Thursday, August 31, 2017


I sit on the couch.  I feel so lethargic.  I sat down an hour ago and I have accomplished nothing.  There are things to do.  Bathrooms to clean.  Groceries to be bought.  Errands to be run.  But nothing is urgent.  And so I can't make myself get up.

Today, I just don't care.

Yesterday I was at the gym, looking in the mirror while putting on my makeup. I'd had a good swim workout but I felt unease.  As I swiped on my mascara a thought came into my head.  Belinda is dead.  I froze.  How can that be? It still feels so unreal.  This summer, we went from having her here in our home, to having her at hospice, to losing her.  The patterns changed.  But now, I'm back to the same pattern as before all of this happened.  Dropping kids at school, cleaning the house, running to the store, going to the gym.  It all feels exactly the same.  

But its not.

I would have thought that I'd slowly be getting used to the idea that her human body does not exist on this earth anymore.

 But I'm not.

And today it just makes me want to sit here and ignore every responsibility I have.

 But I won't.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Three weeks.

Can it really only have been 3 weeks since I kissed her cool forehead goodbye?

In some ways it feels like a year.  I guess that's how grief goes.  I have felt a lifetime worth of emotions these last 3 weeks.  Cried more tears than I knew a body could produce.  I feel like I'm walking around with a gaping wound.  There is no healing.   If I get a few minutes reprieve it takes nothing to rip it raw again.  Driving past her nail salon.  Seeing her car still parked in my drive.  Yesterday morning I ran past her oncologist office where we sat and talked about the 6 months we had left with her (not quite, dear doctor, not quite) and I had to push myself not to stop right there and cry.

I open up TimeHop on my phone and see a post from 7 years ago when she drove from Ohio to watch our babies so we could go to a wedding.  I sign Jane Dare up for soccer and think how much she would have LOVED to be at those games.  I walk upstairs and it still smells like her.  I stuff her 3 favorite sleeping pillows under my bed because I can't fathom what else to do with them.  I've dealt with 99% of her possessions.  I did it quick, like ripping off a band-aid.  The man at Goodwill asking, kindly, if I was moving or just purging.  But the things that are left leave me undone.  Her basket of hair clips (she must have had hundreds), her favorite pictures, letters from her best friend written shortly before Christy died in 1969.

Jake comes to me tearfully, fearful for what 7th grade holds.  I don't know what to say.  I feel so depleted.  Nonny would know.  And she would be praying so hard.

My husband.  He misses his mother so deeply its painful to watch.  When we are all hurting so deeply its tempting to turn away.  But I force myself to stay.  He needs me, and I want it that way.

Being married to a psychologist I'm well aware that there is a process to grief.  Stages.  Funny how when you're in the middle of it those stages make no sense.  I can't see a beginning or end.  I can feel all 5 simultaneously.  Well, maybe 4.  Not the acceptance part.

My poor children.  They are dealing with the shell of a mother this summer.  I am short-tempered.  Emotional.  Sad.  They are so tired of seeing me cry.  I think they will be as relieved as I am on the first day of school.  

I'm often asked what we need.  Unfortunately, there is no easy answer.

Saturday, July 22, 2017


A tragedy has come to our family.

This morning, my beloved mother (in-law) passed into the arms of her loving Savior. 

On May 16th we found out that she had a mass on her pancreas.  68 days later she is gone.

I know that we can (and will) rejoice that her pain and suffering is over.  That after a life filled with hardships she is being lavished with love by her Heavenly Father.

But right now, it just hurts so freaking bad. 

I am sitting here struggling to put into words what she meant to us.  She was the most selfless, loving, thoughtful, giving, committed Christ follower that I will ever know.

She loved her 3 sons with every ounce of her being.  She poured herself into those boys and her face shone when they surrounded her.  They would roll their eyes at her advice (oh she was strong-headed and stubborn) but her advice was always based on truth and love.  You’ve never seen 3 boys love their mom like these boys.  In his 41 years of life Ryan has never had a cross word with his mother.  That’s the kind of woman she was, and the kind of sons she raised.

