I’ve been thinking a lot lately about this journal of mine. About all the moments I’ve worked through, struggled with, and given to God. I don’t know that I’ll ever fully comprehend the many ways that God worked in and spoke into my life through the notes section on my iPhone. I wrestled with him. A lot. I mean, a lot a lot. I begged and pleaded for answers. I whined and demanded reasons, understanding. I’ve also gotten to do a whole lotta thanking and praising. Because time after time, God delivers. He shows me that he cares. That he loves me deeply. That my son was and is loved deeply. That even though I’m not capable of fully comprehending the answers I’m searching for, he has them. And he will reveal them in a more appropriate time.

I saw something just the other day that basically said we don’t know how much we need God until He’s all we have. I know that our lives didn’t look like God was all we had, but in those days and weeks after George Mason died, God really was all we had. Because none of our earthly treasures could hold us up. Sustain us. Guide us forward. I don’t know if I completely agree that we can’t know how much we depend on God unless the bottom falls out... but nonetheless, I have learned a deep and wide void that can only be filled by one: God. And in many ways, I have the letters on these pages to thank. God works in so many ways. His scripture speaks in so many ways. His Spirit has certainly worked through my own thumbs. Crazy, right? But God.

As we approach 2.5 years since George’s day, I find myself wondering what’s next for this journal? Will there be more to tell about his story? Have I exhausted the depths of my recollections? Is there more for God to teach me in sitting in the details of George’s day? I don’t know. It kind of feels like perhaps it’s time to close this chapter of grief. I know that I will always love and miss that sweet boy of mine, but have I finished the hard work of grieving? Or is there more still to come? {I’ve learned that grief will be a consistent part of this earthly life, it will just take different shapes. What will the next shape be?} I know that I’m a very visual processor. Writing these words and seeing them on the pages often has light bulbs shining over my head. Alone with my thoughts doesn’t get me anywhere. But pencil and paper always lead me to God, and all the ways that He loves me. So because I know that about myself, I know that I will always write. There will forever be things to dig deeper into. Things that I need to have written out, notated with scripture, for my own understanding. There will always be the prayers that I didn’t even know to pray, that come out when I start to write. But what does that mean for George Mason’s story? For my story? Intuitively, I know that this story is just one episode or chapter. And honestly, right now it feels a bit like those dreaded “to be continued” words at the end of a season of your favorite tv show. That moment when you can’t believe the cliff hanger and will most certainly be tuning in next season! Boy am I thankful for the journey I’ve been on with this little journal of mine. But man, don’t you kinda wish you knew what was next? What is waiting in the wings of God’s story? Wouldn’t it be nice if this was a movie and needed to get wrapped up and tied with a bow in just 2 short hours? No cliff hangers. Sure that sounds great for a minute. But God’s plan never disappoints. Even if it feels impossible to wait for next season...

“The Lord reigns; he is robed in majesty;

the Lord is robed; he has put on strength as his belt.

Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved.

Your throne is established from of old;

you are from everlasting.

The floods have lifted up, O Lord,

the floods have lifted up their voice;

the floods lift up their roaring.

Mightier than the thunders of many waters,

mightier than the waves of the sea,

the Lord on high is mighty!

Your decrees are very trustworthy;

holiness befits your house,

O Lord, forevermore.” - Psalm 93



I dragged my feet on finishing and setting up Audrey Nole’s bedroom in our basement. When we moved into this house, only the upstairs was livable and so we set up a temporary space for Audrey in the room she affectionately calls “the baby’s room.” It is right next to the master bathroom and always had nursery written on the walls. But as our arms continues to sit empty, it was hard to face the reality of staring at the empty space once I moved Audrey to her rightful room. What would I do with it? Close the door and ignore it? Set it up as Adams office (the final intention for the space whenever we are done needing a nursery) and backtrack if we need it to become a nursery? Let it sit empty, with no purpose?

If I’m being honest, the empty room that is waiting for it’s purpose is a pretty perfect image of how our lives feel in this moment. After George died we had a task: to grieve his death. To mourn all of the should haves and could haves. To set good examples for Audrey as she matured and grieves in her own way. That task was so helpful - even if it wasn’t something we would’ve chosen for ourselves - in many ways it gave purpose to each day. It also helped fill the time and space that should have been occupied by a newborn, and then toddler. And then, if we were crazy enough, we bought a complete fixer upper, uprooted our lives, and started construction. Those early days of demolition were a perfect outlet for the anger and frustration both Adam and I were feeling. Swinging a sledge hammer has powerful healing capabilities. For the last 18 months or so, we have been distracted. Set with another task, to finish this house and make it feel like home. Well, now that we’re rounding out the end of that task, what comes next? Will we be holding a new baby this time next year? Will we be making decisions as a single child household? What should we do in the meantime? Do we plan for a baby and deal with the disappointment if it doesn’t happen? Do we accept that our family is complete and move forward; dealing with the baby thing only if it comes unexpectedly? A lot like that empty room...

I don’t think I can bear to look at it empty. I imagine that a few lost pieces of furniture will find their way in there. Perhaps it will become the place that I meet God most often? A comfy chair, my Bible, and the most beautiful sunset views? In complete honesty, I don’t know anymore what my desire for our future is, but I do know that I will never regret seeking the God who sustains me. I’m beginning to like this idea more and more. Perhaps it’s time to look for that comfy chair. I asked him for peace and contentment with the 3 of us while we waited for a baby. He gave us that. I asked him for days and weeks where the pain of missing George seemed distant. He gave me that. I asked him for a living sibling for Audrey. We are still waiting. While we wait, I will just have to remember to draw closer to him so that my satisfaction is in Him alone; and this season of waiting doesn’t seem so long.

“For I will satisfy the weary soul, and every languishing soul I will replenish.” -Jeremiah 31:25




I was looking through instagram  the other night. I don’t often go back and reminisce, but I found myself enjoying watching Audrey grow up (or more accurately, grow down). As I was scrolling from top to bottom, I would click on random pictures to examine them more deeply; almost as if to linger a little longer on the memory that accompanied the image. When I reached the various ones from early 2017, I stopped. And as I thought about it, there was a lot of life that has happened in the last 2 years. There were so many smiles. So much laughter. Moments that we will cherish forever - social media is good for that: reminding you of the life that you’re in, but not always present for. The days are long. So very long. But the years are really so short. And I know that’s cliche, but it’s the truth. 

I know that the sorrow that came after George’s diagnosis and death has placed a cloud over all of the parts of our lives. The good, the bad, and the ugly, are all tainted because of that sorrow. I’ve read the sentiment that you don’t get over a loss like this, you get through it; you learn to live life differently. To enjoy things differently. To breathe differently. Its absolutely true. But the sorrow doesn’t mean that life can’t still be good. That there can’t still be genuine joy. Those pictures on my social media profile prove it. The laughter and smiles are real. The joy and excitement from things as little as splashing in the kiddie pool in the summer sun are real. The big things are there too. Forever cemented in images are the memories of birthday celebrations, easter egg hunts, and christmas dinners. Its interesting that those are the memories that stick out to me… they are all celebrations of life. LIFE! Not death. Not sorrow. Not pain. {though easter has a side of it where death is an important thing} Life. Another year older. A resurrection that defeated death. A newborn King. We’ve celebrated so many things in these 2 years, and even though they have been without our son, they have been really great. A testament to our God’s glory and His continued promise to sustain us. 

I don’t always see it when I’m in the middle of these long days, but as I look back over the last 2 years, I’m so thankful for all the ways that my God has shown his love for this family. 




