IMG_6140The day we wish was not about this. This day that reminds us of loss, heartache and tears. Yet a day that also commemorates more.

Still living that story we never wanted written, a tragic story to be sure, yet one also of grace, strength, and even surprise joy.

Ron and our beloved daughter-in-law, Jordan’s wife Cady, have both written poignant and powerful blogs in the last two weeks, about this year of grieving and growing. I’m linking their stories below because they capture my own heart and emotions as well.

I was texting with Cady the other night…

“…we so wanted a different story didn’t we? But at least the end of this story is still more glorious than the one we’ve yet known, because the end we know is not really the end, but just the beginning.”

Though the ache persists and is painful, I’m comforted knowing Jordan lives, alive and well, no longer by faith but by sight. A sight to behold and one that will never fade.

This is our hope and confidence every day. Days that still include a gaping hole, but a hole that reminds us of our one and only Jordan who holds a place that distance will never erase.  Distance that is actually less today than it was a year ago, because we’re now closer to seeing him again. And thankfully, closer to the One who sees it all.

All is well. It is well with my soul.

Cady’s Blog

Ron’s Blog

Absolutely_nothingWhy is it that so often things seem completely on hold and standing still?

It struck me today that just a year ago I was utterly exhausted and discouraged about how little sleep I was getting, and in the months that followed how little progress we seemed to be making on getting our baby twins to sleep.

I was reading every book on sleep training, applying all the techniques diligently, trying to be patient, not being patient, thinking for some reason our girls might never sleep through the night.

After six months, one Monday morning we were both at our wits end, so I googled “night nurse” and the next day the wonderful Lisa Bailey, a 16-yr registered nurse pro, spent the night.

She didn’t sleep but the babies did, with hardly a whimper or wake-up. She came two more nights and they slept both nights, all night!

Her awesome tricks-of-the-trade plus our own learning had finally yielded a breakthrough.  And ever since, our darlings sleep 12 hours a night, with few exceptions except for occasional colds, travel, or teething.

Isn’t life so often like this? The monotony of waiting, pain, worry, hopelessness, zero signs of change, zero evidence of breakthrough.

And then, THEN, everything is different.

It felt similar while waiting 10+ years for a dreamed-of move to NYC. Years of working, trying, investing, learning and zero apparent possibilities. One day after long meetings I called my Mom in tears, feeling completely wasted and out of hope that a move would EVER open up.

What I didn’t know was a dinner I’d just had that evening with someone I’d only just met, was THE open door. That man would make a call in the next few days and just two months later I’d be living in NYC.

So whatever it is that feels hopeless, forever on hold, or without any movement, really IS moving. Because YOU’RE moving, and so are a dozen other things you have no way of seeing or knowing are in motion. But they are. And so are you.

Be encouraged today while you wait. Your breakthrough is on the move toward you even now.


pickme-pickme1Two days ago I was eavesdropping, I admit it. After hearing my husband’s voice sound like a broken record, I couldn’t help wonder,”Who is it this time?”

It was one of the sincere and talented young professionals in his world, asking him to get on board with their latest idea.

It’s a blunder I’ve made repeatedly myself over the years — putting my visionary ideas, plans, and hopes out to my boss thinking, hoping, praying he’d get behind it.

Instead, he would nod kindly, act like he was listening, maybe he was listening, then back to business as usual, while I worked on and on wondering why he was doing nothing about my dream.

I’m not sure when or how the nickel finally dropped, but over the years I finally clued in and got it. I finally understood THE secret to getting my bosses on board with MY agenda.  Are you ready? Here it is….I got behind THEIR’s.

Sounds so simple right?  Kind of like, “Really, are you kidding me, that’s it?”

Yes, it is. So simple most of us breeze right on by and fail at it time and again. So why and how does something this simple really work?

It works because everyone in leadership has an agenda, something that matters to them personally, intensely, with pressures to reach certain objectives and goals. And what they (we) really want, is someone who will spend their hours and mindshare helping US figure out how to do it.

When someone on my team really makes it about my primary objectives, then, THEN, I’ll move mountains to get them what they want and need.

These are the crucial questions…

  • What does my boss REALLY want?
  • What is his/her best measure of personal success?
  • What keeps her up at night?
  • What win would make him over-the-top happy?

