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Ready, Set, Go

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Having grown up in church (I'm one of those infamous pastor's kids 😳), I've heard many, many testimonies. The life stories that always grabbed my attention were tragedies, steeped in despair, that became tales of triumph. I remember thinking that no one would want to hear my story because it was so... plain. I thought that unless I had overcome some great pain or addiction, my testimony was less amazing, my transformation less impressive. I couldn't have been more wrong.  

Today, I am a part of an exclusive club. The entrance fee is pain and loss. Having a medically fragile, occasionally critical child (or two), has shifted my circle of influence. I'm part of a group of millions of other parents who have ached from the loss of a child or been acutely impacted by the suffering of their offspring. 

The family trying to make the most of the time they have left with their toddler daughter as renegade cells rapidly multiply and steal her life away...  

The mother of autistic children whose every minute of every day is worse than the loudest tantrum you've ever seen... And you thought YOU were ready for vacation! 

The mom who pushes her teenager's wheelchair to yet another appointment. Cerebral palsy never gets any easier...  

The family that learns their bundle of joy will be born with a heart defect and shatters every dream they had for their growing family... 

The mom who labors and labors and labors to deliver a baby whose earth suit has already expired... 

The parents sitting in the NICU for months on end willing life into little, struggling lungs... 

Every miscarriage. Every preemie. Every cancer diagnosis. Every appointment that begins with this phrase being uttered from a doctor's mouth...  

"I'm so sorry, but..."  

Sometimes we share our stories, sometimes we suffer in silence, but we always feel a connection to others in suffering. Child pain is the worst kind of pain.  

NICU families bond together; trach mama's laugh over jokes only we can understand; cranio parents cheer fellow parents on in Facebook support groups; PICU families meet for lunch in the hospital cafeteria and cry real tears when ICU hall lights dim in honor of the commotion in a neighboring child's room that has now gone silent. We feel the urgency to live; to live NOW; to love our babies as hard as we can, because we may not still have them tomorrow. When you've lost a baby to miscarriage, you realize even more how precious these little lives are from the moment they nestle their way into your belly. Every life matters. 

This post may seem like it's about the parents of children in peril, but it's actually not. 

If you are reading this post, and none of these examples apply to you, I want you to HEAR me that your story, your journey, your identity as a mother (or father) is NO LESS IMPORTANT OR URGENT! Your children are no less miraculous and your time with them is no less precious or in need of intentionality. 

If there's anything I could impart to my audience of readers here whether or not you're living in trauma, it would be to live NOW with a fire in your belly that forces you to chase down your dreams and callings with the kind of drive that a special needs parent feels when reviving their lifeless baby. Mother your children like the world depends on it, because it really does. You don't have to wait until you're in the valley to start running towards the mountain top. Work that business like your empire depends on it, because it totally does. 

Your perspective matters. Your children matter. This very second (that I'm honored you've chosen to spend here, reading this) matters. You have wisdom and experience that will be life-giving to SOMEONE around you. What you have to say can and will change lives. You don't have to have suffered excruciating loss to have a story worth telling (though it will get you a few thousand extra followers on social media to make it seem like you are more important). Being you and ONLY you, not some version of somebody you admire on Instagram, is the only requirement, because you don't have to be like anyone else to change the world. You just have to be you, out loud, on purpose. I can't wait to hear what you have to say. 

Ready, set, go. 

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