A Good Day

Today was a good day. We have been anxiously awaiting an appointment with an Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist to discuss our daughter, Jera’s, asymmetrical tonsils. Our family doctor had thrown around the possibility of lymphoma as an underlying cause for the asymmetry, and with Jera’s many health struggles, we have been stressed, holding our breath, and biding our time until we could talk to a specialist about his thoughts on her unusual tonsils. Today, January 10th, my husband’s 34th birthday, was finally the day.

I feel so blessed to have been referred to Dr. Ehrhard. He was friendly, warm and kind. He spoke directly to Jera and allowed her to sit on my lap. We talked through her health issues. His calmness was contagious. He asked Jera to open her mouth and then confirmed what we had already seen. Her right tonsil is enlarged, and while her left tonsil was also enlarged, the right tonsil was considerably larger. 

This is where he paused and took a moment to address all of the thoughts that were running through our heads. He said, “From one parent to another, I want you to know that when these things happen, we think about what could be causing it. I want you to know that in my experience, I’ve never come across this (asymmetrical tonsils) and had the cause be something bad.” There was an audible release in the room, as Phil and I both sighed out all of the tension that had been building.  I told him we had been so worried. He told me he understood, that your child being in danger is a parent’s worst fear. I checked with him again, “You’ve seen this before?” “Yes,” he told me, “and in my experience, I’ve never found a bad cause.” 

He wouldn’t even say the c-word…never let it come to his lips…he said “a bad cause/thing”. He knew what we feared. He’s trained to know the signs and symptoms of abnormalities in the throat. But he also knows a parent’s worry. What a tremendous blessing that this compassionate man is Jera’s doctor. 

Jera is scheduled for a tonsillectomy on January 25th. Her tonsils will be biopsied and we will know for certain that our daughter is okay…she’s just a girl with goofy tonsils. Oh…correction, soon she’ll be a girl with NO tonsils, and I’m okay with that! 

I’m praying Jera remains healthy and we’re able have her surgery as planned on the 25th. I’m praying that her recovery is quick and as painless as possible. And I’m praying that following her biopsy, we can confirm that she’s just a girl with goofy tonsils…with the reassurance of her doctor’s previous  experience, I feel optimistic about what is to come.

So tonight we celebrated my husband’s 34 birthday. We lit candles, sang the birthday song and ate some terrible, gluten-free angel food cake. And I mean TERRIBLE cake (Jera still ate it happily, just thankful to have cake). But we celebrated with hearts that were lighter, hopes that were higher and faith that continues to grow.

Thank you to everyone who has held our family, and especially my precious daughter, in your prayers. I believe in the power of prayer. I cannot express how I’ve felt lifted up by the outpowering of support and love from my readers, our friends and our family. We are blessed beyond measure. Please continue to pray for Jera as we move through this journey to a healthier, stronger tomorrow. 

Another Day, Another Diagnosis 

Yesterday I celebrated turning 32 years old…well, sort of. I started out celebrating, but by the end of the day, my birthday had taken a turn for the worse. For those of you following my blog, you know we are anxiously awaiting an appointment with an Ear Nose and Throat specialist next week. The specialist will be investigating my 4 year old daughter’s asymmetrical, enlarged tonsil. We’re not sure what is causing the abnormality but fear the underlying cause could be cancer. Her appointment is on the 10th and we are praying to hear that she just has a big tonsil. 

In the mean time, Jera woke up with a strange rash under her right eye two days ago. With a long history of allergies and eczema, we are no strangers to rashes. So I gave her a dose of Benadryl and we went about our day. However by yesterday morning, the rash had become worse and her eye had begun to swell. Time to get another punch on the old doc card. 

I wasn’t sure what to expect but was utterly shocked to find that my 4 year old has shingles. SHINGLES. Yes, the virus from chicken pox that you normally hear about from your 90 year old grandparent. I left the doctors office in a bit of a daze. Because the shingles rash is so close to her eye we have to get into an eye doctor today to be sure the shingles hasn’t made it into her actual eye. Shingles in the eye can cause many vision problems, even leading to blindness.

So I jumped online to try to understand how my young daughter contracted something that I had never expected. Let me preface this by saying, I realize this is a mistake. I know we should never Google any illness. It’s never good news. But my heart sank when I read that shingles is extremely uncommon outside of the elderly population unless a person has a suppressed immune system due to HIV or cancer. There was that word again. Cancer. 

The tears came fast and hard last night. I am praying my little daughter is fine. I am trying to remain logical and rational. I know it could be and hope it is nothing. But I am scared. The 10th can’t get here fast enough for my little family. 

I continued to peruse online last night and found a blog where another mother has a child with severe eczema, like Jera, whose daughter also had shingles at 4 years old. Jera is prone to skin infections and her immune system is in a constant struggle against her eczema and allergies. She just had the stomach flu two weeks ago and pneumonia a month ago. It makes sense that her immune system would be down. She is bright, cheerful and happy. She doesn’t understand the tears or hugs or worry. 

I am scared but trying to hold fast to my faith that God will guide my family through this crisis. We’ve made it through things I couldn’t have imagined before. This time I lean on Him with my entire being as I struggle to maintain normalcy in a moment where I feel anything but normal. Please continue to pray for Jera. For her strength, health and resiliency. 