She loved her daughters-in-law as if they were her own daughters.  When I knew she was proud of me, I felt like I was floating.  Because her words were true, and she wasn’t stingy with her praise, but it wasn’t cheap either.  When Ryan and I met 22 summers ago, on a missions trip overseas, she was specifically praying for Ryan’s future wife.  And she treated me with love, patience and kindness all of the days that I knew her.  Oh how I wish I had spent more time just sitting with her gaining her knowledge and wisdom.

She loved her grands.  She was blessed with 10 of them, ages 2 – 14.  And each and every one of them adores her.  Each and every one of them would probably tell you that they were her favorite.  And each of them would be right.  She used to say that every new baby was “the best one there ever was” and I know that is how she felt about her grands.  She never held herself back from them.  Even in her final year when she was sick and often couldn’t get relief, she pushed herself as much as she could to pour into them.

My heart hurts so much.

It hurts for her grands.  For the older ones who will know so acutely what they’ve lost, and for the younger ones who may not remember her.

It hurts for Molly, Chyloe and myself who will miss her guidance, her prayers over us, her willingness to always help no matter the cost to herself, her encouragement, her presence.

It hurts for her boys.  Ryan, Jared and Chad.  As Ryan says, I don’t need much in this world, but I need my mom.  I don’t know how they will begin to deal with the hole in their lives that is left without her. 

I promise, I’ll do my best to trust the Lord and to be grateful for the eternal life that she has in Him.  But if that process of working towards trust I have my moments of anger, frustration, confusion, pain, you’ll have to bear with me.  I wish I had the total peace that she did.   Because she did.  Even from day 1 she knew that her hope was in heaven.  As we started hospice she had no fear or anxiety, because she knew what awaited her, and she was ready.

So I’ll try to make her proud once again.  But it might take me a while.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Two and a half weeks ago my mother-in-law, Belinda, went in for a CT scan to address nagging stomach pain that she's had for the last year.
One day later we sat in her doctor's office and heard the news that there was a large mass on her pancreas.
Three days after that we received news that blood work indicated that spots on her liver were tumors.
Three days later we sat in the office of the chief oncology surgeon at UNC Chapel Hill and listened as he explained to us that he thought it is most likely stage four pancreatic cancer.
One week ago today she underwent a biopsy of the spots on her liver that would confirm his suspicions.
And on Wednesday we received the news we didn't want to hear. The cancer has metastasized. It is stage 4. It is in her bloodstream or lymph nodes. It is terminal.
It's almost impossible to put into words what we are feeling. To explain what she means in our lives sounds too much like a eulogy. And I can't go there yet. 
But her importance to us, her value, our love for her, is inestimable.

I've been asked over and over (we have amazing friends) what we need. Right now we need prayer. For wisdom for next steps. For peace when we want to scream. For comfort for Belinda's hurting body. For our kids who can't yet understand.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017


Ok.  So maybe I know what you are thinking.   First oils, then jewelry, and now skin care???  Bare with me.  Please.

In case you quit reading early I'm going to jump to the good stuff! Recently I’ve become SO passionate about a new opportunity that has been on my radar for a long time but never felt right, until now.  

I first, half-heartedly, tried Rodan and Fields a few years ago.  I didn’t really give it a fair shake, I didn’t take the time to really understand the product line, and so when it didn’t immediately work I gave up.  Fast forward a year and a half and I was seeing so many people around me with great results (and after 25 years of acne I was desperate) that I gave it another shot. But this time I looked further into which regimen I should try, I asked more questions, I took the time to understand the cost involved (i.e.just because it’s a monthly auto-ship doesn’t mean the products only last one month (hint, they last WAY longer) and it also doesn’t mean you have to get something every month) and I gave it a fair shot, and in 60 days I’d seen enough improvement in my skin to convince me to keep going.  As issues popped up we fiddled here and there and found just the right combination to keep me clear.
Then, about a month ago I bought the Amp MD roller … after about a week of using it, Ryan looks at me one night and says “your skin looks really great”.  I almost fell over.  He didn’t know I had been doing anything different but here he was noticing.  Then my mom noticed.  Then I knew that I would be crazy not to jump on this opportunity.

