Thursday, July 26, 2012

Unbroken Worship

I know it's been a while.  I'm still here.  Me, my husband and three girls, still smiling and loving life.
It's been a long, tough few months.  It's been challenging trying to juggle life and a two year old recovering from major surgery.  Some days I want to break down.  Some days, I'm in survival mode, and some days are wonderful.

Overall, it has been an amazing summer!  We have had some much needed family time, spent time with friends and family, spent lazy days by the pool, done a few photo shoots, and I've still been working part time.

I've also accepted a speaking engagement at a women's conference in August.  I will be doing a break out session called Unbroken Worship and I am really excited about sharing what God has laid upon my heart.  Nervous?  Yes.

I want to be able to reach women of all ages and in all different seasons of their lives, so I am going to speak about learning to live a life of continual worship, living with the posture of offering our every moment to God in an attitude of worship. Even in the mundane, even in the daily activities of diaper changing or sitting at a desk, you can cultivate a lifestyle of worship and have a role in God's bigger picture.

I will elaborate more on my break out session after the conference, but for now, I have some more work to put into it.

So, lots going on.  God stuff and Good stuff.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Walking Miracle

It feels great to be on the OTHER side of Ashlyn's brain surgery!  It was difficult.  It was emotionally, physically, and spiritually draining.  I have no idea how many times I prayed in the days leading up to her surgery, the day of her surgery, and after her surgery.  Did I say, it was difficult?  

I can't even explain how hard it was to see our precious daughter like this:

Our hearts broke, but at the same time, it was bitter/sweet.  We knew she was getting the necessary help that she needed.  We trusted the surgeon and his team and we let him know that he was surrounded with prayer.  It was humbling to see over 900 hits on Ashlyn's blog the day of her surgery.  It brought me to tears.

Recovery was rough.  For a week and a half, we felt like we had a newborn baby again.  When Ashlyn was awake, she was crying so we were trying to comfort her.  We tried to get her to eat and drink.  She was awake four times a night and my husband and I took turns consoling her.  She was on pain meds around the clock.  Again, it was hard to see Ashlyn like that and know she was in pain.

Now that I have more time to reflect on the journey, I can't stop thinking about a few things.  What really brought all of this home was when the doctor sat down with us immediately following surgery and explained how well the procedure went.  He said "her brain was bulging out, and it was a very necessary surgery."  I guess this is good and bad.  He said Ashlyn only lost about a teaspoon of blood!  Wow!  The doctor said he didn't even need to prepare in advance for a blood transfusion.

The surgeon also explained that he put a patch in her head to make more room for Ashlyn's brain.  He proceeded to explain that the patch was made out of the "outer covering of a human heart, a heart that someone didn't need anymore."  WOW!  I still can't fathom this.  Amazing!  Thank you to the donor!  Thank you for helping our daughter!  Whoever you are, thank you.  I pray that your family will know that your precious heart helped our precious little girl.

The whole journey of Ashlyn's surgery has been a miracle, from all of the doctor's appointments falling into place, getting into doctor's offices quickly, getting MRI's, the older girls being on spring break the week of surgery, the in-laws traveling down to help with the older girls, people praying, friends providing meals, cards and love gifts, gas money, and on and on.  We are truly grateful.  We serve a BIG GOD!

Today, Ashlyn is back to her old self!  She recovered quickly and it right back into all her mischief and no good.  All of her doctor's visits have gone well and we are hoping and praying that the surgery will help her for the rest of her life, even though her condition is incurable.  She will go back to the Children's Hospital in a few months for more follow up and another MRI.

God is still in the miracle business.  Thank you Lord for our little miracle!

If you would like to read more about Ashlyn and her condition called Chiari Malformation, follow the link to her blog Chiari Hope.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

New Blog

I started a new blog to inform family and friends of Ashlyn's journey with Chiari Malformation, and also for fellow Chiarians to find support.

I will still update this blog!

Follow the link to my new blog, Chiari Hope, and then you can become a member and/or follow that blog too. You can also follow by email so you can receive updated posts right to your inbox.

See you there!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Give and Take

I love the beach. I don't like sand. I don't like cold water. I enjoy fresh water (like Lake Michigan) more than salt water. Well, to tell the truth, I'm not a fan of salt water at all.

My husband loves to surf. I will watch him as I lay in a beach chair. I've surfed a FEW times with him before, but not often. Well, to tell the truth, it has been about five years since I have surfed with him.

This past week, we had a wonderful family vacation in Florida. It was full of sun, sand, and surf.

Every time my husband has his surf board out, he begs me to go out with him and I decline the invitation. Well, this week, I caved, and ACCEPTED his request. First we started boogie boarding and then we surfed...together. To tell the truth, it was fun! Yes, it was sandy, yes it was a little cold, yes, it was salt water.

