thank you for reminding me every day what miracles our children are.  You would be incredibly proud of them too! 

I am thankful for the way you always encouraged me to chase my dreams and never got tired of reinforcing what I should have already known in my heart.  I never doubted for a single moment that you loved me with your whole heart and for that I’m truly grateful.

I know how blessed I am to have struck gold with you.  You showed me a true picture of what the everlasting love of our Father looks like and you were truly such a gift to have as mine.  We weren’t perfect, but we were perfectly imperfect together.  

Sending hugs to you and our sweet baby in heaven today. Happy 17th Anniversary! Love you, Mean it!

Posted in Grief, Joy

I’m cheering you on!

“I cried because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet.” -attributed to Helen Keller.

A few weeks ago, I liked a post by my sister about the joy of marriage on social media.  A few minutes later she messaged me a sweet message praying that it didn’t hurt for me to read it.

The reality is that hearing about new babies, weddings, happy marriages, perfect homes, healed relationships, and new jobs always makes me rejoice.  I am always going to cheer for the prayers that are answered.  I will cheer louder than anyone when I hear that your dreams are coming true.  I pray daily for dreams to come true in the lives of everyone I know! 

But at night when I climb into bed alone and reflect on the news of the day, there is always a twinge of sadness for all my dreams that did not come true.  An ache for what was lost.  Nine years has not made the ache of no more babies any easier.  Five years has not made the loss of Ben go away either.

I cried to friends a few weeks ago about not wanting my heart to hurt about these things anymore.  I told them I longed to be able to let the losses go and only rejoice in the good for others.  And they reminded me it is okay to be sad about the loss of those dreams.  Because they were BIG dreams.

I have spent a lot of time praying about that the last few weeks, and God has put people in my path who needed to be reminded that it is okay to grieve the losses if we don’t get stuck there.  But the reality is, this has always been so much easier for me to recognize in others.

For some reason when it comes to my own losses, I always feel like I should push through.  That enough time has passed that it should not hurt anymore. Like the secondary losses should not still cause pain 5 years later or even 9. 

A few weeks ago as I laid in bed reflecting on this, I realized that while I want the pain to lessen (and it has) I do not want it to go away completely.  To no longer feel a twinge of sadness that I didn’t get to have a 50+ year marriage like my grandparents, or a 25th wedding anniversary to the first man that I loved, would make it seem like those losses didn’t matter!  And they do.  Without the pain of loss, we wouldn’t get to know the beauty of good things.

There is room for both pain and joy in the same breath.  There is room to be happy for one who is getting a baby while sad that your own dreams seem to be sitting silently by waiting for an answer.  Friend, I get it.  I may not have the same dream or desires as you, but I know what it is like to feel that your day will never come, that other people seem to be getting every good gift you thought would be yours…

But I believe that beautiful things are coming. That God will restore the years that the locust has eaten. And that the beauty to come is like nothing we could have ever imagined. I’m believing it for you, and I’m believing it for me. I’m cheering you on and praying that every dream you wish will come true!



Posted in Joy

Big dreamer…

I’m a big dreamer… on the sleepless nights when I wake and lie there wondering about the future… I think about all the dreams I have and all the things I can see to come..

I love telling others about my dreams… my goals… where I see things going. I get so excited sometimes it overwhelms them… they don’t see what I see and they have a hard time believing it to be true.

I used to think it was my job to make them understand my dreams and accept them as reality… but I’m learning that it’s not. Not everyone can dream… not everyone can share or understand my dreams. And that’s okay. God gave them to me. A vision of the life to come and what it entails…

“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭43‬:‭19‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
‭‭Esther‬ ‭4‬:‭14‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Sometimes I don’t get what I’m dreaming for and that’s okay too. I still believe there is value in being able to dream. Value in being able to see beauty come from ashes. Because I have to believe there is always more to life then what we have right now. And those dreams keep getting bigger! Like gold refined.

So I’m going to keep dreaming dreams no matter how many times they change and get rewritten cause others can’t see them the same way… because I still believe what is coming is better than anything I have seen before… what about you?

Posted in Joy

People don’t have to like me…

Did you know that you won’t die if people don’t like you? I have been reflecting on this a lot the last few weeks as I have been thinking about friendships that have ended.

