See You Soon…

“Can you pray for me?”  Those were the only words I could mutter out in the bathroom as I was trying to pull myself together to sing in honor of a friend…a man of God, an awesome husband and dad, a cool student leader and a rockstar musician.  Especially in these moments, it’s clear that my strength only comes from the Lord.  

Never in my life have I experienced such an urgency to make sure that this life I’m living is for one reason, and one reason alone…to truly and completely live for Him.  When the shock of somebody you care about suddenly leaving this earth, you can’t help but have a soul check…then the questions start to raise…Lord have I made you proud with my life?Did I miss an opportunity to share your love with someone who needed it?Was I too concerned about what they would think of me?  Naturally tears are shed, the realization of what has happened becomes clear, and we move forward.  However, for me this time is different…I’ve had to grieve the passing of friends, family members, and even my own little one, but for some reason, the light bulb is on in my soul more than ever before.  I found myself not even asking why but asking how

At 34, I have experienced enough life that, for me, the why wastes time and energy.  I don’t know why, but I know God…quite frankly that’s all that matters.  Until God decides to give us the why, we have to move forward knowing that His plans are far greater than what our minds can comprehend.  It sucks…it’s painful…but then God shows up in our weak moments and gives us the strength and peace to keep going…to simply trust Him.

Today was a true testament of God’s peace and joy…it’s indescribable.  As I was singing on stage, I kept glancing over at the two cool kids (they are technically young men, but I’m older so I call them kids) worshipping the Lord through the instruments that God has gifted them with…their amazing mom was standing in the front row with her hands lifted high, and let me tell you…I was in awe.  In awe of the God that we serve…in awe of His perfect peace and complete strength.  Their faith and hope in the Lord is so evident.  Will the boys miss their dad, and will she miss her husband?  Absolutely…but they have hope.  Hope that God will fulfill His promises to us, and that we will see Eric again.

So now to answer the how…for me, honoring Eric will be by taking action and asking God, “How can I live for you today?”  Asking myself, “How can I find ways to be bolder in my faith?”  Asking others, “How can I pray for you?”  This life is not about us…it’s about our Creator, and living a life meaningful to Him.  Our days on this earth are numbered, and at the end of this temporary life I want my Father in heaven to say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”


Sherry, Timothy and Jonathan…It’s an honor to share music and life with you…I love you.

Eric…We miss you, but we’ll see you soon.

And Then There Was 12….

Since I started this blog a few years back, I promised myself that I would take time every year to reflect on my birthday.  Well, that has been so powerful for me mentally and emotionally, that on our 10th anniversary, I decided to do the same thing…and then year 11…and then there’s this year…year 12.  My husband is not naturally the reflection type…he usually says something sarcastic about it, but follows up with sitting and indulging with me about my findings.  Which brings me to my point of this whole post…how do you make it to 12 years of marriage in today’s culture?  Books, conferences, counseling, etc. are available at our fingertips that will assist us in answering that question.  But, is that enough?  Well, from my experience you can receive all the perfect advice, get as much counseling as you need, read as many fix your marriage books, but until you stand and choose to apply it, all it becomes is a bunch of great words.  If you are at a point in your marriage, and you want to throw up your white flag and surrender, take a deep breath…decide right now whether or not you will choose to keep fighting this battle…it can get better, it will get better, it will take work, but it’s worth it.  We all on the same page now??  Ok, good! 

So let’s get practical for a moment…the hubs and I were sitting down drinking our morning coffee, with no kids around…let’s have a moment of silence for uninterrupted conversation…while in my reflection mode, I started to ask him a question…”What practical tools have you learned in 12 years that you could share with somebody who’s still new to the marriage journey?” He quickly responded, “Drink alcohol.”  Now, I mentioned earlier that he’s sarcastic right??  After we stopped laughing, he shared with me from a husband’s perspective what he’s gained…

When giving to your spouse, whether it be emotionally, physically, or practically, you can’t expect the same in return.  That’s good right?!…and so true!  What you put into your marriage, you can hope for the same in return, but don’t expect it.  Those expectations will lead to anger, disappointment, and bitterness.  Simply give to your spouse because you love them, period. 

Understand how your wife deals with certain information.  Now this is coming from an officer. As a LEO wife, I know more than I want to know…it just comes with the gig. However, the hubs knows what I can emotionally handle and what I can’t. There’s certain things he won’t share with me because it’s going to have a negative effect on me.  Now let me be specific here…we are not talking about hiding something from your spouse that could be damaging to the marriage.  This is about a husband protecting his wife’s emotional and mental state. 

