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.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

I Have Been There

I got a phone call from a dear friend of mine. She feels like her whole world is falling apart. She is scared. She doesn't know what to do. She is in a valley. She came to me for help and advice because she knows that I can relate.

I have four words for her: I HAVE BEEN THERE.

I've been there when you feel like your whole world is crashing down.
I've been there when you don't know where or who to turn to.
I've been there when you are angry at God.
I've been there when you feel like you have lost all faith in God.
I've been there when it takes everything you have to get out of bed in the morning.
I've been there when you cry yourself to sleep.
I've been there when you feel like you have lost everything.
I've been there when you feel like you have no friends.
I've been there when you don't want to leave the house.
I've been there when you just want silence.
I've been there when silence is lonely.
I've been there when you want to hide.
I've been there when you want to keep the shades drawn.
I've been there when you don't want to hear "God has a plan."

It is true, the valley sucks. It is difficult. I'm not going to lie and say that it is easy. It's not. It is horrible.

The Good News is that Jesus has been there too. The Good News is that there is sun/Son in the valley. God is still on His throne.

I will be there for you, dear friend, in the valley and on the mountaintop!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Ironic Life of Swimming

Athletics were a big part of my life while I was growing up. I swam competitively for 13 years, ran track for 4 years, and played other various sports like soccer and volleyball in between. I had the constant aroma of chlorine on my skin, and when I wasn't dripping with pool water, I was dripping with sweat from other sports. I helped to coach swimming and also taught private swim lessons for kids.

I felt more comfortable in the water than on land.

I remember getting up in what seemed like the middle of the night to get to early morning swim practice before school started. The sky was dark and I had to brush the snow off my little Honda Accord.

I remember walking outside after long evening swim practices, the sky was dark and snow would be on the ground. My hair literally froze.

I remember getting tan lines on my back during summer swim.

I also remember my crazy eating habits. Unfortunately, this is not what you might think. I didn't consume extra calories to make up for the amount that I would burn off. In fact, I don't know how my body survived and how I could literally walk and stand up. I wasn't anorexic or bulimic but I was concerned about my body.

This was my daily menu:
Maybe one granola bar in the morning
Two granola bars at lunch

What?! Three granola bars?! How could I even swim?

I didn't want to eat an orange because it "felt heavy" in my hand so I thought that I would gain the weight of the orange.


Sometimes on Fridays, I would join some friends for lunch and hit up the local bakery and eat a plain bagel, but that was just because it was Friday. Other days I would join my friends at restaurants for lunch but just eat my two granola bars.

I had some sort of messed up idea of nutrition (despite what my parents told me and what my health class taught me).

So, what is the moral of the story? This was bad. Don't do this. It isn't healthy.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Emotional Struggle

While writing out my story, I was forced to think of various seasons of my life from childhood until present. A reoccurring theme seemed to be an emotional struggle, even from an early age.
Why? I don't know. It just was.

I remember when I was in second grade, I laid on the dining room floor and wrote out with pencil on sheets of white lined paper "I hate myself" over a hundred times.

Why do I remember this? I can recall this moment as clear as I can recall family vacations to Mexico and trips to Disney World.

Sometimes memories have a purpose. Now I just have to figure out why I remember this and how to turn it into something beautiful.

Beauty from ashes.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Welcome Home

I came home exhausted from a long day, and as I pulled into the driveway, I saw the girls scurry into position.

Upon entering our porch, I saw the girls sitting on the tile floor by a vase of beautiful pink flowers and a card that was made out to "Mom."

The card read:

"Thinking of you,
believing in you,
standing by you,
praying for you...
...not just now,
but always."

Mariah wrote: We Love you! and we are Proud of you!

Then Jerry wrote a message about how proud he is of me and his appreciation for my hard work and dedication to our family and to my new job.

I teared up. I love my family!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Lacking Confidence

As I posted a few days ago, I am starting a new job. I'm nervous.

I am honored and humbled that someone saw my gifts and talents and wanted to put me and (and the gifts and talents) to work. I'm apprehensive. I'm a little anxious. I am unsure. Can I really do this?!