Sometimes the rejection of others is our protection… and other times it is because we have a lesson to learn. For me, it’s a lesson I seem to be learning over and over since losing Ben as I learn to have my own voice and sometimes that comes at the disapproval of others.

It has been an emotional week and I wanted nothing more to stay in bed this morning. But I woke up and knew it would make me feel better to worship and spend time in the Word.

As soon as worship ended, I knew why I was there. Pastor Morris’ message was on The Thief of Devotion. And how when we let fear into our lives it keeps us from living in complete devotion to Christ.

Fear comes in many forms… and one of those is rejection. When we fear being rejected, we spend our time worshiping acceptance. But the thing is, we are already accepted. Scripture says we don’t have to do or say anything to be accepted. When we fear the rejection of others we will do or say anything to gain their approval. But the only acceptance we need is from Jesus.

There are friends who I have a hard time speaking up to because I am afraid of being rejected. Our number one need in life is to be loved and accepted. So rejection can really hurt, even when it is by people who do not accept us as we are.

The second fear he talked about was the fear of failure. And if that does not go hand and hand with rejection for me, nothing does. Being rejected by others feels like failure. It makes me feel like I have failed at relationships again. And makes me question what is wrong with me and why I just can’t get it right.

But when we spend our time fearing failure, we worship success. And sometimes the success we are fighting for is not the success that the kingdom has for us. We make success our master. And we can’t serve two masters. Matthew 6:24 says, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”

It’s time for me to rewrite the narrative. To stop feeling rejected by people and to stop feeling like a failure if acceptance never comes. I am accepted by the One who matters and in His eyes I am already a success.

So there we have it. The reason I was in church this morning… I don’t know if you struggle with the need for the approval of others or the need to succeed, but if you do, I encourage you to listen to today’s sermon from Gateway Church.

Posted in Grief, Joy, parenting

Loss comes for our children too…

About a month before Ben died, I remember sitting at church and one of the kids saying, “I get worried that daddy is going to die.”  It was an unexpected comment as Ben was with us at church and seemed to be doing really that morning. 

I only thought about it for a minute, and then said, “I know I worry about that too.  But you know what?  We can pray that God gives us as much time as possible together and no matter what we know that one day we will all be together in heaven.”

I could have replied differently.  I could have told them not to worry, that daddy wouldn’t die because I really didn’t expect him too.  But I didn’t say that.  And I definitely did not know then what I do now about preparing kids for loss and trauma.  

Here is what I know now. No one is immune to loss, not even kids. Kids lose toys, friends, relationships, home, security, you name it. And to them that loss may seem as monumental as losing a parent. AND how we help them walk through those losses carries over into how they handle breakups, loss, and trauma for the rest of their lives.

Proverbs 22:6 says, “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old, they will not turn from it.” When we teach children how to process grief and pain at a young age, we give them tools for success as adults in handling their emotions and the losses that are bound to come. 

So here are some of the things that I have learned:

  1. Don’t tell them not to feel bad. Always validate their feelings. If they are hurting, it is valid, and they need to voice it. Listen and let them share. We do not tell people not to feel happy about something, so why would we tell them not to feel sad?
  2. Do not make them hide their emotions.  When we send them to their rooms, or tell them to calm down when they are crying, we are telling them it is not okay to share how they are feeling with others!  We want them to openly share how they are feeling so they feel heard and understood!  Sit with them in their pain and let them cry and feel all the emotions.  Emotions that we do not feel, we cannot heal.  Teach them to lean on others when it hurts instead of always burying things inside. 
  3. Don’t replace the loss.  Coming from someone who eats their emotions… this one is big for me.  I try not to feed my kids to make them feel better.  When we lose or break something we talk about it.  Often people think that immediately replacing something will make the pain go away.  Speaking from someone who heads to the freezer when sad and overwhelmed, I know for a fact this one is truth.  We rush into new relationships as soon as one fails.  I do not want to train my kids that there are “more fish in the sea.” Otherwise, when they are older and suffer a breakup, they will think the best way to fix it is with another relationship! 

We still talk about losing their dad every single day. We include him in our nightly prayers, and they frequently tell me how they miss him being with us. If one day I’m lucky enough to bring someone else into their lives who wants to stay, that person will play a significant role, but they will know he doesn’t intend to replace their dad. People are uniquely valuable, and not replaceable!

