Monday, August 3, 2015

blog hiatus explained

i love writing and i like sharing my thoughts with my friends here. from oct 2013 until now, my blog had to go dark. see my daughter was bitten in the face by an unleashed chihuahua in balboa park in late Oct 2013, while we were getting family pictures taken. you can read more about the attack here and what we tried to get changed in policy here.

1 of 2 pictures taken before the dog attack

one month later, we did finally get those pictures taken!

we were pursuing a lawsuit with the owner because in the future kennedy may require corrective surgery and we will have to pay a portion of it with our military retiree insurance. ultimately, it was too costly to continue to pursue legal action against the dog owner because she fled and is living half the time in south county, greater SD area, and half in Mexico. and if we were granted a judgment against her, the likelihood of ever seeing those monies, paid to the insurance company, our attorney and small portion to kennedy, was well, very unlikely. and we were NOT pursuing some "get rich fast" amount. just a normal amount to pay the bills and cover a future corrective plastic surgery. we've let it go...

that being said, my blog had to be shut off.
i missed writing because even though i said i would write in a journal, i didn't. i wrote a little on my personal FB page but that’s about it.
who am i in regards to my writing?
i'm a girl that wants to share my story and thoughts in hopes that it gives hope to people hurting. 
i care deeply about families who experience the loss of a child and the hell it is to come out of that...and military families who bear the burdens of a sometimes-difficult call to serve. i care about the marginalized people outcast by the church, based on their sexuality, their lack of a home, the ever-present struggle in addiction-the “acceptable” ones and the “scary” ones. i care about child sex trafficking and rescuing those children from the hell they are in. i care about finding a solution to help the homeless out of a pattern of hopelessness. i care about orphans and women in third-world countries and providing education opportunities which ultimately provide economic empowerment. i care about helping organizations find sustainable and practical solutions to poverty. i care about organizations that build relationships with high school kids in hopes to earn their trust and share with them the truth of Jesus. i care about more things than i'll list here. 

what i don't care about is identifying myself with church people who will simply go about their lives in the comforts of christianity and turn a blind eye to these opportunities to serve. i'm tired of the denominations, the rhetoric, the arguments for/against people groups based in the old testament. it's old, tired, and inappropriate.

Jesus walked the earth and had compassion for those who weren't at the temple getting their church on. in fact, Jesus did not anger at someone whose life was in sin or who didn't know Him. He extended love and compassion, and extended an eternal hope. Jesus, however, got very, very pissed at the religious elite, the Pharisees, all their rules and trying to put Him in a box. He continuously showed the church elite he was going to land on the side of love, grace, and compassion every.single.time. when they pushed Him up against the rules of the times.

My paraphrase of Mark 3:5 when Jesus went into the synagogue and healed a man on the Sabbath:"Jesus looked at the hardness of their hearts and it really pissed Him off. He healed the man and that was that. yeah, it happened to be on a day that the religious elite set aside for nada."

christians, we have a choice here: to turn our nation's posture to grace and love...or we can continue to display hardness of heart towards others who need our love, grace, time, and resources.

i believe this is a time where the Church can rise, to ask forgiveness for our hardened, judgmental hearts, to let go of what once was a “christian nation,” and get on with the business of serving, loving, giving, sacrificing, and praying so that when you say you are a christian doing these things…a non-christian will actually believe you because he/she has experienced this bold, unfiltered, unparalleled, unexplainable love.

are you brave enough to stand with me and walk clumsily down the path that says, I'll love you no matter what. I want to share life with you and get to know your story. will you be brave with me?

Sunday, July 26, 2015

I support the LGBT community

UPDATED: Link to Dr. Tim Scott's message.

#unstoppablelove from our Grace Church San Diego #elephantintheroom series. Pastor Dr. Tim Scott thank you for bringing #TRUTH today regarding same-sex relationships and what #Jesus says. Whoaaaa. #love
If you're local, get your booty up to Madison/Oregon in U-Heights at 6pm tonight to hear this in person. Or out-of-towners, get online at 6pm (PST). When this message is ready for download, I'll be posting the link. It's 1,000,000% of my heart towards my gay friends and acquaintances.

Let me tell you one thing, my gay friend over there...your friendship is VALUED and you are SAFE with me. I will NOT be careless with your heart, your struggles, your life. I LOVE YOU. Period. No agenda. No lines. No definitions. I LOVE YOU and THAT. IS. ALL. The Church is called to be MORE NOW—REALLY  more—now, than EVER. This generation can rise. We can stand up for the hurting, broken, bleeding, marginalized, sick, hungry, dismissed, shoved-the-freak-aside people who God said, Love THEM. THEM, I said.

