Steer Where You Stare

Just like that, another month has gone by. I haven’t quite nailed down this whole single parent thing and allowing myself “me time”. I think at this point, I would spend it sleeping because that seems to be the quickest way to forget about everything.  In the past month, we had our headstones placed and gave away 2 scholarships in Josh’s name.


It’s been a busy month!  I confirmed my pregnancy with an ultrasound and Baby #2 should make their grand appearance in January 2019! It’s pretty crazy to think I have another piece of Josh growing inside of me. I remember going back and forth on whether or not it was a decision I wanted to make. Now, there’s no turning back! I don’t regret it at all but there is a certain amount of fear with it too.

Memorial day was really tough for me. Not just because of those lost on my deployment over seas but in general. We had gone camping to our usual spot and even the same site. It’s tough to do those things without Josh. We all know we can’t stop living just because he’s gone but in the same breath it’s so painful when we can’t help but think “you should be here”.  It’s hard to push forward when the memory of Josh is always tinged with sadness on account of such a great loss. Maybe one day I will be able to separate the hurt from his memory but currently, it still stings. Having Amelia is amazing but dammit she looks like her daddy and he should be here to watch her grow.


There were so many days this past month, I knew I should write, but my mind was far too tired. Sad excuse when I claim to “blog” but grief is exhausting.

I feel as though I am watching myself drown and kicking my hardest to come up for just one more breath. The constant battle against the current is a struggle. One second you’re floating in peace, the next moment you feel your heart sinking and it takes your whole body with it. Some waves are small and easy to swim through, some days the waves overtake me. As with any grief, there will good days, and there will be bad days.

I’ve been able to get out more and sing and different events which makes me feel alive again! Most recently, I sang the Anthem at a fundraiser event for Backing the Blue Line. They are a non-profit run by police wives to support all law enforcement in the state of Minnesota. Wonderful uplifting women that I have the honor of being apart of! They asked me to sing this year and I obliged. It was a wonderful event where we raise over half of what it takes to run our organization in ONE night!! I didn’t even have to beg for a slow dance…in fact, he asked me twice….or more or less just said “lets go”….

I’m in a relationship now that is different for me as well.  It’s a good different but there is a fear of getting too close. I fear getting too close because the last time I fell in love with someone, God took him away.  Thankfully for Amelia and I, he is understanding of that fear and reassures me when we take it day by day. There’s a familiarity in the lifestyle as far as work goes too. It makes it a bit easier to work on myself while still knowing I have a safety net to fall into on those days we do get to see each other.  He is good and only time will tell where it takes us.  Neither of us were looking when he casually set his beer at my table…..

The pregnancy is going well! I am constantly tired from this little bean too! I could probably sleep through my entire first trimester to feel great! Some nausea in the morning that subsides with food. Unfortunately, nothing sounds good to me anymore as far as food goes so its a good thing they make pre-natal vitamins to make up for the lack of nutrients in my food choices.

As you can tell from the many different happenings, its been a road of ups and downs as per usual. However, even when the storm clouds threaten to dampen my sunshine, I continue to steer where I stare to lead me in a direction of happiness. Happiness is hard to come by when you grieve but I know it’s what I deserve. So I will continue to stare into the future, making plans and seeking happiness all while allowing God to show me what crazy new plan He has for me.  Every storm runs out of rain and the sun will shine again.



9 months…

A week ago marked nine months since Josh has been gone. It’s hard to believe how much closer we are to that year mark. Everyday it gets a little more unimaginable both in the aspect that he has been gone, and that we’ve managed to move forward without him.

It’s definitely not an easy task to grieve and seek happiness all in the same breath but I have been blessed with the best support a woman could possibly wish for.

It’s taken a lot of learning, a lot of growth , and a lot of resilience to get where I am at this point.

I can honestly say that I’m in a better place than I was.

It was crazy to think that it was 9 months ago and in 9 months from now, I will have a baby who, I can only presume, will also look like Josh.  Amelia looks like daddy so I assume the next one will too.

