All posts by flamingodiary

Just Open the Door


I had the privilege of reading Jen Schmidt’s (Balancing Beauty and Bedlam) new book Just Open the Door before it was available for sale. And what a privilege it was. Opening the doors of our home and building community have long been passions of mine, so I relished the opportunity to read this book about biblical hospitality. When hearing the words biblical hospitality, it doesn’t necessarily evoke warm and fuzzy feelings for me, but this book did. The stories, the insight; it reads as if you are sitting down with Jen herself, sipping tea and chatting about life.

Since moving and settling into our new life in North Carolina, my door hasn’t opened nearly as much as it used to, and while that’s ok, this book was a good reminder that I’m at my best when the door is swinging open regularly. And I love that as you read, it’s clear that an open-door policy isn’t just about the physical door of your home, but that mentality moves with you everywhere you go, whether that be the soccer field or the grocery store. And at a time when we still don’t have our people and our place here, that is crucial. But I hope to live that way even after we’ve settled here, because imagine if we  embraced all opportunities to connect and engage those around us, never saying enough.



Looking back at our life in Iowa, it’s clear that by “just opening the door”, we found a richness of community and relationships that is unmatched. From all the baby showers and wedding showers and dinners with friends and dinners with acquaintances that became friends, to the day we placed a flamingo in our front yard and nervously waited for neighbors we’d never met to show up; our door was swinging wide all the time. And even as I look back at my childhood, the door was always open, always. So, at a time when we are still waiting for that richness and abundance in North Carolina, we will move forward and open the door as we have in the past, because we want to live with an open heart.



This book is truly for everyone, and I recommend it to all my friends; but if you are wanting to learn about simple,  practical and heartfelt hospitality, then this is definitely the book for you.  The kind of hospitality that works with what you have and where you are, not a Martha Stewart Pinterest perfect kind of hospitality, but the kind of hospitality that leaves others filled up. “When we use our lives exactly as they are, desiring only to create a sacred space for our guests, mixing it with the countercultural truth of loving Jesus and loving others, we turn entertaining upside down, and it becomes radical hospitality.” JS And as you read on and hear stories of people’s lives affected by the Schmidt’s open door living, it becomes abundantly clear that this kind of living truly can change a generation.



Today is the last day to preorder with perks, so head on over to and order yours now. Preorder perks include the first 7 CHAPTERS digitally, a beautiful PRINTABLE to download and $10 OFF any Dayspring order.

Perfect Love


Life these past few weeks has been so disheartening, everywhere you turn there are stories full of destruction, heartache and pain. It’s enough to down even the strongest of us. Just this morning I was reading about a teenager who was tortured to death and spent years in a home full of abuse and pain. I couldn’t help but weep as I read about this poor child’s life and demise. And just a few weeks ago the headlines read about a large family with many children that experienced similar torture and horror on a regular basis. And last week, multiple teachers and students lost their lives in a school shooting. The evil around us can feel so strong at times.

With such atrocities, many are struggling to make sense of what we hear, and desperate to find solutions. We can’t fathom losing a child in such a horrific way, and we can’t grasp that a parent would treat their own child with such hate. Evil has existed since the beginning, and will continue until the end of time. We live in a country where that evil hasn’t trampled our daily living like in other countries, so it’s sometimes hard to grasp what evil really “looks” like, and then it smacks us in the face and we struggle to understand it.

While I have many thoughts, opinions and feelings about the “issues” being discussed post tragedy, it’s clear to me that as a society we have lost our way with handling such tragedies. One minute on social media and you can’t help but feel bombarded with opinions and causes. Just today my computer time included gun debates, food assistance debates, pleas to care more about third world countries, and stories of human trafficking and road rage attacks. It’s a lot, especially considering that was intended to be an enjoyable experience, one where I pop on and see what people I care about are up to, not what they feel about this or that issue.