Have a community of people around you that support your marriage.  This was a big lesson for me as well.  There’s going to be people in your life that support your marriage, and people who would not be the best option for marital advise.  Seek out those who will hold you accountable, pray for you and your spouse, who will listen to you and not judge you.  Not only do you need this for yourself, but people need you to be that for them as well.

After he shared, he asked me the same question…I agreed with everything he said,  but had a couple of my own that I’ve recently discovered in the last few years. 

My convictions are not my husband’s convictions.  Meaning, just because something may seem wrong to me, or may shake my relationship with the Lord, doesn’t mean that it’s the same for him. We each have our own relationship with the Lord…only God truly knows our hearts.  We all have weaknesses and faults…but some things aren’t always black and white.  Instead of judging our spouses, let’s encourage them and build them up to constantly seek God in all we do.  Don’t carry that burden because it’s not yours to carry.

Forgive and truly forget.  We have failed each other in several ways over the years and will continue to because we are not perfect…we are human.  How we move on is where this comes into play. IF you say you forgive your spouse, then move on from the hurt that you have felt. To constantly bring up the past in a disagreement means you haven’t forgiven them, and you are keeping a record of wrong. Forgive and move on…it’s not only freeing, but you will have more energy to love your spouse instead of harboring the hurt.

12 years…more than a decade of life…and still going strong. 

Entering the World of 2…

Two years have come and gone ever so quickly.  The little chubby baby that once used to happily sit in once place, now runs full speed down the street trying to keep up with his big brother.  His dull and quiet cry has now turned into loud sounds of police cars and monsters.  Those chunky uncoordinated legs have now turned into a solid base for launching off the couch.  My little man has entered the world of a two year old toddler…

I never knew how much God was going to bless me after going through a painful loss.  Having to say goodbye so soon to our second baby was one of the toughest experiences in my life.  Surgery…a year’s worth of blood tests…constant confusion and sadness was my new normal.  Although we never got to look into the eyes of our little angel, God was, and still is, my unfailing comfort and joy.  There were times I felt so alone, but I knew that whether or not we could have another baby, I was blessed to already have a healthy and handsome boy running circles throughout the house.  Well, if you’ve been following along thus far, you know that we were blessed with another baby boy…and oh man, did God show off with this one!  From the moment I found out I was pregnant, to the first time I stared into those big brown eyes, God was in complete control.  He eased my worries and blessed me with such an incredible experience.  According to my doctor, my pregnancy and labor were textbook, and our little man was perfect.  As I sit here and reflect back on that time, I’m overwhelmed with love for my Savior for allowing me to birth two beautiful boys.

Enough about me…let me tell you about this bundle of joy who just turned two years old!  He is my happy child!  He is incredibly loving, and definitely mama’s boy.  He looks at me with those eyes and my heart melts.  His love for music, snuggling, wrestling with his brother, and food…yes, I said food…makes him such a joy to be around.  Now I won’t go into detail about the fact that he likes to now take his diaper off, regardless of what’s in it, tell mommy and daddy his new word, “No,” and decorate my walls with his artistic scribble…no, I won’t go into those details.  I’ve simply accepted the fact that this isn’t his true self, but his two year old self is showing up and pushing boundaries.  Ha!  There are no words that can possibly describe how full my heart is, and how complete I feel with my family of four.  Happy 2nd Birthday my little pound cake…mommy loves you more than you will ever know!!

Madre, Mami, Mommy, Mom…

On days like today I, along with many others, take the time to reflect on motherhood.  Not only do I reflect on myself and the ways I can be a better mom, but I think about my own mom.  Without fail, as the years pass, I am more and more in awe of my mom.  Motherhood can be such a thankless portion of our lives, which makes today a great opportunity to thank our moms…to thank my mom….

Thank you for teaching me the importance of family time at the dinner table…thank you for reading to me and playing games with me…thank you for working overtime so that we could have a great Christmas and family vacations…thank you for enduring sleepless nights when I was sick…thank you for taking me to get my ears pierced…thank you for buying me my first pair of ballet shoes…thank you for all the prom dress shopping adventures, and for comforting me when I felt discouraged because nothing fit right…thank you for taking me to buy my wedding dress and for making sure I had an amazing wedding…thank you for helping me set up my dorm room and my first apartment…thank you for showing me how proud you were at my college graduation…thank you for taking me shopping for maternity clothes, and for easing my worries by simply showing up when I was in labor.  Thank you for asking the hard questions, and challenging me in my decisions…for not giving in when you wanted to, but knew I needed to learn a life lesson. Thank you for praying for me and showing me how to be a godly woman, wife and mother…Thank you for your unconditional love that started the moment you knew I existed.