Yes, thats right, IVF worked the first time around and I am now pregnant! This is both exciting and terrifying.  I often wonder what the child will think knowing they were conceived after daddy died. I wonder if they will feel the loss we feel or if they will feel like they don’t belong? I think these are normal feelings for any parent, not just ones like me.  Ones like me who raise their kids alone in the hopes of finding some extraordinary partner to love them as their own.

I’ve been told it’s the ultimate labor of love. This child is being conceived based off the love I have for Josh. Maybe that is what I will tell them because it’s true. I am not having another baby because I feel obligated to or because it makes me feel closer to Josh. I’m having another baby because we always wanted more than one and what better way to show my love than to follow through on the things I can.  I will never stop loving Josh and I am aware my heart is big enough to love more.

Amelia is beginning to say she misses daddy now too… a day I knew would come and it’s heartbreaking every time. I was in tears when I explained it to my friend and then she looked at it from a different light… she said, “You know you’re doing it right if she misses him. You’re keeping his love and his memory alive enough for her to miss him.”

She’s right. I am doing everything I can to ensure she doesn’t forget her daddy in heaven.

We’ve also kept Josh’s memory alive by making scholarships in his honor. Yesterday I was able to call two recipients who won! I did not expect to get as emotional as I did.  Huge thanks to Operation Thank an Officer for funding the first place scholarship! We, as a family, decided to fund a second place scholarship because we were so impressed with the applicant. This will be an annual scholarship available to High School Graduates who have reached the rank of Eagle Scout and are going into a service related field in college.

What an honor it will be to present these young men with a scholarship in memory of a man who gave us everything he had.

I have found that through grief, the greatest feeling is giving back. Be it, time, money, or effort. I always strive to be better than I was the day before and choose to give back because in the end, it’s not what you take with you, but what you leave behind.

I thank Josh everyday for leaving with me values, hope and love. Love in the form of a tiny human who is so incredibly brave, smart, and loving. I love Amelia to pieces and I am so excited to see her rock the big sister role!

We also celebrated Steve and Cheryl’s 42nd Wedding Anniversary on May 1st! What a remarkable couple! I have always admired them from the beginning and I continue to be astounded at their love for one another and all of us! We share the same loss, we share the same hopes but best of all, we share the same love! They created such beautiful children and  I was honored to be married to Josh. I am even more blessed that they have kept me because I know I can’t always be easy! None the less, they move forward alongside us with a strength and passion I’ve never seen before! Happy Anniversary you two! Thanks for showing us what love is and can endure!

I choose love, truth and action as I move forward in this life. Love for all the things and people I have been blessed with, actions that show my love, and a never-ending truth of how this has and continues to affect my life. Let there be light and let there be hope. Without a solid foundation, I have no firm beginning.

 “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” – 1 John 3:18


Winging It

In any given day, I go through a whirlwind of emotions. In any given hour, I go through a whirlwind of thoughts and decisions.

That’s what this life is, a whirlwind.

We don’t have full control but we are able to make decisions about our path and sometimes there isn’t much time to think about it.

Maybe we are supposed to just “wing it”.

I know in motherhood, I wing it all the time! I have no idea what I’m doing but my kid still loves me so I’m doing it right. Some nights I make her  a nutritious meal, some times, we just eat cereal. I’m winging it but I love it.

It’s a weird concept for me to “wing it” considering I schedule my life on two separate white boards in my home… one in my bathroom so I see it every morning and night, and one in my mud room  so I see it everytime I come and go.

I’ve always been a planner with high hopes and big dreams. This hasn’t changed but my outlook and approach have recently.

The best part about scheduling on a white board is it can be erased.

After joining the gym and seeking mental health assistance, I decided, more so realized, I’m doing too much! Although I have all of these high hopes and big dreams, I don’t have to do them all in the first year since losing Josh! I was killing myself  trying to force my path when really all I needed was to take a step back and breathe.

School will still be there when I’m ready. My current job doesn’t require a bachelor’s degree and it was merely a goal.  My future would be open to even more possibilities with a BSN however, I will take my time on this one because soon, I may be pregnant.