I try not to be too “in your face” or forceful with my thoughts, because I believe we all have something to offer the conversation, but the conversation is happening in the wrong place. It’s time we all turn off our phones and computers, and actually talk to people. Nobody is gaining anything from the painful social media posts and debates, so just stop it. Rather than engage on a platform that eliminates the fullness of human interaction; go have coffee with a friend, invite a neighbor to dinner, volunteer at the food bank or career closet, bring a basket of cookies to the neighbor or teacher or coworker who is making your life difficult, or simply smile at strangers. Engage people. This is where the conversations should happen, and this is where people coming together can make a real difference.

The one constant in all of the stories consuming the media right now, broken and isolated people. While there are many forms of brokenness and many needs in our society right now, it’s safe to say that community is lacking. We’ve become so connected to the digital world, we’ve forgotten we live in a real world with real people. So, while many will be on social media creating enemies and causing division with senseless debates, I will be pursuing real people and hoping to bring a little bit of light to a broken world. People loving people will always be a more effective tool of change, and that is where one can truly change the world.

Ephesians 6:12 “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore, put on the full armor of God…”

1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear…”



At the start of every year, so many of us focus on goals and dreams for the upcoming year, and some will embrace a word or verse or saying as their mantra for the year. I personally entered 2016 with the goal to focus on me, to focus on the change that I needed personally. I’ve spent nine years of my life investing in my kids and husband and home; and while those are all wonderful investments and of the utmost importance to me, I knew that me needed a bit more attention this year. So as 2015 neared its close, I chose the word CHANGE as my word for 2016, not realizing just how fitting that would be. Two months into 2016 and I can assure you that change is beyond accurate, so much more so than even I had planned. But life is funny that way, I think we sometimes feel the wind shifting before it changes directions.

My intention was to spend this year pursuing new to me things, stretching myself and finding renewed confidence as I pursued new passions and interests; but today, for the first time in many many years, I interviewed to rejoin the corporate working world. That was not on my 2016 plan for change. Life has thrown me many curve balls over the years, and sometimes I’m shocked by all I have lived in my 35 years; but this one was out of left field. I had a great career prior to leaving to focus on family; a blessing I all too often took for granted. I never really planned to rejoin the corporate world I once knew, I just figured that I would fall into something worth doing when my youngest entered kindergarten; but life detoured and here I am. The saying “you don’t know what you’ve got til its gone” is so fitting. I have, more than I care to admit, loathed my time at home with littles. It’s the most selfless, busy, never-ending, down-in-the-trenches work that one can do. And coming off years with a grouchy, sick child, one would think that rushing to a corporate adult world would be the end all be all, but truthfully, I’m realizing how much I have treasured my time at home. Raising little people is truly some of the most important work that I will ever do.


As I look back over the past nine years, I’m overcome with how special all of that time was…and that’s saying a lot considering my kids pulled some crazy antics. What I wouldn’t have given on those messy, trench-filled days to be anywhere else, to be dressed in real clothes, talking to real adults about “important” things; but what I overlooked on those painful days, was that the important work was right in front of me. And many days, just keeping the kids fed and alive was all I could handle; but the lie that I needed to be accomplishing more was always there. The lie that if I could keep the house cleaner, make a better dinner, play more with my kids, be more attentive, more involved, less this, less that, more this, more that….all the lies, distractions from the important work I was doing. Parenting isn’t for the faint of heart, and spending countless hours alone with these little people, well, its just exhausting; they have this way of taking you from “exhausted” to “can’t even function anymore” in no time flat. They are the worst and the best, all tied up in these sticky little packages.


