Joy Is More Than Her Middle Name

Today I am thrilled to be able to share such an encouraging word from my friend Sarah, whom I "met" through adoption.  I know you will be blessed by her words today as she shares about finding true joy as we abide in Christ.  AND, she has an amazing Bible Study releasing on November 30 (which you will read more about at the end of this post).  Join me in welcoming Sarah today to the blog!


In March of 2015 our little Liana Joy Manhua arrived home from China. I’ll never forget the moment of stepping off of the plane into the chilly air at the top of the mountain at Yeager airport. The barren trees from the surrounding hills were home. After two weeks away, I was finally going to be able to hold my other children again. Together. Our Family Day. Our Belong Day. Her first day with her new family. This face says it all. She wasn’t quite sure about all of us. And we weren’t really sure about her either. 

Liana Joy Manhua. Joy wasn’t something I just chose randomly. I believe God gave us her name.

I wanted to give her a meaningful first name. Lian means flower in Chinese. Liana, adding the ‘a’, was the Hebrew word for My God has answered. God answering prayer summed up our adoption experience. Manhua was her Chinese name. It was a part of her, and we wanted that to stay a part of her. 

I choose Joy for her middle name because it was short. That’s it. I liked it, and it was a short second middle name. God just laughed, I’m sure. Joy would become more than her middle name.

Joy became something we fought for, in the middle of the tears - both hers and mine. Joy became a distant dream as my own dreams died. Joy was birthed again as God showed me HIS dream for our family. And how much more beautiful, amazing, and fulfilling His plans were, compared to mine. 

Joy was something I tried to fight for, choose, and just wait to show up. But it didn’t. Joy didn’t show up until I began to abide. In John 15:11 Jesus says: These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. What things? What did Jesus say so we can have joy - full joy? 

If we read John 15:1-10, Jesus is telling the disciples the secret of abiding. The secret of abiding is we stay connected to the Father, and Jesus, so we can bear fruit. How do we abide? I love this quote by Andrew Murray in his book Abiding in Christ:

It is only into the thirst of an empty soul that the streams of living waters flow. Ever thirsting is the secret of never thirsting.

Abiding isn’t about doing, it is about thirsting. Do you thirst for Christ in your life? One way is to ask if you are reading God’s word everyday? Not because you should, but because you get to. When the hard season of adoption hit us, I backed away from Scripture. I felt too hypocritical to read. I knew joy was far from my heart and mind, so I stopped reading God’s word. I didn’t want to do it as a check-list item.

I realized joy would never find me if I waited to “feel right” before seeking Christ. Abiding would only come in the pages of scripture. Joy would only show up if I showed up first. So, slowly I learned the beauty of showing up one day at a time. If you are struggling to find joy, find God first. Don’t worry about where you were yesterday or what tomorrow will bring. Start today. 

If you want help in knowing where to start, my new book is for you. The Glorious Ordinary is a nine-week Bible study designed to lead you into deeper study of God’s Word. No matter if you’ve studied scripture you entire life, or are just starting out, this study is for you. I’ve provided the passages to read, questions to answer, and scripture to memorize. It releases November 30!

Sign up here to get started abiding TODAY. You will be the first to know when my book releases as well! I’ve developed some great printables to help you in your Bible reading journey. You will receive them all of for free, right in your inbox. Click here to sign up. 

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Sarah lives her life with an amazing husband and four little ones (one adopted from China). Her inner-planner girl would like to say she’s super efficient and has the house, homeschool, and husband all neatly organized. But she doesn’t. Sarah’s house is run with fuel from coffee and Jesus. She is learning how to find the thrill of walking one day at a time in the messiness of mundane. She invites you to study God’s Word in your ordinary days. 

If you are having a hard time starting a Bible study habit, check out Sarah’s 5 Steps for Starting a Bible Study Habit - Today! Found at sarahefrazer.com/audio-course

Connect with Sarah here: Website / / Facebook / / Instagram / / Pinterest / / Twitter

The Instant Your World Changes

Like an earth shattering event that causes rivers to change course or flow backwards for a time, our lives can be drastically altered in a single instant. The words that follow “I’m sorry, but…” pack a punch.

I’m sorry, but…

You’re infertile. It’s cancer.  You can no longer work here. You’ve lost the baby. Your pregnancy test was negative. Your disease is progressing, in spite of the treatments. There’s been an accident.