I am lacking the confidence right now that I can successfully carry out my job of creating curriculum and teaching developmental classes to parents and kids. Instead of a 5 Hour Energy Boost drink, I need to create a 5 Hour Confidence Boost drink.

Thinking positive thoughts. I CAN do this!

(I wonder if it is alright if I just smile and nod and act like I know what I am doing).

Sunday, November 20, 2011

New Season

I am entering a new season, a new chapter, in my life. I am excited, yet nervous, about a new opportunity as I venture out of being a full time, stay at home mom. I am beginning a part time job creating curriculum and teaching developmental classes to parents and children.

Seasons in life, are just that. I have enjoyed my time as a stay at home mom, but now a new season is beginning and I am excited for the changes.

My life "as I know it" is about to drastically change.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Tales from Motherhood

Some of my ups and downs of being a parent can be found here: Raising Three Girls.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Emotional Mask

I bet you didn't know that I am a Semi-Professional Emotional Masker. It is true. I started perfecting this talent during my childhood and I think I am pretty darn good at it.

I am uncertain as to why I started to hide my emotions. I guess revealing true feelings is a risk. It made/makes me feel vulnerable. (Kinda like blogging).

It was/is a rare moment for me to shed tears in front of others or for me to talk about what REALLY mattered in my life. In the past, I have started to open up and share my emotions to close friends, and sadly, for some reason, the friends didn't stick around. This, in turn, made me put on my mask again. Hiding is much safer, and I guess I care too much about what other people think of me.

Talking about the weather is always a safe topic of conversation. You won't lose friends over the weather.

Sadly, the question of "How are you?" nowadays is more of a statement than a question. I, too, fall into this trap. 'I am fine.' 'I am doing well, thank you.' No, I am not going to pour out every little detail of my life to strangers, but I need to be more honest with the "how are you" question with close friends, and even family.

Is this blog post risky for me? Yes. (and I am stalling to hit the publish button)
Do I care? Maybe a little.

I have begun to take small steps in dismantling my semi-professional talent, and guess what?! It feels pretty good!

Sunday, October 23, 2011


I have been writing out my life journey, or attempting to.

I write. I delete. I get stuck. I write. I stop.

I have never done this before and it has been really refreshing. It also reveals of all the pieces that God has put together, in His order, in His time, and in the way that He wants.


This week, my nightly task is to finish my story, up to current day. I started from the beginning, but I know that after I reach the point of current day, my story will not end there.

I think I will conclude typing out my story with this: ...

Thursday, October 13, 2011

I Stand in Awe

I took this picture this week. This is the view from the street that we live on. We get to see this EVERY DAY! Words cannot describe the beauty and the picture doesn't do it much justice.

I never want to take this view for granted!

Monday, October 10, 2011

A Marriage Commitment

Over 10 years ago, Jerry and I said "I do" in front of God, our family, and our friends. It was on this date, that we began a commitment, not only to God but to each other as well. We committed to read a chapter out of the Bible EVERY night and pray together.

We began doing devotions together since our wedding night and have not missed one night since then.

Am I bragging? No.

I want to be an encouragement to other married couples. I want to emphasize the importance of placing God in the center of our/your marriage.

This nightly task has not always been easy. It takes effort.

Doing devotions together has proved to be an amazing time that Jerry and I spend together, we read the Bible, we discuss the chapter, and then we take turns praying.

If there are nights when we are in separate locations, due to vacations, conference, etc, or if there is a night when we don't go to bed at the same time, we still read the same chapter and pray individually.

What an amazing way to end the day! It is near impossible to go to bed angry when you read the Bible and pray together. Jerry and I don't have a perfect marriage, but doing devotions together can only strengthen our relationship.

My dear friends, I challenge you to make a commitment to your spouse and to God to read the Bible and pray as a married couple. It is never too late to start a new rhythm, a rhythm that will soon become a healthy habit of the heart.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


I am really beginning to feel that God can use my story for His glory! This is a huge step for me, as I can be a quiet introvert. It is a scary thought.

All of my ups and downs of the past 31 years can be turned into something beautiful.

My life is a mosaic of broken pieces coming together to form a masterpiece.

God can restore. God can redeem.