Mourning and Rejoicing

Oh it’s been a roller coaster. I sat down today during nap time and gave myself a few moments to feel all of my feelings. This probably seems ridiculous. It’s been a whirlwind of 48 hours.

Two nights ago I drove up to New Jersey with a few dear friends. Aly and I met in high school and had an instant sweet friendship. Emily and I were college roommates and I am BLESSED to live literally down the street from she and her hubs. Our little boys were born nine days apart which adds a sweetness that is insane. Her husband Ryan drove us up and we laughed that he said zero words the entire drive. Smart man! We went up for a surprise engagement party for my friend Brittany. She has been the sweetest, most supportive friend for the long hall. It was sheer joy to get to celebrate with them!!


Back to reality. I got a text that Lillian was puking at record speed. I got home and went straight to the basement with her where she woke up to vomit every 45 minutes for the next ten hours. Joy.

Then yesterday as we panicked that the rest of us would be vomiting any minute I got a phone call from my mom with some pretty shocking news about insurance coverage for my sister. She’s almost eight months in to a brain injury and although improving weekly she is nowhere near the picture of restoration that we beg the Lord for. Any insurance change is a bad change at this point in the game.

It felt like yet another punch to the gut. Dan and I layed in bed last night yet again with a tear stained pillow bringing her to the foot of the cross and begging for miracles. For redemption like we’ve never experienced. It hasn’t gotten any easier to wake up to slow progress.

We somehow made it to today. My very best friend had her third baby. A boy I haven’t yet met and already adore. 

In the midst of worry and tears and sorrow for Kate I somehow have joy and anticipation for a new baby to love. So happy he’s here but cautious because we’ve experienced some hell on earth in the last year and I want all these kids exempt from suffering.

So for 48 hours I’ve experienced joy and excitement. Nervousness over waiting for a new baby to come in the world which caused some thoughtless eating (marshmallows to be exact). Incredible sorrow as it seems like our mountain just got steeper with Kate. Then, as always, I’m forced to end and rest in hope. Hope for a beautiful marriage for a dear friend, hope for a happy and healthy life for baby Elliot. Hope that nobody else hurls. As always hope that my sweet sister is restored on this side of heaven, and constant prayers for her to feel inexplicable hope while we wait.

If you think of it, please pray that this insurance stuff gets figured out for Kate. It’s the last thing we want to be dealing with!

Nothing to Say

Usually I’m bursting at the seams with things to say but the new year has brought in zipped lips. For some reason it’s feeling sore. I don’t know how else to explain it. The ugliness of a life-altering diagnosis for my sister seemed like a 2016 thing. 2017 was supposed to be all healing and newness; birth and revival but it’s not yet. It’s still just as slow. It is sore. 

I’m on the prayer team at church and last week we had an evening of celebrating and remembering all the crazy and miraculous things God has done in the last year. It was a really powerful time! People being healed from physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional aspects of their lives. It’s just incredible to all sit together and put words to the things God let us in on. But we didn’t get through the night without some shed tears about Kate. We can simultaneously rejoice in ways she’s been spared, or in timing to things that brings comfort, or in the many victories. The truth of the matter is that there are some stories from the last year that aren’t really happy endings. They may be one day, but today isn’t their day. 

I feel like those people are my people. I have such a kindred spirit for those saying “but what about…xyz?”, “But what about that baby I lost?”, “But what about that marriage I was supposed to have?”, “But what about that cancer that wasn’t supposed to show up in my family?”.

Its so very hard to be in the “not yet” or even the “no” group. It’s not easy being a mourner that’s clinging to hope. I’ve been reading books about where God is in sorrow and let me tell you I had a whole lot of answers to that question before it was my personal struggle. It sure is easy to say “God is good” when your life is going as it should.

The hardest thing in the world to come to grips with is sometimes the clear answer is that it’s not about us. We are promised God and that is not synonymous with healing or rightness. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like enough but we aren’t the first family to go through hardship. We certainly aren’t the first family to wonder why our loved one isn’t being miraculously healed. Kate may be restored to our family, I truly believe she will and until that is true I will be begging the Lord on her behalf. But even if that’s not the way our story ends, I don’t want to have wasted my life asking “why?”. There’s a lot to be done and it’s just not helpful. So I’ve decided to stop. I’m out of control of this and that’s alright. 

One day I’ll have all of the answers but in the meantime I need to be okay with “no” or “not yet”. I’ve got a whole crew depending on my ability to live life while experiencing sorrow and for them and for Kate I need to change my response. No more “why?”. Moving forward there is only room for “God, be near!”


Silhouettes!

We’ve been doing a few cute little things to the house lately I’m going to share. First up:silhouettes!

A few years ago my family went on a big trip to Cape Cod. Lillian and Ephram were 1&2, Kate was 8 months prego with Vera and Judah was just a dream. Dan and I decided to drive from 9pm-5am (I wouldn’t recommend it!). Our bodies and our marriage barely made it there but my dear family took Lillian with them for breakfast while Dan and I took a nap. They were walking around the town and happened to walk by a toy store with a guest doing silhouettes. They came back with one of Lillian and I immediately got teary! He captured Lillian so sweetly and it was an instant treasure!

Fastforward a few years to sweet Judah and Vera joining our family and we have been on the lookout for a silhouette artist to complete our collection. I was scrolling facebook one day and saw an ad for a Guest artist at the local mall. So we went! It was equally precious and a joy for my mom to get to take the picture in for Kate to see. Funny enough the two artists are brothers! Erik and Karl Johnson. They both travel a good bit for their work so check out their sites for their schedules, I highly recommend both as they captured our kids perfectly.