If you need to unfriend or block me, that's ok and truly it won't hurt my feelings. If you need to stand in judgment, please know I say this with the kindest heart possible:  it's not welcome in my life, on my blog or my Facebook. I love you but I think TOO much is at stake here. This is a time for the Church to SHINE. We cannot shine without EXPERIENCING and EXTENDING unfiltered, unparalleled, unwavering, and unstoppable LOVE and GRACE and FAITHFULNESS.

The naysayers speak: "This generation is literally in the hand basket going straight to hell."

Well, I couldn't DISAGREE with you more. I think we can RISE and SHINE, and I think we can get busy on basic things. I didn't go to seminary...but I'm *pretty sure* the gospel and Jesus is about 2 REALLY important things. Love Me. Jesus said. Love Others. Jesus said.

I won't cast the stone. I won't draw the line. Because, you see I have sin, and Jesus said, those without sin, CAST THE FIRST STONE. #gameover

“Homosexuality is not THE SIN. It's A SIN.” -Dr. Tim Scott

We live in a post-Christian cultural. How can we expect non-believers to follow Christian ways and live their life a certain way?

Well, gay friend or acquaintance or I-don't-know-you-yet, let me be CLEAR. I support you, your relationships, your same-sex marriages, your lives. You matter and you will not be cast aside from my family or in a church we attend. And I’m not saying, "I love you but hate your sin" and that's it. I mean, I love you. You are welcome in my life, my heart, my church, my world. I believe you can love Jesus AND be gay, AND go to heaven. I'm not riding the fence here. I stand on #LOVE. #ThisIsWhereIHangMyHat

I won’t hang my hat on judgment and hate against gay marriage. It’s just not where I will be camping.  

Here's where I land. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10. So often this scripture is interpreted that "inheriting the kingdom of God" is that you will NOT go to heaven if you are (all these things):

(1 Cor 6:9-10): (v9)"Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men (v10) nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

Just like an inheritance you get from grandparents or parents when they pass on, is the inheritance Paul is talking about in 1 Corinthians chapter 6. So if you're these things: a drunkard, a homosexual, a gossiper, a thief, a...SINNER. We (notice I'm including myself!) won't get the goods/blessings/riches here on Earth. 

BUT it doesn't say you won't spend eternity in heaven. 

Read Romans 3:23-24. We've all fallen short, all sinned, all screwed up and didn't deserve a chance in heaven. Jesus came, He died for ALL OF THAT. AND I BELIEVE IN HIM. I have friends WHO ARE GAY AND BELIEVE IN HIM. 

Guess what, we're going to the SAME heaven. 

John 14:6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. 

That's the secret sauce to heaven. JESUS.

A paraphrase of an amazing biblical teacher, Dr. Tim Scott, "What if your BEST life is on the other side of this sin?"

Finally, I want to ask my gay friends and those in your community to forgive me. I've judged, I've said snarky, crappy-a$$, careless things. I thought I was better in all my straight/narrow/judgmental thinking. 

Please forgive me. I was careless. I don't want to be anymore. Actually, not want. I WILL NOT.

I want to love you well. I want to love Jesus well. And when I ask Him, Lord, what do you want from me? He whispers to this trying-to-be-humble servant, not known by many, but willing-to-dig-into-the-trenches-kind-of girl with these truths found in the book of Matthew.

Matthew 22:36-38: (v36) "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?" "And He said to him, (v37) "YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND." (v38) "This is the great and foremost commandment.
LORD, then what?? What else do you want from me because I'm willing...?!!! (it’s scary and sometimes hard…)

(v39) "The second is like it, "YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF."

That. Is. All.

Church, I beg you to know and live life with those that aren't in these doors every Sunday and figure out why they aren't. Do the gays, drunkards, addicts, homeless, widows, minorities, forgotten, divorced, messy people feel AFRAID of you and the church?

If you answer that question honestly, then you would be on your face before Jesus, begging forgiveness, and weeping just like my husband and I were today.

“Lord, show us how to LOVE. Help us heal. We take our closed fists and our closed ways, and we say, (with open hands) ‘Jesus, We’re in. Show us how to do this.’ Amen.”

P.S. I tried to put into words Dr. Tim Scott's beautiful message on this subject, and I'm no theologian and not well-spoken. Please listen to him on this...(I'll update this post with link later this week.)

