Out of My Comfort Zone

I remember the days of being back in high school, when I could literally eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I would come home from school & seriously polish off the worst foods. I’m talking boxes of mac n cheese, mashed potatoes & gravy (getting hungry yet??). I even remember thinking I had hit the jackpot because I just knew I had great genes & it would never catch up to me.

It didn’t. Until I had babies.

I also had seriously not done an ounce of exercise until after I had babies. Well, scratch that. When I was pregnant with the girls, I attempted exercise because it made me nervous seeing the scales creep up every time I would go in to the doctor. I wanted to be healthy and feel healthy again, so I figured I should do a little exercise. I would do a few videos here & there but nothing serious. And my eating habits never changed.

Fast forward to post-baby. I wasn’t happy with myself and how my body had bounced back after pregnancy (particularly baby #2!), but I was consumed with nursing, pumping, going back to work full-time, not to mention once Zoe came along all of my concerns, her therapy & doctors’ appointments–add all that up and by the end of the day I was literally exhausted.

No time for me.  But I was okay with that. After all, I assumed good parenting meant self-sacrifice and I needed to put my babies first (which I still believe it does!). I wanted to put them first. I loved being a mom, I had just sort of forgot that I was still me also. I found my confidence not in who was, in who I felt God had made me to be, but in being a Mom. I knew I was fairly good at it, it just came naturally.

Fast forward again, and I find myself going through a divorce. Not a turn I ever imagined my life taking. It was a whirlwind of a year, It was that year, 2013, after so much in life had changed from how I had assumed it would always be, that I began to realize my girls needed me to take care of me. 

I was suddenly a single mom. I had two kids–practically babies. They were 3 & 2 at the time. I was trying to sell my home, move to Lexington, take on a new job to support my now-smaller family. And trying to figure out a way to take care of doctor & therapy appts for Zoe. I felt completely in over my head.

But I slowly started to learn, if I let myself go down that path of self-destruction–of poor eating habits, being sedentary all the time, running myself ragged, I was no good to anyone else. You have to put the oxygen mask on yourself first after all, right?

Especially for my girls, the two most important people in my life.

This picture was taken the year of my divorce, right around the time I was realizing I had to make some changes. I could hide behind a smile, bags & puffy vests, but my girls needed me to be healthy–physically, mentally, emotionally, for them and myself.


So, I decided it was time to make myself a priority. I had no idea if I’d ever remarry. I knew Zoe was growing, and with her growth would come more lifting required on my part. I knew she’d need a wheelchair, and the only arms I had to help lift her were mine. My dad died at the age of 43 of a heart attack. I could not go down that path and leave my kiddos without a mom so young. I was a nurse practitioner; I knew my risk factors & I knew what I needed to do.

I just lacked the discipline.

Fast forward a bit, I picked back up on running. I started taking spinning classes at the gym. I cleaned up my diet. I had met an incredible man and we shared so much in common. Divorce. Heartbreak. New beginnings. And running.

Making time for working out was hard. My days were consumed with working, and after that with taking care of the kiddos–not a lot of time for running or the gym. Zoe got her wheelchair, giving my arms somewhat of a break. My relationship with Graham continued to move forward, with us both knowing where God was leading us.

We got married in the summer of 2014❤ Best day ever! I continued to learn that God truly can and does make all things new. He was healing my heart, and allowing me to learn so many truths about Himself in the process. And myself.


I literally felt like a new person from the inside out🙂

We both shared a love for fitness after both of us came from places of NOT being fit, and we ran a lot of races our first year of marriage.

Even shared some races with the brother🙂

I finally made it back to pre-baby weight. When I began that journey, I mistakenly thought confidence would come from getting where I wanted to go. Being at the perfect weight. Meeting my goal for a race time, or better yet, beating it. Expanding my wall of medals from races.

It doesn’t.

I have learned my confidence comes from the inside. Yes, I have found confidence in learning that I am capable of surviving heartbreak & loss, and meet goals I have set for myself. But I have also learned it is not in my own strength I have survived those seasons of life, or of my own abilities that I have met those goals. My confidence must, repeat must, be rooted in my relationship with Christ because anything outside of this & I will fail every.single.time.

It is only in His strength, His grace, & ultimately because He is just GOOD. 

For 2016, I took a look at the past year, and decided I wanted God to stretch me outside my comfort zone for the new year. I was (& still am not!) sure what that looks like. I didn’t want to do what I’d always done, because it is easy, comfortable, and safe.

I wanted more and I think God calls us to more than just playing it safe through life.

After our 9 wk miscarriage in the fall (see my previous post), I began trying to get back in shape, clean up my diet again (lots of nausea = lots of carbs while pregnant!). I wanted to push myself to a little more fitness than what I was accustomed to as I had admittedly slacked off while pregnant. I started using Beachbody workouts and doing these at home.

Even Faith gets into it🙂


Graham & I have been doing them together even. The convenience of working out at home is so easy and we pretty much get our booty kicked every time😉. Faith pretty much just thinks she’s our coach.

A while back, a friend had approached me to see if I’d consider joining her Beachbody team as a coach. I laughed it off, and thought it was pretty much ridiculous. As time went on, and I did the workouts for myself, met some fantastic ladies in one of our challenge groups, cleaned up our diets (our kids actually ate an entire VEGGIE lasagna and didn’t realize they were eating VEGGIES!), I grew to really like the program. Keep in mind, I am NOT a fan of programs involving the need to take a million supplements and sell me things I don’t need.

No thanks.

But this was different. The more I thought about it, the more I realized this is what I do every day. Help people understand the importance of exercise and what it means to eat healthy. That there is no “quick fix.” You have to put in the work. And it’s hard, and sometimes you have to force yourself to do it, but the end is so worth it.