Always…

For about a week now I’ve been debating whether or not I should write about the anniversary of losing our little one.  It almost seems odd to annually discuss such a traumatic event, however, a part of me thinks that if I don’t say anything, then I’m not fully honoring the baby…that I’m not being fully transparent.  There is comfort in writing about it, and the very essence of this blog is to create a space of vulnerability and relate ability.  If my words lend comfort to somebody who has experienced a similar situation, or is currently going through it, then I’ve fulfilled my purpose; and to you I say, you are not alone…it will get easier.

  
 

January 3rd marked 3 years…how interesting that this year I’m 33 years old…don’t you love when life connects in such a way?  In some ways it feels like it’s been longer then three years, and in other ways it feels like it was just yesterday we were holding hands at the hospital nervously awaiting my surgery.  Never in a million years did I think my body would react the way it did…I’m beyond the questioning, beyond the grief…I’m now in a stage of gratefulness.  Grateful for my two healthy boys…grateful for my little family of four.  I will never be the same, and often wonder what he or she would have been like.  God is in control…we may not have all the answers, or know the big picture, but what I have experienced is an indescribable joy, a sense of peace and comfort that can ONLY come from the Lord.  Loss is loss…it’s an absence of something great, but how I’ve dealt with loss is a true testament of God’s love for us.

  
I will always honor my little one because a mother never forgets her children…after all, they are the only ones who know what my heartbeat sounds like from the inside.  Te amo siempre, mi Ángel.

  

Finally, My Favorite Number…

As you may know, every year on my birthday, I take a moment to self-reflect on my last 365 days.  Usually I find great joy in this task, however, this year it felt like a chore.  When I turned 29 I started this blog, and I promised myself that I wouldn’t write out of obligation, but that my words would serve as therapy and, hopefully, as encouragement to those who read them.  Seeing as my birthday is on Christmas Eve, it took me about a week to feel inspired…(being sick on my birthday definitely didn’t help me get my thoughts together)…which now brings us to the present moment (queue drum roll)…I am finally my favorite number…33!!  

  
 

Before moving forward, I took some quiet time to reflect on my 32nd year…my baby boy turned one, (now you can understand why I’m exhausted these days chasing after my new toddler), my oldest son started kindergarten, (what is with all the homework??…it’s kindergarten for goodness sake!), I started a new job that is mentally stimulating and challenging, my personal relationships and friendships have continued to grow, but most importantly, God continued to strengthen my gifts; in turn, the depth of my relationship with Him continues to increase. (John 3:30)

  

What’s so amazing about God is that He has a great deal of layers…I’m constantly learning more and seeing Him continue to work in wonderful ways.  As years pass, I will continue to physically and mentally change, but God still remains the same.  I can always count on Him, and even when my human nature tries to take over, He reminds me that He STILL is in control.

I see you 33, and welcome you with open arms…Cheers.

  

11 Years…

11 years of marriage…11 years of sacrifice…11 years of laughs…11 years creating a family…11 years of praising God for seeing us through yet another year.  When I look at the number 11, and take it for face value, there’s something symbolic that catches my eye…two number 1s coming together to create something new.

Many times we go through life saying, “Happy Anniversary,” “Thank God we made it another year,” “Wow, how time flies,” and “I love you more today than ever before.”  While all of this is true, this year, our 11th year, has caused me to pause and say something a little different….THANK YOU.  You may be thinking, “Really…that’s it??”  I simply say, yes…that’s it…yet how profound this phrase is for me this year.  “Thank you,” to the people who stood by us and for us through these 11 years.  On the outside you may only see two individuals coming together, but what you don’t see are all the individuals who played a vital part in keeping what you see, together.  I thank our parents for constantly praying for us, and for setting wonderful examples of what a Godly marriage should look like.  Thank you to our pastor for making us promise him that if the road leading to divorce was close, that we would meet with him in a last effort to mend what was broken.  Thank you to my cousin for encouraging me to make right what was going wrong.  A huge thank you to my fellow LEO wives who have been there to encourage me, give me godly advice, and to lend a comforting ear when I needed it.  Thank you to my Hen Den for constantly walking alongside me and my husband through this journey of marriage AND parenthood…for taking care of my boys, and loving them like they are your own kids.

11 years of serving God together…11 years of not giving up…11 years of praying together…11 years of love.

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“Three things will last forever – faith, hope, and love – and the greatest of these is love.”  -1 Corinthians 13:13

35 Looks Good…

Do you ever have those moments where your perception of reality is greatly scued?  I usually have these moments when an anniversary occurs, or a birthday.  I am forced to recognize the year, and in that moment I realize how much time has passed.  Then that realization proceeds with a, “What have I been doing with my life?!”