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Community: united in Texas A&M tradition, fans give Shannon tickets and more!

you want to know what is means to be in community with someone...someone you may not even know?

extending grace, love, and generosity to someone who is suffering the unimaginable blows of cancer and lost dreams.

what do football and being in community have in common?


watch this short video clip nelow and read this article Aggies Nation Rallies Around Sick Fan

oh, and grab some kleenex. please keep praying for a miracle of healing for Shannon!

prayers of a miracle for you Shannon. we love you and Clay and ask for strength, courage, and grace during these seemably impossible circumstances. Ps 23:4

Clay and Shannon are facing a huge pile of medical bills. If you are so inclined, you may donate money towards those at Shannon's Everribbon page.

Monday, September 2, 2013

be still my heart

what is it you know to be the TRUTH?

a few truth gems on parenting are out there right now, and you would do yourself  a disservice if you didn't procrastinate 10 more minutes to peruse them. don't worry...he's got the kids. the dishes can wait. your success in parenting depends on it. unless your kiddo needs to go potty real, real bad and is in the beginning stages of potty training. then stop reading, and by all means, GO! or you'll have pee all over those original hardwoods and you'll be swearing words they've never heard. :(

read jen hatmaker's hope for spicy families and susie davis' back to school promises for parents blog posts. yes, there are many more fantastic parenting posts and articles out there. i just don't have time to navigate all of them. i'm a TIRED parent of 2 toddlers, and I'm a month and some change away from launching a resume writing/career coaching business. So, I've limited my blog-catching-up time to 6 minutes and 37 seconds 1-2x/week. i've narrowed it down to a few close friends' blogs to see their pics/family updates and some women that speak the TRUTH!!

Jen Hatmarker; my age'ish, lives in Austin, pastor's wife, mom to 5 (2 adopted children from Ethopia), author, speaker, blogger, justice-seeker. and Susie Davis is the wife of the senior pastor of our home church in Austin, ACF, author, blogger/speaker extraordinaire, and gifted chef with some of the BEST recipes eva! Her oldest child is getting married soon, her middle works FT in ministry, and her youngest is in college. Jen and Susie are both anointed, gifted writers. follow them and read their will be so blessed!


i'd like to personally reach out to the brave parents who are in my same boat. the ones who drink way too much coffee to stay awake and think the dirty diapers, vomit, and tantrums will, never, never end.

dear US,

mamas and daddies whose young children flop on the floor, reach new octaves in the height of their determined'ness, and object to every single request presented:

tomorrow, they'll be moving into their dorm room, walking down the aisle, having our first grandchild. i realize this.

we don't need to be wishing these moments away.

and yet, i'm very much guilty of wanting this tantrum-throwing, irrational behavior to hurry up and come on already. sometimes i look at my daughters and i'm all, "if my friend acted like THAT, well, our friendship would be done-zo!

for the love, can we just master the wiping of your own butt 100% of the time without being reminded to do so? i'm tired of bleaching the skid marks. these are girls, y'all. girls.

hold steady with me, my friends and parents of young children. we'll make it!

i've been blessed with friends 2, 5, 8, 12, 15, 20, 30, and 40 years ahead of us. they climbed their way out of this stage just fine. they are all still alive and so are their children!

we can't forget to BREATHE IN all these precious moments....yes, even in the midst of the CHAOS.

so i've been advised.


last night my oldest daughter asked me to come sit on the side porch with her and swing in our new-to-us glider. i was doing dishes and the type-A in me really wanted to finish them.

she was up 1 hour past her bedtime but she just wanted to talk about the day with her mama, on the porch but of course! she also wanted to snuggle and hug and kiss me. i enjoyed every.single.moment. it was all i could do to not cry happy tears of how precious this moment would be seared in my heart forever.

i wondered....will she remember it?

because i will...for the rest of my life. these days are short; these days are numbered. (Ps 39:4)


no pics to capture the moment i had with my Kennedy last night. no phone camera within reach. just the joy in my heart that a girl who chooses daddy 9.7 times out of 10 when he's an option......CHOSE ME!

{i may or may not have bribed her with a sucker.}

i'm so glad i threw those dirty dishes away to hang with her. now who's having a labor day sale on new plates?