The instant those words are spoken, two worlds collide. Our biggest fears meet our reality. Life, as we know it, from that point on is different; not just for us, but for our loved ones, friends and family alike. The tectonic plates shift and it takes some time to realize the magnitude of the change that just took place.

If your world has just changed course with little to no warning, you need to be reminded of something important. God is still in control and He is still good. He doesn’t allow the world to be shaken underneath you without a greater purpose or plan at work. And he doesn’t leave you isolated. You are not alone in your struggle.

You see right after tragedy strikes, whether on an individual level or a global one, people respond. It’s how God designed us and it’s where we see His love in action in an incredibly powerful way. But if you’ve recently had a loved one suffer a devastating blow, you know how helpless it can leave you feeling. We want to fix things. We want to take all their pain away and protect them. But that’s not what God asks us to do. Certainly there are urgent logistics that need handling and there are needs to be met and don’t need to be minimized. Us Southern ladies will be the first ones to start up a meal delivery schedule for you because we know that various forms of chicken casserole will heal diseases and broken hearts that modern medicine can’t touch. And if you have something really serious, soup… we will bring you soup. That is our love language and we speak it well! The foods and childcare and grass cutting are absolutely needed, so if you’re doing that, please keep doing those wonderful things. But if you have a loved one hurting, the biggest thing you can do is to simply come alongside them and reassure them that they are not alone. Hold their hand, literally if you’re lucky enough to be close enough. Call them, cry with them, laugh with them. Let them talk and don’t try to fix it. Let them get angry, and sad, and hopeful and don’t interfere with their grief process. And pray, oh my goodness, pray.

In the last two weeks, I’ve had friends call with every single one of those events. Miscarriages, layoffs, cancer, failed IVF cycles, serious accidents. It’s been a heavy couple of weeks, but one that has reminded me that these things in life happen to each of us at some point. When they occur and our life shifts course we’re not targeted, it’s not a string of bad luck, it’s not a punishment. God doesn’t work that way. We simply live in a fallen world where death and destruction are a part of it and walk side-by-side with life and resurrection. They don’t undermine who God is or threaten His authority over all of life. If anything, they remind us greatly how much we need Him and how much we need to be thankful for all the good things. They usher in opportunities for His power and love, provision and healing to flow directly from heaven into our daily lives. Though it may not seem like we’re doing much, praying for a hurting loved one and letting them know we’re praying for them, may just in fact be the biggest thing we can do to comfort someone who has just had their world rocked. It’s at the core of a beautiful, powerful force waiting to be unleashed.

 

It’s the same force that took a devastating earthquake and turned it into a gorgeous snow-capped mountain. It’s the same force that used an explosive volcano to create a luscious, tropical island paradise. It’s the same force that will take your tragedy and turn it into a beautiful story to tell others of God’s glory. It’s the same force that brings us together, setting aside the petty differences, and reminds us how crucial it is for us to simply love one another. The force of God Himself is ready to flood into our tragic circumstances and broken hearts and cover us with comfort and healing, purpose and peace. 

So, my friends… if you’ve just been given bad news and are trying to figure out how to recover or fight for your life or family or marriage, please, please know, you are not alone. There’s an entire community of people praying for you right now. Jenny and I are praying for you. Feel whatever you need to feel to get through each step of this journey, but never question that God loves you and sees you and will provide for you to get through this. He will not forsake you.

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.
— Deuteronomy 31:8 (NIV)

If you are wondering what you can do for someone in your life who is hurting, don’t over-complicate it. Just be there for them. Call, send cards, text, send all the chicken casseroles, and for God’s sake, pray! Pray they will experience God’s presence and healing every single day. Pray they will be overcome with His peace, even in the midst of the painful circumstance. Pray God will be glorified through this experience.

After the dust settles and the fight is over, the transformation will be clear and beautiful if we have let God into it. 

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,a whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
— James 1:2-4 (NIV)

This is a subject that is near to both Jenny and myself. Like many of you, we’ve walked both sides of these earth shaking events and are passionate about letting others know how much they are not alone now. In the coming weeks, you’ll hear much more from us about practical ways we can strengthen each other as we go through hardships. So stay tuned… 

 

Just Go? But God!