Through all of the things I’ve been keeping up with, I was also still driving to the cities to continue the IVF process. I will find out in two weeks if it worked!!

In my previous post I spoke of the strength to keep forging a fire. There’s still strength in realizing too much is too much! I don’t have to set fire everytime I leave my house.

I’m glad someone was willing to speak up and say very bluntly to me “You’re doing too much to avoid the grief” because it stopped me in my tracks and made me reevaluate.

Suddenly, I began doing more things for myself and instead of focusing on maintaining grace, I allowed grace for myself.

I started off more growth with something I thought I’d never do, a photo shoot wearing nothing but undergarments! Never have I ever viewed myself as sexy and beautiful but in one half day photo shoot my confidence was boosted! I still can’t believe I did it but I also can’t stop looking at how great it all turned out!

Huge shout out to Sugar &Spice Photography for giving me such an incredible experience that has helped me change the way I view myself! It was so empowering!

I temporarily suspended school, and I dropped out of dating last month too. I was content being alone knowing I’d be raising two kids alone. My standards are high and I was even told “unrealistic”. Still I just shrugged my shoulders and said “so be it”.

I started going to more events alone because I needed to be out in public just to be away from the house and truly, it’s ok to do things alone. I’m strong enough to handle it.

One of Joshs sergeants was retiring and I decided, since I had taken the day off from work to do an ultrasound in the morning, that I would spend my night, wishing her well! Her and I had a rocky start when Josh was in the academy but now she’s a good friend!

It was at this retirement party that you’d think you’re safe from the thought of meeting anyone, especially after determining you were “over it” when it comes to dating. Most attendees are married and or drunk and really, who goes to a retirement party and leaves with a phone number? Apparently, I do.

so that happened.

I gave up dating and school and slowed down on business but God just didn’t want me to be alone.

His plans always astound me. A retirement party? Seriously.

Anyways, it’s been pretty great! It’s not been long but he has proven to me that I am worth it and he will be there. He even took me to my IVF appointment for egg transfer and then stayed to take care of me.

Quite the gentleman if I must say so myself.

So as for this new dating journey, I’m winging it. I’m throwing my cares to the wind and rolling with it. He is willing to date a potentially pregnant woman who also has a toddler and he is doing it well so far! He jumped right on in knowing that he has the potential to be

more than just “mommy’s boyfriend” and that at this early stage- the future only means he could be called “Dad”.

That part doesn’t scare me either. My kids calling someone else “Dad”. It’s inevitable. They will have a daddy in heaven and hopefully, a daddy here on earth. Whether he was found at a retirement party or not, it’s bound to happen.

I am very grateful for hanging out at that party for as long as I did and for walking back in to get the number of that cute guy! Jesse, since you were too chicken shit to ask, you’re welcome!

Speaking of chicken shit, he has chickens, and goats…. this city girl keeps landing a country gentleman who cares deeply about those they choose and even opens up doors! I haven’t seen the huge belt buckle yet but maybe that’s outdated now? Then again, I’ll be headed to tractor pulls this summer because I said I would…. I’ve gone country ya’ll!

My life is a whirlwind of winging it these days and I am so excited to ride the breeze!

I’ve got a new mindset and a new confidence so here goes nothing!

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer”-Romans 12:12



Terrible, Thanks for Asking

It’s been about two weeks since I last had the energy to write.  I wanted to many times but my body and mind just couldn’t. So many emotions and heartbreak came to surface after I arrived back from Los Angeles.

I went to Los Angeles on a business trip again to gain insight into myself and my business. What learning was had! My biggest take away was and still is “You can’t lead a team until you know who you are”.

So I began digging into who I am. The truth is I’m still learning. I’ve been so busy staying busy and making sure I push forward that I skipped over the part where I address the past.

I started digging so deep, I forgot to come up for air. On the outside I was smiling but internally I was suffocating myself.