Sunday, August 25, 2013

the reflection of truth

have you ever been guilty of making things appear like they are peachier than they really are? this was me yesterday. i posted this photo of my daughter and i watching the cowboys game on facebook with this caption:

"Come on Cowboys...let's finish this! To watch our first game we had to buy it for $10 after 6 sitters couldn't babysit last minute, but watching with this lil' fan is fun. K loves saying "TOUCHDOWN COWBOYS!"

fun? not so much. i had to wrangle Kennedy to get her to take the picture and bribe her with a dark chocolate peanut butter cup 10 minutes before dinner just to say cheese. all day it seemed the whining and fighting between morgan and kennedy WOULD. NOT. STOP. because of my killer workout 3 days ago, i was still incredibly sore. when i woke up, i felt like an 85-year-old woman stricken with arthritis. this was not a recipe for a good mood.

i lost my cool and yelled about the girls' behavior to ken and at them, multiple times. i seriously lost track of how many timeouts and wooden spoon spankings kennedy got. by far, the most challenging day we've had parenting her in a long, long time.

but don't we look happy and full of joy?

truth? what we put out there, isn't always a reflection of what is REALLY going on in our lives.

most of us probably start our day intentionally seeking joy... and sometimes, it simply does not work. some days just suck. all of the days the Lord has given us are meant for joy and if we wake up, He has promised yet another blessed day.

where it goes haywire is us...the human spirit. the rebellious, selfish, my-agenda mentality. taking our gaze off of Him, and onto us.

yesterday i had an agenda of watching the cowboys game ('cause y'all all know what a crazy fan i am!) and i wouldn't die to fulfilling that need. i figured i deserved it since i haven't watched a game yet. yeah, yeah, it's only preseason...but i am a CRAZY fan.

i texted 6 babysitters, 3 of which i have been meaning to interview/meet but who have never watched the girls. (i know your mouth is gaping wide open, thinking i just texted some random people off the street; but i assure you these 3 sitters are strong recs from my friends.) ken and i were kind of desperate to get the heck outta dodge for a couple hours. i think the longest stretch of no whining and crying we had all day was 1 min and 37 seconds.

we couldn't find a sitter so we ordered the game for $10. and my selfless husband let me watch most of it while he missed a good portion. active girls like ours can only be entertained with "touchdown cowboys!" for like 10 minutes max. and somebody had to bathe and feed them.

halfway through the game i found the bargain of the year on craigslist for $60. a fantastic outdoor patio set. ken and i finally sat down to eat at 8:30 after a challenging time of him putting down the girls, and i asked my weary husband to drive a half hour to pick it up. he said he would but admitted he was so very, very tired.

when i looked into his exhausted eyes, i realized, i am SMOKIN' CRACK!

"no honey, i'll go. you need to rest. you need some time alone." i can load it up, no problem (never mind that i can't hardly lift the girls today.)

i drove the 30 minute trip reflecting on how selfish i had been all day. tears filled my eyes and i was very disappointed in myself so i repented and prayed. on the way home, i opened the sun roof and blasted JT's 20/20 album.

this morning i woke up at 6:10am and got to experience my new-to-us patio set with 2 cups of coffee and a full dose of Jesus.

i was reading "mended" by angie smith, and came across this jewel:

"The consolation we have in considering our failures comes from knowing that He sees our hearts. It doesn't make what we have done right, no question. But it also doesn't separate us from Him if we have trusted in Christ."

Jesus. Grace. and today, a fresh start.

how many times do we get derailed by a bad day and not realize the new day has come, the sin is confessed and forgiven and we can start anew? many, many difficult parenting days and failures mount and we start to believe we can't get out of the valley of tantrums, messy diapers and children flopping around on the ground. we start to believe we are actually the worst parent ever. isn't that just the enemy whispering?

oh dear friend, do not listen. embrace grace and start fresh.

after i finished my quiet time, i sat down out on my patio to type this blog post when i heard pitter-patter steps behind me. i pushed my laptop aside and chose to put her first, to start the day out right, and read her the children's bible and pray.

in this moment, i am a great parent. how do i get to that mentality after yesterday's disaster? a moment-by-moment breath-by-breath prayer I pray for patience, guidance and discipline. a wise lady taught me this strategy...she happens to be my mother. :)

i snapped this pic where you can see i started out reading the 10 commandments which is where we are in her bible. however, after i read the first page, she grabbed the bible and INSISTED we start over, yet again. almost every day that we get out her bible (not implying we read every single day, but we surely try), she wants to start over with adam and eve and the snake and the apple.

she can't get enough of God's perfect world he created and how we screwed it up.

surely soon she'll be able to "read" the entire story herself. she has this incredible memory...and this incredible smile. i'm so blessed to be her mommy, even on the most challenging days.