Ever since George died, I made myself promise to trust God’s timing and planning with our family. Particularly, I didn’t want George to be our last baby because I was too afraid of the same thing happening again that we would never even try. I’ve severely struggled with that promise I made myself. I think there are a lot of reasons for that, but the reality is that trusting Him with the outcome of something that I’ve already experienced the worst of, makes no sense to my brain. The fight or flight kicks in and I want to run from pregnancy as fast as I can. I already fought once. It ended terribly. So now, I run. Except living in fear is equally as terrible as the logic in my brain that is telling me if I want to avoid pain I just should avoid even the possibility of another baby. We have Audrey, my brain tells me, so we’re good. What if we have another baby and that one dies too? I can tell myself these are lies. They are. But the reality is that our family has experienced the worst and every time I try to calm those fears, I’m taken right back to that NICU. 

8 months ago, after receiving the clearance from my doctor that my body had sufficiently healed, and having given our hearts enough time and distance from George’s day to feel somewhat normal, we decided to start trying to grow our family. Fear of the worst case scenario felt easy to stifle in those first weeks and months. It had been so long since we had held a baby. So long since we had felt the anxiety of a pregnancy. Our hearts longed for a living sibling for Audrey Nole. We wanted the laughter of playtime. The family love that looks a lot like chaos. And so we jumped in with all the trust we could muster. Hoping that God’s timing would line up with our own expectations. 

 No longer will the sun be your light by day, nor the brightness of the moon shine on your night; for the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your splendor. Your sun will no longer set, and your moon will not wane; for the LORD will be your everlasting light, and the days of your sorrow will cease. Then all your people will be righteous; they will possess the land forever; they are the branch of My planting, the work of My hands,so that I may be glorified. The least of you will become a thousand,and the smallest a mighty nation.

I am the LORD;

in its time I will accomplish it quickly.

-Isaiah 60:19-22

Over the last couple months, I’ve been able to see our family as the 3 of us. To be content in this place. It’s something I’ve asked God for over and over. I’m grateful to be there. But I also hope that this isn’t our reality for much longer. Audrey asks for a sibling almost daily. She used to tell me that God was going to give her a sister because she asked him for one. But recently her desire for sibling has wavered. Not in the times she asks, but in the ways she asks. She is noticing that it’s been a long time. In fact, while she talks about and I think remembers her brother, its been 2.5 years since he met his family both here and in heaven. In the life of a 4 year old, that’s a very large portion of time. She must feel like she’s been waiting for forever. Even at the age of 4, God is working in her heart - He’s teaching her that His timing is perfect. And she, just like here mama and every human being ever, is not liking it. 

I don’t know what the immediate future holds for our fertility. I don’t know what the future of our family looks like. If I’m being honest, I wish I had those answers. Some days it feels like it would be easier to keep on truckin’ if I knew what the end result was going to be. But instead, just like my daughter, God is working in my heart. His timing is perfect. “I am the LORD; in its time I will accomplish it quickly” I need to write that on post its all over my house so that maybe it will be written deep in my heart and I will actually believe it. 

In all honesty, I wrote down most of these words nearly two weeks ago. But I couldn’t see the point. I couldn’t understand why I started. Why I was telling this part of our story. Why I was drawn to leave these moments and challenges on the page. I needed more time with Jesus about it. More prayer. More pleading. More prayer. I still don’t have it down perfectly, but I’m much more comfortable today with acknowledging that His timing is perfect than I was two weeks ago. If that’s not God’s promises being fulfilled in a tangible way, I’m not sure what else would be. 

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The mountains are pink tonight. Placed perfectly in front of a fading, but brilliantly blue sky. There is just enough snow left on them that you can see all the details in the rocky peaks. Lots of places for the color to saturate and bounce off of. It feels as if God placed them there just for me. My window doesn’t even face west, and so the colors and beauty is just a reflection of the real thing. What a God we serve. Sunset has always been Gods way of telling me it’s going to be alright. That no matter the muck I’m going through, at the end of the day, all will be made beautiful. The warm hues of pink and orange stop me in my tracks and take my breath away. And once I’ve caught back up, I cannot help but lift my eyes high and offer a silent praise and thank you for the reminder. A reminder that was much needed today.

It’s been a hard week (and it’s only Wednesday). I don’t know why some weeks are so hard. They always surprise me. But nevertheless, this week, my son’s absence in this family is huge. His place at our table, in our home, our cars, our summer plans, he is missed. As I was cooking dinner this evening, I looked over and saw Audrey giggling as our new puppy crawled all over her. In that brief moment, that puppy and all of his clumsy cuteness, was a glimpse at what life would be like with two kiddos. The hugging that looks more like wrestling. The symphony of laughter from a 4 year old little girl and her 2 year old little brother. Just as soon as the giggling started, it was stopped by a screech... the puppy had nipped Audrey’s toes. The moment was over. But it’s imprint on my psyche had just begun. I suppose it’s good to be forced to remember. To think about the moments I’m missing with my son, not in general terms, but in-this-moment life. Watching Audrey play alone in our backyard and wondering in great detail what George Mason would’ve been doing. Watching the puppy learn about life, get scolded, try again. Living and loving these humans that welcomed him into their pack. What would he have thought of George? What would George have thought of him? Laughing a little to myself as I imagine the many ripples of a 2 year old boy by an overly excited and very clumsy puppy.

Just as quickly as I noticed the beauty on the mountains out my window, the colors are gone and night is setting in. It seems like there is a metaphor in there. Because it is the same with the waves of grief that hit me. They come in and are gone. I can vividly picture my two year old in one instant and then in the very next be at a complete loss; because the reality is that I don’t know him at all. Would he have been shy or brave? Would he have been easy going or high maintenance? Would he be round and jolly like a hairless Santa Claus? Would there be curls for days like his sister? I don’t allow myself to ask these questions very often. Mostly because it’s painful when I do. It’s just easier to admit he’s gone and not think much beyond that, than it is to imagine what his life might have looked like. I suppose there’s a time and place for both parts of this grief. Almost like watching the reflection of sunset. It was likely as beautiful as the real thing, but in its own unique way. In the same way, some days I need the hard work of thinking through the what would have beens - a metaphorical western sunset. But some days I just need to survive, and that doesn’t allow room for the hard work - an eastern sunset view from my couch.

Today is a day for the hard work of grief. And honestly, I’m thankful for that.


I’m missing George today. A whole heck of a lot. It’s comical, honestly, how such a mundane day can be triggered by a totally mundane statement or thought, into a day of sadness. A day with a cloud hanging over it, that even the brightest sunlight couldn’t penetrate. As we sat down for dinner last night, Audrey made a comment about the empty chair across from her. How it would be George Mason’s if he weren’t in heaven. And then, just as she always does, she put on her best frown and told us that she misses him. In the very next breath, she exclaimed to the entire restaurant that she had drawn beautifully in the lines on her kid’s menu.

That’s how it goes. A brief moment of intense truth followed by the brevity of a 4 year olds mind. She was genuinely sad for that moment until she was proud and excited by her accomplishments with a restaurant crayon. That’s life in this season. We never know what emotion will well up only to be cut off by an equally, or at least seemingly urgent, opposing one. It’s another season of unknowns. But these unknowns are much harder to process.

As I sit here tonight, missing my son, and wondering why statements that happen frequently in this house - we have a grieving 4 year old and you never know where her grief is going to take her - would be such a jolt to my system, I realized that a big part of me longs for the known unknowns of our pregnancy with George. Those months were not easy. In fact, waking each day and waiting for his kicks, for proof that he was still alive, was some of the hardest days I’ve ever experienced. And yet, it was black and white. It wasn’t certain whether he would survive, but as long as he did, we had plans; a future we could imagine and plan. An image of what our family looked like. With 4, whole and living people. So I guess it’s not all that strange to long for those days. Because hard as they were, we hadn’t lost our son. Yet. And the stress and emotions of carrying a baby who doctors were almost certain should have died already, was nothing compared to the weight of the grief of the death of our child. 