I don’t know if anyone noticed because I like to tell myself that I do a pretty darn good job of hiding it. Then James, one of Josh’s partners from State Patrol shows up and basically guilts me into going to the gym, which leads to lunch and conversation. This led to a rolling ball of change.

I sought help and joined a gym. Then sought out mental health assistance.

There is no one set way to handle grief and it is so lonely. You’re never fully ok and each day is different even months after…

Sometimes the joy in life gives you wings but sometimes the pain cuts your soul like a knife. It’s hard to decide at any given moment if you’re flying or  bleeding.

Only one thing is certain through it all. Quitting is not an option.

So, I continue to run forward with a full plate and uncertainty of who I am but I am learning. After losing the one person I loved the most, I’ve cried tears uncontrollably and I’ve laughed at new things and old memories.

There’s fear, there’s hope, there’s loss, there’s grace.

I’m terrible, thanks for asking.

I can only hope I am maintaining grace through all of the pain. I was told my kid is happy and doing well and that it isn’t by accident. So, I know I am doing something right.

Two days ago I came up with the title for this post. Still I didn’t write. Then, yesterday, through this very outlet, I received an email from an old friend, Jay. Some of you may recognize this name from Josh’s Caring Bridge as he seems to come around exactly when his encouragement is needed. Jay overcame cancer and continues to live life to the fullest and never fails to forget those he met along the way.

The last time I saw Jay (and first time we met in person) was at Josh’s benefit. It’s been a very long time. Suddenly, I have an inbox from him that was so needed.

People seem to be afraid of the answer to the infamous “How are you doing?” question so they stop asking in fear they won’t know how to respond if I say anything other than “good”.

Psalm 121 tells me that my help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.  I’ve read the Psalm more than once since receiving it from Jay.

As I sit at the back of this coffee shop and try to hide the tears streaming down my face, I look around to see so many stories. Each one different than my own.

There’s a pair of friends who seem to have not seen each other in a while playing musical chairs until they reached the table they were hoping for. Two tables down is a man waiting while writing in his journal and ordering breakfast for himself and his girlfriend so its ready when she arrives, a pair of girls having a girls morning brunch, coworkers discussing very pertinent things and a waitress solely focused on giving those a good experience while here at her cafe.

I often wonder what their stories are. How different they must be from mine.

One thing is for sure, through any pain, the resistance against quitting got us all here to this cafe to smile, sip, and continue pushing forward to find happiness in our own lives regardless of what it looks like.

I’ve now learned in a bit of the hard way that I must face my past to fully move forward. My life was not a fairytale before Josh came along. He made my life exponentially better. He was my knight and my hero. It shook my faith to its core but it also ignited a fire in my soul that I beg the world to keep up with.

Some say I’ve taken on so much to avoid thinking about my grief… I say to those, you are right. It is easier to stay busy then to feel tears at every minute of every day. I will grieve, in time. On account of my faith and hope, I am able to blaze a trail for myself. That does not come without a few burns along the way but I will forever have the strength to keep moving on.

I decided to ask my waitress her name…. Theresa. I then asked “How are you doing?” There was a hesitation in her eyes and then clarification, “in this moment or in general?”  We began to talk and in a few short minutes I found she is going for her PhD and dicertatcion is taking longer than she had hoped. She lost two brothers close together and is 1 of 7. After revealing the loss of two brothers, she says, “We can all fit into one minivan now!” Because those who have lost know the importance of humor in even the darkest of circumstances. You can see she works hard and I have no doubt all of her dreams will come true and her trusty four legged companion will be there through it all. Thank you for sharing your story Theresa. Even on your tough days keep pushing. You’re doing great!

As I sat observing the young couple where the gentleman ordered her breakfast, I noticed her looking at Isaiah 40:10 which has carried me more than once.  Finally I saw her looking at other sayings and decided I would again step out of my comfort zone and ask if I could take a photo of her screen and introduced myself.  They are Toby and Kaelyn. Thanks guys for letting me interrupt you and take a photo! I know your friend is going to appreciate all of the notes because I appreciated seeing the reminders from tables away.