And, I am pretty sure I am probably not the only person, mom, woman, who has felt the way I once did. I am pretty sure (actually–I KNOW!) there are so many people out there who were like me–going through hard times, heartbreak, finding comfort in food & on couches and struggling in that downward spiral. Busy moms who have very little time for themselves, who have lost sight of who they are, who God has made them to be!

So I messaged her back, and agreed I would join her team and help teach others in groups just like I’d been a part of how to get healthy.

I have no idea what that will look like. Heck, I might even be crazy for thinking I could do it to start with, but if my goal for this year was to step outside my comfort zone, then this was a sure fire way to meet that one😉


So Much

I am not even sure where you begin after a 10 month hiatus from writing. Do you recap the last ten months of your life? Do you start brand new as though the last ten months didn’t really happen? How do you fill in the gaps?

I think everyone tends to reminisce around the time of a new year. Looking back over the previous year, the good, the bad. It’s a clean slate. A chance to change all the habits about yourself that you wish you hadn’t fallen into the previous year. A chance to set new goals and (maybe!) meet them.

For me, 2015 was a year I will not forget. Well, actually, the past three are years I won’t forget. Having your world turned upside down in a divorce, a huge move, new job, more moving, a remarriage, it all becomes pretty unforgettable. Graham & I often recount our past just becomes it still continues to amaze us at where we are and how God has created so much good out of such heartache.

2015 was full of lots of fun times for our little family.

We took our first big family vacation, just the four of us. And you know, we were nervous about whether or not it would be a total flop. Hauling two small kids to the beach for a week with just us two seemed pretty daunting. BUT. We did it! And it was pretty memorable for all of us, AND surprisingly easy.



We pretty much lived on the beach or the pool ALL . DAY . LONG. I’m ready to go back!


I found this in Faith’s backpack one day after school, and I keep it tucked in my bible to remind myself that we are always making memories with our kiddos. I want to be reminded to be intentional about the time we have with them.

In 2015, I ran THREE half marathons & set a new personal best time. In 2016, I have new fitness goals; some of which include running but also some new goals and some cross-training.



Rory even ran a few races with us!


One day I will pass down my bibs & medals to the girls. They are a big reason I started running, and one of the reasons I continue to push myself to new goals.

In summer, Graham & I celebrated our first wedding anniversary❤ We took a trip back to our favorite spot in Key West, and spent a week swimming, kayaking, snorkeling, deep sea fishing. We even ran a race while we were there (quite possibly THE hottest, most humid race I have ever walked. Yep–pretty much walked that one!).


And then, just like that, summer came & went.

Fall came, and Graham began a new position close to home. We were thrilled, and he literally has a five minute commute to work. School started back, we blinked, and just like that we have a first grader and a kid in her last year of preschool.

And then…we had one of those tests turn positive.


We could hardly believe it, and we were thrilled. It seemed this was the icing on the cake. After all we’d been through, we had our little family & now God was allowing us to add one more to it.

Time went on. I grew more pregnant, more nauseous, lived on Goldfish crackers and Graham learned that dinner plans were never certain because who knew what I would be able to eat.

And then, the day. 

The ultrasound.

I have been in those rooms before & I hate them. I have had so much unexpected, “bad” news given to me in those rooms. And this one would be no different.

I should have been 9 wks along. We were ready to plan and already had a name picked out for eiher gender. But we learned that day that this pregnancy was just not meant to be–the baby had stopped growing several weeks before. Our world grew foggy; I remember it but that day grows fuzzy.

Once again, I was in that room, and although during my pregnancy with Zoe I can very vividly remember feeling God’s presence with me during “the news,” this time was very different.

I was angry. I don’t doubt God’s existence. But once again, I found myself doubting His goodness. His sovereignty. Did He not realize all that Graham & I had been through already? Couldn’t He give us this ONE thing?

We were sent home to wait.

Halloween came. I basically wanted to hole up on the couch and hide, but we had two kiddos who were anxious for candy, and so we put on our game face🙂


I will always remember this photo. Faith took it. I was 9, almost 10 wks pregnant but not really. If that makes sense. Less than a week later, I would go in for a D & C. It would be over.

I remember waking up from the surgery to my husband holding my hand and a cup of water for me. I had oxygen in my nose, and no baby in my belly anymore. Not my plan. It was that day, laying in that hospital bed, that I had a thought.

I had felt entitled to have this baby. I felt God owed this to me. I had been angry with Him, because I felt Graham & I had earned this. 

2015 had been a great year up to that point.

But wasn’t it still GREAT? 

Didn’t I have two gorgeous girls already? Wasn’t there a gorgeous man holding my hand and wiping my tears while I mourned this loss? Hadn’t I already been blessed with a beautiful home, a job I love, family, friends.

Hadn’t God already given me so much more than I deserve?

I don’t want what I really deserve. But it was a hard lesson this time. With my divorce, and my pregnancy with Zoe both, I was at rock bottom. I think it’s sometimes easier to sense God’s presence when you are at the bottom.

But this time, I had so much. And I felt I deserved more.

This was my big lesson for 2015. I began learning the lesson of thanksgiving, of eucharisteo.

A dear friend recommended this book to me when she learned of our loss. God used this book, and her, to speak volumes to me.

“Gratitude in the midst of death & divorce & debt (and I’ll add–miscarriage), that’s the language I’ve got to learn to speak. To learn how to be grateful & happy, whether hands full or hands empty. The act of sacrificing thank offerings to God–even for the bread and cup of cost, for cancer, and crucifixion–this prepares the way for God to show us His fullest salvation from bitter, angry, resentful lives and from all sin that estranges us from Him.” -Ann Voscamp

This is my lesson for 2015. Gratitude. Thanksgiving. I want to make margins, to make space for God to reveal Himself in a deeper way to me in 2016. I pray I don’t have to experience a loss again, but more than that I pray I don’t fall into the trap of feeling God owes ME anything.

I owe HIM everything.






Holy cow, it’s March!!

