Grays 2013

Grays 2013

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

REAL Parenting

Does anyone else feel inadequate as a parent? I mean really I can't be the only one right? I sit here in hopes that exposing my gross inadequacy will only give others of you out there permission to give yourself grace. If I am the only one then the light needs to be shed on that too and more therapy is needed. 

Today was one of those days when my sweet child that has sensory issues was just a bit unhappy about current changes in our schedule. Mainly that his older brother being home because school is out. He has been off the charts with aggression. I know as his mom that I need to intervene quickly so it does not escalate but lets be honest I was hungry (translated hangry) and just wanted to eat so I let it go too far. Then we both exploded. Not the best way to deal with a sensory meltdown by the way. 
It all ended with me and him sitting in his bed crying. Not my finest mommy moment. Oh and I forgot to mention all of them had been fighting ALL morning over really stupid stuff. So the perfect storm was created. It ended with me apologizing to my children. They are so use to this that they barely blink anymore. 

My husband bless his heart gets to hear all about as he walks in the door. To which he stands and in trying to be supportive just stares blankly at me as I cry and rant about how terrible of a mom I am.
surely feeling helpless and scared all at the same time. 

This parenting this is no joke.  I just hope that I am not the only one that is wondering how in the world I am going to raise these 4 boys without completely causing them to hate women because they have serious mommy issues. 

Today I am choosing to focus on grace. Just as I had to apologize to my kids I also had to apologize to the one who created them. And the same one that created them has extended grace by sending His son to die for me, a sinner. 

So mommy's raise your hand if you are frustrated, exhausted, impatient and downright feel like a failure and then look up! God loves you and there is grace extended to you! 

Friday, May 13, 2016

Hold on loosely

Holding on loosely is not something I do well, AT ALL. I have a tendency to try to hold things too tight at times. Its really easy to do and I suspect most of you do too. But today I attended the funeral of a dear friends brother. This friend got up in front of everyone and spoke the gospel with a clarity and passion I have not seen before. As he spoke about his brother and his parents experience in the hospital and the decisions they had to make it hit me. What have I been holing on too tight to? What have I been trying to control and not allow God to have? What illusion of control do I think I have? 
Its simple, everything. I have tried to carry everything by myself even though I am in a church that has a passion for community. I have kept to myself and believed the lies of the enemy. Lies like "nobody wants to hear your struggles", "you bring everyone down", "nobody really cares". 

I have not let myself be known. Why? I wrote this in my journal not long ago. "I am dumb to think that because I follow you [God] life is hard. I know that following you actually makes the hard easier. But you call us to do hard different, better. And sometimes I don't want to do hard right. I want to do it with my head down and in private. Hard is scary. I feel most times that Hard is my middle name. Don't people get tired of hearing just how hard my life is! That is how I feel even when I am giving glory to you. I am not good at putting on a smily face and saying yes things are hard but God is good and I feel like that us what people want from me. Not many really want to enter into those dark places with me. The place where there is brokenness, no answers just questions. The place where all you can do is survive. The place where fear lurks. The place where anger lies just beneath the surface. We are suppose to live transparently but how am I suppose to do that?"
Why do I want to do hard alone? Partly because I have been hurt, deeply by people I loved and trusted. DEEPLY! But mostly because I have built a wall. And if we were honest most of us have walls around the deep hurts, the deep struggles. What if we get hurt again? What is people as the struggle and the real you? 

I was told by two mothers today both of whom lost a child, one of buried her son today, that I know. That statement rocked me to the core. Yes I know, I know the pain of losing a child and I know the long journey on which they are embarking. I know because God walked me through that and continues to walk me through it 13 years later. But what do I know. I mean really know deep down in the core of who I am? 

I know that when you walk through something like this there is an intimacy  with Christ that is like no other. I know that you have a different perspective of heaven. I know the the Lord the rules the earth cares enough to bottle your tears. I know that even when you stand in the shadows He sees you and you are KNOWN. I know that He never meant for us to walk this alone. I know that there are so many hurting people out there, some who may be sitting right next to you in church, that need you to be real and need you to be willing to walk the hard stuff with them. But for that to happen we have to be willing to be known, even if that means getting hurt again. I know that the ultimate goal is to bring glory and honor to Him. 

I will be honest this is so hard for me. holding on tight to my feelings, my hurts, my family, the list can go on and on. My prayer tonight is that I can lay it out there. Shout out that yes! this past 3 years have been hell on earth. but I have survived, most days barely but my head is currently above water. 
I also know this.......if you hold those things too tightly then you cannot give glory to the King. 
So yes I proudly wear that badge that says YES I have lost a child, or YES I am a mother of special needs children, or YES I do mess up as a mom almost daily, or YES I am not great at this marriage stuff, and Yes I am BROKEN and an utter MESS!  I will wear those badges with honor because when I am able to admit those things and allow people to see my broken mess I allow them to see what Jesus has done through my broken mess. There are days that all I do is cry. Today was one of those days. My tears however where not for me. they were for the two precious mothers that unfortunately now know the pain I know. My tears were shed for them to honor them. Tears that come from a broken momma who chooses to honor Jesus in this big ugly mess we call life. 