Don’t be afraid to ask someone “How are you doing”. Even if you get a “Terrible, Thanks for asking” response. You never know how long it’s been since someone has given them two minutes to check in. Never be afraid of a less than stellar reply. Everyone has a story.

You never know who the next person is that will inspire you to continue forging a fire.





Often, people get on a plane to get away. Today, I sat next to two gentlemen flying back to Los Angeles. One was headed home after business in Minneapolis, the other, taking his family on vacation and LA was merely a pit stop on their way to Hawaii!

When I arrived home last night after work, it was to an empty home. My roommate was out of town, my dog was at the kennel and my most valued treasure was in the loving hands of Nana and Papa.

This world takes us to so many places. Some places we choose, others we do not. When it’ all said and done, we tend to find our way back to where we call home.

I have been doing traveling for my technology company and  travel shorter distances such as to work. I can already hear Amelia saying “We’re hooooome” once she can see our house.  Her voice is music to my ears but the sight of our home tends to be bitter sweet still…..

I began to start thinking what “home” meant. They say, “Home is where the heart is”.  So, what’s a girl to do when her heart is 6 feet of earth away? That’s a question I may never be able to answer but merely a feeling I continue to work toward because home is not a place, it’s a feeling. 

I feel out of place most days as I try to navigate this life without Josh. I am moving forward for myself and Amelia but it’s a strange feeling to navigate while your heart still feels an emptiness that gives a constant reminder of how out of place you feel in your own life story. This is not how it was supposed to be.

You never get married with the intent of being alone. You never have kids with the intent of raising them alone. When you get married, it’s supposed to be forever. When you have kids, there’s supposed to be a team of parents helping them grow into wonderful adults and encouraging them to chase their dreams.

It’s difficult when I visit Josh because I know that the physical and tangible being who was my husband is 6 feet of earth away but, yet I believe his spirit is in heaven shining down on us. I’m torn between what I know and what I believe. Leaving me again, out of place as I try to decipher what is real and how I am supposed to find home without the one I was building my life with.

Home is where you feel most comfortable. For me, that was in Josh’s arms. Josh was home to me.

Every day I feel broken and every day I keep going. My hearts home was Josh. We created an incredible little human who has taken over my heart like wildfire. I will always miss Josh but in the midst of finding a new me, a new beginning, and a new home, I found home in the arms of a tiny toddler who loves me even when I fall short in my mom duties.

I am both nervous and anxious to create one more little human with Josh.Never in my wildest dreams did I envision myself having to go through IVF without Josh. We planned the IVF journey prior to the start of chemotherapy but we also assumed he would be here by my side to help me through it. God had other plans and while I do not agree with God’s plan currently, I agree with how I want our story written. I am moving forward with an audience of one to please.

Even though I feel out of place most days, I know I will always have a home in Amelia’s arms and soon, I’ll get to embrace another set of arms that will bring me back home the same way Amelia does.

Home is what you make it. Home is where the heart is. Home is my Amelia. Home will be all of my children. I cannot wait to follow through on dreams Josh and I had and give Amelia a sibling!

Although, I hope for her sake it’s a girl because she was not having the possibility of it being a boy….

IVF begins in April and if it takes the first round, we could be welcoming another slice of home in the New Year. Which would be fitting for all of these new beginnings that I continue to be blessed with.

I will forever love Josh. I will forever miss him.

I will forever find home in the humans we created. I wouldn’t be able to do any of this without my home; my heart; my Amelia.

It only hurts when I’m breathing

Over the course of 7 years I transformed myself into the best companion for Josh. We were made for each other. We fit perfectly together as we grew and learned from one another in so many ways.  Josh is a huge reason as to where I am today. Not just the location of my home, my job and the title “mom” but overall. Josh came into my life when I was ready to call it quits and he never gave up on me. Every day we worked to make each other better and every day, we did. Sure, marriage came with arguments, compromise and even sacrifice but we were a team. Now I am having to transform all over again but this time I am alone.

