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!