Life Ain’t Always Beautiful 

I wrote my first blog a year ago in January. Since that time I’ve shared some funny moments, some sad and some of those moments have been breathtakingly scary. I think about this year and for all of its ups and downs, I don’t think of it as a bad year. I’m not sure if this makes me an optimist or an idiot, but it is what it is.

I’d like to think that the frightening moments are behind us, but I know that’s not the way it works. Life on life’s terms means that your turn is never up. There are no dues to be paid. We aren’t punished. We aren’t given reward after enduring pain. Instead, life continues to be unpredictable and we just hold on for the ride, cherishing the good moments and holding tight to our faith for the bad.


Tonight I’m afraid. I’m afraid for my daughter. She’s four and to say that her health has been a challenge over four short years is an understatement. We’ve battled severe eczema, allergies, five bouts of pneumonia (two of which led to hospitalization)…but through it all, Jera remains a bright ray of joy in our lives. We will visit a pulmonologist for the first time in January for a likely diagnosis of asthma. But all of this I can handle. All of this is manageable. 

Three weeks ago, however, I visited our family doctor for my son’s annual checkup. The nurses overheard Jera wheezing from in the waiting room (her respiratory distress had skyrocketed overnight) and the doctor thought it was wise to see Jera while we were there as well. This was much to my son’s dismay as he did not appreciate sharing his appointment with his kid-sister. During the checkup, the doctor checked Jera’s throat and noticed that her right tonsil was considerably larger than her left. The doctor prescribed a round of antibiotics hoping the swelling  was due to an infection. Three weeks later, there is no change in the abnormality in the tonsil. Jera’s right tonsil is still enlarged with no signs of infection. To my disbelief, to my horror, assymetric tonsils are a symptom of lymphoma.

I can’t even write the word. Just that thought is unreal, horrifying, sickening. But there it is. In print. Lymphoma. It is very rare. I am reassuring myself that my daughter is fine. I’m telling myself that this is one of those things that I’ll look back on in a year and be so thankful that it turned out to be a false alarm. We have an appointment with an ENT on January 10th. From there, we expect to have to a tonsillectomy and then the abnormal tonsil will be biopsied. Then…then we will get confirmation that our daughter is fine.

I’m telling myself not to panic, telling myself to stay positive. I’m sad that things always seem to be so difficult for Jera. That her little body always seems to be in a battle against itself. I wonder if these issues will ever end for her. As a mother, my heart hurts because she struggles. Because she has to take medicine everyday and doesn’t complain about it. Because breathing treatments are routine for her. Because she gladly understands that she can’t eat those cookies, chips, that birthday cake, because she is allergic. I’m sad that I can’t fix this all for her. That I can’t make it better and I can’t make it go away.  And I can’t begin to imagine her having to bear anything more than she already does…


I started writing this blog a year ago. I felt a calling to write and so far it’s been a rewarding experience. With this, the most precious and sacred part of my life, the health of my children, I wonder how much to share with you. At this point, nothing is certain, and hopefully nothing will come of this. But this is real. This is life as a parent, or friend, or child, or sibling. One moment you’re cruising along fine, and the next you’re praying for good test results. One moment you’re at your most joyous and the next your heart has ceased to beat again until you know your child is safe. We’re not guaranteed another day together. 

So I write. I choose to share my experiences, even the most scary, with you. Life is not all funny moments. It’s not all sarcastic wit and heartwarming humor. It can be hard and cruel and unkind. And it is that way for all of us. And even while it’s not okay…it’s okay. 

In a few short days it will be Christmas, and I am reminded that God sent his only son to us so that we could be saved. As a parent, today, I truly understand that sacrifice. For all my worry and angst right now in this moment, I am still grateful. I am still blessed. I am the wife of a wonderful man, I have two amazing children, I am healthy and capable, and I am a child of the most high God. My family and I will be okay.


I encourage you to hold your children tightly tonight. Savor each and every moment of unwrapping and assembling and buying more and more and more batteries. Watch their joy and wonder during your Christmas Eve church service. Pray for them. And please, if it crosses your heart, pray for my Jera too.

Rolling With Life’s WTF Moments

I often feel like my family lives by Murphy’s Law. Things tend to go wrong in uniquely bad ways for us. Have you ever been there? In that moment that you can’t even believe your luck? I’ve been there…I hang there…heck, that moment is my permanent address.

This all ran through my mind tonight as I was driving home. I was headed home from my in-laws’ house where I was baking cookies. Not just any cookies, but gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free cookies (I’ll explain later). Anyway I was driving home from baking cookies at 9:00 p.m. (which is past my bedtime…yes, I’m old). 

Why was I out so late baking cookies you ask? Well, let me tell you. We need to go back to a few weeks ago to Thanksgiving when I was baking my green bean casserole for a family party. I set the timer for 45 minutes and went about getting myself and kiddos ready for the party. Yay…Thanksgiving…my favorite holiday…what could go wrong? When the timer beeped and I checked my casserole 45 minutes later, I was puzzled to find it luke warm. I turned up the oven and sure enough, 30 minutes later, my casserole was still cold. Yes, I am the person whose oven quits ON THANKSGIVING. 

