Monday, February 23, 2015


Anniversaries of special events usually come and go for me without much of my day changing.  Tears may be shed.  Cake may be eaten.  But the actual date of an event is not usually what triggers an emotional response for me.  A song, a scent, or a phone call are much more likely to remind me of the magnitude of a past event.  Yet as I have anticipated being forty years old I have been thinking a lot about the turns, twists, mountains, and valleys that have been my life.

I understand that turning forty is not something a lot of people choose to acknowledge or announce.  When we were kids and then pre-teens waiting for the years to go by so we could get our learner's permit - those were the days of celebrating the years flying by.  And I'm by no means immune to the feelings of worry and dread as I witness changes as the years go on.  Pounds don't come off as quickly as they used to.  I have to wear reading glasses to type this.  Lines and wrinkles on my face and hands make it harder to hide my years.

Then why don't I feel like hiding?

I think it's the joy of knowing that my soul is what will last eternally and I am just practicing here the purpose God has already planned for me in Heaven.  

Are you hanging on to your Sunday-school view of Heaven you had as a child?  The one where you were sitting on a cloud.  Or maybe you were hanging out in your house made of glass enjoying your 360 views of the streets of gold.  Confession: It took me until just a few years ago (and you know how old I am) to begin forcing my mind to view eternal life for what it really is.  A life of purpose.  So many things take on a different meaning and have a new context when viewed in the light of a realistic Heaven.

In The Purpose-Driven Life Rick Warren says that any other way of living is just existing.  Before we had Glory I was just existing.  I wasn't happy or sad but I knew I was missing out on something.  I didn't know what it was then.  I hadn't experienced true joy because I had kept my ideas of eternal life inside a very small box in my head.  I was an adult with a very childish view of the Bible's message.  Not until I realized that my life here was a practice run for the real thing did I experience the joy of purpose.  So as I celebrate being forty years old today I am overjoyed to be living with purpose.

One of my favorite moments during this last year in Malibu:)
As long as we are able to see our wrinkles for what they really are - evidence of laughter.  As long as we see our physical ailments in a true light - scars from living a life of purpose.  As long as we acknowledge we were created "for such a time as this" (Esther 4:14)...

Forty is my beginning...

But the plans of The Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations. Psalm 33:11

Thursday, September 18, 2014


Sometimes God places a passion in our hearts long before it is time for that passion - which becomes our dream - to become a reality.  So many times prayer is the only action we are called to in the beginning.  And how difficult is that to sit back and just pray about something that we are ready to roll with!?

A few years ago I experienced how hard that is.  Our passion had been given to my husband and me, but it would be months, possibly years, before it could be realized.  And instead of just praying, I started planning.  Have you ever done that?

I researched, plotted, outlined, and planned - all the time wondering how that could be wrong when God had given me a glimpse of what the future would hold for our family.  But the pieces I was trying to fit together to make the dream a reality were from two different puzzles.  I was trying to put pieces of my puzzle from the past together with the few pieces from the future that God had allowed me to see.  I prematurely took possession of those pieces and tried to fit them into a life that God was still trying to build the puzzle table for.  Looking back I can see that I was trying to force something to fit for all of the wrong reasons.

Will you visit a few years back with me?

Back in 2010 a group of the most extraordinary women came together for a very special cause - Love.   They formed a friendship and support group around a woman they barely knew because they were obedient to God's call to action and to Love.  Then they invited others to join them.  They told a story about a little baby named Glory and her mommy, daddy, and big sister.  They thought that maybe others might want to support Glory and her family so they decided to sell T-shirts to raise money for the family.

You may have heard of them - The Glory Girls:)

A few years after that another group of women decided to join forces and fight injustice.  STIR1024 was born (Socials To Ignite Response centered around Hebrews 10:24 which commands us to STIR up one another to Love and good works).  They came alongside Glory's mommy and have supported the families at Arkansas Children's Hospital (where Glory was in the CVICU) numerous times with food, toiletries, gift bags, etc.

And this past Tuesday night another local organization gave a financial donation to what has lovingly become The Glory Girl Foundation.  The Van Buren Kiwanis Club has followed Glory's story from the beginning and is continuing to support a passion...

...a passion that is becoming closer and closer to reality because God continues to give our family more of the puzzle pieces.  And as we pray over them instead of making a huge plan of where to place them on the table, our dream to have a foundation that comes alongside families in Little Rock with sick children with love and to provide them with housing is closer everyday to becoming a reality.  

I'm so blessed to be able to be Glory's mommy.  So blessed to have so many individuals come alongside me and share in my passion.  My dream is that this blog will be used to update you on what your love and support can accomplish for the weak and unable.  We can do this's to the next puzzle piece!

Monday, August 4, 2014


Yesterday I began a conversation like this -

"When I was pregnant with my youngest daughter..."

