Ron and I are speaking for a marriage conference today in Nashville, called No Ordinary Love. In the spirit of this week’s Valentine Video series (links below if you missed them) I thought you may enjoy a few of our talking points that are relevant to singles and marrieds alike.

Surprise, This is It! — Every story has surprise twists and turns — surprises that can feel like beautiful gifts or more like, “Surprise your toilet is overflowing!”  Accepting our own story and celebrating it, is a choice not a feeling. God can turn every surprise into a gift through patience and perseverance.

The Dance of Dysfunction — The cycle typically goes… I Hurt, I Want, I Fear, I React. Each step triggers the next, and we tend to find dance partners whose dysfunctions marry well to ours. One broken step from me leads to a reaction from you, and the missteps occur until we tire of the dysfunction and break free, often through counseling coupled with years of re-training our patterns toward health.

Prescription for a Great Marriage — 1. Personal Wholeness, 2.Clear Priorities, 3. Purpose

There’s much more to share, but suffice it to say anyone who wants No Ordinary Love will have to invest the work, stay the course, and believe that different than what we thought, can be better than what we expected.

Speaking of which, here are this week’s short little inspiration videos intended to encourage every waiting heart to keep hoping and never settle for less than the best. Enjoy!

Barbie Was Married    https://youtu.be/7u51v27y5jU
Brokenness Is a Pain  https://youtu.be/cMVqHm0fRJg
Dates and Heartbreak  https://youtu.be/lzwnHp4tHlo
We are also offering a special discount on my book, Remember the Roses, a handbook for anyone waiting on true love (why not give this as a Valentines gift for anyone you know who is waiting?)


Six months ago following a routine mammogram, I was told those shocking words…”You have breast cancer.”

What? I’ve been focused on health and nutrition for years, an avid runner, emotionally healthy, how can this happen to me?

But alas, the journey began. Given the very public journey our family walked while our beloved son Jordan was battling cancer, we decided to do this one privately, in hopes that when it was over, we could share the story and victory all in one moment.

That moment was yesterday, when in a morning message at our church, King’s Park, I shared the “Shock and Awe” message about navigating the valley, out to a place of healing.

Here is a link to the 30 minute podcast, if you’d like to hear more.

Shock and Awe

This message highlights the faithfulness of our great God, the one who delivers us through life’s shocks, and brings awe every time.

I could not have endured this battle without the strong support of my amazing husband, parents, sister, daughter-in-law Cady who was living with us and stood by my side every moment, our sons and their wives who cheered and prayed, and closest friends who pray unceasingly every time we face a need.

I’d also like to recognize friends who have walked this path before and whose inspiration of overcoming helped me tremendously during some of the darkest hours: Ami Dockery, Carol McLeod, Holly Wagner, Christine Caine, Lisa Bevere, Darlene Zschech, Jan Greenwood, Lisa Clark, Renette Kendall, Kirsten LaCourse, Starr Clay, and Fran Boyd.

Today I am through this battle, onto even greater health, looking forward to a long life of fulfilling adventures and purpose fulfilled.

 

 

 


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I had the great honor of being selected to do a TEDx Talk, and am excited to announce it’s official release this week!

If you know anyone who could use a fresh infusion of hope, then this may be a timely link to share. The talk is titled, “My Dream Died, Now What?”

It was a rigorous process to apply and then be selected out of hundreds of applicants and a tough set of coaches and peers evaluating every step of the way. But I honestly LOVED it, and am deeply honored for this chance to share my life story in just under 12 minutes.

The audience laughed, cried, and stood to their feet in applause at the surprise ending, a moment I was humbled by and will never forget.

TED Talks are showcased around the world, and if you find this one worth sharing, I’d be so grateful if you would post to your social media and help us spread this message of hope and courage for anyone struggling through a dream, or enduring a season of waiting.

Thank you for being a fellow believer in the power of a dream!

 



If you need encouragement this Thanksgiving then get ready…

A few months ago our dear friend, Asher Paul, who works at Good Housekeeping, asked if I thought Cady would be willing to share her story. Here is the beautiful outcome of their collaboration.