Sometimes it’s success on a project, or maybe a certain recognition from her own higher-ups. In some cases it’s a mixture of things not easy to decipher. But as I have pondered, insights come.

Then, instead of being preoccupied about my next move or growing discontentment, I’m discussing my boss’ priorities and he’s all ears. I find interesting articles about her interests and she’s impressed and even amazed by my attention, care and acumen toward making her look better and smarter.

And sure enough, not long after my efforts, in EVERY single case, each of these bosses started proactively talking to me about my dreams. They paid attention, paid me more, paid a price for my advancement by letting me move to other areas of the company in order to get what I really wanted.

No surprise this practice has become my mantra over the last 15 years.  As a speaker, leader, wife, mom, boss, and friend, I don’t just do it up the chain, I do it downward too. Not always perfectly, and not always often enough, but always top-of-mind and heart in a sincere effort to help others get what they want and need.

So who do you work for? Maybe not the person officially your boss, but even your client, or your spouse. What is their definition of success and how can YOU help them get there faster, better, with greater joy?

Give it a try like a secret experiment and see what happens. My experience promises you’ll end up right where you hope and dream of going, with greater reward and recognition every time.



Sometimes it’s so hard to maintain hope when setbacks and roadblocks happen on the path to our dreams. Here’s a little 2 min. video with a couple of ideas for staying your course and not losing hope. (Includes video clips of the twins, found this in my drafts folder and the twins have grown since this taping but thought you’d enjoy it nonetheless.)

After 20+ years of waiting, and nearly 9 months of here and there efforts, the nursery is DONE and I must say we’re all quite pleased with the results!

My friend Tiffany Kiefer, mom of 5 kids, put it best saying, “The nursery is really for the Mom more than the kids,” which seems true, BUT the girls sleep long and wonderfully in their beds and every time I walk into the room it makes my heart feel joyful and cheered by the surroundings.

I hope you’ll enjoy the views as much as we do, and I must give a few credits (not mentioned in the video) for certain special people…

Zebra Rug — Big brother Johnluke is graciously loaning his awesome “trophy” rug that he and Ron got on their trip to Africa several years ago. (He was also willing to give up his own room, granted he’s out on his own now.) I built the nursery around this fabulous rug as centerpiece. The sissies especially like feeling it’s mane. We love you Johnny!

Ceiling Light — Thanks to designer friend Kimberly Hight for this perfect gift which she and her husband Mort put together for us, it’s from IKEA, and reflects a fun flower pattern on the walls when lit.

Vintage Slider Rocker — The ugly navy cushion got recovered in a happy lively pattern, so rock-a-bye-baby moments are even more pleasurable.

Wall Art — Monogram letters courtesy of the awesome Jennifer Gooden who had them on our shower diaper cakes. Vintage cover from a Sears Catalogue was a shower gift from Leslie Carranza. Other random pictures from HomeGoods.

Cribs & Changing Table — Put together and painted by our first nanny, Coco Tipton, who can do just about anything (in addition to loving on babies!)

Wonderful, Patient Husband — Special thanks to my dear Ron, who let me enjoy every little moment of decorating and making this a fun journey of combining my passions. He happily gave opinions (“Yes dear, it looks perfect”) and nailed many a nail in the wall.

Enjoy the tour and remember to never give up on your dream…

Yesterday our faith officially became sight.

We decided to all dress up for the occasion, not sure why except that it just seemed right to wear our Sunday best for such a monumental moment.

Arriving at the family court with our attorney, we were ushered into the judge’s chambers around 10 til 2. The judge was warm, kind, and excited to finally meet us after working on our case for months leading up to this date. Turns out we were his first adoption case having only taken this bench in January.

He went over some paperwork, asked for several more signatures, then read what was music to our ears, first for Victoria, then for Isabella, saying,

“Therefore, from this day forward and forevermore, this child shall be known as Victoria Joy Lewis.”  When he repeated the same for Isabella he added, “….this beautiful child shall be known as Isabella Grace Lewis.”

Both beautiful, forevermore ours. We couldn’t hold back the tears and he was choked up as well, so were others in the courtroom, including our dear nanny/assistant Galen, the stenographer, policewoman/guard, assistant attorney, and several others. You could feel the sobriety, joy, and destiny in that moment.