They always say there is no “I” in team and it’s true. Here I am being forced to refer to things without my partner and everything is “I” or  “Mine”.

I am struggling because I have so much love to give and nowhere for it to go.

My home is quiet and lonely without Josh. Even when toddler laughs fill the halls, the deafening absence of his voice hits the heart.

I am a single mom trying to rediscover who I am while putting on a brave face to prove to our daughter that no amount of pain should hold you back from success.

Failures do not define you.

God may have a plan, but I write my own story. I’ll lean on Him when I am weak and praise Him for everything I have.

I want to have one more baby with Josh and the time is coming soon. IVF is around the corner and my plate is again overflowing but I will make it because I’m a fighter.

I didn’t get to write in my happy ending the first time but I can write in a new happy beginning….

The failures of all my yesterdays still sting because I put my whole heart into them. I gave my whole heart to Josh too.

I am left with memories and heartache but every day I try to find joy in new beginnings.

I continue to  smile, I  continue to laugh, and I continue to pray because it only hurts when I’m breathing.

Fear is a liar

I recently heard a song that led me to begin hashing out more emotions but I placed them on the back burner because I worked all week.

It’s so easy to be consumed by day to day tasks that I forget I still need to take time for myself. That goes for those grieving and for those who aren’t.

I have found in grief that I allow fear to take over from time to time and it shakes my core. I fear failure and I fear success. Weird isn’t it? Most crave success but sometimes we are afraid of it.

I dreamt all of my success would come as a mother and wife…. then suddenly I was no longer a wife. I was a widow. I am a widow.

This future life of mine is not one I ever dreamt of as a little girl.  When you’re a little girl, you dream of that handsome prince carrying you off into the castle, getting married in a church and living in eternal bliss.

Needless to say, my prince didn’t own a castle and while we did get married in a church, marriage wasn’t always eternal bliss but it was enough. Marriage was work and we did it well. Mostly, we respected each other enough to know when the other had to compromise more. I loved being his wife.

Josh hated photos but I loved taking pictures because he was my happy. Looking back, I am glad he compromised on photos. I’m glad I forced all those photos on him! Even if there was an eye roll before every single one.

I try to tell myself that I am making him proud but it’s easy to get caught up and feel like I’m failing somewhere in someway or another. Could it be in school, as a friend, a daughter, or heaven forbid, as a mother.

Lately, Amelia has been having melt downs that are hard to explain, hard to watch, hard to recover from and actually bring me to tears because I do not know what to do. I begin thinking maybe it’s me going back to work? Maybe it’s because I’m traveling too much for my network marketing business? Maybe I’m just not good enough as a mom?

These melt downs go on for up to 45 minutes so far and I fear if they begin to last longer….

What happens when I add another baby to the mix? For some of you, you’re just joining into the journey. Josh and I banked specimens and I had initially thought I wanted a baby immediately. I still want another baby but when is the question…

I fear going against God’s will to selfishly meet my own wants.

I fear dating but I also fear finding the right person.

Fear is a liar in that it steals so much time and opportunity.

I’ve said before that I need my faith to be greater than my fear and it’s true yesterday, today and tomorrow.

I keep finding and trying new things, meeting new people, and really propelling myself forward while I navigate who I am going to be from here on out.

I know what I want out of life, my career, and my relationship. I have to work on patience with myself to get there.

Josh and I may have known right away that we were it, but it took years to build our life together so, it’s going to take years for me to build a life without him. I am afraid to do it without him and I’m even more fearful to be successful at it.  All I have is because of him. We worked together to build a beautiful life and now I’m left with shattered dreams.

I will continue to lean on my faith and give every effort to let it be greater than my fear. God gave me Josh. He must have a happier ending for me….. I trust that He does.

I must be doing something right if my daughter still ends the nights with hugs and I can still make others smile.

I may be broken but I’m not dead yet. Fear is a liar and I refuse to let it win.

I am a widow. I am a mother. I am a fighter.

Never let the fear of being broken keep you from trying again.