Lord. please remind me of this in the midst of all the insane 3 1/2-year-old behavior. Amen.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

get up off my a$$ and....change!

for awhile i've been posting here and there about my weight loss journey on facebook; never on this blog. and for a 14-year recovering anorexic/bulimic, this post is hard to reveal numbers and details of my up-and-down weight struggle.

but sometimes we have to do hard things...

in my life, i've been really thin and i've been obese. and last year after i had back surgery, my doctor told me to pick another form of exercise, instead of running, to lose weight. "it's bad for your back, your knees, and your whole body," he said.

let's be clear; i LOATHE running. i really, really hate it. but it's the one way i know to drop weight. and i've started training for my huge BUCKET LIST item -- TO COMPLETE A HALF MARATHON before conceiving each of my 3 children. each and every time i had to stop training due to the high risk factors of my pregnancies.


(dang hills and all!)
and you know what is so cool?? JUNE 1, 2014 will be my 15th year of deliverance from a life-altering and life-threatening eating disorder.

My heaviest, at 205 lbs, the day I delivered Morgan, Oct. 17, 2011.

with Ken gone to Afghanistan last year and my back surgery in April '12, which practically eliminated working out except swimming and walking, i tried to eat healthy and i started losing weight. after all, what's sexier than losing some LBS when my man walked off that plane from war? and please don't get my wrong, Ken LOVES me any size. he truly does. he has seen me (and loved me) in 7 different sizes. SEVEN! and he has always told me i'm sexy at all of those sizes. but i wanted to do something for myself.

i NEEDED to prove to myself i could get up off my ass and make a change.

the pain i was in for a year post back surgery, up until this past April, was 100% real and physically limiting. and it sure was a good excuse to be lazy and large. even though i dropped down to 169 pounds when Ken came home from Afghanistan in Nov '12, i packed on 15 pounds over the winter months. i stopped eating hummus and carrots for dinner and actually cooked and barely exercised, and boom, i'm back up to 184 pounds in Jan '13.

i got just enough mad at myself this past february that i decided to do something about it. plus, all these freakin' people in san diego are SKINNY!!! (totally unhealthy mindset, but seriously a motivator! always honest on this blog.)

i joined weight watchers and this time i went to meetings. (before my wedding i did WW online to lose 25 pounds). the night before i joined WW in february, i took myself out on a solo date night and ate a crazy huge 4-course italian dinner. i gained 2 pounds just that night. no joke.

my starting weight in WW...186 in early Feb. '13

i learned a lot at meetings and i felt like i was back in high school. this time though, competing with myself. every week, i wanted to get on that scale and lose 1-2 pounds. slow and steady is the name of the game.

Me on Aug 17, 2013 at 162 pounds

as of last week, i have lost 24 pounds in 6.5 months, now weighing 162 pounds. my goal weight is 140, and i sure as heck don't care about the numbers. i just know that my 5' 6" frame is comfortable in size 6/8 clothes and that's what it'll take to get there.

this morning when the girls were just sitting down to eat and Ken was leaving for work, he came over to hold our hands and pray for our day. our routine: ken prays, then i pray, and the girls smile and giggle. kennedy's not a morning person like her mama, so i pray with her about her day later. :) morgan prays we'll give her back her bobby (aka paci).

today, ken left and swatted me on the butt and said, "hot mama."

and you know what, i felt proud of my hard work.

it's not easy being a mom, a wife, making new friends in a new city, and launching a business. but i have said yes to myself - to have the time to exercise, to pray, and to see change in myself physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally.

sure i have more work to do, but i've lost 43 pounds in 22 months through having a baby, being limited in exercise for 1 year due to back surgery, weight watchers, and now...really exercising; really pushing myself.

today at the YMCA i ventured into an intermediate/advanced class called body sculpt. let's just settle on the fact it needs to be renamed "advanced/bad-ass advanced level." i should have known i was going to be near death when the instructor, Kelly, introduced herself to me the newbie, and said it was a "drill style class at your own pace."

s&%t. what have i gotten myself into?

in the first 5 minutes, i was introduced to 20 burpees. this is an exercise from the devil. i'm sure of it.

i tried not to throw up. burpees then jumping jacks and then push-ups. we did as many as we could: 20 burpees, 10 jumping jacks and 10 push-ups for 5-8 mins. i lost track. and, this was called the "warm up." crap, i'm in real trouble here.

during this "warm up" people were talking and when there was a break in the conversation, i made sure everybody in the class knew i had NOT done this style of class since my instructor, Sarah Hart kicked my butt in Crete, Greece in Mar '09. FOUR, AND SOME CHANGE, YEARS PEOPLE! i hired her to help me lose the obvious baby weight after losing matthew phillip, and dang, she was good. this instructor, Kelly...i just knew, she was that good too.