So tonight I go to bed not knowing what tomorrow holds but holding on to the one that does. Because even if tomorrow holds more or even a new pain I will honor the one who knows me, ALL of me. 
And I will loosen my grip to the things I cannot control, I will be open handed and trust in Jesus. 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

New journey

So it has been a while since I blogged and a lot has happened in the past 5 months.  Erick received his transplant on January 14, 2015 and things are going great. He is all healed and will be returning to school in a couple of weeks. God is good!

But that is not what I to blog about....
Many of you have asked or questioned why I use essential oils on my children. Some of you may have seen the post about essential oils and seizures that went through Facebook a couple of months ago. Several of you shared that post with me. 

As many of you know Zachary our 7 year old has epilepsy. He was diagnosed in September 2014. I opted to put him on anti seizure medications because we were going into transplant with Erick and I needed to make sure his seizures were under control. It was a hard decision. Why? because I know what anti-seizure medication can do to a child. As I sit here today writing this I am in tears. My once sweet, rule following, compassionate, funny and loving child can not control his temper. He does not sleep well at night, he is irritable, irrational and fearful. My son who has never said a hurtful word to me and has always been respectful came at me today to hit me. 
What have I done? 

The only thing that has changed is I put him on medications. 
He currently is on Keppra, this is his second medication he has tried with the same results. 

The questions you should be asking me is why is he on Keppra?  Here is a list of side effects of Keppra
More common:
  • Aggressive or angry
  • anxiety
  • change in personality
  • chills
  • cough or hoarseness
  • crying
  • depersonalization
  • diarrhea
  • dry mouth
  • euphoria
  • fever
  • general feeling of discomfort or illness
  • headache
  • hyperventilation
  • irregular heartbeats
  • irritability
  • joint pain
  • loss of appetite
  • lower back or side pain
  • mental depression
  • muscle aches and pains
  • nausea
  • painful or difficult urination
  • paranoia
  • quick to react or overreact emotionally
  • rapidly changing moods
  • restlessness
  • shaking
  • shivering
  • shortness of breath
  • sleepiness or unusual drowsiness
  • sore throat
  • stuffy or runny nose
  • sweating
  • trouble sleeping
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • vomiting
Less common
  • Bloody nose
  • burning, crawling, itching, numbness, prickling, "pins and needles", or tingling feelings
  • clumsiness or unsteadiness
  • discouragement
  • dizziness or lightheadedness
  • double vision
  • earache
  • feeling of constant movement of self or surroundings
  • feeling sad or empty
  • increase in body movements
  • loss of bladder control
  • loss of memory
  • mood or mental changes
  • outburst of anger
  • pain or tenderness around the eyes and cheekbones
  • problems with memory
  • redness or swelling in the ear
  • seizures
  • sensation of spinning
  • shakiness and unsteady walk
  • shakiness in the legs, arms, hands, or feet
  • tightness of the chest
  • tiredness
  • trembling or shaking of the hands or feet
  • trouble concentrating
  • unsteadiness, trembling, or other problems with muscle control or coordination
I have italicized the ones that Zachary is currently experiencing. 

Side effects of essential oils? Some of the oils may trigger seizures in patients that are already prone to seizures. So what do we do about that? We avoid them, that simple!

I can tell you what I am doing now....looking for alternatives. And yes essential oils are a part of his daily routine and well as mine.  
In addition we are looking at diet and other more natural ways to control his seizures so that he can have his childhood back.  

So when you ask me why I use oils this is my response is this, in our family we have seen amazing results with using essential oils. We sleep better, our immune systems are stronger, my hormones are more balanced. Are oil the end all cure all? No we have also changed our diet and taken chemicals in our home. 

And lots of prayer because the same statement I made above about Erick is true in Zachary's situation too. God is GOOD! 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Year!

I wish I knew how to feel about a new year. Quite honestly I never understood why we spend a full year doing things we need to change and then at the first of the year vow to change them. Why wait? I have been guilty of doing it until one year I decided not to do resolutions.
I am so thankful God is not like me. Next year I will lose weight, next year I will be a better wife, next year I will play with my kids more, next  year I will volunteer more, next year............