We were laughing and chatting, enjoying an incredibly rare ladies day, when she filled me in on the latest in her adoption process. They were in the last stages of completing their home study and had already completed mounds of paperwork and interviews that probed into every aspect of their lives. They had gladly handed over the long list of friends and family they could call on for support during the initial transition time of bringing home a baby from overseas. All in all, things were going incredibly smoothly. Seeing the long list of nearby support had reminded them how blessed they were with reliable friendships and people who genuinely love their family. Of course, every adoption process has it's hiccups and they had been wisely warned by the counselor assigned to them that there would be something to crop up and slow things down along the way, but just to keep the end in focus and be flexible with the process. Then they got the news they weren't expecting...

Her husband received the news that he might be transferred and her family may have to move. While it would be a couple months before they found out where, they instantly knew everything had just been shifted to a new course in their adoption process. If they moved, the home study would have to be redone. The support system they had gladly handed over with confidence and a smile would be irrelevant and would have to be built again from scratch. If he was sent oversees, their family could be separated for a time and at a minimum, their adoption would be put on hold while she faced a period of time being the wife at home raising young children with a displaced husband.  

As she told me all of this and we talked through all the options, you could hear the anxiety in her voice. You could hear the nervousness that comes when knowing a big change is coming but you don't know where it's going to leave you. But time and time again, she repeated, "I know God is in this. He lead us into this and He's going to see us through to the end. We have to trust Him and His timing for both my current family and for when we get to bring our new baby home." We gladly prayed with her for weeks while they awaited the orders and what it would mean for their family and their adoption. But the question remained theirs to answer... Will we still trust Him when everything we've come to lean on is stripped away? Is He still good when we have to move away from all our friends and family and incur significant delays and additional expenses on an adoption we felt certain He was leading us to? Can we trust His timing is more perfect than our dreams and plans?

I could relate to her on so many levels. Not long ago, my family was faced with a similar test of faith. We have built a wonderful life here in Dothan. We have so many good friends here, several who have become like family. We have established careers here, brought a child home to our Dothan home and found a church that we could not love more. I was looking forward to raising our daughter here, in the heart of a city big enough for variety but still with the small town feel. It's safe here. 

But something had been stirring for a while. My husband had been growing increasingly more unhappy and stressed at work. The long hours and stress were taking a toll on his Type 1 diabetes and we were watching his blood sugar levels continue to rise, despite tightening up on diets. We finally reached the breaking point where we had to decide if we were going to stay here where we were comfortable, with an incredible support group, but with his health being put at risk and him missing out on so much home life; or were we going to recognize God at work, using his health as a measurable indicator for us to pay attention to that life was way out of balance and He was not our priority? But that meant taking a big risk to start looking for other opportunities elsewhere? It was the easiest and yet most difficult decision we had been faced with in quite some time. We would, of course, put our family and my husband's health first, but this had been our first real home together... 12 years of putting down roots. Giving that up that meant finding all new friends and a new church to be part of. That may not sound like that big of a change for you, but keep in mind, I'm a stay at home/work from home/mom now. My friends are my whole life these days! The thought of moving away from them made me sick. And it made me remember that "I know God is in this. He lead us here and He'll lead us to where we need to be next. He will provide for our needs, including friends, no matter where He sends us. He will provide if we trust Him." But the question still remained... Do I trust God when it's uncomfortable and scary? Am I willing to follow Him into the next unknown?

We sat at the kitchen table late in the night many nights talking about how God brought us here and provided so much and how He would do that again if He lead us somewhere else. We prayed for direction and guidance and peace. We prayed for a break in stress that would save Rob from a significant decline in health. We prayed we would know the right place to raise our daughter. I struggled through tears as I asked my girlfriends to pray with us through this decision. I struggled with knowing God was my only foundation and the comfortable friendships were the blessings that come with following Him, but they were not my foundation. Job applications were submitted with prayer and trusting that God would making things obvious for us. Hiring processes were significantly delayed for a number of reasons, and during that time, an opportunity presented itself at home. Rob was able to switch jobs within the plant to one that is a much better fit for his health and our family. We took a cut in pay, but didn't have to move. We were reminded that we have to be willing to move if we are going to completely trust God in everything. He alone is our foundation and He will always provide. 