What an incredible last 8 months! Learning about the pregnancy mid-December, in the midst of fighting for our son Jordan’s life. Having laid down this dream of babies a hundred times before, in the summer I had finally taken a number of baby gifts out to the garage. They were headed for a garage sale, the sale we never had because of Jordan’s needs.

When we heard about this pregnancy I was faced with the ominous reality of getting hopes up once again. I cried out in prayer the next morning, “God I can’t do this again. Please help us know what to do. I want to believe this could possibly be our miracle, but really, at age 51, in the middle of menopause?!” It all felt like a whirlwind crazy, yet maybe we should try again and believe.

A call was set up with the birth mother days later, a casual chat without assurance that we were being seriously considered. Then on Christmas eve, amidst the flurry of having our entire family home for the holidays, she called to say she had chosen us to adopt these baby girls!  Three weeks to go til their due date. Glad for a week or two to get ready. We would surprise the boys with the news the next morning by wrapping up the baby gifts pulled out from the garage.

Then, at 8 am the next morning, on Christmas Day the babies came!  After an unforgettable family time of weeping and rejoicing, by mid afternoon we were on the plane to go meet our daughters in the hospital, hugging them for the first time around 11:30 p.m. Christmas night.

We arrived with no clothes, diapers, car seats, or baby formula. Just a dream miraculously coming true.

Years ago while crying my eyes out at the bathroom sink, I felt the Lord say, “Your story, my Glory.” And indeed it has been via the simple little video we put together to share the news with our church family and friends. It has gone viral three times and been seen by a million people. Our story, His Glory. So many hearts  needing a reminder of God’s faithfulness. The video is still linked on the front page of and here:

Our adoption is “independent,” meaning we know the birth mother but don’t maintain regular contact. We LOVE her so much! She is brave, courageous, strong, and selfless. We will be forever bonded to her in inexpressible ways. Ron said after meeting her, “I wish we could adopt her too!” And in a sense we have, knowing we will carry her in our hearts forever, grateful so grateful she brought forth their precious lives.

What seemed so long in coming turns out was right on time. In a year when our family would know the agonies of loss, and the triumph of grace. Tears of grief in one breath, joy and laughter in the next. Living without, growing within. Days of emptiness, nights of bottle feedings and wonder at God’s inexpressible ways. A mix we would never have chosen. Gifts we will never trade.

There are many more dimensions of this story to share, and we hope to publish the full story soon, but let me simply close with this encouragement today….

You can trust God. Amidst the questions, the agonies, and the pain. When darkness without even a glimmer prevails. When you look at your accounts and see only withdrawals and even bankruptcy on many levels. Though you’ve cried out with only apparent silence and zero answers in return. YOU CAN TRUST GOD. He is not asleep but is busy designing. Planning an outcome with ripple effects that reach far beyond your immediate dream. Working in you tenacity and perseverance. It takes guts to believe. And you are gutsy and strong. Stronger than you think. And because of all He thinks about you, you will make it.

And when you get to the other side, the side of open doors and fresh winds, when answers become evident and you see above the clouds what was planned all along, in that moment you will cry again. But this time not for desperation. This time thankful that you held on to that tiny little shred of hope and simply chose to believe.

I believe in you today. You and your relentless dream.

(Please check out my Facebook page for some photos of our special adoption day.)






What a mix of emotions this morning. Ron flew out to preach in Philly. I’m sitting in our living room with tears flowing as our baby daughters sit here watching their precious morning video that they love, it’s filled with worship songs and I’m praising the Lord as these songs come through the TV, yet aching for our dear son Jordan, who was born 24 years ago today. Oh how we miss him.

Ron wrote a wonderful tribute blog this morning, here is a link, such fitting words for our extraordinary young son, gone from us too early, but fully alive and well in the Kingdom to come.

Jordan Alexander Lewis, we will love you forever.

I’m sure you have noticed my blog posts are rare these days, with growing twin babies and adjustments in our family, seldom are the moments to focus on writing!