Now we are sitting in this new season. This place after we became a family of 4 but look like a family of 3. A place where our future is entirely unknown, and blatantly out of our hands. I clung to my Father during those months with George, but it was different. I had no choice but to fully trust in God’s miracles, because science wasn’t on our side. I couldn’t get up every day and care for myself and my unborn son if I didn’t have the hope of a miracle. So I clung to that hope. And then, when I buried our son, I knew he had lived as many breaths as God had ordained. And I rested in that. It was a new kind of hope for the new season we found ourselves living in. But what now? What is this moment in our lives to be defined by? What is the obvious need for my Father that can give me no choice but to trust? Leave no space for anything else?

I want so badly to know what our complete family looks like. I covet that. And I repent daily. Because the details of our future are important to me, but they are way more important to the God who has laid them out. If only I would allow myself to really believe that. Would you pray that with me? That I would give it wholly to God? Trust in His timing. Make decisions because that’s where the Spirit is leading me, and not because it feels safe? I want to live the words to that song: Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk upon the waters, wherever you will call me. Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander, and my faith will be made stronger, in the presence of my Savior.

I don’t have it all together. I don’t always trust perfectly (or ever). But I can deeply see my flaws. I can be honest with myself about that desperate need for control that draws my heart away from the truth that God really does “got this” - and maybe, in this season of complicated unknowns, that’s what I need. Brutal honesty with myself about my flaws. So that I can acknowledge my deep need for my Savior. I can know that it’s ok to miss my son. I can also know, even when it doesn’t feel like it, that God being in control is so much better than whatever I think might be good for us; for our family. 

I miss you, George. I miss all the sweet kisses I would’ve given you. I miss all the adorable snuggles I would’ve had with you. I miss the out of control curls I imagine you would’ve worn with both confidence and sass, and probably a bit of whatever you had for lunch. I miss the destruction of a 2 year old boy. I miss the belly laugh giggles that your daddy definitely would’ve passed down to you. I miss the adoration you would’ve had for your big sister. I miss the doting, smothering love, she would’ve poured out on you. I miss the steps I would’ve gotten each day making sure you didn’t roll down the stairs or do any of the number of things that would’ve looked a lot like self destruction. I miss every part of you, both that I knew of you and imagined and dreamed for you. I also love you with every single fiber of my being, and I’m incredibly jealous that you are in the arms of Jesus and not mine. But I’m so incredibly thankful to know that I will join you one day.


5.26.19 - My Exceedingly Great Reward.

It has been a while since I dug deep into this journal. Not for lack of trying. In fact, most days over the last month or so, I have sat down and tried to write. Write all the things that have been swirling around in my head. And yet, as I begin to type, or doodle, or put pencil to paper, I get a jumbled mess of words. There doesn’t seem to be much sense to be made of all the emotions lately. From Mother’s Day to family baptisms, this month has been filled to the brim with the exaggerated emotions of either end of the spectrum. It’s hard to sort it all out, and most of the time, if feels like I have to just get through it to be able to look back and digest it; not unlike this entire grief journey.

Oh death, where is your sting?

Oh hell, where is your victory?

Oh church, come stand in the light.

Our God is not dead, He’s Alive! He’s alive!

Every time I’m able to look back on the life that happened to me ( I know that I’m an active participant, but when the emotions, both good and bad, feel overwhelming, life can seem like it’s just happening around me and to me), I think about that song. Death stings. A whole hell of a lot. And so many times it feels like the Devil is filling my head with chaos so that I cannot, or will not, listen intently for the voice of my Good Father. Yet, whether life has happened or been experienced, or even better - been enjoyed - God is good and death doesn’t win. The grief ceases for even just a moment and the rays of joy begin to pierce the clouds of this storm. There is hope, for the end is just the beginning.

I keep coming back to this disappointment in what my motherhood looks like. Not to detract from the very real and heavy longing for my son, but the way that I miss him is changing. And as that changes, I am forced to look at my own story, my future. At the moment, I’m a mama to a vibrant, challenging, life filled, living little girl and a son in heaven - whom I barely know. I don’t have a mother and my home can seem empty on so many days. I didn’t imagine this yet I’m living this. These realities are hard to process. The questions that they bring with them are hard to ask, let alone answer. When an unknowing stranger asks if we will have any more children, do I tell them I have no idea? Do I share with them the intimate details of this story? The loss of a child? The infertility? The emotional stress of making decisions about the size of your family - that you actually have no control over, yet crave to know the details of? Do I just smile and nod and move on? Do I share maybe just a part of the work God is doing in my life? But which part?

I think those are just some of the reasons it’s been hard to write. To face this reality and then be content in this place. Because God’s heart may have broken alongside ours when George Mason took his last breath, but it also ordained every single breath - George Mason took exactly as many as he was supposed to. So that means that this was allowed to happen and planned for. God didn’t kill my son. But he didn’t save him. Those aren’t anywhere near the same thing, but to a mama’s broken heart, they sure can feel as if they are. So when I start to feel the weight of disappointment getting heavier, I have to step back from myself and run for my Savior. I can’t do this life alone, and I definitely can’t be content in it, alone. So I have to cling to Jesus. I have to trust with every fiber of my being. Not only that He will sustain me, but that his timing is perfect. And that’s really, really, hard for me.

One of the most helpful things for me in this grief has been to find, and outwardly thank God for, the things that are obvious gifts. There have been so many in this last month, that it feels appropriate to shout from the mountain tops. Father, I’m so thankful for this little girl that you have given us. Her spunk and zeal for life is infectious. It reminds me, in all the best ways, of my mama - and when I miss my mama, it’s pretty great to look over and see so many of the best parts of her in my daughter. I’m thankful for the new lives that have begun in our family in this last year. For the joy that radiates from the faces of those new lives. I’m thankful for my husband, who works tirelessly to support, protect, and lead this family. I’m thankful for the partnership I have with him and the way that he is living in this grief with me. We are a team, complimenting each other’s highs and lows. It’s not by accident that we are doing this life together. I’m thankful for a preschool for Audrey that has allowed her to flourish. That has loved her so well as she lives in her own version of grief. I’m thankful for the friendships that you have placed in our path, that we could not deny or pass by. Instead, we were sucked in, in the very best way, to be supported and loved on in all of our highs and lows. I’m thankful that even though my motherhood doesn’t look like I planned, and my humanness can often get caught up in the disappointment of that reality, that you are there in it with me. From the very best moments - the pride and joy that comes from our living child and the memory of our precious son - to the hardest ones - an empty nursery, the desire of Audrey for a sibling - You are sustaining. I’m thankful that my weakness doesn’t define who I am to you, but instead the blood of your Son means I am your child, I am beloved. I’m thankful for your Word, that cuts deep into my soul and points me always to you.

“fear not Abram; I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward” - Gen 15:1



This is life for us. A marker where a living baby (now toddler) should be. Isn’t the life and color striking against the metal? Life and death in the same breath. Grief has consumed a lot of our last 2 - really 4 - years, yet there’s always this vibrant life happening deep inside our souls. A life that we’ve been entrusted with carrying out to the fullest for our Savior. For even when the hardest moments hit with their heaviest weight, we have the cross and the resurrection and everything is made new. We don’t get to visit this marker very often and that’s ok. It’s not my son’s home. But it is wonderful to have a piece of this earth that is dedicated just to our son. Our living family has their very breath that lays claim to their piece of the earth. From the playful footsteps of childhood to the purposeful decisions of adulthood, we are constantly making a mark and shaping our environment. We are living out our story and {hopefully} furthering God’s kingdom. I don’t know where my ashes will lie when it’s time for me to meet my Savior, but it doesn’t even matter. Because God will welcome me into the gates of Heaven. Just like He did with my son. And every other believer for all of time. I’d say that’s pretty awesome. So for now, we will bring a little bit of life to the tiny piece of earth that has our son’s name on it. We will cling to our Savior in the good and the bad. The hard times and the easier ones. And we will be thankful for the reminders of who our God is - because even flowers and graves bear His name.