Somehow I have managed to go 4 1/2 months since blogging. What the heck?! While logging into the site, I honestly contemplated what to do with it. It’s a compilation of several years’ worth of my thoughts, musings, pictures, and a heck of a lot of brutally honest frustrations.

It’s a lot of work. But it’s also a good outlet.

When thinking back over the past 4 1/2 months, it’s hard to pinpoint one particular topic to blog about. We’ve had so much happen in this season of snow, cold, dreariness, and frozen bones (yes, I’m not a fan of winter & I think it freezes me from the inside out😉 ).

But then it hit me.


If there is one resounding theme from this blog, it would be change. Having served & worked in church ministry for several years, and worked with the general public in healthcare, there’s one thing I have learned.

People don’t like change.

It’s strange, it’s uncomfortable, it can be threatening and unnerving. Change forces us to relinquish some aspect of control and step out of what is comfortable, familiar, and safe. 

If there’s another thing I’ve learned, it’s that change can be good. Even if we don’t realize it at first, or until hindsight (you know it’s 20/20, right?). It’s good for us.

Graham & I, along with the girls, have been through quite a bit of change in the past few years, and while I’ve entered some of those changes kicking & screaming, very unwillingly, I have emerged on the other side of it able to see the hand of my Father at work the entire time.

One of the changes I’ve fought hard on these past few months, and finally resigned myself to, is that of obtaining a wheelchair for Zoe. I would be lying if I didn’t admit that yes, sometimes it still stings when I hear about other folks’ kids taking their first steps, or when their child can climb in and out of a vehicle independently, or I see them out, so easily, so fluidly….walking.

I have slowly came to the realization that Zoe may never be a walker. I don’t know. In those first few years, I was convinced that yes, she would be. We would pursue enough physical therapy, put in enough work at home, do everything the therapists told us to do.

And it would work.

Finally, I am at the point where I am realizing God may have another plan for Zoe. And sometimes it’s hard to not question why He does not allow her progress to move the way think it should. I know He is good, He is holy, and He is sovereign. And now, I find my perspective changing. I find myself increasingly becoming okay with the concept that if Zoe never takes an independent step on her own, it does not mean I have failed. In fact, it may mean the opposite. Mobility is mobility…whether it involves one’s own legs, or artificial legs, plastic braces, or wheels.

Walking isn’t everything.


So, in the past 4 1/2 months since I have logged into this site and penned out my thoughts, we have ordered a chair. Wheels.

And I gotta say, I can’t WAIT! I have probably called the company weekly to see when this thing will arrive. It’s pink. It’s cute. It’s embroidered (yes–and heck, we will probably attach Thirty-One bags and lots of other cuteness to this thing ;)). We’ve discussed all the cool things she can do in this chair. Wheelies. Wheelchair races. In fact, Graham & I are planning to participate in a Girls’ on the Run event in spring and Zoe can wheel in her chair🙂

To see Zoe’s face when she realizes that now SHE is in control of where she goes….that will make it all worthwhile.


Tell me that’s not the cutest thing you’ve ever seen! And no, this isn’t her chair, just a model. Hers is going to be so stinkin’ cute…I may need to devote an entire blog post to it😉

In other news, I chopped off my hair since I was here 4 1/2 months ago.



Cutting my hair super short is something I have always wanted to do. As a teenager, I remember my mom always telling me “you should cut your hair short! You could do it!” I never believed her. Appearance was always something I hid behind. And it was physically easier to hide when you had long hair. A distraction of sorts.

Well, in my learning to love change, I grew tired of always being too afraid to do the things I’ve always wanted to do. Life is too short for that. My one resolution is to make it to the end of my life, and not look back and say “I wish I would’ve done ___.” I want no regrets.

So…I chopped it all off. And why not? It’ll grow back. I’m sure I will enter a cycle of cutting it, growing it, cutting it again. It’s fun. And freeing.

It’s funny to see folks’ reactions to change. I’ve been told I’m “going to hell,” and that “well, it’ll grow back.” Overwhelming I have received positive remarks. My response is, I didn’t do it for anyone else. Just me. I’ve spent too much time being afraid of change, afraid of being uncomfortable, of playing it safe.

I’m done with that.

My sweet Lord has changed so much in my life for good, but I would be re-miss to say that a small minority of the changes we have had the past few months have been tough.

In February, the day before Valentine’s Day, we lost our sweet kitty Sam.


When Graham & I married (almost eight months ago now!!), we brought lots of things into our new marriage…kids, material possessions….and cats. Sam & Calla were our “divorce kitties” we each obtained in our divorce process. They snuggled with us on those dark nights, in a cold bed when we felt alone. So much of that dark time for each of us feels like a million miles away.

But we brought our new family together and the cats became best friends.

We didn’t realize how old Sam was. He was adopted as an adult, and we knew little about his background. He found his forever home with us and in our hearts, and although we have dealt with the change of getting used to life without him, I am so thankful he was at peace in our home when he passed away.


Overall, in spite of the cold weather, the nasty, muddy car covered in salt and slush, the school cancellations, the chauffering kids to and fro, the managing of our family’s household, etc…this has been an incredible season of change & blessing for both Graham & myself. There are many days where we ask each other, is this even for real? Is this really what our life is now? It is still mind-blowing to the both of us the GOOD that God has created out of our lives.

All the change we went through….good and bad…all worth it.

On the days when life throws curveballs, when our schedules get hectic, when my car gets stuck unexpectedly in mud and my husband has to come dig me out, when our kiddos spike fevers and we have stomach bugs ravage our household and we have to rearrange plans, when change creeps into my otherwise tightly scheduled plans with my to-do lists and cell phone reminders, I think back to all God has done in our lives, and remind myself that it’s ok.

He is good. Change is good. And I need to leave room in MY plans for Him to interrupt them with HIS.

And I’m thankful that HE never changes.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17


Sometimes, I let my kids eat Spaghettios for dinner.