10:10am: doing lunge things that made my legs shake, i begged God to move the clock to 10:55am fast.
10:15am: the hell with real push ups, i'm dropping to my knees.
10:20am: great, i'm now a full 3-4 mins behind the last person in the class.
10:22am: no wonder all these women are keeping up; i've got 25 pounds on the heaviest gal in here.
10:25am: Jesus, if you will create a power outage, i will give all my money to starving children in Africa.
10:28am: i don't make much $; but please for the love, POWER. OUTAGE. NOW!
10:30am: realizing i've fallen 5-6 mins behind and pains thoughout my entire body, i'm now doing plank things on a ball and lifting weights into the air. but i still...keep pushing myself. who cares if i keep having to ask "ok, what's next?" the girl next to me is at least 4 sets/exercises ahead of me and she can't remember what i'm to do next. awesome.
10:31am: a woman walks by with a newborn and Kelly, the instructor, goes over there. THANK YOU JESUS. i need water. i need to breathe.
10:32am: please Lord, have Kelly hold that baby and get some sweet baby love. I. NEED. A. LONGER. BREAK.
10:33am: she's back, so i'm back. great. but no way am i cutting corners. is that girl really 7 sets ahead of me?
10:34am: Lord, can you strike Kelly down, dead?
10:35am: how many of these? in plank position, my arms are now swaying back and forth like the pirate ship ride at the fair. my arm's gonna snap any minute.
10:37am: Jesus, i lost my mind a couple minutes ago asking if you would kill Kelly. just kill me. but also, break her arm so she can't keep pushing us??
10:40am: i keep pushing myself, so red in the face and dizzy, i think, i don't need a power outage...i'm just gonna pass out and wake up to somebody doing mouth-to-mouth on me.
10:50am: Kelly yells, "WAY TO GO CORTNEY!" as i finally finish my set and head out the door for a run down the hall, about 5 minutes behind the last person.
10:51am: let's face it; if she hadn't given me a shout-out, i would have punched her in the face.
10:53am: i get back from the short run thinking, whew, i made it. it's O-V-E-R and i'm A-L-I-V-E. then i entered the studio and saw people on balls against the wall doing more push ups. FOR. THE. LOVE. isn't this class over at 10:55?
10:59am: I FINISH! and multiple people told me how proud they were i hung in there and finished without cheating. i smiled and barely said thank you. ('cause give me a break ladies, on that last set, i did 12, not 15. i live by grace!)

after class i got to talk to a girl who has had 4 knee surgeries. she was told not to run again and got up to 203 pounds. she's maybe a buck fifteen now and has ran 20-something half's and 1 full. way to go, Joann! after i came to, from my out-of-body experience, where i lasted 59 minutes, doing God-knows-what to my body in that "intermediate" class, i thanked Kelly and asked, "when's the next class?"

Tuesday? i'll be there.

note the super-red face and yes, the blonde behind me is Kelly. Jesus did not break her arm during class.

i don't think i've completely unpacked all that that class has done for me. but i know it has made me stronger physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally.


when i set out this morning i said to Jesus, surprise me with something cool and unexpected today.


what is it you find to be impossible in your life? do you need to challenge yourself physically, emotionally, spiritually, and/or mentally?
always remember that striving and struggle precede success, even in the dictionary.
- Sarah Ban Breathnach
p.s. this is a 2 or 3 part post. tomorrow i'll be writing about thyroid disease and how i've had it for a long time, but only diagnosed just a few months ago.

Friday, August 9, 2013

3 signs mama's sick

1) piles of laundry that need to be folded
2) sink full of dishes

3) "i'm sorry you're sick" flowers!

dang, i'm spoiled by this little family of mine. especially this wonderful, wonderful man. he takes care of me in so many ways...and is so gentle and loving when i'm sick.

9 years married; 11 together. i mean we have a love, like no other, people. really.
see for yourselves:  

he's all mine y'all!!
and he's got 50+ more years of me, god bless 'em.
what's that honey?? now you're sick, puking, and fever ridden. ughhhhh. yeah, yeah, i'll be off of facebook and done updating my blog in just a second....