The Bravest Thing

Recently, I read an article about a young woman whose spouse had been murdered. He was a deputy and she was a devoted wife. The pain was so much that over the course of a few years, she spiraled downward until her demons took over and she went to meet her husband in heaven.  I feel for her and her family. I couldn’t help but feel her pain over the death of her spouse. Many times I’ve wanted to sleep and not wake up until it was my turn to see Josh’s face again.

Regardless of how your spouse died, the pain is  suffocating.

Grief is an awful thing. It does make you question life and is often debilitating.

The last two days, I have gotten home early from training and told myself how productive I was going to be. Instead, I put on music and cry and then I sleep. I was late picking up Amelia because I simply wanted to sleep until this bad dream was over. I felt like a horrible mom but there is no denying how truly broken I am after losing my soulmate.

Everyday I smile and make jokes despite the hurt in my heart.

Many may not know but I spent 10 years as a military medic. I deployed once overseas. One would think thats brave…. When I returned home from deployment I was forever changed and thoughts of not being good enough consumed me. Then I made a decision to not be alone because being alone contributed to my spiraling thoughts, Josh stepped in and saved me from myself. He encouraged me to seek help to which I did.  I spent two years going to the Post Traumatic Stress Recovery at the VA. All it took was one text to Josh that said “I’m not okay” and he would race home from work no questions asked. With the help of those doctors and Josh, I was able to see light on my darkest days…

Then the day came when my knight in shining armor was ripped from my hands. I no longer felt brave, I no longer felt strong, and all over again I felt alone. I shook my hands at the sky asking why. I replay our journey in every aspect trying to examine if there was any point I could have changed the outcome. Trying to decipher if I truly did everything I could have. Was I strong enough for him? Was I brave enough?

Over the immediate weeks after Josh’s death, I chose to be the best mom for our Amelia. Even though I felt dead inside, I knew I owed it to her to live. There is no way I could possibly let her down even if I felt as though I had let Josh down.  I do not know if we hadn’t had Amelia, if I would have tried so hard.

It would be so easy to give up. To give in to the pain simply so I could see his face again.

But I won’t.

The bravest thing I’ve ever done in life is something I do every day.  I live.

I wake up and I choose joy.

Instead of letting the pain cripple me, I use it in a way God and Josh would be proud of. I know they are.

God has carried me and led me to some pretty amazing people. He led me to Josh and He will continue leading me…..

I may not always make the best decisions and sometimes, I fall short on making dinner but I’m moving forward with the pain on my heart. All while gripping my faith around every turn.

One day someone will answer the call and be ok with me not being “ok”. When that happens, I’ll be ready to open my heart because the bravest thing I’ll ever do is just simply to live.

Thank you God for giving me Josh, giving me a chance and leading me to the next chapter of my life….







Tell your heart

I’m still not where I want to be, but I’m a long way from where I was.

Tuesday will be 7 months since we lost Josh. Some days it feels like it was yesterday I was with him in his final breaths and some days I look back and amaze myself with how far I’ve come.

Every choice I’ve made since God took him home has been to grow myself in an attempt to piece myself back together and create a new beautiful.

Everything we wanted is just a memory. I’ve had to learn to be ok with making a new journey for myself and Amelia and I don’t yet know where it will take us.

The life I had known fell to pieces and I have learned to pick it up one piece at a time.

I remember saying, “The sun still shines through broken glass” and every day I get to remind myself of that. Stained glass windows are merely broken glass pieced together in different ways to create something beautiful.

I don’t necessarily recognize myself in the mirror every day but every day should be different. I should learn from the day before and continue to build myself up in times of doubt. I keep asking God to change the things around me  but I’ve found that through His strength, He is changing things inside of me to create a  different yet still beautiful version of who I am.