This random thought occurred to me the other night as I was driving home. Faith asked if she could eat Spaghettios for dinner, and all too quickly, without thinking, I replied, “Yes!” My initial thought was, hey, those are easy and quick to fix. Which means less time spent cooking (although my sweet husband always cooks🙂 ), and more time playing, reading Pony comics, or playing in the tub.

It also means that I feel that old familiar twinge of guilt (more than likely brought on by unrealistic social media expectations!) for not feeding my kids organic foods and such.

As I drove, contemplating Spaghettios of all things, my thoughts (& parenting guilt for all too often succumbing to survival mode!) moved onto other areas.

I decided I could be a better mom if I spent less time on housework & more time playing in the floor in the evenings.

I reasoned that Zoe might be further along in her motor skill progress if I could add just one more therapy appointment.

I could be a better wife IF….a better nurse practitioner IF…..

One simple thought for dinner then escalates into inadequacies that are not spiritually uplifting, in fact, I think they are more lies that Satan uses against Christians to render us ineffective for the kingdom.

I am learning that there is always a spiritual battle going on; as Christians, if Satan can’t steal our souls he sure does want to steal our joy. Our influence. Our witness. Our faith in what God is doing.

Boy does he work hard at it too.

I am also finding the more I am aware of this, the better able I am to fight against it.

Ephesians 6: 10-17

10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

This past week was Graham’s fall break from school. The girls were on their regular schedule (although we TRIED to coordinate fall breaks!) and so Graham & I took a few days to get away by ourselves. We are trying to be very intentional about making sure we have family time AND couple time. It’s a fine balancing act but I think we’re getting pretty good at it😉

We headed to Asheville to do a little hiking, reading, shopping (although ALL the stores in Asheville apparently close by 5 pm–what the heck??), and hiding out in the mountains. We stayed at a bed & breakfast outside the city, and one particular night we were strolling around when we saw this display downtown…


A “Before I die I want to…” huge chalkboard…

I was amazed at the things people wrote that were important to them. Things they wanted to accomplish before they die, so they’d have no regrets. Feel fulfilled.


Get rich. Go to the moon. Travel. Climb a glacier. A few more of the serious ones? Find inner peace. Have a baby. Get married. Make peace with my body. Reflect Christ.

That wall got me thinking. What would I put on my own “before I die” chalkboard? I don’t think I could narrow it down to one thing. I have a huge list.

So when I recognized the negativity creeping in from considering whether or not feeding my kiddos spaghettios for dinner made me a bad mom or not, I remembered this wall. And I remembered that I only have so many dinner nights with them. They won’t remember that mom made them eat veggies every night or that she let them eat cheesy processed noodles from a can sometimes.

Those memories are fleeting. I don’t want that to be on my list of things to do before I die.

I want this stuff….


Reading bedtime stories (while cooking dinner on the stove, sweet man🙂 ).

Lazy days outside…


Field trips!!



And squishy puppy faces…


Those are all things I want on my “before I die” list. The people (& puppies!) that matter.

I’ve decided inadequacy is a lie Satan uses. Maybe it’s not something everyone struggles with. But when I feel inadequate, whether as a mom, as a wife, as a professional, or as a woman in general, what I am learning is that everything else suffers too. And I don’t believe that’s the way God has called me to live….

4You, dear children, are from God and have overcome, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world…1 John 4:4

I may need to buy some more cans of spaghettios😉

a lot of good…& a little wait & see..

Sometimes, even when things in life are pretty much perfect, worry & doubt can creep in. Even when you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is good, and He has taken care of your every need and will continue to do so, it’s hard sometimes to let go of trying to do it yourself.

I am a type A person.

Now, granted, I’m not ridiculously type A. But I like to plan, I like to know what’s coming up, and I like to have my life pretty much organized the way want it to be (yeah, I know😉 ).

That personality trait doesn’t jive well with spina bifida.

Last Tuesday we took Zoe to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital for a routine MRI. Well, routine on the paperwork but with spina bifida, nothing is ever just ROUTINE. Since we moved, the drive to Vanderbilt just became long & cumbersome. I wanted to have specialists who could follow her here close by, just in case. So we enrolled her in Cincinnati’s spina bifida clinic. Overall I’ve been happy with them.

But the neurosurgeon wanted that dreaded MRI done. Just to “take a look.”

Sometimes I think when you look for problems, you’re gonna find them. I like to leave well enough alone.

But I do understand the doc’s reasoning. Zoe’s balance & upper body strength has always been weak. Her spina bifida lesion is low on her spinal cord, so theoretically she should be able to do some functional walking.

As much as it hurts my momma heart to admit it, she’s not doing those things😦

So we went in to find out why.

Our “taking a look” brought about more questions than answers. More worry than peace.

And more waiting.

For the most part, her MRI was very much typical of a child with spina bifida. The one surprise is that she has a cyst, a collection of fluid, inside her spinal cord. While these cysts can be found even in folks with NO birth defects, no developmental delays, and found incidentally, it is something we can’t ignore.

And so, we wait. I am not a patient person. I like answers and I like to have a plan.

When things hit the proverbial fan, I get busy. I start researching, looking things up, making phone calls.

The concern with this cyst on Zoe’s spine is whether or not it will grow. IF it gets bigger, it could press on surrounding nerves and cause her to lose abilities & function she’s already gained. If it stays the same, we just continue with knowing it’s there, and watching it. Which means more frequent MRI’s.

Deep down I feel she is going to need surgery at some point to remove it. It hurts my heart & to be quite honest, it makes me angry sometimes that she (& WE!) have to manage all of this. It is a very heavy weight at times. I doubt my ability to do it as her mom. I haven’t been in the best of moods lately because my mind & heart have been so consumed by all of this.

Next week we will hear back from her former neurosurgeon at Vanderbilt–the one I have trusted with her since she was born. I want his opinion on what our plan should be. Keep waiting? Do something?

I don’t do “watch & wait” well. I like to KNOW (don’t we all,😉 ).