Thursday, August 8, 2013

i need help! my gallbladder exploded!

after spending last night in the ER, i awoke out of my foggy state of i-don't-know-where-i-am mind. i reached for my cell phone and it said 10:50am. i stumbled into the kitchen to find a teenage girl and 2 toddlers. WHO ARE YOU PEOPLE??? now i remember, this is our babysitter and these are my kids.

for 12 hours yesterday i was in the ER puking and balling, crumpled over in unbearable stomach pain until i got the good drugs. then i was as high as a kite. i ended up in the ER because my surgeon said i had to go.

you see, 3 weeks ago, my gallbladder decided to explode without proper notice. 2 days before my birthday on july 14, i sent my family off to church thinking i had the stomach flu. while they were at church i barely drove myself to the ER and the next day i was getting that bad-boy out. my hospital experience shall i say this?...lacking, to say the least. between the 3 infiltrated IVs exploding, lack of aggressive pain mangement pre-op, incorrect post-op info by a medical student, MIA surgical team who didn't visit me until the day after my surgery, unprofessional conduct, intern giving me discharge instructions with potentially lethal dose of extremely strong pain medicine (which is never given to post-surgical patients), and post-surgical infection, i. was. done!!

so yesterday when i started vomiting violently and had major stomach pain and cramping, we called the surgeon and he instructed me to go to the ER, get thoroughly checked out, and a member of his team would come and evaluate me. we certainly considered going to a civilian hospital given the abovementioned experience i had, but we're a family who believes in second chances. and i'll say with 99% certainty, they must have thought i was the admiral's wife. i had excellent care for the entire 12 hours i was there. other than the 2 hours we waited to be seen, it was a great experience. except if you ask the nurse and nursing student i puked in front of, slash, on. they were all updating their facebook status' with "gross, a patient puked on me today."

at the end of the day, i was sent home with a diagnosis of the stomach flu. thank you Jesus! during my ultrasound the radiologist thought he saw some fluid where my gallbladder had been. this could have been a big deal (general anethesia in the OR to do a surgical drain) or no big deal. so they sent me for further evaluation and to get a CT scan. 4-5 hours later, nothing. as in no fluid at all. a Jesus miracle? or a radiologist who mistakenly thought it was fluid. i don't know. all i know is i didn't have to get another surgery and i was as happy as a parent on back-to-school day.

ok, with all that background, i can now explain my blog title..."i need help!"

these 3 words are so hard for me to say. some people have a hard time saying i love you. not me. i'll love you to the moon and back. but to tell you i need you, is so very, very difficult for me. 3 weeks ago when we were faced with my surgery and a week of work ken could absolutely not miss, we had to say....

i need you.

i need meals. i need childcare. i need prayer. i need support. i need a shoulder to cry on. i need you to change your plans and be here.

we have lived in SD for 7 months and cautiously i have been sticking my toe in the water. that's it. i joined a MOPS group in February. a neighborhood moms group the same month. a group from our church getting together for weekly dinners last month. attended one event of the navy officer's spouses club.

in other words, i haven't completely jumped in.

i'm not sure why i was holding back but i was. everyone we met was nice but i have not made many, "hey can you drop everything, go to my house and watch my kids so my husband can come up to the ER" kind of friendships. we knew 8 families when we moved here; 3 of which we hadn't connected with yet because honestly, my lack of trying, 1 we ran into once, and 4 that lived 30 mins-1 hour away (that we have been able to hang out with a few times). the day of my first ER visit 3 of those families we knew were out of town.

and seriously, people have their own hands full with their own kids and can i ask them to be apart of mine??

sometimes it's just SO HARD to be a military family away from family.

but creatively, God provided help and coverage the week of my surgery and Ken was able to go to work all week; the most important week of his 3-year tour here -- the joint commission for the hospital. (This is basically where they come out every 3 years and say whether you can keep your doors open. And Ken's the facilities department head for the it was kind of important he be there!) my dad and stepmom changed their plans to go to chicago to meet my nephew so they could come help us and they were here for almost 2 weeks. they went home this past weekend, and boom, the stomach flu came at me like a spider monkey. the doctor explained that the excruitiating pain i felt was from strained muscles at my surgery incision sites when i was vomiting. ahhh-ha. ok, that makes sense. because i've had the stomach flu before, but i sure didn't require a trip to the ER!

and yet again, yesterday we rounded up 4 people to watch our kids so ken could be with me almost the whole 12 hours i was in the ER. it was HARD to ask for help. a couple people just offered. and we asked a few others. but if Ken was going to be with me at the ER, we had to say "YES" to receiving and asking for help.