I loved (and still love) Young Living oils.  I think they can do amazing things.  I use them all the time.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have access to the education or training I felt was necessary to make it a realistic business model for myself long term.  And it was not the easiest direct marketing business.  While the product line was awesome, the support for becoming a successful distributor was not.
So then, I found Stella and Dot where, again, I loved the products, I felt confident in my ability to style people without lots of training, and I knew the support would be great for a new stylist like myself.  And it was! I had a great 2 years doing it and I have nothing but great respect for the company and the people I worked with there…but lots of people (myself included) only need so much jewelry and I have no desire to be in a business where I have to pressure to be successful.

Rodan and Fields has been changing skin across the US for years but, really, they are just getting started.  Have you seen the new Lash Boost results?  Oh my gosh. I cannot wait to get my hands on that stuff.  And the expansion potential is crazy. 
My SOLUTION TOOL on my website will help you know for sure which to use!! Just go to my website and click on CUSTOMIZE and then SOLUTION TOOL in the big blue box!!  Let me know if you want to check it out!!!

Do I know a bunch of people who sell with Rodan and Fields? Yep.  And you know what, there is enough opportunity out there that every one of them is successful.  And I know that I can be to.  Really.  I’m doing it because its exciting and I BELIEVE in it.  And I love a challenge.  And I’m ready.

Intrigued?  Let’s chat!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Again, with the flipping knee.

A couple of weeks ago I was in hot yoga (like any self-respecting housewife should be)  when the instructor started the class with the usual spiel about setting your intention for the next hour and a half. I often tune that part out because I can only take so much of that kind of talk but that day I must of been feeling particularly compliant and so I let my mind participate. Three words came into my head as I knew we were diving full force into the holiday season. Joyful. Heartfull. Grateful. You can argue with me about whether that middle one is a word or not. I'm sure it's not. But it kind of went with my theme so let's go with it.

As excited as I get about this time of year I know that I have a propensity to get overwhelmed and let the stress of the season steal my joy. And it all goes down from there. I came home and told Ryan because I wanted him to keep me accountable. He's done a pretty good job although some of the times when he reminds me I want to throat punch him...

But I feel like my good intention has been taken as a challenge to the Devil. And yes I actually mean the Devil because I believe that there is one. But if you can't wrap your head around that you can just go with whatever evil force you want. It started with a family trip to Williamsburg that  had its fair share of bumps and ungrateful children. The next week brought lice. Yes you read that right. Lice. My ultimate worst parenting fear realized.  All the while also trying to juggle the usual December hoopla and events which now includes Ainsley's basketball schedule and Jake's choral performances.   And an unusually high number of difficult people in my life.  That, yes, I want to throat punch.  

Then to top it all off yesterday I hurt my knee while I was running. That always ends up being a very dark place for me. I start to fear the worst and this time is no different.  I love cold winter morning runs with my crew. I love the crazy plans they/we come up with (like the annual Christmas run - a 19 miler to the 5 "boroughs" of the Sandhills).  Its hard to explain to someone who hasn't known me a long time why anything to do with my knees will bring me down so hard and so fast.  You see, I lost soccer when I was 19 years old and that was, by far, one of the most difficult times in my life up to that point.  I identify as an athlete. Its just always been part of who I am.  Saying goodbye to soccer meant becoming an outsider (in my mind) to my group of friends, my roomates, my "place".  And the pain. OMG the pain.  Sometimes I'll get little inklings of the pain I had post ACL repair and it makes me sick to my stomach.  The thought of going through all that again ... well. I can't.  I did it three times and it never got easier.