Jenny was born and raised in the Dothan/Wiregrass area. Her parents lived here, along with her Grandmother. She knows just about anyone you can think of and is definitely the hometown girl. We were just getting into the grove of the regular play dates with our little blessings and were having so much fun with our friendship growing as they sparked their own little friendships. She was actively involved in her church family here. Her parents lived close by and were a regular part of their weeks. Then her husband got an opportunity to take a different job, but it would require them moving a couple hundred miles away. But with college being the only time in her life she wasn't living in this area, that opportunity came with a lot of questions, emotions, and a willingness to give everything over to trust God would lead them to a place He had planned for their family. Similarly to my situation, they were faced with God nudging them to move to put Him first, to put a priority on their family, and to trust Him without the safety net of the comfortable, already established life.

Just a couple short months later, the moving truck pulled away with their entire life packed up in boxes to move them to Augusta where they now reside. Her parents left the home they had always had to follow them. They fully trusted God in their move and though they were not without tears, they were peaceful and excited about what lied ahead for them in God's plan. Since the move, they have been blessed many times over by seeing God's provision, by putting them in the city where her mom would later be paired up with a doctor and clinic perfectly suited to helping her fight a nasty battle with cancer. Jenny, Asia and Ethan have flourished in their new home, have found new amazing friendships, and have found a new church that loves adoption as much as they do. 

God asked them to move and they did. It wasn't easy leaving so much that was familiar, but they knew it was the right thing to do and God has provided in amazing ways for them.

That's the big question... Are you willing to be unconditionally obedient? Will you follow God when He says go? Or do you only follow Him when you get to keep the things that make you comfortable? 

The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.

“I will make you into a great nation,
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.”

So Abram went, as the Lord had told him;
— Genesis 12:1-4a (NIV)

What if seventy-five year old Abram (Abraham) had put limitations on his obedience to God? Thank God He was fully faithful and fully obedient. The great nation that God promised would come from him included Jesus Christ, the Messiah. Because he went, as the Lord told him, without limitations, we are all blessed today and have the opportunity to accept God's grace and salvation. 

Our choices have consequences. Choosing to follow God into whatever our wilderness may be -- unknowns in an adoption process, uprooting your family to move for another job, facing a pay cut or transfer to another city -- will always yield blessings, not only to our own families, but to all those we will encounter. He is good and faithful and will always provide for our needs when we put serving Him first in our lives.

What is God trying to get your attention with? What in your comfortable life are you at risk of giving more importance to than you give to God? Are you willing to be obedient, no matter what the cost? If so, He will always provide.

 

Learning to Live Again

Sometimes things occur that completely altar the course of our lives. A large majority of those things are good – meeting your future spouse, becoming a parent, or even a job promotion. And then there’s the things that happen that we can never be prepared for – the loss of a spouse, child, or loved one, the loss of a job, or the loss of a home. My family has certainly experienced both the ebb and flow of life’s waves. We have been blessed and humbled in both the calm waves and the tidal waves. Most recently, we’ve experienced the physical, emotional, and spiritual groans as a result of my mom’s almost year anniversary diagnosis of breast cancer. It came crashing down on us and satan attempted to use it as a device to weaken our faith. But instead, as God would have it, our faith has prospered and His glory has shone like the sun for all that have witnessed my mom’s journey this past year.

You see we all will come to a crossroad, that hard thing in our life, where we must choose which path to take. We can take the path that is easy, only later to find out it is covered with thorns and brambles. Or we can take the path that tests our endurance and is our victory to joy, hope, and peace.
— Jenny

I'm beyond grateful and humbled to share over on the Persimmon Prints blog today, as we explore what it means to LIVE all this month.  Join me as I share what that has meant for our family this year, as we honor my mom and many other women fighting breast cancer during the month of October.  (Read full article here)

I love you mama!

Divine Appointments: What I'm Learning About Being a White Christian

I walked into the room not really knowing anyone, yet dying inside just to have an adult conversation with someone.  We had moved 250 miles away from the town we had called home for 10 years.  Our son was just 2 ½ years old and well, enough said.  It was the toddler years and between that and the move I needed a “momlationship,” as my friend Melanie Dale calls it.  I needed to feel human again.  This mommy needed to connect in a bad way but I had no one to connect to.  So I did what any good Southern Baptist girl does – I found a women’s bible study group that provided child care.  I mean it had to be a win-win because they offered Jesus, coffee, and child care, right?!?