April seems to have come and gone. As I look at the calendar it’s hard to believe that yet another month of life has happened. In the same breath, though, I’m so thankful for that very life. For the joys that have come. For the moments and milestones we have celebrated. It feels like a huge blessing (and also something to be greatly celebrated) to be able to look up and see a month has passed. Instead of finding myself counting down the hours and minutes of each day, I am able to look back and wonder where the time has gone. What have I been occupied with that I’m no longer just surviving each day? For the most part, the answer to that question is nothing; normal, every day, ordinary things. From taking Audrey Nole to and from preschool, daily chores, and even celebration - a birthday and Easter filled this month and a wedding will round it out - what a gift to just move through life. Not completely without grief and sorrow, but with much less weight than in even the most recent past.

We have entered into a new season. One where our grief will be shared with those closest to us, but that will likely be a surprise to anyone not in our close circle. As two years came and went, and we move into year three without our son, a lot of life has happened. While we have been in the trenches of heartbreak and moving forward in this story of God’s, we are finally climbing out of the depths. It feels like Noah must have felt waiting for that dove to return with a sign of new life. That space after the storm but before the waters receded and the rainbow was unveiled. That is our new season. Hallelujah for the lifting of the storm clouds. Praise Jesus for getting us through. I don’t know if there’s a more appropriate time for a bottle of champagne to be popped than when Noah could look out those ark windows and see the sky - and all the animals were still alive. This April feels a bit like the popping cork of a champagne bottle , and I am so incredibly thankful.

So now, as we sit in this season, waiting for the waters to recede and before God places His bow in the sky, I want to remember to be thankful. To celebrate the many gifts we’ve been given and to honor the God who got us through the worst storm we’ve ever experienced. I’m sure that Noah was beyond excited when that dove came back with a branch. And I’m sure those days of waiting for dry ground felt long and tedious, but I can also imagine the celebration that must’ve been planning in his head whenever his feet could step off that gigantic boat.

“At the end of forty days Noah opened the window of the ark that he had made and sent forth a raven. It went to and fro until the waters were dried up from the earth. Then he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters had subsided from the face of the ground. But the dove found no place to set her foot, and she returned to him to the ark, for the waters were still on the face of the whole earth. So he put out his hand and took her and brought her into the ark with him. He waited another seven days, and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark. And the dove came back to him in the evening, and behold, in her mouth was a freshly plucked olive leaf. So Noah knew that the waters had subsided from the earth. Then he waited another seven days and sent forth the dove, and she did not return to him anymore.” - Genesis 8:6-12

A Birthday for Big Sis

George Mason, we missed you today. We celebrated your big sister’s 4th birthday and you were missing. When all the littles lined up to swat the piñata, you weren’t there. When we all sang “Happy Birthday”, you weren’t there. As we passed out the cake, you weren’t there. You weren’t there, and we missed you terribly. I can only imagine that you’re blowing out candles in heaven for your big sister, just like she blows out the candles for you here on earth. Give Grammy a hug for me. I love you so -Mama

Group events are often the worst. It’s easy to move through our daily life and kind of forget that our sweet boy should be here. As we move further from his day, it’s not that his absence becomes less apparent, but more that it’s obvious he was never here. Not that he didn’t live. Or impact our lives. But that our only experience with him is in that hospital NICU, and so the further we get from that day in that room, the less we think to miss him in the big moments. It feels kind of awful to say that... but honestly it seems like God’s protection over our hearts. Our lives didn’t stop when George’s did, and so to be given the small grace of not missing him so blatantly is a kiss from our Good Father. Especially in a space full of families and would-be peers  

Today could have been full of mourning. We could have cried and been overwhelmed with sorrow (and that’s not to say those days won’t come throughout life) but instead, we got to celebrate the bright light that is Audrey Nole. We got to laugh with friends. Reminiscing about how our kiddos have gotten so big; so fast. We got to smile and clap and be the loudest cheerleaders for each swing at that piñata. Today wasn’t about sorrow. It was completely about celebration. And we missed our son, but we weren’t overcome by anything but joy for the life that we have been entrusted with raising. Praise Jesus for that. And Happy 4th Birthday, Audrey Nole!! 





The weather is starting to change. We are slowly, painfully so at times, thawing out from a long and wet winter. The sunshine is healing and as the air around us begins to warm, it’s the light at the end of the dark tunnel of winter. It makes me happy to transition out of the cold. The sunshine makes my soul jump for joy and it’s heat makes my heart smile. It’s no doubt that it’s a gift to begin to see the first blooms coming out of the lingering snow. It’s a reminder that God is faithful; just like winter always becomes spring, and spring always leads to the warmth of summer, God always brings comfort after a storm. Through every trial, he is there. And then when it’s over, he takes delight in the strength we gained as a result.

The first few months of every year are now spotted with the anniversaries of so many of life’s milestones. From birth to death, we celebrate it all from January to March. Often it feels cruel that we have to weather the storm of dead babies and mamas in the midst of winter. That there’s seemingly no respite from the dark and dreary emotions of loss when I look outside and see grey and white. But just as the devil begins to plant his flag and take root in the open wounds of my heart, spring begins to, well spring. And I’m reminded, in the most beautiful way, that God is not gone when the winter roars. He is not dormant, like the trees, or hiding like the bears. Instead, he is fully in control. Providing the nutrients for the tulip bulbs that mark the first signs of this new season. He is alive and well in the tiniest of details in our lives. And just because I don’t see or feel Him in the same way as I might in a different season, doesn’t mean He’s not as deeply invested and at work in my heart.

I’m learning that healing from grief is a long and complicated process. That with each new realization, you begin to scab up those deep wounds. But you also find new ones. As I watch my almost 4 year old shine bright for her Lord, I’m also watching her play alone. That’s how grief hits you. It’s not on the big days or the expected moments. Sure, I miss my son on his birthday or Christmas, but it’s the nothing days that are normal and ordinary that I’m the most saddened by his absence. It feels like a broken record lately to say that. But it’s the truth of my reality in this next season. As we live out the beginning of year 3 without Him, life has moved on and we are further from His day. Further from his touch and his smell. Further from his snuggles. Further from the picture we had imagined for our family. And with each day that passes, that image we had when we saw those first pink lines, gets less and less true. We didn’t have a lot of time with George Mason. So in many ways, we have grieved all of the things about him that we can. At this point, we are grieving his absence as if he were healthy and whole. We miss what could have been and should have been. A new walker and talker. A budding friendship between big sister and little brother. Adapting our routine for a family of 4, with two little independent and stubborn humans. The discussions of family planning and whether or not our family is complete with a 2 and 4 year old, brother and sister. 

I’m so thankful for the ways that God deeply and comfortably speaks into my heart. It’s such a blessing to be called His child and to be cared for as such a title requires. Some days it seems like trauma is what will define my early parenting years, but when I sit down with my bible and a cup of coffee, I realize that what is actually defining this season is God’s work in my life. I don’t know what that means, entirely, but I know that in the depth of this trauma filled blip of time, God is working. He’s working in it, through it, with it, and all to make sure that everything turns out for my own good. How could I possibly say I deserve that?! After all, I’ve been pretty hard on Him at times. Grateful that He is a big big God who can take the beatings I have so frivolously thrown his way.


4 Years in Heaven

Today is mama’s 4th heavenly birthday. It’s easy to remember how long she’s been gone, because these anniversaries coincide perfectly with Audrey Nole’s birthdays. So today, we celebrate and mourn. This is the first year that Audrey is really big enough to understand what today is all about. When Papa told her that today was kind of like a birthday for her Grammie, without skipping a beat, she enthusiastically proclaimed that we will make a cake. Because what does one do on birthdays? Has cake, of course.