But I’m on a flight alone right now, headed to speak in Minneapolis, and just answered a letter written via my website by a young mother who is also going into the military soon. She asked about how I balance stress, deal with criticism, and stay positive. Thought perhaps my thoughts shared with her would encourage you as well, so here goes (and please excuse formatting issues with run-on paragraphs)…

Dear Shari (not her name)
Your questions are so valid, and very real for most of us. BTW, congrats on entering the military, what a noble calling and one I’m sure you will find adventurous and a challenge yet rewarding too. Even more than this congrats on the birth of your precious baby, wow, your most noble calling to date. I can only imagine how little sleep you are getting which doesn’t help on the issues of balance and stress you mention either!
Coping with stress and pressures will always be a challenge. Sometimes we get more breathing room but it comes in moments vs. days or long seasons, from what I’ve experienced. Nowadays I try to grab these precious moments of alone time, be it out on a morning jog, or even just moments of quiet before the rest of my household wakes up. Like this morning, I looked at my Bible on my iPhone for just a few moments, trying to grab a little Word before the babies got done watching their video and were fussy. Not my preferred time with the Lord but essential and helpful. Kind of like I shared at the event where you heard me speak, you eat nuggets of food when you aren’t hungry but have the chance, knowing you’ll need the nourishment later.
Another perspective that helps is recognizing that every part of life is seasonal, babies grow up so fast, learning seasons at work turn into seasons of being a veteran, people come and go, and every single season comes laden with special gifts, many are surprise gifts, often those we wouldn’t even buy for ourself yet those we need to have. So I try to receive the season and ask God to open my eyes to see things how He sees them and has ordained them for me, and I ask Him to give me a grateful heart for all He is bringing.  This helps me feel rich vs. cheated, and helps me stay on the receiving end with gratitude vs. on the demanding end where nothing is ever quite enough.
Sometimes I do well at this, other times I miss the mark big-time, get frustrated, impatient, and discouraged. Many many years as a single were wrought with tears of anguish, disappointments, etc. But looking back I see so many special gifts I was being given even then. I think tenacity and hope are like muscle groups, the more we use them and choose them, the stronger they become and the more stable we are in enduring and hoping no matter what. I desire to be a cheerful, hope-filled, joyful woman. I actually practice smiling, because when we smile it brightens others’ faces and changes how we feel ourselves. I wrote a blog awhile back on the effect of practicing smiling, you may enjoy it.
In regards to not letting what others say bother us, that is a tough one and is often simply a choice to let them roll off our back and move on quickly, not dwelling on what others say or do, especially when they’re not in our close inner circle of trusted advisors, and counselors. It’s easy to obsess on the negatives, but fretting is a dead-end cycle and there is always hope anyway, and help, and supernatural interventions that we get to experience when we stay strong in faith and believe.
These are a few of my strategies in a nutshell.  Thanks again for writing and keep remembering that you are strong and set apart, prepared ahead of time for ALL the Lord has brought you TO and will bring you THROUGH!
I’m cheering you on…


When Ron asked me months ago if I’d give the Mother’s Day message at King’s Park, I immediately said YES, but as the weeks got closer and I was reflecting on what might be said, there was little inspiration and not much content, or so it seemed.

As is often the case, just days before Sunday while on a morning run, a theme emerged. I was pondering what people ask me most these days, “How are you doing?” and “How do you do it?”

So here are my answers under the seemingly fitting title,  “Agony, Ecstasy, and the Boring In-Between.”

My prayer is that you will be deeply encouraged, whatever agony or ecstasy you may be in, realizing that you’re never alone, and that gut-wrenching tears of both joy and sorrow are sure to come laden with unexpected gifts.


So we move on, move on from the memorial services, the hosting of friends, the receiving of flowers and cards and gifts. Move on and forward with hope, with daily pain and anguish and heartache and wondering how we will honestly make it through.

At the same time we stand still. Still enough to remember and reflect. Still enough to hear Jordan’s voice, the way he always lifted our hearts, even til the very last breath.

Still. Still hurting. Still bruised. Still trying to sleep when sleep won’t come. Still confident in our ever-loving, always-knowing God and Father and Comforter. Still confident that we will make it through..through and new, though we have no idea how.

Still. Still amazed at the outpouring of so much love, kindness, mercy, hope.

Hope that every tear counts. Every memory stays. Every lesson and revelation and Truth holds true. True and sure and immoveable.

Moving on and standing still. Both.