My baby nephew died yesterday.

He spent his whole life here on earth in a hospital.

His parents got to hold him only once in the first several weeks of his life.

He lived for 2 months and 19 days.

We have hope, that in heaven we’ll get the chance to properly get to know each other. But we have to wait until then. I don’t really get to know you who you are in this life, Theo.

But, in the short time that I did know you, I loved you deeply and you taught me quite a bit about pain–about dignity and faith and hope in the face of horrifying circumstances. You reminded me how to pray and refocused me on what matters. Sometimes, it can be easy to forget. I can’t ever thank you enough for teaching me those things.

I will miss you every day, until I see you again, warrior baby.


Aunt Michelle

more tiny humans

Ailey swinging

On a Friday in June–some of the best kinds of Fridays are in June–we found out that I am pregnant again.  Then, I promptly vomited, as if, now that it was official, I officially had symptoms.

This baby, unlike Ailey, is not a surprise.  Ailey is almost two, and though we were completely unprepared for her to make her grand entry into our family when she did, we’ve always wanted to have our kids be close in age.  Built in play-mates and learning to share by necessity and all of the things that come with close siblings sound like a dream.

So, here we are, actually doing the family thing, even if we feel like imposters, technically too inexperienced for the gig.  I’m still waiting for Some Authority Figure to sternly demand that I present the mom license that I don’t have.  But, they don’t give you a license when you have a baby, and this time next year, we’ll have two tiny people in our family.

There is often a lot of talk about being ready for babies and if there’s anything I’ve learned about building a family, it’s that “ready” is such an inadequate description of the situation.  I don’t know if part of it is because we didn’t actively decide to start when we did, or that I’ve always made really impulsive decisions, but being ready is kind of a myth.  There are so many things that you just adjust as you go–make room in the budget here, give up a thing or two there or promise myself I’ll sleep at nap time and mourn the loss of sleeping in while I sleepily smile at the toddler whom arrived in our bedroom at 6 am.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that motherhood has taught me so much about the realities of life and what little of it that I can actually control.  I’m grateful that our family is growing and that I think I’m actually maturing along with that growth.  But not too much…  ;)

what to do about the brokenness

A little refugee boy’s body washed up on the shore. He and his mother and brother all drowned, attempting to make it from Turkey to Europe. Three years is all that he got on this earth.

My tiny baby nephew was born three weeks ago, a month early, with respiratory complications. He’s been in the NICU since, on a ventilator, then on bypass, fighting day after day. He’s stable right now. His parents have been able to hold him once each.

I hear the news and cry. I think of my family members, arms and hearts aching to hold their new little one, but instead they hold exhaustion and worry. I think of that refugee family’s loved ones, mourning for two little boys and their mother, in the midst of being displaced from their home, wandering.

What do we do with it? All of this brokenness?

I want to look away. Cuddle my own daughter closer, try to push the images of that little boy, so close to her size,    who never had a chance.

But I won’t look away anymore. I won’t avoid seeing the pain so that I can see another episode on Netflix instead. I will see and I will know. I don’t know what, practically, I’ll do then, but I will know. And that seems like a good place to start.

Lake Tahoe, CA

This summer, we’re taking advantage of Trent’s lack of Sunday work commitments to travel a bit.

Last week, we drove 16+ hours to Lake Tahoe, CA, which is the craziest beautiful lake I’ve ever seen. The water is as clear as the Caribbean, which feels like it can’t even be true, but you’re looking right at it, so…?

Then, mountains rise up on either side of it, big and proud, and you’re like, okay, we get it. You are beautiful and you know it.

Just kidding. Tahoe is more humble than that.

But seriously.

We called for eight days and spent time with great friends and it was everything a vacation should be.

I’m realizing more and more, as an adult who has to fund my own life, how much of a privilege it is to ever take a vacation. We are incredibly grateful for a more restful season and the ability to travel to see something so beautiful. What a privilege.

We introduced Ailey to lake life, which she took too just fine. I passed my love of water to her, for certain. Thankfully it will be a whinge before she realizes we live land-locked.

Here we are with sun-kissed noses and happy hearts.

on feelings

The thing is, is that I feel too much.

I’m extremely sensitive, which can serve me well or betray me bitterly, depending on the circumstances.

This week, it felt like so much betrayal. Everything felt harder, each new hurdle compounding upon the others until I was just heavy with the weight of all of it.

I’m not sure that things are any better, but maybe I’m just deciding that they will be, whether the circumstances change or not.

I will redirect my sensitivity to the best things for how. I’ll take the bad in stride, while I keep moving toward more good. There’s no avoiding the bad stuff, but that doesn’t mean I have to dwell there.

Instead, I will dwell with the good and the beautiful and the growing and the overcoming. Instead, I will thrive.

an honest prayer

God, I am tired of this mess.

What are you doing here?

These are the questions of my heart, I pour them out in quick prayers over and over throughout the day.

I’m having a hard time, God.

I’m not sure that I know you that well anymore.

The only things I can think to pray are selfish, angry, hurt, and bitter.

Why are we here, God?

You must be doing something in this, right? Could you maybe show me soon?

My faith wears thin and I am clinging to promises that he is faithful when we are not, but barely.

We try church after church and don’t find much of you, God. Is that because you are not here or because I don’t remember how to look?

Why do I see you more clearly when I’m watching my daughter discover something new, or in the joyful bounds our dog jumps when we come home than when I’m sitting in a pew trying to look past the “show” and see your face?

I’ve grown up in the church. I’ve barely missed a Sunday in 26 years, until now. Now Sundays are really hard and when I actually find it in me to get to a church, whichever disappointment we’re attempting that particular week, I’m just discouraged.  I have been on the “inside” of American Church Culture for the last 26 years, but for the first time, I’m on the outside, and I don’t like the view.

Where are you, God? I used to know you once. We used to walk together and now you seem far away. I can’t seem to find you in the places that proclaim your name. But you must be here?

Where are you, God?

wrangling dreams

I used to have such a great memory.

But now, there are things that fill up the space and interrupt the making of memories, or their recall. I’m not sure where the breakdown is, but my has it broken down. It’s a weird thing, having your most trusted companion in life twist and shift until she’s a little less trustworthy. That’s my memory, a slightly less reliable version of a friend I used to have.

Lately, I find myself with less time to write it all down, and that has to stop. That’s the only way I’ll remember the details, because there’s so much to focus on, that otherwise they’d all run together. So, I’m writing it down and remembering this:

Today, Ailey walked barefoot in the grass for the first time. She’s done it a ton in her shoes, which she loves so dearly that we rarely leave the house without them, which is why it’s taken 19 months of her life before I realized that she’s never felt grass between her toes.

So I took her hand and said, “I bet you’ve never felt the grass under your toes, have you? Believe me, you’re in for a treat!” And her eyes lit up and she squealed and jumped around a bit, thrilled with the new sensation.

I thought my heart my literally explode right in that moment, and basically this is a picture of what parenthood has looked life for me so far. Sure, there are the days that are really hard, when toddlers are inconsolable, and mamas are tired and just not. having. it. But days like today are the ones I will remember best, when I had the great privilege of holding a tiny girl’s hand when she first felt mud squish between her toes. I know this isn’t the dream gig for everyone, and parenthood isn’t in the cards for each of us, heck, I wasn’t prepared for it when it was thrust upon me. But, man. I am overwhelmed with it. Ushering a new person through each new life experience. What an honor.