It’s not new to her developing mind, the concept of celebrating the birthday of someone not here on earth with us. When all the siblings were together this January, Audrey was insistent that we make a cake for Grammie’s birthday. And then just a few weeks later, same story for George Mason’s Birthday. It’s healing in a way to watch how easily she maneuvers grief and death. It’s not sad to her, or at least sadness isn’t the main event on a day like today, to acknowledge the life of someone who is no longer here with us. She cheerfully, purposefully, and without doubt, declares the celebration must include cake. Perhaps a few stories about this woman she never met. Perhaps she will remind us that she has her Grammie’s eyes. Or her vibrant smile will pull us all right back into the room with our mama as she told yet another story that we’d all heard a thousand times. Or the way that she adores her Papa and tells him about life; no filters, no cynicism. She looks him in the eye and tells it like it is. And since today is a birthday, even though it’s equal parts sad and wonderful, she concludes there must be cake. {not looking forward to telling her that I forgot to bring the candles...}

Her and I drove up to my dad’s cabin in Wyoming. A brief escape from life so that we could properly celebrate the life of the woman that shaped me into the mama I am today. Solitude with the man who lost his wife and love, and a big part of his identity, on this day 4 years ago. Time to soak in God’s glorious creation with the little mind of the bright light God sent our way only a few short weeks after saying “see you in heaven, mama”. Honestly, the best way to make your day better is to spend some time with Audrey Nole. She will turn your mood around in no time at all. Because to her, death is just something that happens. People who we love aren’t here with us and that’s normal for her. So there’s moments when she admits sadness over missing them, but there’s usually just a proclamation that her Grammie is dead and in heaven with Jesus. And then there’s the brief conversation about how when she dies Jesus is going to bring her to heaven and she’s going to give Grammie a great big hug - and then she’s going to play with George Mason. Because that’s what siblings do.

So as she naps off the tired legs from a morning filled with pancake making and sledding, I’m able to rest in a brief moment of silence and remembrance. There will most certainly be cake decorating to be done this afternoon and I’m sure more stories of mama will be shared with her tiny twin. I’m thankful for the timing, as awful as it seems on some days, of this little light of mine. Because 4 years ago today, life felt impossibly hard to imagine. And then two weeks later, our family welcomed the most healing gift we could have ever imagined. She never met my mama, and that makes me really sad, but I see so much of her Grammie in her, that I can’t help but smile. It is my prayer that through this journey of motherhood, my precious daughter would know my own mama almost as well as if she’d actually met her. That all the ways my mama shaped me, would show Audrey Nole sweet glimpses of the woman who had a heart on fire for the Lord and a love for her family that was rivaled only by the love she received from her savior.

Happy Heavenly Birthday, Mama. You are loved and missed, and it is our greatest pleasure as your kids to share you with our own children.





There’s this cycle of rut, as I unaffectionately call it. Where life goes up and down and then plateaus before jumping up or down again. In that long, or sometimes short, season of sameness, it feels very much like a rut. This time now, after George’s Birthday is a lot like that. There’s nothing new to trigger a down day. There’s not really anything exciting on the horizon to engage my heart in leaps of joy. There’s just every day life. Mundane, ordinary, normal, life. And before George, I longed for ordinary. I waited what seemed like endlessly, as we moved often and felt needlessly unsettled more times than I can count, for life to be just normal. Ironic. Now, some of the most painful days are those that Are ordinary. When his absence is felt the most whole heartedly. Because I know that I will always miss him on holidays and anniversaries, but when it’s a day for running errands or just doing the basic stuff of life, it hits me that there’s only one child climbing in and out of the car. Or that Audrey wants to play her princess board game, for the thousandth time this week, {and she plays wrong by the way} and she wants to do it with me, because who else is she going to play with...

It cycles like this: I start by feeling guilty for lacking imagination and desire to play with my almost 4 year old. I tell myself I don’t have anything better to do - the house is clean, dinner is prepped, etc - so I get down on the floor and we set up the board. And we pick, or rather she assigns, princesses to be used as our game pieces, and the mundane of life takes shape as a board game filled with all the magic of Disney.  Then as we spin the “clock” as she calls it, and we take our spaces on the path to the end (because it’s a game that my 4 year old can understand, there is no strategy, no real rules, just following the path from start to finish), I miss my son. Because even though he would only be 2, and he would likely not cooperate with her all that well, they would have each other. He could wreck her game and she could fuss at him for doing so. And in the end, nobody wins or losses, because that wasn’t the point anyway. And then, with all my might, I try to put aside my cynical, adult brain, and just enjoy the spinning clock and the various twists in the board game path; silently counting down until we have both arrived at the finish.

That board game feels an awful lot like a metaphor for this season. I’m not trying to earn points or complete tasks, I’m just trotting along this path of grief, trying to get to the finish line of this chapter. And I have no idea what this chapter is really even about, so there is no definitive finish. There’s just me and God.

He knows what’s coming ahead. He knows the details of this chapter; how it ends; how it progresses; what the next chapter looks like. There’s a big part of me that wishes I knew the “cure” to this season so that we could move on. Will another baby bring with it the close of this chapter? What if we call this family of ours complete? Would that jump us forward out of this cycle of rut? But in the end, we just have to live. We have to trust God’s timing, seek His will, and process all of the shit that causes us to stumble into these moments of rut. I know that there are days where it feels like my life is exactly the same as that board game. No point. No purpose. No strategy. Just following the varied and random wishes of the spinning clock. Except those are all lies. Lies that Satan is telling me to drive a wedge between me and the only reason I’m capable of getting out of bed each morning. Lies that cause my heart to hurt just a little more, so I might be a little more angry with the God who could have changed the outcome and didn’t. Lies that make me feel worthless or undeserving of the one living child I do have. Lies. Powerful, exaggerated, harmful, lies.

My God is good. And faithful. And steadfast. And never tires of my mood swings. He never gets frustrated by my need to go over this disappointment with him for the millionth time. Unlike me when Audrey pulls out the princess board game, God not only gets down on the floor with me, He takes delight in the monotony. Because he takes delight in me. And that’s enough of a truth bomb to spark joy in this aching heart. It’s just the right truth to combat the lies that make the mundane so painful.

There are still days where I wish I had a more clear definition of what this chapters ending looked like. Certainly days where I wish I was let in on more of the details of the plan God has for me. Thankfully, even when I ask over and over for answers, God doesn’t get angry and punish me. Instead, He stretches his arms a little longer and embraces me a little more snugly. And even though I don’t have all the answers today, I’m comforted to know that God does.  For this moment, that’s enough. Maybe tomorrow it will be more than enough? If I know myself at all... I’m going to have to believe that enough is actually enough. And prayerfully, intentionally, take more delight in the mundane.

“but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” - 1 Cor 1:24




It’s been a while since I sat down with this journal. Life has been crazy hectic these last few weeks - our 2nd birthday celebration was a much needed break from the chaos. Yet, as the sun set on February 10, life could no longer pause. An unfinished basement awaited. A visiting friend’s arrival neared. We moved forward. Much like everyday, even though our hearts stopped on George’s day and wished that time would hold still just a little longer - just a few more snuggles and a few more beats from his tiny heart - time kept moving. And as it did in 2017, February 11th, followed. As did the 12th, 13th, 14th, etc.