The first Tuesday morning of our study I left not really knowing anyone, nor could I even recall a name, but smiles and polite surface talk was exchanged.  It was enough and at least it offered human contact outside our new home.  I continued to attend each Tuesday and the Lord sent me a friend – a real, live one and not just one on the interwebs (or my make believe friends as my husband used to call it).  Olivia and I just seemed to hit it off and her sweet, authentic spirit just spoke to my soul. She became a dear friend to me. 

Life went on and we both stopped attending on Tuesday mornings for various reasons.  And shocker – I made lots of friends after settling into our new home town.   Olivia and I both became busy, the buzzword us Americans love to throw around.  She and I stayed in touch over the last couple of years thanks to Facebook but it just wasn’t the same. 

This past weekend I was asked to speak at a fundraising event for breast cancer – by Olivia.  You see, she and I didn’t know what would occur after those Tuesday morning bible studies.  But God did.  He knew that our worlds would collide again when my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer last year.  He knew I would become a huge cheerleader for my mom and advocate for other warrior women just like her.  It was a divine appointment two years ago that He connected me and Olivia.

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It wasn’t until I sat in the pew at First Shiloh Baptist Church this past Saturday that I realized what God had done in our lives.  I began to tear up and hold back the weeping as I saw the glory of God right before me.  I was overcome with emotion as I stood there with my head bowed.  He had taken two women who were unlikely to meet any other way and crafted a way for our pain to be used to share Jesus with others.  And the timing could not have been more perfect in my eyes on the cusp of all the racial tensions that have been resurfacing across the country.  I was the only white person in the whole congregation.  But you know what, when I looked out at the faces as I spoke, I didn’t see how we were different.  I saw how we were the same.  I saw their smiles, heard their amens, and shared in their worship.  I saw us all as Jesus sees us – HIS. 

I prayed for God to allow them to see Him through me that day and for me to be able to connect with them in a way I was unsure I could. Our worship styles are different, and quite frankly I was convicted as I stood there realizing that maybe I need to be as on fire for God as they were.  Why am I not shouting in His presence?  Why am I not calling on the Holy Spirit?  Am I afraid, or am I lukewarm?  I’m pondering many things now.  So, instead of me delivering a message to them, they ministered to me.

God created that divine appointment not because he allowed breast cancer to infiltrate both our families.  He is not a God that “allows” destruction.  But He is a God that can use what sin in this world has caused and turn it into something beautiful.  He didn’t create the friendship between Olivia and I just because I needed that at the time.  He created it because He had something to teach me about my own relationship with others and with Him.  And possibly by sharing that, others will learn as well.  He had a message to share.

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Instead of seeing how others are different from me, could it be that I should ask how I am different from them?  We as Christians even build barriers around ourselves when it comes to other cultures because we are afraid.  We are afraid of how they worship or being uncomfortable.  But maybe that’s what God wants – for us to be uncomfortable.  I believe there are still many race issues in this country.  Do I understand it?  No, nor will I pretend to.  I see people as human beings, not in terms of race.  But sadly, not everyone does.  I do believe that Christians could do so much to help bridge that gap though.  And one way I would encourage that is to get out of our comfort zones and attend services with one another.  Christ intended us to worship as one – because we are all His people – so why don’t we?  Why haven’t I?  Because we are scared and because it is different.  But I think the only way we can make progress in this country is if we begin that in the church.  It takes baby steps and I took mine this weekend. 

I can’t stop thinking about what God is teaching me right now, or wondering where He is leading me.  I do know that it won’t be my last time attending First Shiloh Baptist Church. 

It's Not Fair (+ Giveaway)!

“IT’S NOT FAIR!”

How many times have we heard our children scream those three words in our face?  Better yet, how many times have we found ourselves in the trenches of life screaming them out?

In my own life I continue to fling that phrase around while stomping my feet in my nearly forty year old tantrums.  First at infertility, and now three of the people closest to me have life threatening illnesses.  It’s not fair.  And while half of me wants to curl up in that fuzzy blanket eating cookie dough and snotting, the other half feels like Braveheart screaming out “they may take our lives, but they’ll never take our freedom!”  I’m ready for battle.

Life can feel like one big poop emoji sometimes.  It isn’t fair.  But then again, is it really meant to be?  It can still be good when we learn how to navigate it and love the heck out of it regardless of the big pile of poo.  We all have something in our life that isn’t fair. And we have to learn to love that life we didn’t choose. 