So here I am, two weeks later, an oven on order but not installed in time to make the Christmas cookies due tomorrow for my daughter’s holiday program. Following my son’s program tonight (two holiday programs in the same week…gotta love Christmas), I took my one open window this week at 8:00 p.m. to find a functional oven and bake up some cookies. Yes, I could have just bought some at the store, IF my daughter wasn’t allergic to everything. So if this momma doesn’t make the cookies, my sweet, little, walking hive of a daughter can’t eat the cookies…so momma makes the cookies, after a 9.5 hour work day and an adorable 2nd grade Christmas program at 9:00 at night, with no oven of her own…momma makes the cookies. 

This turn of events…this crazy day…this crazy week, month, year, got me thinking, “WTF?!” So I started counting all of the other WTF moments in my life. 

Like when we locked ourselves out of the house last month and had to break out our window to get back inside. It was a learning moment. I learned that glass windows are a lot harder to break than they appear. I learned that if all else fails, a cast iron Dutch oven will do the trick. I learned that the head rest in every car (yes, even your car!) is detachable and has a glass hammer on the bottom. I learned that when you’re ready to murder your husband for locking the keys in the house, if you just don’t speak for an hour an a half and clean your garage from top to bottom, you will simmer down and remember what a great guy he really is….even if he did just cost you $300. Some moments all you can think is WTF.


Also… the time last year when a set of my car keys just stopped working one day. Remember when keys were keys?  And when you stuck a key in an ignition, the engine turned on? Well, they don’t make ’em like they used to. Apparently, keys become deprogrammed and just stop working. So since it can happen, of course, it DID happen to me. Then, my husband lost my remaining set of keys and I had to have my car towed, reprogrammed (thanks to the nifty anti-theft feature) and then rekeyed. That was certainly a WTF moment if I ever had one.

Sometimes I feel like my family, my sweet, clumsy, forgetful, messy family…like we’re the only ones who experience these moment. I’m not one to walk around cursing throughout the day and when it comes to the F-bomb, it’s serious business. But there are moments when that’s all there is to say. And then…then I have to laugh. Maybe not until after the hour and half of rage cleaning, but the laughter does come. I know we’re really lucky. We’re lucky that these are our problems. In the moment, it’s hard to remember. These inconveniences are aggravating. They’re expensive. They’re ridiculous. But they’re fixable. They’re temporary. They’re also just so us. What would we do with ourselves if we weren’t breaking into our home or destroying our own property???? I guess that’s just our style and at the end of day, my daughter went to bed with a warm, gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free cookie in her belly. Life is good, especially for my WTF family!

Have It All Together?

Do you ever feel crazy? Like full on, off your rocker, make me a strong drink, kind of nuts? I seriously surprise myself daily with the range of emotion I can get through in just one day. Being a human is so weird. Just saying.

Anyhow, today was an ordinary day in our household. I woke up, full of energy, feeling like I had plenty of time before our first “appointment” of the day. Wake the kids, find the elves, flip on the cartoons, make the chocolate milk, let the dog out to potty, feed the cat…look at the clock…begin to panic….listen to my husband snoring…begin to rage. 

I see a lot of women who seem to have it all together. They’re on time and they look disapprovingly at me as I sprint across the parking lot dragging my adorable and completely powerless preschooler behind me. Ha! If they only knew how I also snapped at her the entire last 15 minutes of the morning because she needed to brush her teeth, brush her hair, get her backpack, tie her shoes, get her coat, faster faster FASTER! I feel the mom-guilt pang my heart and I want to do better...to be better.

 The very best days of my life begin early. Getting out of bed on time, getting a workout in, waking up my children on time, being relaxed, being on time. I tend to run in spurts with this on-time thing. A couple of months of smooth sailing…followed by a couple of months of hectic chaos. For me, in those weeks of struggling its  so hard to remember how wonderful the day would be if I get out of bed at 5:00 a.m. AT 5:00 A.M.! My logic doesn’t serve me well when I’m snuggled under my blankets (again, husband snoring).

To survive, to love myself in these harder times, I have to find comfort in knowing that I’m doing the best I can. I tell myself that even those “got-it-all-together” moms, aren’t as perfect as they seem. 

I write this tonight because someone actually said to me this week “You’re always so put together.” What? Whaaaat? I looked behind me but no one was standing there…no, for sure, she was definitely referring to me. I have it all together??? I’m late. I’m messy. I’m uptight. I’m stressed. I get lazy, sad, angry, tired…crazy most days. But someone out there thinks I have it all together. This is a crazy life.


My point is that it’s okay. My husband and my kids are so loved. My home is still standing. My dog still loves me. And my cat likes me most of the time. Some moments, hours, days, I feel crazy. But really, I’m okay. I’m just living and sometimes that’s enough. When we feel crazy, maybe we just need to remember that someone out there thinks we’re doing a great job. And maybe, more importantly, we remember that those even closer to us, those we tuck in at night, those we open our eyes to morning after morning, those that mean the most, those people think we’re pretty fantastic. So maybe a little crazy is actually alright. Maybe crazy really is beautiful.