My parenting work isn’t even remotely over yet, and I will still have the joy of experiencing so many “can’t even function anymore” moments, but the way things are, that’s changing. And change is one of those things I’ve grown to love and hate, the perfect dichotomy. My family will find its new “groove” and I will experience more adult interaction throughout my days; but the sweet days of me desperately wanting to run away, as I invest hours upon hours, cleaning up mess after mess, and argue incessantly with little people; those days are coming to an end. And I guess my dream of sending all the kids off to school and drinking wine all day with my girlfriends will have to wait until another day…



“Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.”Forrest Gump. Isn’t that the truth. Have you ever looked back at your life dreams and compared that to reality, so often they are vastly different. My life right now is in a bit of upheaval, and it has me reflecting on the past, present and future. As humans we have this great capacity and need for dreaming, its so much of our life…dreaming about what we will do, how our families will be, what our homes will be like, the next amazing vacation; for some, life is already a dream come true, but of others, its not been so dreamlike. And context is so crucial here too, because my reality could  be your dream, or vice-versa.

My husband, and our sole provider,  is between jobs right now, not exactly a dreamlike place to be. And we were here a few years ago when the economy tanked and his whole division was shut down, that time it took two years to find solid employment again. Two whole years of dreaming and hoping and struggling to get through. We were blessed by so many during those years, and looking back, I don’t get warm fuzzy’s, but I don’t want to erase them either. Because life is fluid, and those years are full of lessons and memories and people and good stuff despite the valley


Having lived through this before, I can compare this time to last time, and I can work at doing it better. And this time, the fear is different, the impact feels less extreme and the reality is, I get to dream again. Dream about what he will do, dream about what I will do, dream about the possibilities. It’s just a job, but wouldn’t it be great if he loved his job. Would’t it be great if this was a redirect to something even better…that’s what we all hope for when big changes like this happen, better, because we dream.

I hope to never lose the ability to dream, because I think that is the charm and sparkle that keeps like moving forward, the catalyst to change.What are your deep down dreams? As adults, life and kids and responsibilities take over and sometimes we forget that deep down dream that once was so vibrant. I sometimes wonder what the world would look like if we all gave those dreams a little more attention, a little more space  to exist; and then what if we pursued them? What if complacency and fear took the backseat, and fervently chasing that dream became a priority?!


The past few years I have been solely focused on my family, specifically the health of my son and his struggles. It consumed all of me, and the more I invested in him and fought for him, the less alive I felt. It was hard and all-consuming and required me to be completely selfless, the dreaming had died. But then he started to improve, and it didn’t consume all of me anymore, and the little dreams started to surface again, and pretty soon I wondered if the little dreams could be the big dreams…so here I am, diving into waters that make me feel a little uncomfortable and out of my element, but you know what, I’m chasing my dreams. And with each step closer to the dream, my spirit lifts, my heart feels freer and life feels a bit more magical. So do me a favor, take a few minutes today and just dream…dream about your future, those deep heart desires, and the possibilities, because life is full of them. Dream on my friend.

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Missed Moments


Oh my heart. I just finished snuggling my baby; he’s four now, and feels like a giant. As I stared at him all nestled in my lap, he looked so big. I’ve spent the past four years snuggling this child more than I care to admit, and I can pull up countless photos to prove it. Snuggling him through  illness, and grouchy days and impromptu naps…days upon days upon days of snuggles. That’s what he needed, and I selflessly gave, but not always joyfully. At the time I often resented it, all of my time spent confined, desperate for space; but now, as I’m snuggling this tired little boy, I’m overwhelmed by how much I miss it. How much I miss those sweet cheeks buried in my chest, his warm little body sprawled out across my lap and the steady drone of his breathing…such sweet memories.


How quickly things change, just a few months ago I was still confined more than not, but now its so rare, and I’m realizing its the start of many missed moments as my baby grows older. With the older kids I was desperate for them to just do something, anything without needing me; but now that its my baby, I’m not quite so eager, for a day will come when he no longer needs me. It almost hurts to type that, I mean that’s not really something I even think about; my children will one day not need me. That is what we are all striving for as momma’s right, for these children to turn into self-sufficient adults; and now as I stare at my four year old, I realize these years will be gone in a flash.