Prayers are appreciated as we wait for more answers and determine what’s best for our little lady. She is amazing & continues to keep her trademark smile on her face….pray for peace & wisdom. Pray that I wouldn’t let this consume me on a daily basis. Pray for my sweet husband, who has just jumped headfirst into the world of spina bifida. Pray that this cyst would not change, not grow, or better yet, DISAPPEAR. And pray that if God doesn’t want it to go away, He provides us with everything we need to take care of it so that Zoe can continue to make great progress.


In other, more exciting news…our household has been busy🙂

We got a new puppy…Rory…he is a sweet little Boston terrier and the best little thing…


Tell me that’s not the cutest thing EVER!!

We took a trip to the zoo for Labor Day…




Faith joined the Girl Scouts…she’s a Daisy (how stinkin’ cute is that!)…


AND…my husband has signed his first publishing contract!! In case you didn’t know, Graham is an incredible writer. Not only with his blog, but he is amazingly gifted in writing fiction. He recently received not one, but TWO publishing offers🙂 His first book in a series, Sleepwalker, will be out soon in both print & electronic version…so you can download to your Kindle🙂

No picture to go along with that, so I’ll give you one of us instead…


Side note…HOW has it been almost two months since our wedding already? Time goes WAY too fast people.

Learning to Run

I remember lacing up those shoes for the first time. They were nothing special, just an old pair of Asics I’d had for several years. They were beat up, stained, and the soles were pretty busted up. 

I felt very similar to those Asics that day. 

That was my sole purpose for running. 

My marriage of 10 years had just collapsed. Many times in life circumstances happen that you can see coming. You anticipate. You prepare. And when the collision comes, you’ve braced yourself. You’re prepared.

There was no preparing for that. Out of the blue. It was over.

Running was my outlet. With two little ladies at home, ages 3 & 2 (yes–18 months apart!), I had to hold it together for them. But I needed a way to deal with the heartache, the shock, the grief. I briefly considered hanging a punching bag (kidding!), but I soon discovered having my feet pound the pavement rhythmically in time to my new playlist I downloaded to make myself feel a little better was just as good as a punching bag.

As I prepared to pack up my kiddos, my belongings at a home I had lived in and started a family in for the past eight or so years, running kept my sanity intact. Literally. I registered for a race with my brother, just for fun, nowhere near ready to set any sort of record (I’m still not ;)).

Once I crossed the finish line, I was hooked…


Over the course of the year, I moved. I took a new job in Lexington. The divorce papers were filed. I started construction on a new home. I put the old one on the market. I naturally sank into a depression that seemed to rear it’s ugly head at night, when I was suddenly, after 10 years, alone in bed with my thoughts instead of my husband beside me. Nights were reserved for crying, because I didn’t want my girls to see mommy falling apart.

All the while, running. I lived for the days when I had enough time after work to go for a short run before picking up the kiddos from daycare. I assumed running was just my outlet. 

I never dreamed that running would be how I would become connected to my now husband. I never dreamed my life would be made almost entirely new. 

The night before a race, I was preparing for bed when my computer buzzed with a new facebook message. A familiar name popped up to say hello, but I could not recall any conversation we’d ever had together. We chatted, and I learned that he, too, had gone through a situation very similar to mine. We understood each other’s hurts. The fear. The lack of control you feel when your life turns in a direction you never anticipated. Or wanted. 

We both understood running. 

Our messages continued, and soon, we ran together. 

Many times…



He even ran with my oldest daughter, Faith….


Graham became not only a running mate, but he was my soul mate. We knew early on that ours was a relationship that was meant to be. It became very obvious to us (and lots of others!)…our relationship was one God was using to do a great work in both our lives & hearts. Neither of us were looking for love, in fact, I was terrified of it and pretty sure I would be content just being the old lady on the end of the street with 100 cats. 

One day I might will learn that MY plans aren’t always HIS plans. 

His are better. 

Eventually the day came when my sweetest love asked me the question I was waiting on. Would I be his wife? I had known I’d say yes a long time prior to that. No doubt. 

The proposal? 

In our favorite running store.  


Side note on the ring–I LOVE all things antique. My favorite past-times including spending loads of time in antique stores, junk stores, heck, even Good-wills looking for things I can re-do and make new. This ring is from the 1920’s…one of a kind and with lots of good stories behind it I’m sure…

Sort of like our marriage :) 

On July 18th we were married. Honestly, on that day, it felt like we should’ve been married ages ago. I have never known such a sweet, selfless man who serves the Lord like my husband does. He has loved my girls as his own…


He has stepped in beside me on this journey with a love like I have never understood before. 




We still run. 

In fact, this year I am on my second half-marathon, a 14K and a few other smaller races coming up this fall. We are learning how to work running into our busy lives of work, church & child-rearing. 

Although now, when I run, I no longer feel the need to pound the pavement with my old ratty Asics to help destroy my grief, my anger, and my sadness. In fact, I have plenty of nicer, newer running shoes in colors that probably glow in the dark😉

When I run, my mind still clears. I still belt out songs off my playlist. Sometimes I get emotional. I remember where I was when I started this journey, just a broken, lonely, scared single mom with no clue what the future held. And now, I have so undeservingly been given a gift I pray I never take for granted. 

A second chance. An incredible husband. My two sweet babies. A beautiful home. 

And the ability to run. 

I think about my youngest, Zoe. Born with spina bifida, and the countless hours we pour into her physical therapy among others. How thankful we are for her progress. How far we’ve come. And how much farther our journey will continue. When I run now, I think about how hard she works for so many things I have always taken for granted. I run for her. 


For how we have loved to share our story…


How our family has its’ own incredible story to share. 

And how, on the hard days, the good days, the bad days and the days I just want to crawl back in bed & start over, I remind myself it’s a marathon, NOT a sprint.