I really don't begin stories like that too often - leaving the listener assuming Glory is at home arguing with her older sister about whose turn it is to play the Mermaids game on the iPad.  Most of the time I am telling Glory's story from the beginning through the time she went to heaven and how her life changed mine.

But yesterday I stopped short of explaining.  Why?  I don't know.  No mention of her illness.  No indication of her only having half of a heart.  Giving no clue that my youngest daughter had already fulfilled her purpose and moved on to bigger and better things.

Now that I think about it, the story was really about me - surprise.  It was the story of how I first knew Glory was coming.  The story about how I drove into the Braum's drive-thru one afternoon and ordered an orange sherbet freeze instead of a chocolate milkshake.  The story about how I began to crave everything orange-flavored, but didn't want an actual orange.  You know - orange #5 dyes and artificial flavors - those things.  Orange Fanta, Orange Crush, Orange Sunkist.  I perfected an Orange Chocolate-Chunk Pound Cake - and it did include actual oranges that grow on trees (REALLY yummy recipe - I can give it to you if you're interested).

When I was craving orange-flavored sodas I had no clue I wouldn't be holding the tips of her fingers while she took her first steps.  Or buying her first backpack for Kindergarten.  So I just continued my story...but only I knew how my craving for orange dye #5 (or whatever it is) was the beginning of a most amazing with no end.  Have I said that before?  ;)

Boxes and bags of items that you gave to be delivered to the Arkansas Children's Hospital CVICU...thank you beyond words!!!!!

Monday, July 28, 2014


When Glory was here, I shared her journey through a series of emails. When someone would share with me that a particular email spoke to their heart, I would quickly give them a disclaimer that I was not a writer.  Explaining any typos or grammatical errors, I guess.  

But I'm still writing...

I am currently preparing for a speaking engagement where I will tell Glory's story and how her life impacted mine.  I have told Glory's story once before to a group and I believe I gave the disclaimer at the beginning that I was not a speaker.  

But I'm getting ready to speak again...

The disclaimers that I have given are true (although I may have given them for the wrong reason - to protect myself).  I am not a writer or a speaker, but I'm doing both.  Why?  How?  Because I am nothing unless God directs my path.  I have nothing to say unless God breathes the words Himself.  Every word, every sentence written or spoken about my journey through love and loss is given by Him.  

God has been working on the most unbelievable redemption plan since the beginning of time.  When I woke up on June 3, 2010, after learning of Glory's condition the day before, God knew what He needed to accomplish.  And He would accomplish it with or without me.  But He gave me the opportunity to join His mission that morning...  

He asked me!  Me - who is not a writer!  He asked me to write.  He asked me to share.  He asked me to write that first e-mail and involve so many more in His Story.  I didn't have to.  But He invited me.  He wants me to be a part of His Story.  Even though He could do it on His own, He loves us that much to want to include us in His plan.  

What or who are you in Christ?  It may surprise you!  I'm in awe today thinking about the things we can do because WE can do NOTHING apart from Him...

Me with some of the Meinardus Family.  They hold a special place in Glory's Story.  And Jessica has an amazing story here...

Sunday, December 15, 2013


Because you were so amazingly generous with your love and hospitality at STIR's Glisten and Give event earlier this month, close to forty families (including many mothers staying in the unit alone) in the Arkansas Children's Hospital Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit in Little Rock were served a meal and received a large (and I repeat LARGE) Christmas gift bag with goodies such as candy bars, popcorn, gum, magazines, pop tarts, granola bars, hand lotion, fuzzy socks...and the list goes on!!

Here are some highlights from December 11, 2013...

All family members got a boxed dinner with a sandwich and chips from here and a cupcake from here:)

Our sweet Beka let us come up to her dorm room at UALR and package up all the food and get the goodies ready for delivery...

We might have been having way too much fun!!!:)  And I want to thank Jessica Meinardus who isn't in any of these pictures because she was taking them all!!!  And once again, her photos are priceless..

I was SO excited to see Libby waiting for us at the ACH entrance to help us get everything up to the unit.  Libby was there when our Glory Girl was in the unit and it was ALWAYS so nice to see her face...

Words cannot express the love I have for Amanda.  I don't believe either one of us knows how much Glory impacted both of our lives...

Heading inside...

On the move...

Unloading the boxed dinners...  I wish you could have all seen the gratitude on the faces of these families...

STIR ladies, I cannot thank you enough for making my passion your own.  I know you understand that this was one of the best days of my life and I am honored to serve with you...

Handing out the food...

Because you chose to share the burdens of these families.  Because you chose to love our Glory Girl. Because God has a greater plan.  Because God's love for me is too great to let me be silent.  Because of faith, hope, and is the greatest, you have changed lives.

Saying thank you seems inadequate, but I hope that you can see that your love can change stories and cause them to live on.  I look forward to the next opportunity to serve these precious families with you...