I have found myself lately smiling a bit more as I trip over toys, or find cushions made into a fort, or when he grabs for my hand unexpectedly, or when he pecks me with those sweet, slobbery  kisses…its going by so fast! And I don’t know what I will do when these moments are but a memory, when they are big and can do it on their own, when I’m not the most important person in their life. I mean, lets be honest, it has its downsides, but you can’t beat the love of your littles.


My daughter turned seven this week, and its shocking how grown she is now. A first grader who is reading and writing, confidently living life without me by her side. She is growing into her passions and dreams and its a little bit startling…not that long ago she was the one pecking me with slobbery kisses, grabbing my hand to cross the street and yelling momma every two seconds. There were days that I swore thats all they said, the incessant drone of momma all day long, so draining. But now, I hear it less; don’t get me wrong, it still feels like a war zone at times. But its shifting; they need me less, they entertain themselves, and somehow, my momma instincts can feel the change. The instincts just know it, life is changing, for the better in many ways, but also bittersweet. The life I’ve been striving for, all three kids in school all day long, its coming, and I might become the cliche mom who cries…I swore I wouldn’t be her, I’m not an overly emotional person, so to me it always seemed a bit extreme; but I might. And I think the tears will signify the sweet memories of the past, and the acceptance that this child is launching into the world without momma by his side. Be still my heart.


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Mama Bear Heart

A mother’s fierce mama heart and instincts to protect her offspring whatever the cost has always been fascinating to me. To think she would do anything for her kids…and until becoming a mother myself, I never knew how much mama’s truly sacrifice for those littles. Day in and day out absolutely everything in their life revolves around those children…feeding, laundry, diapers, toilet training, cleaning, playing, reading, disciplining, worrying…constant investments in transforming little people into quality big people.


When I became a mother, I knew I would do anything for my littles. And while I have invested more than I ever dreamed, it wasn’t until my youngest, Tate, joined our family, that I started to understand exactly how strong mama’s protection really is. We’ve been through quite the journey with Tate, from being a sickly baby and toddler, to fighting for his health and finding healing for his body, only to struggle with a new challenge; all of it leading professionals to question why he functions as he does. We addressed, and thought laid to rest, the autism diagnosis last year, but it reared its ugly head again a few weeks ago. The specialist in our first visit started throwing out words like ADHD and autism, but different specialists would confirm…so for two weeks we prayed and pondered a future with those big words included. We would do it, we would figure it out: we researched and knew lots of money might be needed for treatments and we would do whatever it takes to help him.

With numbers floating in my head and uncertainty as to how we would ever make it work, I pondered things like selling our home and downsizing our life, this was my child and I would do ANYTHING to make his future the best it could be…and then it hit me like a load of bricks. THIS is how my Heavenly Father feels for me, He would do anything to make me the best I can be…He chose me and fights for me and I am His child. “For you created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother’s womb” Psalm 139:13. We are loved and valued and desired and He will fight for us. We have a perfect Heavenly Father who loved us even as a baby in the mother’s womb…a Father’s perfect love. So humbling and undeserved and so perfect.


Tate’s future is still uncertain, but once again the autism diagnosis has been laid to rest, as well as the ADHD. We may never know why Tate functions as he does, it could simply be that a hard start in life creates anxious preschoolers; but there is hope for his future. Even with scary labels, there would still be hope for his future. He has a mother and father who love him, as well as a Heavenly Father fighting for him.  A mama’s heart is fierce for her babies, and that is a gift from God.


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My Life Mimicking the book “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie”…

It’s lunchtime and Tate is hungry, so mommy cooks him a corn dog and sets it down in front of him.

But it’s too hot to eat, so they play shapes while it cools down.

Mommy prepares her lunch while Tate eats his corn dog.


Mommy sits down to eat, and Tate has finished his corn dog and would like more.

So mommy gets up and heats more food for Tate.

It’s too hot again.

So they play shapes for a few minutes.

Tate eats his food, but now needs water, so mommy gets him water.