My husband loved every minute of it. I was sharing in one of his passions, one of his hobbies. I'm not saying that I'm going to take up surfing, but I think it meant a lot to my husband that we could share in this memory together.

(P.S. I LOVED my shower to rinse the sand and salt off of me!)

Monday, February 27, 2012

A Challenge

May your faith be bigger than your fear.

Let's bring this a little closer to home...

May MY faith be bigger than MY fear.

Monday, February 20, 2012


Our life has been rocked a little by some unexpected news regarding our youngest daughter, Ashlyn. This past fall, she was diagnosed with Global Developmental Delays, leading her to physical therapy, and speech therapy in the future. She was developmentally behind at least six months but we are/were hopeful that she would catch up to other children her age.

Despite some forward progress, the doctors were still concerned about her development so an MRI was ordered a few weeks ago. The day after the MRI, a nurse called to break the news that Ashlyn has a malformation in her brain called Chiari Malformation. I dropped to floor in tears.

Chiari Malformation is not life threatening, but it is quality of life threatening as it can cause headaches and damage the central nervous system (among other symptoms).

Since the phone call with unfortunate news, Ashlyn has been referred to a pediatric neurologist but that appointment isn't for a few months. She visited a neurosurgeon last week only to find out that she is now being referred to a pediatric neurosurgeon at Duke Children's Hospital, which is four hours away.

I stand in awe of God's grace. My faith has not swayed. I am not angry with God. I am sad for Ashlyn and my prayer is that she will not have to suffer ill effects due to this condition, now and in the future. I want to protect her but I know God is already doing that.

We are humbled by the amount of love, prayers, and support for Ashlyn and for us as we try to make some important decisions regarding her health.

I have more details about this journey on my other blog Raising Three Girls if you would like to follow Ashlyn's progress.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Blogging Rhymes with Jogging

I recently heard this quote:
"Every time I say the word 'exercise' I wash my mouth out with chocolate."

It isn't even the middle of February and my New Year's Resolution....well...let's just say it was a great three days and then I stopped.

Dang it.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


I have a case of the "I'm-not-good-enoughs." I hate that.

I find myself not contributing to a conversation because I don't feel like I have anything beneficial to share.

My introvert-ness is shining through. My low self-esteem is making a come back...seriously?! I am in my thirties and I still deal with this? COME ON! Grow up, Jamie!

Friday, January 20, 2012


Last week I was able to sit down with a friend and we swapped stories, our life journeys, our mountains and valleys. We traded stories of emotional battle scars, battle scars that have made us into the women that we are today.

I could see my friend's pain as she tearfully shared. I felt her pain. I could relate.

As I recall certain seasons of my life, I can now see how God was there during every step. He never left, even when I wanted to leave Him. I had Hope and I have Hope. I'm grateful for my faith because if it weren' t for that, I don't know where I would be today.

I have had some dark seasons and I desire someday to be able to use my experiences to help others so they can have a Hope when they feel like they have lost all faith.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


I'm struggling with a little case of the "blahs." Nothing major, just blah. Just in a little funk. Just enough to wipe the smile from my face but not enough to make it into a frown.

Not sure why because life is great right now! Go figure.

That's all.

Saturday, January 14, 2012


I have struggled lately with comparing myself to others: personality traits, outward appearance, material possessions, talents, etc. defines compare as "to examine in contrast."

Synonyms for compare:

analyze, approach, balance, bracket, collate,confront, consider, contemplate,contrast,correlate, divide, equal, examine, hang, hold acandle to, inspect,juxtapose, match, match up,measure, observe, oppose, parallel, placeinjuxtaposition, ponder, rival, scan, scrutinize,segregate, separate, set against,set side by side, size up, stack up against, study, touch,weigh, weigh againstanother

It also has an added note on the site. It reads: compare emphasizes thesimilarities between or among things, though not losing sight of the differences.

"Not losing sight of the differences." I need to celebrate the differences more.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep

Last night I fell asleep as I was praying for my husband, my family, our church, and thanking God for all of His wonderful blessings.

At first I was thinking, 'oh great, not again, I fell asleep before I finished praying.' But then I thought, 'how beautiful, I fell asleep while praying.'

I am pretty sure that God hears our prayers even if we don't conclude with "amen."

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Sharing my story and leaving a legacy...

I have definitely been through some seasons that weren't so beautiful but with God's grace and mercy, He has turned those valleys into something amazing, something just that, beautiful.

God is really going to have to do a work in me and shatter the shy, introvert Jamie.
The Jamie that doesn't share.
The Jamie that doesn't take off the emotional mask.
The Jamie that is timid.
The Jamie that hides her scars...

the scars that He has turned into beauty.