I learned details never heard before, with tears flowing, recalling this journey. We still ache with loss, but rejoice that this story is about God’s glory, a glory made brighter through faith and love.

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Ever feel that way? Like you’re being given a gift you want to give back, trade, or simply detest??

In the last several weeks I’ve heard from friends saying….

Help, my hope is forever and completely gone.

How can I get through this and not always feel like I got the consolation prize?

I have no control and my reaction is pitiful. I feel like a fraud and SO quickly am back in a place of anger, sitting here facing the fact that my ONE option is to embrace what God is doing, and all I want to do is scream.

Processes are tough, really tough. This making of ourselves into strong, resilient, teachable warriors is not for the faint of heart.

I shared with one of my discouraged friends how many years and years it took me to break thru, cross over, and finally experience a lasting sense of joy, waiting so long for marriage and children. Told her how our responsibility is to declare what’s true about God even when our own experience doesn’t validate it.

Our son Jordan died of cancer but I will never give up praying for sick people to receive their miracle, because miracles DO still happen every day.

This morning I wrote to a friend who has spent tens of thousands of dollars, tears, and years trying to get pregnant, to no avail:

Praying over all of this for you guys. My experience is as you take steps in certain directions the Lord leads and opens your heart to possibilities that you may not have even wanted or been open to before, it’s all part of how God directs His ultimate plan. IF there is a child who He wants to be parented by you then that child will come to you. We get to do our part but trust Him to open and shut the doors all the while working in us and for us. He is our advocate.  He is Good and Kind and a Generous Shepherd. He does not tempt or taunt or try us beyond our ability to bear it. He blesses and lavishes. Our joy eventually overflows. I love you and am weeping in prayer even now as I stand w you for the outcome of your faith!! Great joy awaits….

This week, Nov. 9th, was World Adoption Day, a day I never thought would have been relevant to my life, but adoption has been God’s surprise and lavish gift, one I would not have chosen and would not trade.

IMG_6725These two darlings came to our family in a season of great trial and loss. They’re not blonde like I always imagined, but look so much like their daddy and brothers. Every day we lavish them with big fat kisses, reminded that God’s different is better…better and bigger…bigger heart, bigger faith, bigger story leading to bigger glory.

It took big faith on the part of their precious birth mom too, big boldness to believe that the end of one story means the beginning of another.

You and your story are becoming bigger even now, and yes indeed, great joy awaits.
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Ron and I spoke for a couples conference last weekend in Jersey City, right next door to where my Deloitte office was for six years, overlooking downtown Manhattan.

I shared a point with the crowd that was a reminder of a nugget that set me free years ago when I first woke up to it. It is simply this…

JOY IS NOW

Not later when I’m married. Not in the future when I’m paid more and work less. It won’t be when the boys are raised or I finally get pregnant. It also won’t be when my boss finally sees me. No, joy is NOW.

The subtle yet ever-pervasive thought of being more joyful later when such and such happens is a constant enemy of contentment and happiness. It seems to plague us all, in some seasons more than others. Really though, I promise you, joy is now.

Our job is to pause and recognize it, call it out from the monotonous and mundane.

Gratitude uncovers it. Smiling extends it. Encouraging someone else multiplies it.

I was reminded of this afresh as Ron and I walked after the couples conference, by my old office, then took the ferry I used to take daily on my commute. Those were years that felt long on work and short on pleasures, but now a part of me wishes I could return to those moments for just a day.

Memories of routine workdays include a fondness now, grateful for lessons learned, projects I now miss and people I treasure but never see.

Yes joy is now, and later too, not because life is perfect or without tears, but because joy is like a good medicine that permeates darkness with promise that this too shall pass, and this too is precious.

Will you join me? Let’s drink it in, the here and now, through the transformational lens of joy.

I enjoy listening to my wise husband share funny truths about our marriage

Listening to my wise husband share funny truths about our marriage & stories of getting through tough times.

About to board the ferry

About to board the ferry

 


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


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…