If anything about my journey through life has taught me is that we only have today, right now. We never know what tomorrow or the next hour will bring really. After the accident the railroad had to do a reenactment of the accident. One of the things that really struck me from that is the entire accident took 3 seconds to happen. 3 SECONDS!!! That is approximately how long it takes you to take one breath. In one breath my life was changed forever.

It has been 12 years since that fateful day and I admit I am human I lose focus of that and get busy and am short with my children and my husband, I want to rich through the days like everyone year....we can always get to it next year right?

But what is next year does not ring in the way you want it to or think it will? Does that change who God is to  you?

This year we are facing a big surgery. I have had to stop and ask myself the question of what if you lose another child, does that change who God is to you? What if that child is not the one facing the lung transplant, what if it is your husband or worse your whole family again?  Those are scary questions for me but my answer is a resounding NO it does not change who God is to me.

And I admit I have wavered on this question for the past month. But I want to share a little story with you that helped me refocus and get my feet back under me.

When I left my children with my father in November 2002 to go visit my grandfather in Massachusetts it was suppose to snow while I was there. Joshua asked me to build him a snowman and take a picture of it. And so I did not knowing that he would never see that picture.  Once we came back home to Texas and buried my children and my father, my mother and I decided we could not stay here for Christmas and decided to go back to Massachusetts to spend time with my grandfather and the rest of our family. While we were there I was doing some Christmas shopping for my nephews and they wanted a football. I could not find a football anywhere. Then I drove by this small store and they had a basket full of balls and one football in that basket. I promptly stopped and bought the football. As I was walking out of the store the store owner said to wait he had something for me. He then proceeded to hand me a snowman. I did not know this man but that snowman gave me such comfort in one of the darkest times of my life. God used that man to let me know he had me in the palm of his hand.
This year as I was going through the holidays and asking myself those questions and really struggling with what we were facing and what we have faced this past year I went to a Christmas party with some wonderful women I have the honor of serving with. I almost did not go because I was not in the mood to celebrate but I went and guess what my sweet friend gave me for Christmas......yup a snowman. Nope she did not know the story or that I was struggling but God used her  and her gift to remind me that he has not changed. He is still the same God that walked me through the death of my children and the same God that called me to be a mom to the amazing children he blessed me with.
Some would argue that it is just a snowman but with God it is never JUST a snowman!

"What if some did not have faith? Will their lack of faith nullify God's faithfulness?  Not at all! Let God be true, and every man a liar. As it is written: "So that you may be proved right when you speak and prevail when you judge." Romans 3:1-4

Sunday, November 30, 2014


As I looked at my reflection in the mirror the past few months I have not liked what I have seen looking back at me. What I saw was a mother with battle scars that chose to stand behind the scars and be a victim of my circumstances. A mother who was battle weary and well quite frankly angry. Angry that my life has been anything but easy. Angry that my child is getting sicker and there is nothing I can do about it. Angry that he is sick in the first place. Angry that  I cannot change things for him regarding his past. Angry that a sweet innocent 8 year old boy carries around so much hurt and anxiety. Angry that God would ask me to walk a path yet again  that is hard and painful. Angry at my husband for not reacting the same way. Angry at well everyone but mostly myself.  Notice how I came right back to me?? As I reflected the past few weeks with God that is what he revealed to me. I am selfish in my thoughts and in my actions.

 I remember talking to a dad who had lost both of his children in a car accident and he asked me if the closeness to God would go away after time. My response was only if you let it.  That is where I have been the past few months. So busy with doctors appointments and worry that I had not stopped to talk to God. Or let me be really honest had not wanted to talk to God.  The result was I put all the focus on me and had a great big old pity party!

So what do I do with that? Any moms out there know it would be really easy to let the guilt of that steal my joy. But Romans 8:1 says "there is no condemnation in those who are in Christ".  So I put on my big girl panties and look outside myself.

Yes my life has been hard but it has been so amazing as well. I am so blessed to be Josh and Jennifer's mother.  I will never regret the time I was given with them. I will continue to share them with others. I do miss them everyday and it is only a pain another mother who has a child in heaven can understand and I will not ever get over it or be done grieving them this side of heaven. I have four amazing boys. Parenting children with special needs is lonely so I am thankful that God gave me an incredible husband who has held me many nights as I cried myself to sleep. Listening even if he did not understand my rants and worries.

This month my focus in on making memories and serving my family. I am blessed to have today. So I will camp right here in today, living a life of no regrets and not taking today for granted.

Thursday, November 27, 2014


Thanksgiving day and we are home.  This time of year is so conflicted for me. I have a love/hate relationship with the holidays. It was this time of the year 12 years ago that my children and my father died in a horrible train accident  I still miss them every single day! Not one day goes by that I do not think about them. But this year is a bit different. This year we are home because we are waiting on a lung transplant.  We are waiting on a donor.........
Many of you know that Jennifer was a donor, not major organs like lungs or heart because her injuries were too severe but she donated tissue, eyes, bone, etc.  Even though she was not able to donate the major organs it still gives me great joy to know that someones quality of life may have been improved.  I would do it all over again and I would make the same decision for all of my children, myself and my husband if faced with that again. As strange as it may seem it was a gift for me to be able to do that for people I will probably never meet. 