The two silhouettes are now hanging proudly in my foyer and I love them! Since Lillian was about 15 months when she got hers I wanted Judah to be a similar age-18 months is close enough!

A few other fun decor changes coming soon to the blog! In addition, the old tenant is out and a new one moved in just a few days ago to our rental property. I’ll share a few tips we’ve learned our first year as landlords once we’re completely finished with the process.

Our First Year Being Landlords

In the midst of a chaotic year, our tenant decided to move out after a year (and a month). So we found ourselves with stress on stress on stress in October. We learned a few valuable lessons in that first year that I’d love to share!

  1. Get sewer line insurance. This is not just for rental properties. If your sewer line is old, just get insurance. We paid $6,000 to replace it and a neighbor of ours had the insurance and paid $50. Gulp. So check with your insurance company and add the rider! So important.
  2. We didn’t do a great job checking references. What would have been a few more detailed calls could have saved us the stress of lots of chasing late payments when our mortgage was due! Even if someone seems great, do some detailed reference calls.
  3. Have a lawyer draw up your lease. There are lots of great online resources to create a lease but get a living, breathing person to create your lease! We did this and it saved us when it got a little tense in the last month of the lease. We were so thankful we didn’t have a generic lease.
  4. If the way the lawn looks matters to you, hire a lawn care company. We had in our lease that the lawn was the tenants responsibility but that really is not very inforcable. The relationships we have with the neighbors of the rental property are important to us, we care what the lawn looks like, so we will likely pay from here on out for lawn care. It’s a tax deduction so it really is totally worth the peace of mind. Snow is still their responsibility!
  5. Get a good tax accountant. Find someone who can brainstorm with you over all of your potential deductions. Things like cell phone bills and internet can be deducted but we’d never have known that if someone didn’t tell us! This will end up saving lots of money in the long run.

Good luck! We’re happy we decided to keep the property as a rental and hope we can keep it for years to come! 

Do you have anything to add? Any questions for a newbie landlord?

Warrior!

So I’ve been wanting a tattoo forever and decided when I turned 29 back in June that I’d get it before I turned 30. I wanted to get a compass and even picked one out but as everything started happening with my sister I felt drawn away from that for now.

A mentor of mine who has been a great help in navigating the last six months was praying over me one day and started using the word “warrior”. I immediately saw it as a tattoo on my arm and the decision was made! I was looking for fonts I liked and Dan suggested I use Katie’s handwriting. Sob.

So my sister Lex went through lots of writing samples she has of Katie’s and Dans cousin put all of the letters together.

Lex and I went last night to the tattoo shop I chose. I was nervous at first but as soon as he started I looked at Lex and said “oh my gosh it’s nothing”. So about two minutes later it was done! Easy peasy.


A constant reminder to keep fighting. For Katie, for her family, for my own sanity! It’s a battle worth fighting.

Goodbye, 2016!

Adios! Ciao! 

In all seriousness, 2016 has been a doozie (and not just because Donald Trump won 🤐). 

We’ve had great sorrow and great joy. We’ve experienced horror and watched the miraculous. We’ve done none of it alone and for that we are so very thankful.

Happy New Year! My prayer for 2017 is for my sister to be fully restored to our family. Whether or not that happens I pray that our family and friends walk through life with the knowledge and companionship of Christ with them. There is just no way to make it otherwise!

My word this year is warrior. I’ll have a visual of that to share next week! But I truly need the daily reminder that I am a warrior. I have what it takes. I can do these incredibly hard things I’ve been handed. I can fight for what’s good and what’s right and I have everything I need to do that.

My verse this year is “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer” Romans 12:12. Could a verse ever be more fitting in a life!? I’ll take it! All of it! Joy patience and faith!

The Thrill of Hope

‘Twas two nights before Christmas and yours truly had a meltdown. I’ve had a sore throat this week so I’ve stayed away from my sister and it’s been hard! I like to go see her at least twice a week. I tell her what’s going on with her kids, bring her up to speed with random news in general, then I pray over her which usually leads to me crying over her and then apologizing for crying over her. I hold her hand, affirm all of the things I’ve heard or seen her relearn, I remind her of how far she’s come since this all began and encourage her to fight like hell.

It’s hard to do holiday things without her. One of her favorite days of the year is Black Friday. We just did our annual cookie baking day. Christmas itself is just two days away and she just loves it! She loves decorating for it, she loves cooking for it, she loves being with her family and watching the Amazon packages show up at her doorstep all month long. It knocks the wind out of me when I’m reminded of her absesnce in this season. 

A friend a few weeks ago reminded me in the midst of this waiting and championing that in the grand scheme of eternity this will be a blip. Don’t get me wrong, I want her to be totally healed and now! But what I also want is forever. I want forever with her healed, for all of eternity, healing in every way forever and ever. It somehow took the edge off. 

As a person who can get pretty anxious, I can honestly say I’ve never longed for heaven. It was absolutely foreign for me to hear people say that. Until his year. I’ve silently prayed so many times, “Lord, come soon”. 

So in this time of waiting for Kate to heal, and in this season of waiting as I think of Mary and really the world as they waited for their king. I can rejoice in progress, beg for more and still honestly say, “Lord, come soon!”.

**Katie’s mind works fine, she knows what she’s missing. Will you pray for her this Christmas? For incredible comfort for her. Would you pray for her husband and kids as they push forward in celebrating even when it’s hard?**

And LASTLY!

Here’s kate holding her “holding cross”. It was a great comfort to Katherine Wolf during her recovery and my mom wanted Kate to have one, too. Want one for yourself? Buy it from Hope Heals!