  1. Time does not heal all wounds. Just because they are not talking about it or because enough time has passed does not mean it is forgotten or no longer important.  We can not ignore something and assume it will get better eventually. The only thing that truly heals is actively working towards healing!  
  2. Don’t let them own your emotions.  Kids know that they can sway our moods.  They can make us happy or sad depending on how they are behaving.  When we say “you make me so frustrated” they start believing that they control your moods.  This is dangerous territory.  I know because I have walked it as an adult, feeling responsible for the feelings of those who I am in relationships with. Teach them to own how they are feeling.  “I am frustrated because the house is a mess.”

This list is not exhaustive. There are so many other things I have learned (and am still learning) about parenting kids through grief and loss. If you are like me and want to prepare your kids for success as adults in managing loss, I highly recommend looking at the book, When Children Grieve by John W. James and Russell Friedman, which shares many of these points and more!


Posted in Joy

Stop fearing the night…

As a child I don’t really remember being afraid of the dark.  But I sure do remember being afraid of just about everything else. 

I remember being scared when our parents left us home alone (at a very appropriate age) and hiding behind the couch.  My over-active imagination would run through all the scenarios of what would happen if someone broke into our house while I watched my sisters play Nintendo.  Our attackers would go after them first obviously, and I would be able to hit them from behind because they didn’t know I was there.

 My imaginary intruders did not stop as I got older and when I started living on my own, I found myself often afraid.  When I had an apartment or house by myself, I would call friends to talk me into the house at night to make sure I made it inside safely.  I frequently relied on others to calm my fears and to help me to do what should be “normal” activities.

Six months after I got married and moved to Tennessee, Ben deployed for the first time as a married man, leaving me coming home to an empty house every single day.  Daytime did not phase me, but nighttime was not my friend.  I was plagued by what would happen if someone came into the house at night.  I would rush into the house when I got home and lock all the doors.  If it was dark and I had to go upstairs for any reason, I would not come back down.  Almost nightly, I locked myself in my room till morning. 

Here the imaginings changed.  Intertwined with fears of someone breaking in were fears of a knock on the door notifying me that my husband wouldn’t be coming home.  The fears were unfathomable.  This time I was plagued by worries that if someone banged on the door, I would have to answer, but what if it was someone just wanting to break in? 

These were always nighttime fears.  Daytime did not plague me the way the night did.  Morning would dawn. I would unlock my bedroom door and come downstairs unconcerned.  The fears continued when Ben would go away for the night or stay out late during grad school and while working.  I would worry about him driving over the mountain in New York and not returning home because he drove a little recklessly through that mountain pass.

Children added to the fears and cancer caused them to grow exponentially.  I have always feared the worst and been afraid of all the what ifs.  And it was not until the worst fear came true and Ben passed that I truly found myself face to face with all my fears.

I have written before about how I “let go” of fear when he died.

When your biggest fears become your reality… – Tricia Thirey (

The worst had happened, and for a season I felt like there was nothing left to be afraid of. 

I still did not like to come home alone after dark and made sure the kids and I were tucked inside whenever possible by the time the sun was setting.  But even the silence and solitude of living in the country alone didn’t scare me.  My in laws bought us a security system for Hanukkah that first year and for months I was afraid to install it.  I did not want the sounds and beeping to instill a new fear in me.  I did not want to live afraid again.

As time has gone on, five years to be exact, new fears have arrived.  I set my alarm at night not out of fear but habit.  I come home after dark frequently and do not feel like I have to enter every dark room with apprehension. 

Instead of a fear of the dark, I fear my choices.  I fear making decisions and heading down the wrong path.  I fear being alone and having no one to count on. And I am afraid of something happening to me that would leave my children parentless. And at times I find myself making choices out of fear. 

Joshua 1:9 sits on a shelf in my son’s room as a reminder to not fear the night. “Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

I have found that in fear I do one of two things:

  1. I retreat.  I run away from the unknown for fear the worst will happen.
  2. I sit in fear.  I fear making the wrong choice, so I don’t make any choice and instead sit in indecision indefinitely because I do not want to do the wrong thing.

Neither of these is a healthy place to be.  I do not want to be afraid of the unexpected.  I want to have a battle plan of how I will attack fear when it comes. 