From our family to yours, whatever motivates you, whatever pushes you to go when you want to quit…be it heartbreak, or loss, or fond memories, or the extra calories you get to consume at the end, KEEP RUNNING!!


In case you somehow fell off the face of the earth & didn’t see our facebook feeds blow up, Graham & I are 100% officially now husband & wife!!!🙂 In case you’ve missed this blog for the past year, that’s how long he & I have been together; we have known for sometime now that marriage was God’s plan for us as a couple, and so on Friday the 18th we officially started that journey!

And yes, I AM on my honeymoon, and IF you know us at all you know that we are frequent visitors to bookstores, coffee shops, & any other funky eclectic places where we can sit and write. It’s us, it’s what we do.

And tonight, I sit across a coffee shop table from my husband….my HUSBAND. Staring at that silver band on his ring finger, and realizing that God has brought me on & through a journey I wouldn’t believe had I not lived to tell it myself. And He has gifted me with an incredibly loving, giving, God-seeking man, who, just an hour ago, sat on the side of the road off Duval street with greasy hands and a sweat-soaked shirt trying to fix my bicycle after I somehow managed to get my skirt caught in the chain and messed it all up (which ended up needing to be replaced–the bike–not my skirt😉 ). And then realizing it couldn’t be fixed, took me to a crab shack where we dined on conch fritters, tilapia, shrimp and drank yuengling while waiting for a new bike.

You would think that after the past few years I would learn that MY plans are never God’s plans. I THOUGHT I had learned this.

After Friday’s wedding, it is apparent I have not.

Mine & Graham’s goal for wedding planning all along has been to create a very stress-free, fun celebration of family & friends, without all the frills and fuss. I picked my wedding dress & my bridesmaids’ dresses in a day, he very sweetly let me have my way with all things burlap and lace, picking out whatever I thought best. I blew up Etsy and bought practically the whole wedding off there😉

On Friday, I thought we were ready.

We had rehearsed. We had a plan. The toasting speeches were ready, the dresses pressed and the honeymoon bags were packed.

And then it rained.

At first thought, I assumed God would NOT allow it to rain on my wedding day. How could He? This was the day that redeemed so much of what we both had went through in the past, beyond anything I could’ve dreamed. The forecast had predicted ZERO percent chance of rain. Cool temps. Perfect for an outdoor wedding because it seemed we were practically GUARANTEED perfect weather.

Despite my prayers (& the initial zero percent chance of rain), it rained the whole day.

My initial response was to be a little angry. As if it weren’t enough that my girls & I had gained an amazing man in our little family, that he loved us relentlessly, that he not only loved the girls, he WANTED to be my partner in parenting. He had endured being pooped on, puked on, cried on, and of course, loved on. He had weathered the bad days with me and was willing to weather them the rest of our lives if necessary, and celebrate the good days.

And I felt a little peeved that God would allow it to rain. When will I ever learn?

We made the decision to move the ceremony to the covered patio at the vineyard where we were married. It turned out gorgeous!! The rain made it much more romantic and at one point I remember I was actually GLAD it was raining. We had our closest friends, family & co-workers present. So many other things that day went on a different plan than we had anticipated–we started late due to an interstate wreck that held up some of our guests, the cake was late as a result, I walked down the aisle to the wrong song, neither of the girls wanted to wear their wedding Toms & so Faith wore her dirty tennis shoes & Zoe went barefoot…but you know what…



And I would not change a thing. I will remember that day the rest of my life. There are only a handful of days in my life I can truly say were the best ever. Faith & Zoe’s births are a couple. And now, my wedding day to my sweet husband Graham is another…since nothing went according to planned, I will remember it forever despite the busyness that accompanies one’s wedding day.



It was the perfect day. I felt beautiful in my dress, my husband looked stunningly handsome, the girls were SO sweet….Zoe’s first words to me were “Your dress is beautiful mommy,” and Faith’s first words were “Woah Mommy, you look so pretty!” 

And now…we are on this amazing, gorgeous honeymoon, where I am savoring every moment with him. Because we both know that once we return, real life comes with it. The crazy busy workdays return, traffic jams, hectic evenings, and kiddo meltdowns. But in addition to that, we also get the good…the hugs & kisses and the “I love-you’s” from the girls, date nights, evenings with our friends, and knowing that no matter what, we each have a partner for the journey.


I would not change a thing.

The journey to this point for us both was long & painful. But it was also full of growth, hope & promise. I could not have handpicked a better man for myself & the girls. When I try to imagine what life holds for our new family in six months, a year, or ten years from now, I can come up with all sorts of incredible dreams for us.

You would think by now I would have learned.

I can’t wait to see how God blows my little human-minded, feeble plans out of the water with His own perfect plans for our family🙂 He is SO good!

long time no see…

No, I have not dropped off the face of the Earth. Has it really been two months since my last post? Well…prepare yourselves folks, because in my efforts to document my journey for the little future generation that is my girls, I am about to fill you in on two months’ worth of happenings…

the. family.

Every so often (more and more frequently it seems!) I will realize what date it is and think, “how is it already ____ month?” “Wasn’t it just Christmas?” I have came up with my own theory that the reason it seems time goes so fast, is because I stay so darn busy. BUT…I have so much to be thankful for, that I can hardly stand to complain about being too busy. 

Graham & I celebrated our first Easter together this year🙂 We did baskets for the girls, colored lots of eggs, and took our first family pic together…


I will never forget Easter of 2013. I spent it too embarrassed & ashamed of the fact that my marriage had crumbled into shreds to drag myself into a church where my then-husband & I had served for so long. Those wounds were fresh, and I couldn’t bear the questions & the stares, albeit meant out of love & concern, I just couldn’t do it.

Easter morning of 2013 I loaded the girls into my car, and we drove off to have breakfast at IHOP. We met my parents there who came in so sweetly so I wouldn’t be alone. And that was our Easter. Afterward, I played our music in the car a little more loudly than usual so the girls wouldn’t hear me crying. It worked (as far as I know!).