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


As many of you know, I am honored to be a part of STIR (Socials To Ingnite Response), a local non-profit organization seeking to stir women's hearts and ignite action in response to the injustice happening all around our community and our world.

STIR is almost one year old now and we are learning more and more each day about the direction God is moving in.  We are so blessed and it is so exciting to get to be a part in His big story!

STIR was presented to me a little less than a year ago as I was just beginning to live again after a very difficult few months following the death of my youngest daughter, Glory.  It was the answer to my prayer of, “Where do I go from here?”

And even though the STIR team continues (and will continue) to learn how to better reach those around us to stir their hearts and ignite action - even though our socials, events, venues, and cuisines might evolve a little from month to month - one thing unites all of us - our passion to love those around us and make a difference in our community and in our world.

And next month STIR is connecting you with my passion.. So it is with GREAT excitement that I am able to invite you to our first STIR Christmas Glisten and Give Event on Monday, December 2 at Madame’s Main Attraction in Van Buren.  

To me, this event is the beginning of the realization of a passion that was actually born while my Glory Girl was still sticking her tongue out and smiling in the Arkansas Children’s Hospital Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit in Little Rock, Arkansas.  When you enter a place where children are fighting for every breath you are likely encountering parents at the most vulnerable point in their lives.  During the 16 months that I was in the CVICU with Glory it became very clear to me that the sick children were well taken care of, but the parents had just stepped off a cliff and were in a free-fall.  I witnessed families being torn apart, divorce, jobs lost, lack of transportation, and the list goes on. 

My passion is to love these parents by providing them not only with food and shelter, but with a hope that they may never have experienced…the hope we have because Jesus loved us first.  I want them to see my life and the STIR team and supporters and want what we have - a joy that comes regardless of our circumstances.  

I am inviting you to be a part of this outreach!  Because of our faith, we can show them hope and love.  

Come join us on Monday, December 2, at 7pm in Van Buren, Arkansas for a special evening of food, fun, and fellowship and help us pamper these families by bringing one or more of the items listed above.  On December 11th (the anniversary of the day Glory Girl went to be with Jesus), the STIR team will take these items along with a catered dinner to the Arkansas Children’s Hospital CVICU Family Room for these parents to enjoy.

Please contact me if you are interested in purchasing a ticket to this event…because of our space, we are limited as to the number we have available.  I can’t thank you enough for helping me make this passion a reality so that we can change lives together…

Thursday, October 31, 2013


As mom pulled the car into the parking lot I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to get my legs to move from the floorboard to the asphalt when the ignition shut off.  The Arkansas Tech University dorm loomed ahead of me.  Time to be on my own.  Time to drink something other than my grandmother's sweet tea.  Time to move beyond slumber parties to roommates, community bathrooms, and sorority parties.  Time to be independent.

But I wasn't feeling it.  

Why did every girl but me have a brightly-colored comforter that matched someone else's?  How did they know each other?  Did I miss a pre-dorm party?  I knew no one!  The only two people I knew were getting ready to drive back to my home town in about an hour and eat my grandmother's chicken and dumplings.  (I'm not sure about the chicken and dumplings but I'm sure it was something other than cafeteria food.)  My mom was quiet as we finished putting away what amounted to enough stuff for about five college students, and my brother has since told me that visiting my college dorm was what made him want to go to college.

As I was walking them out of the dorm I remember thinking, "It would at least be nice to know someone to sit in the cafeteria with!"   

"Hey!  Do I know you?"  I heard someone yell from behind us.  Whew!  I knew I had to know someone.  We all turned around and I noticed the girl wasn't looking at me, but starting a conversation with my brother.  Yep, I knew no one but my brother was right at home.

"Daniel!  Remember me?"

I have been known as "Daniel's Sister" a few times in my life and I have always loved it!  Have you met my brother?  I could go on and on...I'll just tell you he's awesome.

But at that lonely moment I really just wanted to meet someone to go eat the mystery cafeteria casserole with.

Even though I have always been more than happy for my identity to be associated with my brother, in our culture there is often a negative connotation in having an identity tied up with someone else's.  As though if we couldn't have an independent identity we were weak or not good enough.  Why is that?  Where did that mentality come from?

I'm so glad a big part of my identity is wrapped up in these two brother, Daniel, on the left and my husband, Philip, on the right.  We like sunglasses.

I think our idea that we must have an identity independent of anyone else's could be hurting us.  I am overjoyed to be Daniel's Sister.  Glory's Mother and Advocate.  Philip's Wife.  Eliana's Mother.  If it weren't for those roles, who would I be?  What if we all let our identities be wrapped up in the less fortunate, the poor, the hungry, the widows, the oppressed?  What if you were known as the one who loved the unloveable?  The one who housed the orphans?  The one who gave clean water to those who had none?  

Our identities might not be independent, but they would be eternal.