Psalms 23:4 says, “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they will comfort me.” 

I have learned that when I choose to step back and reflect on the fear, that I must give myself a timeline on when to make a move.  Because the only healthy way I can deal with fear is to push through and keep moving forward.  And the reality is, I have already lived through some of the worst fears imaginable. And while I would not have chosen that path, God has made me stronger as I have continued to push forward! 

What about you?  What do you fear?  I’m praying that you will learn to face those fears head on like I am trying to do, trusting God to walk alongside us on even the darkest of roads!

Posted in Grief, Joy

Look Back and Then Move Forward…

New Year, Old Pain?

The new year always starts with a flood of emotions for me. Looking back at what was and forward to what may be is both encouraging and overwhelming.  Especially when we enter into a new year knowing that some of the past won’t be coming with us.

2022 was a long, hard, but fruitful year for me. I learned to let go of things I was holding on to too tightly.  And I ended the year anticipating the good that will come from living eyes wide open for Jesus.

But as we enter a week full of birthdays (four of them in 3 days), it is hard for me not to reflect on all we have lost.  This is the 6th new year we have walked into without Ben here with us.   And even though we are happy, growing and moving forward, we cannot help but remember what is missing. 

Grief, loss, and life, in general, are not linear. There is an ebb and flow that goes along with just being human. We have our good days and our bad. We have the days when we can see how far we have come, and all that God is doing in us. And then we have days where we are wracked with reminders of everything we just can’t seem to get right.

One of the many things loss has taught me is that sometimes the good and bad walk hand and hand for a while.  And sometimes we must give into the tears and let it all out. The thing I have to remember is I don’t want to stay in that place… the distraught, overwhelmed, and struggling place of no hope. So, I shed the tears, I pull my kids close, and get up to walk forward.

For the last 7 or 8 years, I have started every new year planning to get out and run.  I start the year off slow—a half mile, a mile, then two. If I’m dedicated enough, I will work my way up to 5-6 by the end of the month.  But in the beginning, I must take it slow.  And sometimes my run isn’t much more than a crawl as I ease my way back in. 

I have found that during seasons of heavy grief, at times the most I can do is crawl forward.  And just like when I start back out running, every step is heavy and burdensome.  But the pain of each step when I am running is a reminder of the progress I am making. And I no longer let the pain convince me to sit still. 

New Year, New Goals… 

The last few years I have tried to set a purposeful life goal for myself: intention, hope, joy. But this year I struggled with what I want to see in my life in the year ahead. And in the wee hours of this morning it came to me. This year I want to keep moving forward.  It’s that simple.  I want to keep moving, keep living, keep growing. That is it. And if I am honest, I am praying that God will lead us to thrive. So if you too have struggled with a hard season and knowing what to embrace in the year ahead… I encourage you to join me in just choosing to move forward… (even if moving forward looks like a crawl right now).  Move forward, into the unknown, fully expectant of all that God has for us there.

Happy New Year!

Posted in Book Reviews, Joy, parenting

Five of the Most Inspiring Books I Read in 2022

It’s been awhile since I did a book review… not because I haven’t been reading… mostly because I have been too busy reading to take time to share.  But some of the books I have read recently really deserve a shout out and were so inspiring I couldn’t keep them to myself!  Check these out and if you are looking for a good Christmas gift for someone on your list, any one of these would be a great choice. 

Please note that affiliate links are provided for each.  If you choose to purchase through the link a portion of the sale will come back to this website!

The Men We Need by Brant Hansen

Let me start by saying I recently heard a podcast by Hansen. I heard him speak and thought him a phenomenal speaker with an empowering story. Obviously this title sounds like it lends itself to a book not really intended for an audience of women. But I am a mom who wants her son to grow up as a man of godly character. These books speak to this single mom! Hansen writes a compelling book about the role of a man in families, society, and in the workplace. He discusses the importance of them fulfilling their calling, which is being keepers of the garden. Hansen outlines exactly the type of man that every woman is/should be drawn to. And then explains why every young boy should strive to grow up to be just like that. You should definitely check it out!