35 is his new number…yes, simply a number.  Not a definition, not a new health benefit bracket…a number.  A number that he is wearing extremely well…even better than when his number was 21.  Don’t get me wrong, he wore 21 like nobody’s business…after all, that was his number when I looked at his face and knew I was going to marry this man…but as the years have passed, I have appreciated him more and more.  It’s cliché to say, yet there is a great deal of truth to that statement.  Growing up alongside your spouse is not easy.  I wouldn’t have it any other way, but it still hasn’t been easy.  

When I think about the fact that I have been with this man for 14 years, married almost 11 of those years, my heart feels full and content.  I’ve watched him mature…I’ve watched him struggle…I’ve been with him through his failures, and I’ve rejoiced with him in his accomplishments.  We have shared many different moments together, but there are a few things about him that have remained the same, and that is his hilarious sarcasm, his brutal honesty, his haircut…yes, I said haircut!…his generosity, his servant’s heart, his integrity, and most of all, his love for God.  He doesn’t let his career define him…it simply adds to him.  He’s a leader in every aspect of his life, and I admire his driven nature.  He goes from zero to ten in seconds, but has one of the biggest hearts. 

This past weekend, we got to celebrate his birthday.  He thinks he’s getting old, but I say, “35 looks good on you babe.”  Cheers to the love of my life, the father of my children, and one of our community’s finest.  

  

Six Years Ago…

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Six years ago, I discovered a whole new side of love. A love so selfless, unwavering and unconditional. The day I said, “I do,” was a magical and indescribable day.  I remember thinking that my heart was finally full…at complete capacity for this man standing next to me.  I never knew the heart was capable of compartmentalization until September 3, 2009 at 2:40am.  This was the moment my heart exploded out of my chest as I looked into the eyes of my firstborn son.  At that second I knew my life would be forever changed.  As I laid in awe of God’s gift, I glanced over at my husband, whose smile lit up the room…he too knew that this love was a love like no other…instantaneous and perfect.

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After 72 hours of labor and extreme complications, it was completely worth it. Don’t get me wrong, they were the worst 72 hours of my life, but at the exact minute I saw him, my heart melted and I knew I would do it all over again.  From the moment he started walking at 10 months old, I knew this beautiful boy who would scream at the top of his lungs just to hear the sound of his own voice in the middle of Target, would give us a run for our money.  He’s incredibly intelligent and unbelievably stubborn.  His athletic ability amazes me…We have video of him hitting off a baseball tee at one years old with a paci in his mouth…he definitely gets that from his daddy.  He tests boundaries beyond belief, and makes me question my parenting skills on a weekly basis.  Yet, when he out of the blue says, “I love you mama,” all those frustrations go to the waste side.  He has our love for music, and my love for dance.  He already has such a great sense of humor, and he never ceases to amaze me with his creativity.

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This past weekend we celebrated his sixth birthday…I feel like his birthday comes faster and faster each year.  I don’t remember what life was like before he was born…wait, yes I do.  Those were the times I could sleep in and take Sunday afternoon naps without hearing the sound of mini police cars zoom by my bedroom door!  But in all seriousness, God has truly blessed us with Javan…I am so honored that God chose me to be his mother, and has allowed me to have a front row seat to his life’s journey.  He truly is one of a kind!

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Mi Ángel…

Two years ago today was the hardest day of my life.  A tremendous pain that was and still is quite indescribable…I remember wondering why my sadness was so deep within me.  I never saw a face, we never chose a name…but the sound of a precious heartbeat was all I needed to immediately fall in love.  A love so organic and natural…the love of a mother.  Being a mother is a true privilege and a blessing.  When I became a mother for the first time, I finally understood a fraction of what God’s love for us is like.

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Ironically, 11 years ago today was the day we got engaged…we never imagined that years down the road we would be grieving the loss of our second baby.  I will never know the why, and quite frankly I’ve realized these past two years that the why is insignificant.  What I do know is that God’s peace surpasses the pain, the questions, and the hurt.  I choose now to be thankful for the joy our angel did bring us.  Although it was brief, my life has been forever changed.

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Tomorrow the hubs and I have the privilege of dedicating our new baby boy…Gavin Benjamin…(future post about him coming soon)…Through our loss came a blessing in the form of another baby.  God had favor on me throughout my pregnancy and labor!  Gavin did not replace our angel.  You see, I may only have two living children, but I am and will always be a mother of three.

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