Tate then spills the water, so mommy wipes up the mess while he finishes his food.

Mommy sits down to eat her now cold food, and Tate is done eating.

Mommy cleans his hands so he can play.

Mommy gets ready to sit down in front of her now ice cold food, and Tate gets his toy car stuck under the oven.


Mommy tries to get it, but can’t.

So she pulls out the oven and retrieves the car.

It’s dirty back there, so mommy grabs the vacuum and mop and cleans.

She then cleans the counters and side of the oven before moving it back in place.


Now she has the vacuum out and needed to vacuum the floors anyway, so she vacuums the main floor.

Now, what was mommy doing?

And this is why all mothers know that the book was actually written about our children..the guiltiest little mice of all!

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Yesterday our youngest, Tate, turned 4 years old. Birthdays are always exciting and full of reflection; I mean, kids just grow so fast. But this particular birthday has carried so much emotion with it. The improvements in Tate this year have been amazing, and looking back at our four year journey with him, I can’t help but feel so thankful for all of it. To top it all off, I started an intense body bootcamp program one week before this birthday. Now that my days aren’t spent managing life with Tate minute by minute, and my nights aren’t spent awake with him; I decided to focus on me for a bit. 

I knew that this program would stretch me, and I started ready to give it my all. What I didn’t expect, was emotion tied to a simple workout and eating program. Leaving today’s workout, I was struck with how pursuing strong is forcing me to shed the “weight” of four years of trauma. I feel for parents of sick children; and while our journey hasn’t been as intense as some endure, I know very personally just how much our bodies store that trauma. When you are deep in doctors visits, and ER visits, and hospital stays, and specialists and all these people trying to help you sort out life with this child, and day to day is so dang hard; you aren’t processing, you are surviving.  

Years of survival builds up, and now that my Tate is functioning more normal, I’m ready to shed the “weight”. What’s fascinating to me, is that its been surprisingly motivating…the thing that’s pushing me harder each day isn’t a desire to be skinny (that would be nice though!), but more this deep down drive to shed the emotions, the trauma of four years. It sounds so cheesy on paper, but my goodness, aren’t humans fascinating. The way we process and survive, not always thriving but doing our best to just get through the mountain in front of us…now I’m ready to pursue thriving, to focus on me and to shed all the “yuck” that I’m still carrying deep down in me.   

I no longer panic with breathing episodes, or when I hear a person cough in public, or when someone is clearly sick and near my kid; I no longer panic at being in public with Tate, wondering if he will sit still, go crazy unexpectedly, or refuse to participate and just “shut down” at the most inopportune time. I’m able to function with less anxiety and stress and over-preparing for every minute of my day. What a refreshing, and almost forgotten, reality. I’m sure our journey with him isn’t over yet, but I’m reveling in the peace and calm that each day brings. And the luxury of early morning workouts, pushing past my limits and forcing strong (its still just a dream), that’s surprisingly therapeutic. So please pardon my million Facebook posts, and odd emotions for these next five weeks (or more), because sometimes in journeying to strong, you first have to shed the emotional “weight” that life has handed you….here’s to life free of it all, emotional and physical, here’s to strong.

“Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal, to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14

“If you think you’re beaten you are, if you think you dare, not you won’t. If you like to win but think  that you can’t, its almost a cinch that you won’t. Success begins with a fellows will, it’s all in a state of mind. Think big and your dreams will grow, think small and you’ll fall behind. Think that you can and you will. Its all in a state of mind.” Walter Winkle 

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Rainy Days


When I became a mom, I was so sure I would be the kind that jumped in puddles and ran in the rain and didn’t stress the little stuff…and for a long time I was that mom, but life gets busy and crazy and the kids kept coming. And then after years of struggling with a sick son, insanely difficult days and no answers, that mom was nowhere to be found. I’m sure it was a slow progression brought on by stress and life and the heaping pile of worries that came with each day; but she was gone. As someone who cherished being laid back and relaxed, yet able to step in and maintain control, this was a sad reality. Even sadder, was seeing my son struggle daily…it broke my heart. And maybe that was a major part of the progression too…the heartache of pain and anxiety and stress in a little person, one too little to be that way yet…he should be laughing and playing and jumping in puddles, but he wasn’t. And even when this momma tried to encourage that carefree-ness, nothing.