I miss this journal when I don’t spend time here. But it’s also heavy to do so. The time away, whether it be hours or days or weeks, is always both healing and hard. It is such a tangible mercy from my Father when I am able to sit in the quiet of His presence and fumble through the emotions and thoughts of any given day. It allows me to really work through all the many facets of this life in a season of perpetual grief. It points my focus back towards Jesus when it’s so easy to seek self pity. But it also brings me back to that day; to George’s day. It straps me tight, just as if I were about to launch on a roller coaster, and then does exactly that: swirls me through the ups and downs, that literal roller coaster of emotions. One minute is joy and pride in meeting this tiny human who God called His first and then ours. The next minute is anxiety and fear over all the uncertainty around this little person’s life. The next minute is exhaustion from 9 months of worry, 48 hours of no sleep, a c section. The minute my eyes began to close in a shallow, desperately needed nap, the knock on our hospital room door brought with it the next emotion. An emotion I don’t even really have a word for. What do you call that sunken numbness that is countered by an anvil sitting on your heart while your brain goes a mile a second trying to process those words “I’m sorry, but there’s nothing else we can do” ... and in that moment, when all of the things that felt so pressing before suddenly faded away into a the distant background, and all I could feel was pain.

Pain that is indescribable. Pain that is made up of all the hopes I had in a miracle. All the dreams I had for our son. All the imagined moments of our family of 4. All of the ways that tomorrow was going to be the start of a brand new life; one that meant existing without a part of me. As my heart sunk in that room, after those words, I don’t remember what came next. There’s a fog that has fallen over the next several minutes. Did I cry? Did I curse? Did I yell at God? Did I do nothing? Was I silent? Frozen in that bad, eyes locked open - there was no more time for sleep. My son, who I had only spent brief moments with, was being moved into a private NICU room, where we could say our goodbyes. The pain that immerses from every minuscule crack is wretched. And then time could no longer hold still. We had decisions to make. People to call. Snuggles to give. It’s so unfair that our very first snuggles with our son were also our very last. The numbness gave way to adrenaline. All of the things we needed to do started to happen, and when Audrey arrived, we made the long walk from the recovery ward to the NICU. And then we walked down the long corridor of private rooms. Where the very sickest of babies got to call home.

The last minute of my sons life felt painfully long. The time between breaths was getting longer. The tiny little coughs as he gasped for more air were telling us that our time with him was almost up. And as the nurse listened one last time for his tiny little heartbeat, we kissed him and knew he had gone to be with Jesus. If I thought the walk to his room was long, the walk back to my own was even longer. Suddenly, it was no longer necessary for me to worry about two children. The anxieties of that day had ceased to exist. I kissed Audrey goodnight and made my way back to bed. Everything felt ruined. Everything in that moment, it really was ruined. And everything since that day, since George’s day, has been shrouded in all the facets of life after death.

The saving grace of that day, and every day before and after, is the immeasurable love of our Savior and the promises He has made to His people. That even though my son’s death is filled for me with pain that I cannot even express, George Mason has been made new and whole. He no longer has to gasp for air. His lungs no longer have to work overtime. He is formed anew. He is whole. He is perfect. He feels no pain, no sorrow, no sadness. And he is at the feet of Jesus.

Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep praying. - Romans 12:12



Happy 2nd Birthday, George Mason!

On the dining room table, sits a green cake with 2 candles.  One yellow and one green, because Audrey said boys like yellow and green. (She wanted a pink cake but when reminded this birthday celebration wasn’t hers, she chose green) It sits st an empty table, waiting. Waiting for the song. Waiting for the fire. Waiting for the warm breath of the big sister that will blow out the candles on behalf of her brother. Waiting to be cut and eaten; enjoyed by this little family. In this moment, that cake feels a lot like my heart.

This season of waiting. Waiting to be reunited with my son. Waiting for eternity where the pain of death no longer stings. Waiting for Jesus’ embrace as he makes our earthly bodies new. Waiting for this season of grief to be over. Waiting for the day we take a family picture and aren’t missing any members. Often I feel alone in this waiting. Not because I don’t have wonderful support and community, but because it’s lonely in grief. It’s a very selfish thing. You have to allow yourself the time and space to process and grief doesn’t follow rules or schedules. It hits when it hits, sometimes with no warning, sometimes with a gentle sting. Sometimes, it barely even feels real. And just like that birthday cake, alone on the dining room table, I’m waiting for what comes next.

The tricky part of all of this is being content in the right now, as I wait for what comes next. Digging deep so roots can extend in this place God has called me. Because even though death feels awful, God knew George Mason was only called to 16 earthly hours; and He gave him to us anyway. Not anyway, purposely. Adam and I were always supposed to be George Mason’s parents. God knew we would be on this journey without our son. He’s using this for His glory. Somehow. Some way. He’s at work and this death was not a mistake. And so we wait. But we also have to be content - and the only way I can manage that, is to sink into the deep, covering, wings of my Heavenly Father.

Today we went bowling. We took a break from the realities of our daily lives, and we did something special. Something birthday worthy. Today has been very much about celebration. Thank you Jesus for that gift. The ability to take George Mason’s day and use it to truly celebrate his life and not mourn him. Even if it’s only for one day, that’s an incredible gift. But knowing my God, it won’t just be one day. Because just as He calls us to be content in this moment, He will provide for and sustain that contentment. So tomorrow, I will unpack all of the emotions that have been held at bay today. And tonight, we will sing Happy Birthday and blow out TWO candles.

Happy Birthday, my sweet George Mason. You are loved. You are missed. You are made whole and new. Give your Grammy a kiss for me. I can’t even imagine how wonderful this day must be for you in Heaven.

He will cover you with his feathers and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. - Psalm 91:4




I’ve been in a rut for basically the entirety of 2019. From starting the year with a rough encounter with Flu A, to traveling to see family and meet a new nephew, I’m tired and February 10th has snuck up on me. Except it hasn’t really snuck up at all. It’s been more like a dark, heavy rain cloud in the distance. The ones where you know a storm is coming but are unsure of when it will cover you. Every day I wake up and realize that I’m one day closer to 2 full years without my son. Two. Full. Years.

When I was back east to snuggle with our family’s newest addition, it wasn’t surprising that I felt that things of heartache. The slightest sadness that comes when a baby cries or you get to smell that newborn head. A dear friend asked if me it felt like holding George Mason. The only answer I could muster was that I don’t remember. That’s the truth. I have images in my head from his day. The various hospital rooms. The countless hours of worry and hope. The doctor check ins. And the finality of walking out of that NICU room knowing our son had entered eternity and we would never see him again. I have those images etched into the deepest places of my heart. But I don’t remember what it felt like to hold him - except that I was terrified of hurting him or pulling on one of his numerous tubes. I don’t remember what he smelled like. I don’t remember. I can see that day so vividly in my head, it feels like yesterday, but when I try to recall the tangible details, my memory fails me.

We’ve been back to reality for about a week now. Life goes on. Winter continues. Snow abounds. I had a mid-year phone call with Audrey’s preschool teacher. All is well. But the teacher told me about a drawing that Audrey had some of her family. This time it included George Mason. Except he was just a scribble at the top of the page. When the teacher asked her why he was just a scribble her answer was heart wrenching - “he’s dead” ... eventually she decided that even in heaven, George Mason probably has a face. So she drew a small circle over the scribble. Audrey’s memories are failing her too. She can recognize her brother in pictures. She can talk about her brother as an idea. But the actual details of who he is/was, those are small and fleeting. It was such an insight into her own grief. Such a reminder that we all miss him. We all have our own moments of intense sorrow. We all have very little to recall, and it’s fading.

I know God’s mercies are perfect for each new day. I know he has been in these moments of sorrow. He’s wept alongside me as our little family gets up close with the brokenness of this world. All of the “it’s not supposed to be like this” moments. All of the “why didn’t you just save him?!” moments. All of the moments of every single day; from the moment we were born, for eternity. These are things I know. They are also things that I’m so thankful I’ve experienced and noticed and felt as truth on so many days. Because it makes days like today - where the weather is gross, the snow is calf high, and my mood is less than enthusiastic- tolerable. I can get through today because He has proven over and over that He will never leave me. And even though His presence doesn’t feel particularly near today, I know He’s in this with me.