For the first couple weeks of December I fought back to remain Joyful, Heartfull and Grateful when those tough moments arose. But I kind of feel like I'm being swallowed up by this knee thing.  I go into see the Ortho today and maybe he will be able to drain it and shoot me up with Syn-Visc and I'll be on my merry way until the next time.  And I will be very happy.  But how many more next times can I do?  

So, if you see me out and about and I seem to lack some holiday cheer, please forgive me. I'm trying. I'm really trying.  And as terribly trite and small as I know an injured knee is in this world of so much hurt and pain, just know I'm doing my best to take on the right perspective.  And pray for me that I would stop letting the Devil win in my mind and let the joy of Christ's birth take over. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The night the walls came down

My last couple posts have been kind of heavy so hopefully this one will lighten things up a little bit.  While it is not a happy story exactly, I can laugh about it now that its all over!

Yesterday the guys were here doing the sheetrock work out in the old garage conversion.  I was very excited because the girls are so ready for their new rooms.  I've been busy finding cute things to decorate and I wanted to go ahead and get Ainsley's bed ordered before a sale I'd found ran out.  So I went to her new room to measure.  There was some sheet rock in the way of something I wanted to see so I tried to pull it out and peak around.

Well, I don't know if you have much experience with sheet rock but it is heavy.  Very, very heavy.  So when I pulled these 7 sheets out a bit to peak they fell over.  Thankfully I jumped out of the way.

I didn't want to leave them like this for fear they would go through the wall so, while pouring sweat, I managed to get one sheet at a time back up, only smashing my finger once.

But the other end was still unstable so keeping my hand on it, pushing against it, I moved down to try and fix the bottom which was at an odd angle.  At that point the seven sheets started to come down and I had nowhere to go.  Well, nowhere to go but through the wall behind me.

Here is where words fail me.  As it came over I screamed.  My children all came running to find me trapped with 7 sheets of sheetrock sitting on my stomach and legs with all  while my butt and back were wedged into that hole.  I couldn't lift them off of me and it hurt.  A lot.

My kids absolutely freaked out.  I think they genuinely thought I was dying.  I had been texting with my friend Kacy a second before and somehow my phone was still in my hand so I texted her that I needed help right away.  Then I realized that text probably wasn't going to be effective so I called her and asked her to send her husband right away.  They live a couple miles away and I don't know how well I communicated the gravity of what was going on ... but they came as fast as they could.  After 10 minutes I started to have what I can only assume was a panic attack.  I was trying to hard to be calm but I was scared and in pain and my kids were so scared too - I know we were feeding off each other.    Finally it occurred to me that maybe a neighbor could help so I sent them running down to our neighbor who I knew would be strong enough to help.  They all took off running and I can only imagine the scene that landed on Frank and Wendy's doorstep.  About 15 minutes after I became trapped help came all at once and Patrick and Frank came in and were able to bust the sheetrock off of me.

I cannot describe the feeling when I was freed.  My legs were so weak that Patrick pretty much carried me to the living room.  I was trying to keep my teeth from chattering.  Thankfully Wendy is a nurse and Patrick is a doctor so I was in good hands.  Patrick ran home for his bag because he wanted to be sure I hadn't done any internal damage.  My right side is very, very tender (more so this morning).  He checked me all out though and we agreed I was ok.  Just terrified.  They stayed for a while to watch over me and be sure I was really ok.  I'm so thankful for friends like this.

It was hard to sleep last night. I think I still had crazy adrenaline rushing through my system.  This morning my ankle hurts, my side hurts, my elbow is pretty scraped up, and there is sheet rock all over my house.  But I'm ok!

Now that I've written that I realize it isn't as funny as I'd hoped but seriously, can you not laugh a little at my dumbness.  At least laugh at this picture that Jane Dare tried to take of me