Healthy Me, Healthy Us by Les and Leslie Parrott

I am always looking for and reading books about how to improve my relationships.  I grabbed this book on a trip to NC earlier this year and couldn’t put it down (or stop talking about it). Half the book is highlighted and I keep going back to remind myself of the truths written there.  The authors encourage the reader to be authentic and know their significance.  The questions throughout guide the reader in determining their own health, because our relationships can only be as healthy as the people in them.  If you desire stronger relationships that are God honoring, I recommend this one!

He Still Speaks to Kids—Teach Children and Young Adults to Hear God by Wayne Drain and Tom Lane

Gateway Church recommended this book the last few months and I couldn’t wait to read it. There are great stories and reminders intertwined that guide parents/grandparents/teachers in how to teach kids to listen to God’s voice.  Along with those great reminders, the encouragement to trust Him that we will lead and raise our kids well! You can grab a copy here!

My Yes is on the Table: Moving from Fear to Faith by Jennifer Hand

Here is another great book that I highlighted and will go back to read over and over again.  If you struggle with giving up control to God and trusting him with the unknown, this book is a must read.  Jennifer takes us on a journey to figure out what is holding us back from saying yes to God.  If like me you let fear get in the way of you taking the next faith steps, these words will really encourage you!

Becoming an Intentional Family: Creating Meaningful Memories and Building Confidence in Your Kids by Anastasia Corbin

I got a preview of this book before it hit the shelves this month and absolutely love the down to earth way it is written.  Corbin grew up watching families to see what characteristics they shared that made children feel valued and loved.  She has a practical guide that asks questions and shares activities that help families to be intentional in the way they represent Christ to each other and the world.  This book was so inspiring and showed how they really live out their values! If you are interested in a copy of this book, I’m giving away a signed copy on Facebook/Instagram… so head there and check it out!

I said I only had five but I have two more that I have to give shout outs to!

Undistracted by Bob Goff

This one needs no introduction.  If you haven’t read it, you should.  If you have never read Bob Goff, you should.  Basically every time I read something of his, it becomes my favorite.  Check it out, you will thank me later!

Stop Interrupting Me: A Practical Guide to Teaching Kids Their Manners by Rebekah McClure

This is a low-cost, wonderful resource for any parent or grandparent (or even teacher).  The methods in this book not only work, but I have seen them in action, because it was authored by one of my good friends.  Her children are precious and so is she!  I actually read this book the first time last year, but since I reread it again this year, it definitely deserved a spot on the list!

Interested in seeing more of my recommendations?  “>Follow me on Goodreads to see what I have been reading this year!

Affiliate disclosure: When you make a purchase through our links, we may earn commissions from Amazon and other retailers. 

Posted in Grief, Joy

There is something about feeling empowered that’s a tad attractive!

Have you ever been so angry at yourself for your shortcomings that you could not get over yourself enough to overcome the problem you were faced with until you hit a breaking point?  I have found myself frequently in that place over the last few years. 

All summer my son was asking to go for a ride in Ben’s car.  At the start of August my girls had a day camp for a week. I thought it would be the perfect opportunity for some time with my sweet boy.  Not surprisingly, the battery was dead, as I frequently forget to drive it so it doesn’t die. 

Since it is a reoccurring problem, I own a portable jumper box. I like to be able to take care of this problem without having to rely on others!  Of course I had locked the jumper box in the trunk of the car.  Getting it out was impossible, so I decided to be a big girl and jump it with my Suburban.  I opened the hood and had no idea where to put those black and red things without a visible battery. So I slammed the hood shut in a huff.    

I was angry at myself for so many reasons.  But most of all I was frustrated that even after five years, I still get upset about handling things I do not think should be my problem! 

Reaching That Breaking Point

I literally thought about the car in self-pity for about two weeks. I refused to ask for help and got angry at myself for not having what I needed to fix it on my own.  Because while I try to be independent and self-sufficient, there are times when grief overwhelms. I did not plan to live this life. And I did not want to carry this weight alone.

Then one Sunday a friend attempted to jump it with my Suburban for me and told me I needed to just replace the battery (AGAIN). Still annoyed, I said I would get around to it. 

That Tuesday night when I pulled into pick up the kids from class, my Suburban died in the parking lot.  Despite several attempts, I could not get it to start.  A nice gentlemen offered to jump it for me. And the next day a friend sent their husband to jump it again so I could take it to get replaced.