But guess what, today he played in the rain, and he laughed and loved it, and my momma heart was thrilled to feel that warmth again. These years have felt like a long winter with no sun and warmth; and when the sun would start to peek through, the clouds would roll back in with fury.  So cold and hopeless, but slowly the sun is reappearing more regularly, and we are laughing and joking and playing and the tears and anxiousness and aggression are subsiding. I’m not sure why this change, I’ve prayed and hoped for this for years, and started to wonder if this would always be our reality…and it still might be, he might just be having few good days, but I think its more than that. I think something in his heart is changing.

A few months ago I started my own journey into unlocking this child…you see, we’ve seen specialists and doctors and counselors and people that work with all sorts of manner of kids, and none of them had answers for our guy. I’m not sure what I was hoping for, but recommendations to play mozart and keep him calm at all times, that definitely wasn’t it. And I’m not discounting those recommendations, he has made huge improvements with his aggression from some of those implementations. But I started to wonder if his issues were simpler than that…we’d been told that trauma from being so sick for so long, and delayed speech just does this to a kid, add in his food sensitivities and this is exactly what you get…but surely there is more, not just a few holistic health options and then just wait it out…I need more.


So I researched introverts and trauma and anxiousness, I poured myself into unlocking a simpler answer, and hopefully solution; and do you know what I found, confidence to parent him the right way for him. There was no big “aha” moment, but we had nothing to lose. So here’s what we did…

Affirmation: We affirmed every “good” thing he did. “You did a great job being brave today and not crying when that stranger said hi.” “I’m proud of you for playing with friends and not needing to be next to mommy.” “You said please without being asked.” And you know what, he started smiling more and trying more and his confidence improved. Amazingly simple and so  transformative.

Voice: We gave him a voice. With delayed speech and struggles to communicate, I didn’t realize just how much I was speaking for him. But one day he was telling daddy something, and I jumped in to “clearly” tell daddy what he said, and I saw his face fall (heartbreaking!); I immediately apologized fro speaking for him and now consciously try to let him do all his own communicating. And you know what, he is now confident and talks all the time.

Feelings: This guy feels so deep, and its so easy to find the tears and outbursts frustrating, and I think he sensed that. But when I focused on acknowledging the feelings and giving him room to feel them “its ok to be sad and cry Tate, but when we have calmed down we need to come back and join our friends”, it calmed his spirit. He still feels deep, but he outbursts are less intense and extreme. He needed a safe outlet for all his feels.

And the changes in his demeanor have been felt on such a deeper level too…he now laughs and jokes and plays and smiles all the time, and he’s comfortable not being with me all day long, he will actually play in other parts of the house now. And while its been a journey to get here, and the journey is likely not over, its been a great reminder that kids need permission to think, speak and feel, and once they have that, they are much more confident in this big, scary world.


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Reset Button


Oh my, it has been so long since my last blog and my heart has been so filled with words all this time. Life is just chaotic and busy and most days more than I can handle, much less putting words to paper. I’ve spent the past month wrestling with sick kids and harsh realities…the kind that feel like a kick in the gut and change your life forever.

My youngest, Tate, is without a doubt a blessing to our family. The child that we knew we were supposed to have even though we had said we were done. He came into the world fast and furious  but was the sweetest little baby. From the start his health was a struggle and we experienced numerous doctor, ER and hospital visits. As he got a little older his demeanor changed from happy to miserably grouchy. We spent our days attempting to snuggle while he screamed and cried. He became aggressive and emotionally shut off and it was heartbreaking to see him struggle daily. My reality changed practically overnight and most days seemed unbearable. The joy in our home seemed to seep away more and more daily and I found myself wondering why this was my life.