So this year, THIS was the redeeming year of last year’s Easter. There was NO way I was gonna NOT celebrate all that my sweet Lord had so graciously done for me. THIS year, I spent it with my now-expanding family, I sang in my new church’s praise band, AND I joined my new church (after going there for a year, lol!) officially.

 So there’s that. 

Faith turned 5. FIVE. How is that possible? We celebrated at our new house this year, with, what else? 

A Pony Party😉




She got well-stocked up on lots Pony paraphernalia (just as you’d expect!), and even got some cool hand-painted Pony artwork like the painting in the pic above done by her new uncle Aaron🙂

Graham so sweetly face painted cutie marks for the girls… 


I enrolled Zoe into aquatic PT at Cardinal Hill…the place is amazing and although we’ve only had a handful of visits so far, the littlest lady seems to love it!

She also gets to do some really cool land PT while we’re there!


Both girls have had fun spring events at school, and thankfully my job is fantastic about letting me arrange my schedule to be a part of it…of course, no event would be complete without a few selfies…



The four of us have taken a few road trips already this year…Graham & I are doing good with finding our own routine together & learning the in’s & out’s of managing our new family…



We’ve had lots of silly times this spring/summer…


Faith had her very first dance recital ever…she did AMAZING & I couldn’t have been more proud of her!


The whole family came out…Graham & I w/ Zoe, my parents, and even John. I am beyond thankful that our divorce situation is very unlike most–we all get along, and we all can attend events together and even have a good time…

And of course, another family photo op😉


I seriously cannot believe this is my life sometimes. How amazing our great God is, ya’ll! 

Faith “graduated” from KPREP…onto kindergarten we go….seriously, where has the time gone?


Zoe “graduated” from preschool….except due to her age she still has two more years of it!😛


Celebrating her preschool party….🙂


Faith got her first haircut…yes folks, she’s five. Those curls have been growing basically since she was born. We attempted a haircut once before, but it was nothing short of disaster…this time, NO TEARS!!


one of  my biggest fears post-divorce has been how my girls would adjust to having parents in separate homes. Thankfully, they have rolled with the punches, and we are all settled in. I’m sure it makes a huge difference that John & I parted on friendly terms, and we support each other in the other’s parenting techniques. BUT…I also have some pretty amazing kiddos. Just sayin.’

the wedding. 

Nope. This is for future reference. Can’t spoil all the details, you know. We have a grand total of 38 days till “I DO”, and we are ready. Everything is booked. Invites sent out. Dresses & suits are purchased. Honeymoon is booked. Premarital counseling is done. All that remains is waiting for the BIG DAY🙂 When all is said & done though, I could care less about the actual wedding itself. All that matters is that God has brought us to this place together, & I will marry the man He has chosen for my little family. 

I consider myself blessed among women.


Sometimes it’s hard to put into words what goes on in my mind. Writing is a great outlet for me, but even still, sometimes it’s hard to pull all the thoughts swirling in my mind together…but lately, as I have contemplating my journey to this point, and how Graham & I are merging our journeys together as a new family, many thoughts cross my mind. 

I don’t want my experience to be wasted. I don’t want all that remains of what I have traveled through the past few years to be PTSD, fears I drag along like a child drags his baby blanket, and cynicism. I don’t want to take for granted all God has done in my life. I don’t want to forget that feeling of KNOWING beyond anything else that my pain was so great & my wounds so deep that I could not be living in that moment on my own–that HE, my sweet redeemer, was carrying me. 

I have been reading a book by John Piper called “Don’t Waste Your Life.” The title alone grabbed me because this is my fear. I see so many patients on a daily basis who are on their deathbeds. I often wonder what they think, and I often contemplate what I will say to them because many times it will be my last words with them on this side of heaven. 

One particular quote in the book has stood out to me…

Life is wasted if we do not grasp the glory of the cross, cherish it for the treasure that it is, and cleave to it as the highest price of every pleasure and the deepest comfort in every pain. 

This is an amazing quote to me. I am wasting my life if I do not come to an understanding of the cross, of its’ meaning & glory, and remember that every good thing, every pleasure in this life, as well as the comfort & peace I receive in my most difficult moments in life–ALL of that is because of the cross. 

Come to the end of your life–your one and only precious, God-given life–and let the last great work of your life–before you give an account to your Creator, be this: playing softball & collecting shells. Picture being before Christ, at the great day of judgement: “Look Lord, see my shells.” THAT is a tragedy. And people today are spending billions of dollars to persuade you to embrace that tragic dream. Over against that, I put my protest: don’t buy it. Don’t waste your life. 

Today I did something I didn’t ever think I’d do (well–not the first time in the past couple years I have said that!). 

I got a tattoo. 

After thinking it over for some time, I decided I wanted a permanent reminder somewhere visible to me, of the newness Christ has created in my life. Did I need ink to remember that? No, of course not. But I thought it was a cool idea, so I had the Hebrew word for “new” inked onto my right foot. I LOVE it!! I love that every time I look at my feet (which, ya know, is a daily thing!) I am reminded of my favorite words of scripture which God gave me in the lowest times of life. 

For I am about to do something new.
    See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?
I will make a pathway through the wilderness.
    I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.

-Isaiah 43: 19


So there it is…I pray nothing is wasted of my life. I want to be poured out. I have such a longing in my heart…to be used, to be emptied. I pray my journey helps another. 

I don’t want to get to the end of my own journey and hand God nothing but shells & softballs…
























Disclaimer: Normally I try to remain positive & keep a good attitude, no matter what the circumstances may be. I fully realize I have been blessed WAY beyond what I deserve and that no matter how bad things look, I have every reason in the world to be thankful for all God has given me. So I try to remain positive.


Sometimes it is just impossible to always be positive.

Today is one of those days.