You may recall that I started my first job as a nurse recently. I was put on the floor pretty quickly and one of my first patients to arrive was simply coming to us to pass away. This patient was a steadfast faith driven individual with a family full of warriors. I was fortunate enough to get to know this family and they have most definitely left a mark on my heart. I would often sing to the patient because I knew they could hear it. If my voice could lift them up I was willing to do it. It was hard but it was appreciated and at the time I knew it was therapeutic for the patient and family… it wasn’t until the day came for the patient to meet Jesus that I realized just how incredible that experience was for me. At the time I just wanted to do my job to the best of my ability. I didn’t realize my abilities far outshine being “just a nurse”.

My ability to empathize and have hard conversations about death stood out. My ability to calm, reassure, and uplift this family made me realize that the struggles have been worth it.

I will never know why God took Josh. It will hurt forever but through my life I will use the pain for a greater good and connect with those who may also be suffering.

I became a nurse to do more and in just one week I realize I have. The family called me their angel. I wouldn’t be that to them, without a few of my own watching over me.

Living life means taking chances. It is not always easy but if you tell your heart to be open, the possibilities are endless.

I found myself walking through a snowstorm this weekend with a man I had just met that morning. We stopped on a corner and I looked to find we were right next to “Cancer Survivors Park”. I could not believe how quickly the pain came on and then subsided with a hug. A hug that said it’s ok to be broken. A hug that said, I don’t understand but I’m here.  Through spontaneity and a snowstorm, I felt it begin again….

People have often asked, “how do you do it?”

I’ve made it this far by believing in God, knowing that He has a greater plan for me and simply smiling through the pain. Your smile holds a lot of power and a good spirit attracts good things.









Our Little Lady

Today is Amelia’s 3rd birthday and I chose a lady bug theme. Amelia decided she liked lady bugs today so I guess I dodged a breakdown (last week she was having nothing to do with lady bugs)!

During this celebration, Josh was hardly mentioned. The main focus was on Amelia but we were all hurting at the same time. I hid my tears pretty well but I also kept my back to the crowd when it was beginning to get tough.

How could our baby be three? It feels like just yesterday she was dressed up as a lady bug for her first halloween. I remember that day very well because my friend came to take photos of us at my

grandmothers house.  Grandma was pretty frail but I wanted her to see our cutie patootie. We happened to snag a decent family photo too.

We were so in love with our little lady then and she still continues to bring so much light now! Even in the midst of tremendous darkness in our hearts.

Decorating for a third birthday is really all for the parents because she won’t remember any of it… that’s why knowing her daddy isn’t here hurts even more. She won’t remember him. All she will have is the photos we took and the stories we tell.

It’s so hard to choose joy over and over again when all you want is to break. It’s hard balancing all of the positives in life when theres a cloud looming because you know Josh should be here.

Every new first without him is going to hurt and every event thereafter will hurt too. First days of school, first day in “big girl undies”. All of it. There will be so much joy and yet there will be so much pain. There will always be the pain of him not being able to see his little girl grow up. Josh even broke down once because he was afraid he wouldn’t be here for her but I told him he would. It’s hard to not feel like I let him down. I just kept telling us both that he was going to make it. I never let up. I just kept pushing him to do better because I truly believed we would overcome this together.

Oh miss Amelia, mommy loves you so! I hurt because I miss Josh and I hurt more for her. One day it will be her birthday again and the depths of knowing her daddy is in heaven will hit her too. Maybe then we will cry together.

After Josh’s transplant, we set a goal to be home in time for Amelia’s 2nd birthday. We met that goal and were able to celebrate for the first time in our new home. So much moving had occurred it was nice to be in our home and especially to be together as a family for our sweet little lady!

Every day I wake up is a bitter reminder that what I had will never be again. What Amelia should have had is forever changed.

We put on smiles and we spoiled her rotten. We silently grieved but we all stayed strong for her. Thank you to my family both blood and through marriage. You gave me the strength I needed today to enjoy our little lady, miss sassy pants, my sweet angel. I keep going because of you.

Amelia, you deserve so much in life and mommy is going to be damn sure you get it. Although if we could avoid pink and pom poms I’d appreciate it….

Our little lady is 3 today. I hope it all looked great from a bird’s eye view.

Wish you were here.