Close to Tate’s second birthday we made some diet tweaks and found an essential oil regimen that had him functioning so much better. But as time went on and we were less strict with his diet, he regressed. There are no words that adequately describe a life nothing like what you imagined, but its even worse when you see your child struggle with no way to help. We were doing everything we could to help him, and I secretly wondered what was really wrong with this child. Having raised two other children through the toddler years, I knew that his behavior was far from normal. They were the kind of fears you keep buried in the back of your mind and avoid at all costs.

Then it happened, we were at a doctor’s appointment because Tate had been struggling with a “stomach bug” for over three  weeks. His cultures showed no parasites or infection, so we were left with a simple answer of “it will get better”.  But during that visit, the Dr noted Tate’s anxiety, slow speech and lack of socialization…all signs of autism. He wanted to have Tate’s hearing and speech tested and the dreaded “A” word was used. I should clarify he in no way said my son suffered from Autism, but my biggest fears were right there, spoken, and a punch in the gut like no other. In one moment all of my dreams and desires for this little boy were dashed at the thought of him fighting this for the rest of his life. Struggling to connect and relate to the world, struggling to learn and thrive and live what most would view as a “normal” existence. This was my baby, and while there are wonderful people fighting this fight daily, I didn’t want my baby to be one of them.


I give you this emotional context because the flurry of emotion and the impact is so crucial to a heart change…so crucial to feel that blow and find a way to keep standing. Our family clung to God, prayed, and started to explore other causes for his behavior. Almost instantly gluten intolerance and celiac disease came to light with cases of it mimicking Tate’s situation, not to mention the mysterious “stomach bug” he had been fighting. We removed gluten from his diet and almost instantly he was a different child, he is socializing and happy and the “tummy bug” was gone. He was all of a sudden a normal toddler!

The emotions of the journey, which has in many ways just begun, were not so quickly healed, and that’s okay. It was as if God was hitting the reset button in my life. I think back over the past two years fighting for Tate’s health, struggling to survive each day and  wondering why this was my life. There have been numerous times throughout the journey with Tate that I tried to find outlets for me in midst of it all…thinking that a hobby or fun thing would somehow make it more tolerable. So many blogs and articles and journals encourage mothers to seek an outlet and take care of them; I would in no way say that is a bad or wrong message, but I now believe that seasons will come when that just isn’t possible. Each and every outlet I pursued required me to walk away; the at home sales opportunity that was perfect for me, the early morning workouts that just weren’t feasible with so many hospital stays and sleepless nights, the play dates that were next to impossible with a child like Tate, and so many other missed chances. My life needed to focus solely on this child and my family, there was room for little else.


I’ve realized that it’s okay to have seasons where our focus is on nothing but what’s in front of us. It took me a long time to accept that my view of perfect, that all of those amazingly wonderful things I used to love doing, might not happen right now, and if they do, it likely won’t meet my previous standards. And while I wish I could only embrace the perfect and revel at how amazing it is, I know that without the imperfect, my life would be a shallow mess of perfect pictures and little depth. It’s the valleys that allow us to appreciate the mountaintops…I’m still waiting to find my way back to the mountaintop, but even a few more feet up the mountain is improvement. And needing to cling to God daily, while hard, isn’t a bad place to be. Being able to experience his provision and grace daily with a raw heart is a huge blessing!

While this journey isn’t over, and has been less than fun, I know that right now I’m being required to live in the trenches and fight for those I’ve been given me. I know that I fail daily and offer less patience than I should…but it’s my journey and I am learning so much. The more I am required to give (and I’ve given so much more than I knew I had!), the deeper I love. I never knew how strong my Momma Bear instincts could be until they were tested, and who knows, you might see me crusading for a Tate cause someday soon, but I will leave that for another day.

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