I turned 32 yesterday and I continue to learn daily that faith and family are the two things that make this life, not only bearable, but beautiful. Today I choose to believe that anything is possible with the help of God. Today, a year older, I choose to be happy in the face of adversity. I will take it a moment at a time and be thankful for the time I am given with the sweet little monsters I call my children. Speaking of which, I get to wake now and tell my oldest he has a two-hour snow delay…this parenting thing can still be fun! Parenting is both the hardest and most rewarding responsibility I’ve ever known. Today and everyday, I choose to be thankful for it, both the burdensome worry and the great joy. It’s all part of it. Duty calls….off to make the snow day announcement!

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.

Turkey Day Everybody!

It’s finally here!!! Thanksgiving…my absolute FAVORITE day of the entire year. Thanksgiving beats out other holidays for so many reasons. 

First, no gifts….not one single present. I love that…a holiday where no one has to worry about money, where people aren’t focused on what they get or what they give, but instead of the time. Time, being present in the moment, enjoying those around us. That is the focus of this day. 

Second, come on now, the food! I’m a total glutton…so this is my day. The greenbean casserole is in the oven. The pumpkin caramel cheesecake is in the refrigerator. Yes, you heard that right…PUMPKIN. CARAMEL. CHEESECAKE. Exciting, I know. And before we eat, we pray. A prayer of Thanksgiving, my favorite moment of the whole wonderful day.

So on this day, I hope you can look into your heart and find deep gratitude for all of your blessings. Be thankful…thankfulness is a true gift and it allows us to see life in a totally different and amazing way. Be thankful today and everyday.

Today and everyday, I’m most thankful for:

  • My relationship with God through Jesus
  • My husband…my unbelievable, sweet, loving, funny, amazing husband
  • My children, for all their joy and innocence. The light that they bring to this world 
  • My family. My mom. My dad. My sister, brother-in-law. My brother. My mother-in-law and father-in-law. My sister-in-law. My nieces and nephews. My aunts and uncles. My cousins. For the memories we’ve made. For the memories yet to come. For always being there. For being such an awesome and joyous part of my life.
  • For my friends. For the ways they make me a better person. For the laughs. For the tears. For the special place they hold in my heart.
  • For my career. For the way my employer has helped me to grow professionally. For the opportunities I’ve been given. For the way they help me provide for my family.
  • My education. For the way it has opened my mind. For the way I’ve grown and continue to grow. For the future it provides for me and my family.
  • My home. To have a place that is comfort. A place that I am always happy to come home to.
  • For my pets. For the way they are always happy to see me. For the way they’re never put off by sweatpants or morning breath. For their enthusiasm. For their love.
  • For so many things. Too many to name. For all of the blessings I’ve been given. For the pain that’s help me grow. For the moments that have made me stronger. For everything.

I wish you the happiest of Thanksgivings today. Eat. Talk. Nap. Eat again. Be thankful.

This Election…What Now?

I watched the election with the rest of the world, knots in my stomach, anxiety in my heart and eventually ending in a state of pure shock. Let me say that I am not a Democrat. I am not a Republican. I am a human being, a mom, a Christian, an employee, a woman. This election season I felt at a loss and couldn’t vote for either party with confidence. I questioned many of Clinton’s actions. However my issues with Trump were greater and those issues resonated in my soul. Trump represented a lot of things to me: hate, bigotry, misogyny, exclusion…I could go on but the truth is that none of that matters anymore. 

Whether or not I approve of his character, Donald Trump will be our next president. What can be done now? What is there to say? 

What I want to say, and what I choose to say, is that I still believe in the goodness of humanity. There are people who have used this election as an excuse, as a pulpit, to hate. But those people are not the majority. They are not the greatest number of Americans. While Trump took home the electoral vote, Clinton won the majority. And yes, even many who voted for Trump did not do so based on his message of isolation, but rather on his financial policy. 

While this election may feel like a defeat for civil liberties, the truth is that the majority of America still stands behind ALL of its people of this great nation….our women, our people of color, for our LGBT communities, for religious freedom. We still believe that we began as a nation of immigrants and we appreciate that our future will also be shaped in a positive way by those same hardworking individuals looking for a fresh start in a land where anything is possible.

We will continue to teach our daughters that they are not defined by their bodies, but instead by their minds, hearts and souls. We will teach them that they deserve equal pay for equal work and that they are capable of whatever they dream. 

We will tell our neighbors that although our God is different than theirs, that we can live peacefully together and have respect for our differences. We celebrate the fact that our children no longer recognize skin color as something that sets them apart from their peers. We relish in the idea that marriage is an equal right to ALL loving couples, regardless of their sexual orientation. 

I’m not sure who these hateful people are that I hear on the news or read in my Facebook newsfeed. These people are not the Americans I know and love. My friends, my colleagues, my church family, my family, my husband, my children, my circle is made up of the Americans that will continue to move forward, spread positivity and love, and work towards a brighter tomorrow. 

If you’re part of a minority group today (I’m with you…woman speaking right here!) or your heart is hurting for what we stand to lose after this election, take faith in knowing you are not alone. Our America is still here, still real, still hopeful and still strong. Tomorrow is a new day and the future is promising. 

I have a lot of hesitation about posting my political opinion. There are so many opinions out there and it is, quite honestly, exhausting. I’m sure some will read this with disdain because my opinion is different than theirs. But in America, that’s okay. I’m proud to stand up for my belief that all people are equal, we all deserve the same rights and freedoms. I encourage you to have respect for our election process. But I also encourage you not to lose sight of your passions and hope for the future. It is never too late. It is by standing together with love that we show what we are truly made of. We don’t always win, things don’t always go our way, but we won’t be bitter. We will move on and continue to lift up our voice for the causes that matter most. Let your voice ring!