Happy 59th Birthday Mama...

Every once in a while, the day hits you like a freight train. The weight of grief is immense and the absence of your missing loved one(s) is more obvious than ever. Today was one of those days. Even though I expected it to be hard - it is mama’s would-be 59th Birthday - it was even more heavy and difficult than I could have imagined.

Audrey and I are visiting my sister and her brand new baby boy. We have been here for a few days, doing the usual things as far as helping brand new parents go. Laundry, dishes, errands, cooking, and even the occasional sleepy snuggles while mama and daddy catch up on sleep. I prepared my heart for this to be hard. To hold and snuggle a little boy, so dear to my heart, whom I loved so much even before he was born, I was ready. When I met my brother’s son last fall, I was ready for it to be awful. But it was actually wonderful. I was holding my nephew. A child that I would have loved no matter the outcome of my own circumstances. I readied my heart for it to hurt and instead God blessed it through the little eyes, arms, legs, and cries of this precious new baby in our family. As I packed for this trip, I did the same. I prepared my heart for the the deepest layers of grief to come rearing their ugly head. For the joy and love that I knew I would have towards this tiny little man to be coupled with, and possibly overshadowed, by the deep sorrow of missing my own little man. And again, God blessed my heart. The sadness was minimal and the joy of snuggling this scrunched up tiny human has been immeasurable. Until today. Today was harder than most of the days I’ve had since those initial weeks after saying goodbye to sweet George.

My brother and his wife drove the few hours from their home so that all the cousins could meet for the first time. It is the most incredible thing, watching your kids and those of your siblings start to bond. The love between them is instant. The friendship will come as the age gap becomes less important. But the sweet little faces of this clan of kiddos is one of the most unique and wonderful things to witness and experience. And while that was a truth for today, there were also the obvious absences; another, equal, simultaneous truth for today was sorrow.

We gathered the grand babies for one decent picture. Decent being a stretch, as the two little boys are 3 weeks and 5 months respectively. And the little girl, well she’s in that awkward photo face stage. So we placed Audrey Nole on the couch in the sunroom, carefully placed tiny Elliot in her arms and then gently sat Mason Henry next to her. And then all the grown ups in the room made silly faces and awkward noises... a failed attempt to catch eye contact from the elder two kiddos. The end result was adorable and sweet.  A sleeping newborn, an unamused 5 month old, and a very proud big girl. It will melt your heart. But the most poignant part of that picture, is not who or what is in it - but instead, who is not. There isn’t a 2 year old little boy trying to get away. There isn’t a proud and overly giddy set of grandparents holding down the fort. Instead of 4 little ones and Grammy and Papa, there were just 3 little ones. And while the image will melt your heart, it will also break it.

I haven’t felt the sorrow of my son’s absence quite so heavily as today in long time. I haven’t longed for interaction with my mama in even longer. Life moves on and survival requires your heart to grasp tightly to the highs and move quickly through the lows. But today, as 3 families sat around a living room, it was painfully obvious who we were missing. Our family has never been the same since mama went to be with Jesus. Our dad has lost himself. Our nuclear families have grown more independent. And when Adam and I said goodbye to our sweet second born, we changed forever. So today I missed them. All of them. Even Aunt Madi, who wasn’t here today - not because of death, but because of life! And as I sat down at the table with Audrey Nole and her leftover spaghetti, I lost it. All the strength I could muster for today, to get out of bed, to play with my nephews, to engage with my siblings, it had been spent. As the sun set on January 26, so did my dry eyes.

When I lay my head on the pillow tonight, I will be thankful for today. And I will be thankful for tomorrow. For each new day brings news challenges and God’s perfect mercies.

Happy Birthday Mama! We miss you so deeply and we cannot wait until the day that you greet us at the gates of heaven. I hope that you’re hugging my son a little tighter today and letting him blow out your candles.



Some days, facebook memories are hard. So hard in fact, I have gone in and blocked most of the posts from the weeks leading up to my moms death. It was hard enough to face once, let alone every year. February 10th is coming. I know there will be lots of memories from the last weeks I carried George Mason. We had such intense hope in the midst of the chaos and unknowns we were facing. We pleaded with God to save our son; he had already gotten us so close to that long anticipated and desired miracle of life. I don’t remember exactly how many times we publicly asked for our prayer warriors to join us, but I know it felt constant.

Today a happy memory popped up. One of Audrey Nole - eating.  That child LOVED to eat. Anything. Everything. If it was edible, she ate it. And wore it. And so today, a sweet little reminder of her infant year came across my newsfeed. The delight in her face and the food in her hair were such a fitting reminder that parenthood is equal and simultaneous parts elation and frustration. We were so thankful to have a good, no, incredible eater. It was one of the few things that went smoothly in Audrey’s first year of life. But it meant daily baths and lots of clean up. Lots and lots of clean up. Elation and frustration. What made our lives slightly easier in having a baby who loved to eat, also made our lives slightly more busy as we had to basically bathe our child and our kitchen after every meal. Nonetheless, that darling little picture collage of Audrey enjoying her full plate of deconstructed taco (deconstructed only because she tore it apart) sparked a genuine and precious moment of joyful remembrance.


It also tugged at my heart and pulled, albeit gently, on the scar that holds it together. I won’t ever get those newsfeed moments with George Mason. Instead of sweet reminiscing over food in his hair, I get to prepare my heart for those pleas of life that will inevitably show up. The hopeful desperation as we waited to see what George’s life would look like after his birth. It’s helpful in a way to be reminded of those days. It brings back the emotions of that season but also a hindsight perspective of gratitude. Our sweet boy wasn’t supposed to be born alive, yet alone at full term. All of the medical opinions, and there were plenty of them, seemed to be in agreement that his Swiss cheese body parts weren’t going to be able to sustain life into the third trimester. Adam and I were facing stillbirth. But God did it again. He sustained the life of that little boy. Defying the odds and giving his parents the hope they needed to survive each passing day.

If it weren’t for those public moments of sharing the depths of our emotions, I might not remember those days. That season. I have much to be grateful for and also much to mourn.

February 1, 2017

We have been praying hard for this little boy to survive this pregnancy and be large enough to accept treatment for his kidneys. So far, God has given us a miracle and George Mason is 36.5 weeks gestation and set for delivery at 38 weeks. What an incredible testament to our Great Physician! We are continuing to ask boldly for God to be greater than our imaginations and for this sweet little boy to come out kicking and screaming with lung capacity abundant!

Please continue with us as we close out the first chapter of our son's life and pray him through to the end of this pregnancy. Pray specifically for those little lungs and that he will be able to breathe. We know it's going to be a long, hard road of doctors and treatments once he's born, but those precious first moments and breaths are going to be the foundation for his entire ability to keep fighting and moving on to the next chapter: George Mason takes on the NICU.

George Mason’s second chapter wasn’t nearly as long as we had hoped but his first chapter was so much longer than we expected. It seems that each detail of his story turns out that way. There’s something good to be thankful for and it is balanced out with a disappointment or a reminder of this broken world. I guess that in itself is something for which to be eternally grateful. Before this suffering, I knew the world was broken but I was mostly happy and comfortable in my little section of it. Heaven was a great place to head to when I died, but earth was pretty darn good in the meantime. Since losing our son (and really since losing my mama), my perspective has changed; and I think for the better. God made this earth and so yes, it can be pretty wonderful. But Heaven isn’t a celebration or after party. Heaven is the goal. This time on earth is just the opening act - an act where we are tasked to live our Gods story and share His gospel. I never understood what it meant to long for heaven. Now I do. And I totally do. This life is good. Sometimes it’s even great. But it will always be flawed and broken. Heaven isn’t broken. There is no loss. No sorrow. No pain. Just perfectly restored bodies and eternal dwelling in Jesus.