But sitting on the other side of this is a game changer for me. I know that my prayers will not alter God will. But how do you pray for a donor when you know the terrible heartache the family is facing? I mean really know.......the deep gut wrenching grief that come with losing a child. The pain that never goes away.  The empty seats at the table. The empty hole in your heart that can never be filled. The overwhelming longing to hear their voice, smell their hair, hold their hand...

This is how I am praying for them this year. First of all Erick is stable right now, Praise God! He is home and not having to be in the hospital like many children who are awaiting transplant.  So I am praying first for the families faith and salvation. I do not know how you get through the loss of a child without believing there is a higher purpose in the pain.  I am praying that they get one more Christmas together. Losing a child during the holidays well just sucks!  And I am praying that the time they have together is a time of no regrets. That they will slow down and enjoy the holidays and time they have left together. I am praying that they have HOPE! The hardest part of all this is I know that they have no idea what they are about to face but I do. 

So today my heart is heavy for Erick's donor family will you please join me in praying for them? 

Sunday, September 14, 2014


That is all we are really promised is today right? That obviously does not mean we just live today and not plan for tomorrow but it does mean that we are to hold on to those plans loosely because they may not be God's plan.

When I lost Joshua and Jennifer I realized there was no other place I wanted to be than in God's will. Even if that meant there was a lot of pain there. That was easy to say when I did not have anything else to hold on to.  Once I allowed myself to love again at great risk of losing again then oh so slightly I let myself hold tight to the people in my life trying to control everything that is not in my control. And I lost focus on what it meant to be in God's will. Oh to look at my life on the outside you would probably think that I had it all together and completely relied on God.  Well that is not the case I am sad to say.

As we walked through the past few weeks I have been angry, completely angry and God knew it. I told him very bluntly because that is how I am with God. I know I did not even have to tell him because he already knew and he is the only one that knows me completely and still loves me anyway.
God was and is big enough to handle everything I bring to him and I am so grateful that as I bring all my junk to him he is faithful to not let me stay there. He is also the only one that will tell me to stop throwing a temper tantrum and get up and look for the good in each situation and stop letting fear rule my life.  God will only let me stay wrapped up in my anger and self pity for so long. He speaks to me in so many different ways. Through a friend that is not a stranger to suffering sending me a song that helps her in her tough times. Kutless- Even if the healing doesn't come. Or through a sermon on suffering (I wrestled with God in this one). Austin Stone, Gospel centered suffering   It was a series of these things that brought me back to the place of wanting to serve God especially in my suffering. Because how we serve him in our suffering matters. It matters to the Kingdom!  People need to see that it is not perfect people living in a perfect word but we are Redeemed, Rescued, and a Restored people living in an imperfect world because the Savior loves us.  There will be suffering! If you have not encountered that I am sorry to inform you that you will.

So I woke up on Tuesday with a different perspective and a calm spirit. And off to the new Neurologist we went. This one specializes in epilepsy. He was confused as to why the Neurologist wanted Zach on medications and why he was such an alarmist. He said the activity he saw on the EEG indicated that he was at risk for seizures but not having seizures. Two very different things. So he gave us a choice to keep him on the meds or take him off. We opted to take him off and we will watch him. We will proceed with the MRI but he feels strongly that he will not find anything. This was great news and it felt more manageable. I will say that my gut a nurse had a hard time swallowing the first Neurologist findings and I was very hesitant to start Zach on medication but I trusted this doctor and he really made it sound as it was life threatening. So I second guessed myself and did what the doctor said afraid to make the wrong decision that could potentially be fatal for my child.

Then as if that was not enough of a blessing Erick came home that very day and actually told me in great detail about his day and a sad moment he had in Science when someone asked about his oxygen. This conversation was complete with words that were not prompted and completely and freely spoken. To those of you that have walked this journey with us with Erick know that his coping mechanism is to shut down. This was a hug break through!!!

So what does Gospel centered suffering look like?  For me it is lifting my head above the waves in the storm and seeking God in the victories of today. See if I had still been angry and shut off then I would not have been a safe place for Erick to come to that day and I would have missed out on the blessing of my son confiding in me for the first time.
Does all this mean that the storm does not rage all around us as we try to keep our head above the waves? No it means in the midst of the storm we know and trust the one who hold the life raft. And sometimes that takes total trust in the only one who is completely trustworthy.