Y’all there is just something powerful about when I reach a breaking point and my frustration turns to stubbornness.  While waiting for my friend’s husband to jump the Suburban again, I went into the garage and tore that dead battery out of the Corvette to take with me.  I drove to Walmart and made them exchange it (while leaving the Suburban running). Then the kids and I drove to AutoZone where I insisted on watching the worker change the Suburban battery. I wanted to know exactly how everything works.

After that, the kids and I drove home. I hooked up the battery in the Vette; and spent an hour patting myself on the back for accomplishing something I should not have had to do.

Is Empowerment Wrong?

I have always thought of the word empowerment as being synonymous with being a control freak.  And while I have always loved being in control, I have tried desperately to avoid having that label put on me by others.  But my views of a lot of things have changed since losing Ben. They have especially changed since having to take on learning things that I still have no desire to know.

And in the last few months since that empowering day, I have heard countless people recount tales of friends (especially widows and single parents) who have had to embrace challenges to overcome something they never wanted to do.  And the sense of accomplishment felt by the overcomer in each of those situations is something to behold!

His Power is Perfect in Weakness…

2 Corinthians 12:9 & 10 says, “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

I would like to say that I learned a lesson from that experience and embrace every challenge as it comes. But I would be lying.  I spent the last week looking at our Christmas tree on the top shelf of the garage before finally psyching myself up enough to acknowledge that as long as everyone stood clear I could probably get it down on my own 😉.  Don’t worry, I did not get a big head from that achievement. This afternoon I replaced the door handle I knocked off when something went flying off a garage shelf.  And, of course, I need to jump that dead Vette battery again.  Nothing like balance to remind me I’m still human.  😉

Do you ever have those moments when you feel empowered and need to be reminded that you can do hard things?  What was your shining moment?  Feel free to share in the comments!    

Posted in Joy

The Life I Deserved…

The other day I listened as a dear friend told me about struggles that they have faced recently.  During their story, I heard them say that maybe this is what they deserved for having the past that they do.   And while I have been working on trying to listen more than I speak, I could not let that comment go unanswered. 

Friends, in this life we do not get what we deserve.  It may seem that is what is fair and good and right, but that is just not the way it works.  Sometimes I think we find it easier to blame ourselves and our choices for the lot we have drawn in life, but that is not always the case either.

After Ben died, my sister posted this on Facebook, “I spent a lot of time being angry with God on their behalf, infertility (7 years’ worth), cancer (3 times in 2 places), difficult deliveries with life changing returns- you name it.  It was Ben Thirey reminded me of all the good that came from these things—why God shouldn’t be questioned and where he would be (and where his family would be) if it wasn’t for these trials.”

While I often still find myself questioning the why behind the things I have gone through and where I am in life, I have never questioned that it is a part of God’s plan.  For every right choice I have made in my journey as a Christian (and as a person), I have made ten wrong.  I have made choices I have deeply regretted later; but I can honestly look back on every single one of them and see how they grew me and led me to the place where I am today.

That same post from my sister said this, “Ben took Tricia from the shy quiet girl she was and pushed her into the amazing and strong woman she is now.  Her shell is gone, her heart is open and strong and Ben Thirey is to be credited for molding her into who she is.”  

While I am thankful for all the ways I grew during marriage, I believe that the challenges we faced and overcame (with God’s help not just Ben Thirey’s 😉) played a huge role in growing me into the person she saw when we lost him.

I do not think that all the hard things that we go through in life are meant to discipline us, but I love that they are able to shape us into who we are supposed to be.  Hebrews 12:11 says, “All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.” NASB

Reality is that we serve a God who has made it abundantly clear that no matter how many mistakes we have made in our pasts, we are not relegated to living the life we deserve.  And we have the choice when we come up against the storms of life to allow them to shape us into whoever it is that God is leading us to be.  We only need to embrace the possibilities and be open to what He is teaching us through the journey. 

It is truly a glorious feeling to know that no matter how I fail, my life is still redeemable and such a beautiful thing to be able to live.  And yours is too! And I have a great hope in this, that the days to come will be better than the ones I am choosing to leave behind.

If you are in a season of struggling with the unfairness of the lot that has fallen on you… or pain because you are living out a life you do not feel you deserve, I would love to pray for you!  Feel free to email me at or send me a message!