When we first moved to Salt Lake I remember being so mad at God for sending us here. I’m a Florida girl. Beaches, sunshine & thunderstorms, and temps above 80 are my lifeline. But God called us to desert mountains. There would be snow to contend with, no access to a beach, and summer heat that would be so dry it would feel like baking in an oven. I was also 8 weeks pregnant and throwing up everything I ate and then some. Moving across the country, to a place we didn’t know, with a baby on the way felt unfair and unkind; and mostly like I could have come up with a better plan than God.

But as my pregnancy drew nearer its end, my mom got sick. Really, really, sick. And three short weeks later, she died. I was 38 weeks pregnant.

I didn’t see it in August when we sold our house, packed our things, and uprooted our lives (kicking and screaming), but God knew the details of the big picture. I don’t believe that being here for my mom’s final weeks was the only purpose for bringing us to SLC when He did, but it was definitely part of the plan. Because her death was quick and unexpected. And because there are likely very few doctors who would’ve signed off on a pregnant lady, that near her due date, to hop on a plane with a one way ticket.

I was mad at God for a long time after we left the comfort of the south east. I yelled and sulked. I even attempted to make the most of our temporary situation and pleaded with God to allow us to leave as quickly as He called us to come. My mom entering glory didn’t help my attitude. In those weeks after her death, as Adam and I prepared ourselves for the life changing event we were about to experience in welcoming Audrey, I briefly thanked God for allowing me to be in SLC for my moms last few months; for her death. I couldn’t see His plan when we moved but in that moment, I saw a glimpse of how this puzzle piece fit into the bigger puzzle.

4 years later, we are still in SLC. It’s even snowing as I type this. I honestly don’t know why He still has us here. Why he hasn’t heard my pleas to be gone from this place that is the geographical headquarters of so much pain. But we are here. And just as hindsight offered me a dose of gratitude after my sweet mama went to be with Jesus, I keep reminding myself that God really does know better than me - even if that’s ridiculously hard to admit and even harder to swallow as truth AND reality.

I’m not sure that I’ve reached a hindsight moment after George Mason’s death. There are days where I’m truly grateful for the community of people that God placed in our lives when we came here 4 years ago, but to call that gratitude anything close to understanding would be a lie. Honestly, I don’t think there will ever really be an answer to the many whys I ask myself and God almost daily. Suffering seems to have rooted itself in this stage of my life. From infertility, losing my mama & my son, and longing so deeply to be removed from this place, it’s awful easy to throw myself a pity party. In many ways, knowing the reasons why God brought us to SLC or allowed the disappointments I’ve faced in the last 4 years, would almost be harder - because then the pity parties would have to stop. I would have to adult my way into some kind of rooted life here in these desert mountains. Sometimes sinking low into the woe is me moments feels better than facing my fears and telling Satan not today.

I haven’t been the most diligent seeker of God in these last few months. The grief has been less consuming and so my immediate and desperate need for His presence in my life hasn’t been quite as obvious. It has been just as true, just not as glaringly obvious. But as most people do with a new year, I find myself reflecting. On what went right about 2018, about what I want to do differently in 2019. About being intentional. In my daily walk with Jesus. In my own mental and physical health and well being. In my marriage. In my parenting. Intention. But also, action. I don’t want to write out a list of all the things I hope to do better or prioritize more appropriately and then fail at all of it. No, I want to look at myself in the mirror of my faith and sincerely tell God how much I desperately need Him - and then actively seek Him. Because my hindsight moment after my mama died was a precious gift before I welcomed a new baby just weeks after saying goodbye to my own mother, but it hasn’t happened yet with George. There are no easy answers to keep me trucking through life. There is just loss. And disappointment. And lots of God’s character popping up in all of the grief. So I want to commit to digging deeper and actually looking for his character; not just waiting for it to reveal itself to me in my lowest moments.

As my life moves forward, further from George Mason’s day, the gullies of grief get less often. They don’t plague every minute of my every day. It’s wonderful. And it’s terrifying. Because Jesus is the only reason I could manage to get out of bed everyday. And now that things aren’t so looming and filled to the brim with sorrow doesn’t mean I need him any less. It just means I am going to have to be more diligent in reminding myself of that truth. And then, prioritizing my days in such a way that God is the beginning and the end. And every moment in between. My identity is His child first. Then there is daughter, wife, mother, friend, resident of SLC, etc. and all of those labels are refined and made better by God’s presence in them. I don’t want to wait around for that hindsight moment, just hoping that it will magically make everything ok {it didn’t even my mom died, it won’t with George’s death either}, I want to seek first the kingdom of God, and if the answers I’m longing for are revealed, great. But if not, I’ll know God better and love Him deeper. Which is the source of joy anyway, so how sweet will that be?


Another Year Over

Audrey and I had a dance party tonight while making dinner. It was the most joy filled, silly, normal moment. And in that moment, I realized how long it’s been since something like that didn’t feel forced or fake. That before George Mason, dinner making dance parties were a regular occurrence in our house. As we danced in the kitchen to *NSYNC, I couldn’t help but smile and offer up a deeply sincere thank you to the one who is the source of that joy.

After dinner, as Audrey and Adam were reading their bedtime books, I couldn’t help but notice the single child that fills our home. In many ways it makes me angry and sad that her sibling isn’t here with her. That instead of teaching her baby brother all the ways of life, she plays so peacefully alone with her dolls - not even questioning if there’s anything else. Yet, as I quietly observe her interactions with her daddy as they comb through every detail of each page, I realize how special this time with her is. How much more intimately we are getting to know her, because we aren’t splitting our attention between her and her baby brother. {that’s not the entire truth... as she has had to share our attention with our grief over her brother, but she’s also an active participant in that grief, and it somehow seems different} I certainly wish with every fiber of my being that her sibling were here and I’m incredibly thankful for this extra, unplanned, time we have with just her sweet soul. I hope that she will one day get to really experience the joys of having a sibling. I hope that she gets her wish to have a sister or a brother to love on and share this life with. I am trusting that God is going to honor that desire of her heart and mine. And until then, I’m going to look back on the moments like tonight, where mama/daughter dance parties and daddy/daughter bedtime stories are special because they are tailored just for her.

As I sit in this place, torn between the gratitude of this time with her and the desire to bring another child into this mix, I can’t help but think of the one in the middle. The precious little boy in heaven. As of now, our whole family has met him and knows him. But anyone new, they won’t know him; not like we do. And it’s a terrifying thought, to realize that someone who is such an intimate part of this family’s story, will be just that - a story and pictures - to whoever comes next. It brings a whole new level of grief but also anxiety. It adds to the complexity of a possible baby #3. As most of this grief journey has, it will send me to my knees. I have to trust God in this. In the timing. In the details. In the everything. Because He has proven He is trustworthy. So I don’t know what our 2019 will hold for us. I don’t know what our family looks like beyond this exact moment. I don’t know how I will I introduce our future children to their big brother. There’s a lot of I don’t knows. But what I do know, is that I don’t have to know everything because I serve the God who does. He will give Adam and myself the exact strengths to face every detail of what 2019 holds. He will perfectly equip Audrey Nole for whatever lies ahead.

2018 hasn’t been easy but it has definitely had some wonderful moments. I am thankful for that and for this little journal of mine, as it has been so healing to look back on all ways that I’ve experienced God in the last 2 years. I know God has worked deeply in my heart. I know that won’t end in 2018. So here’s to a new year. To all the things God has in store for our little family. And for all the things that I still need to hand over and give to God as we navigate life without our George Mason. Here’s to many more “normal” moments as our grief changes shape. And here’s to trusting that God’s got this; right down to the smallest details.