One of those days where I allow myself to dwell on all the things I try to not think about. Like the fact that Zoe is three and still not walking. This ways more heavily on me than anything. You would think after three years I would be a pro at all things spina bifida. I love that sweet baby & all that she is🙂 Her smile makes me smile on even the worst of days (if you don’t believe me, go to my facebook page & watch the video I posted yesterday. You’ll smile ;)).

But I carry around the weight of the world sometimes, or at least it feels that way. My heart hurts for my baby. Yes–I am incredibly proud of how she has touched this world already–she has been in the news, on magazine covers, we’ve done interviews and been in seminars…but there is still a part of every momma’s heart that does not want her baby to hurt. For anything. I want to put her in a bubble and protect her from everything negative that could ever come her way.

I want her to walk without her knees giving out every few seconds. Without equipment, and braces. And the “God only gives special kids to special parents” kind of jargon I hear all the time. Maybe that’s true, but sure isn’t speeding up our progress. I want to go to bed at night and not worry that if she never walks, it will be my fault for not working with her enough. For spending more time in the day working my job rather than working with her. All the what-if’s that weigh my heart down so much until one day, all the cheeriness dissolves into negativity.

And yes, I know one day she may read this, but she will have her own days of not liking spina bifida, or the world very much. So I think it’s probably good that she knows her momma struggles too🙂

Some days I get angry still over the divorce. And I think, why couldn’t God have just put me with Graham from the start? Why do I have to carry around this past, these fears, these hurts, like dragging around a ton of baggage everywhere I go? Why do I have to send in court papers & divorce decrees for KINDERGARTEN REGISTRATION?? It hurts me that even at this young age my kiddos have seen hurt, they have seen me cry (although on very few occasions–I can hide it well!), and they have learned so early that life isn’t easy or pretty always. How much more hurt will they have to endure?

And then I think those three words…IT’S NOT FAIR.

Sometimes just the mere act of typing all this out feels like the weight of the world has been lifted on my shoulders. Amazing how that happens.

But I don’t want what’s FAIR.

FAIR would mean I wouldn’t be gaining a husband, or that I would have a whole new appreciation for special needs, and disabilities, and perseverance. I wouldn’t know how to fight for my kiddos. I wouldn’t know how to help my patients navigate the world of medical waivers because I would have never been through it myself. I wouldn’t appreciate the importance of complete honesty and openness in a marriage. Or understand the meaning of “everything on the table.” I would not appreciate a relationship with no secrets. Or be thankful my kids are strong.

I wouldn’t have seen the Lord pull me through the messes He has.

I wouldn’t know His goodness like I do now.

I wouldn’t know how much I need Him. I would rely on myself and be satisfied with this.

I wouldn’t know how HE can make ALL things new.

Those things alone are worth it. So I am typing this as a reminder to myself. For the bad days when I am angry, or bitter, or afraid. That I will go back and remember this.

I have truly seen how good God is, in the best of times & the worst of times.

So I don’t want what’s FAIR.

Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.

Psalm 34:8


Tonight I am blogging from a totally new venue…the gym.

I am watching my oldest girl through a soundproof glass window participating in a tap dance class called Twinkle Toes.

And I think about how fast life goes.

Next month on the 25th of April she turns 5. Five.

Exactly how did that happen?

Almost five years ago, she looked like this…


Now…she looks like this…


She’s fast becoming a strong-willing, independent, opinionated girl; no longer a toddler, but a kid who knows what she wants. We have our battles; we go head to head (she gets her independence & stubbornness from me😉 ), but she has a kind heart. She loves people and life (and ponies😉 ).

I still remember the best parenting advice I was ever given…”the days are long, but the years are short.”

I think that applies to every aspect of life.

In August she goes to kindergarten. Zoe is in preschool. No more babies😦

In July I will marry an amazing, Godly man that I thank for the Lord for every day. God truly has made beauty out of our lives. Out of dust. We are living proof of that; neither of us deserving (none of us are really!) of God’s mercy and redeeming love; of how he has blessed us and is remaking our family into something neither of us ever dreamed possible.


I can’t get over it & I pray I never do. Because time goes so fast, before we know it we blink & it’s over. I’ll blink & July will be here. I will marry this incredible man & become his wife. Then I’ll blink & Faith will be gone to kindergarten. Blink again and both girls will be graduating from high school. Blink again and Graham & I will be growing old together.

So I’m trying to not waste time on meaningless things. If I allowed myself, I could spend my life trudging through the quicksand of guilt. Feeling guilty for being a working mom. Guilt for not spending as much time working with Zoe at home on her therapy stuff. It’s all too easy for Satan to get ahold of my thoughts, and then I start thinking things like, ‘I’m totally messing up my kids because of the divorce,” and “if Zoe never walks, it will be my fault because I didn’t work with her enough,” or “what if I get hurt again?” I could get paralyzed in fear, in guilt, and in shame.

But that’s a waste of time, and it already goes so fast as it is. Why would I want to waste anymore?

Over the course of my nursing career, I have cared for my patients who are actively dying. And the one common theme I have noticed, is that no one wishes they could’ve made more money. Or been more involved in extracurricular activities. Or crammed more to-do things on their to-do list.

They wish for more time.

They wish they would’ve loved more. Given selflessly & sacrificially. Gave of themselves to the ones they loved the most.

But when you get to that point, it’s too late.

I have never wanted to have regrets in my life. And so far I do not. Everything I have went through has pushed me to become more than what I was before. And I wouldn’t change it.

So as my little family prepares to move into a new season of life, and things are good, I pray I remember that God is just as present in the good times as the bad times. And that I need him just as much now, as I did then…when things weren’t good. I pray I always find my identity in HIM. Not in my relationship with Graham. Not in my relationship with my kiddos. But in the relationship I was created for, with my Lord.

And I pray I never get so busy in the day-to-day tasks, and my too-full to-do list, that I let life slip by me without taking the time to enjoy it.

Because the days are long, but the years are oh so short.