I’ve been a big fan of Melanie Dale’s for a while – of her blog and of her first book, Women are Scary (because hello we totally are).  I love her heart, her honesty, and her sense of humor.  But her new book – It’s Not Fair, Learning to Love the Life You Didn’t Choose – is my number one recommended book.  Let’s just say if I were Oprah, then “you get a book, you get a book, YOU GET A BOOK, everyone gets a book!” 

Melanie takes us through her own battles of infertility, adoption, and other shattered dreams.  Every single person can relate to her words.  Maybe our circumstances aren’t exactly the same.  Maybe it isn’t infertility that has thrown sucker punches straight to your ovaries, but maybe it’s cancer, loss of a job, or the loss of a loved one.  Whatever it is, Melanie navigates us through all those real emotions.  She shares how to live with purpose and lots of humor.

This isn’t a “how to” book, it is a “me too” book.  It is one where you will be comforted in knowing you aren’t alone in this great big broken world. 

If you feel like your life hasn’t been fair, then I urge you to read this book full of hilarious illustration and truth from God’s word.  It’s Not Fair will make you laugh and it will have you shouting “Amen!”  It’s the book you will give to all your friends along with a warm fuzzy blanket. 

**To win a copy of Melanie Dale's book, It's Not Fair: Learning to Love the Life You Didn't Choose, please comment on this blog post and a random winner will be drawn on Wednesday, September 21.**

I received this book from the author and Zondervan Publishing in exchange for my honest opinion which I’ve provided here.

Motherhood is Everything I Never Thought it Would Be

I was never one of these little girls who carried a baby doll around with me everywhere.  In fact, I didn’t even really like baby dolls.  I didn’t pretend to be a mommy, or even think about being a mommy one day. 

Then I grew up, went to college, and got married (in that order because that’s what I thought was the good little Southern girl thing to do).  I earned a college degree in Chemical Engineering (totally by the grace of God) and I jumped head first into a career.  I didn’t love it, but it gave me meaning and what I felt was value.  My husband and I felt we wanted children at some point, but our careers came first.  I needed to validate myself in the corporate world and claw and scratch my way around in it for a while before I would even consider becoming a mom.  ME FIRST. (Insert caveat – I had no idea at the time just how selfish of a person I was).  To make a really long story short, five years went by and I was at the peak of where I wanted to be.  I was knee deep in meetings, paperwork, and travel.  All my friends became knee deep in diapers, bottles, and toddler tantrums.  I was almost 30 years old and began to think “I guess it’s time to have a baby too.”   

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Exchanging My Pain for His Glory

My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer in November of last year.  It shook us to our core.  It was aggressive and seemed to come out of nowhere.  Fast forward to earlier this year, and she sat at her very first day of chemotherapy – anxious and afraid like all the others that surrounded her.  Some were there alone, some were young, some were old.  I knew their fears because I knew my moms.  As I sat there in that room that day, I knew God was stirring something inside of me to do.  I just didn’t know what at that moment.

It was an open room surrounded by thirty other patients sitting reclined in their chairs, all with IV lines hooked up to ports in their chests.  They were there just like my mom receiving their four hours of chemotherapy treatment.  The weight of the magnitude of people battling the beast of cancer came crashing down on me and I found it hard to breathe.  This is one office in one city.  There are thirty patients twice a day.  Multiply that by at least four days a week.  That’s close to 250 patients in a week’s time in a single office.  I fought tears and I felt the lump rise in my throat.  I couldn’t speak.  I felt paralyzed by the amount of pain and fear that surrounded me.

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A Love Of A Lifetime

In June my parents will celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary.  It fills me with so much pride (not the bad kind) to be the daughter of such a legacy of love.  But you know what I don’t like about this – that most people gasp or say “wow, that’s amazing” because in today’s society it is almost unheard of.  (It was almost unheard of for them on more than one occasion.)  However, it truly isn’t just a legacy of love they have begun – it’s also legacy of commitment (to one another and to God).  It takes so much commitment and love to make it through this knee jerking roller coaster called life.  They have demonstrated that so well.  Their story didn’t even begin 45 years ago; it began when they were in seventh grade.  They have literally spent all but the very first few years of their lives loving and caring for one another.  And they truly are one flesh.

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