sure, we all want to believe we can do everything, always, on our own, within our little family. but i believe that's a sad, lonely way to live and not what God designed for us. i believe life is supposed to be lived in community. and while i was putting myself into community where i could make these connections, i only put one toe in. when it came time to "call in case of emergency," i had to get on facebook and email to send messages because i didn't even have phone numbers.

i believe God designed the exploding gallbladder in my life to get my attention. cortney, i intend good things for you in San Diego. i want you to be who I've designed you to be; to love, serve and give to others...and to receive from those like you. but first, you have to really, REALLY put more skin in the game. toes in the water aren't going to make deep, lasting friendships; you have to...


so, to my exploding gallbladder and the lessons i've learned from it so far...thank you. i'm sorry you had to go to the medical-waste-whereever-they-put-ya place. it can't be good. but i hope you rest in peace. i will, now that you're gone.

subsequently, when i rejoined the world this morning, i logged onto my computer and cruised through my online devotionals and read this - the (in)courage posting from yesterday when i went to the ER.

of course...

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


it's been awhile since i posted about our son, matthew and today i feel like writing about him.

the fact is, he is always in our hearts and often i think about him. the tears come much less often and the inability to function because i am overcome by grief does not happen anymore.

but i still think about him; talk about him, and dream about the day i will meet him in heaven. that will never change for the rest of my life.

as you know we recently moved to san diego which translates to a whole new start. new church, new friends, new town. while i used to find this exciting, it seems a bit overwhelming to me now. i am excited about living here...don't get me wrong. but sometimes finding people like you with whom you really click with, are hard to find. the other day i did a search on trying to find texas transplants in san diego. no i'm not kidding, and no, i didn't find such a group. (if you're from texas living in SD, call me. seriously. i'm not weird. promise.)

in this newness of meeting people, i've found myself doing something occasionally that not-so-long-ago, i wasn't ok with. in most situations i still answer the question, "how many kids do you have?" with "2 girls ages 1, and 2 and a son in heaven."

but there have been times lately where i answer, "2 girls here, ages 1 and 2."

i just decided i didn't want to overwhelm the person i am first meeting with the death of a child.

because, let's face it, the death of a child is unnatural, overwhelming and a conversation silencer. i've been on the receiving end of too many people who don't know what to say and gently (and quickly) back away like they're MJ doing their best moonwalk.

there was a woman at a meetup i recently met who caught the "here", and asked if i had other children living elsewhere. i guess she probably thought since i'm soon-to-be-37, i might have 1 in college or boarding school or something. let's face it. i'm old enough.

"i have a son in heaven."

i don't like giving that answer anymore than someone likes hearing it. but it's the reality of my life. i'm not angry that my story has sad parts to it. because i believe it's a story of hope, too.

i've been told time and time again, about how my little guy's life changed someone else's. over 4 years later his life still matters. every night my oldest daughter mentions him in her prayers "thank you Jesus for my angel brother Matthew."

i was perusing facebook after my husband got home from work the other day as I often do. it's my give-mommy-a-15 min-break time :) i saw a picture of our friend's son who was born the exact same day as matthew climbing a rock wall for his first time. i showed ken and said, "wonder if Matthew would have been tall enough to do that now?" (their son is super-tall; his parents are 6foot+!) i didn't say it to be sad about it; i just asked the question out of curiosity. i often wonder what matthew would be like. now, 4 years without him, i wonder and dream and imagine.

there is no magic number of how long it takes to get to a place of acceptance. a wise lady and very good friend who lost her son tragically told me that word, "acceptance." when i wondered how long it would take me to get "over it" i found that acceptance was the only thing i would ever get to. i would never get over it.

recently i became the proud aunt of a nephew, griffin thomas. my sister had her first baby. a precious little boy. born into a family of grandbaby girls, someone posted on my mom's facebook, "Juju's first grandson."

it's funny. God had been preparing me for this moment for a few weeks. Even though they didn't know the baby's sex, i just knew he was a boy and i was SO excited for her because they wanted a boy. God had been preparing me so that i knew what to say when he was referred to as the first grandson of the family. when the comment was posted, i didn't want to just keep quiet about it because that really felt like our son had been forgotten.

i know this person didn't mean to be hurtful in her comment; she knew about matthew but naturally he's not here now, so it's pretty easy to say griffin is the first grandson on our side of the family.

when the moment came and i read it, it still felt like a knife had cut deep down into my gut and pulled out all my insides. i cried for a little while and then i just let it go. it was a missing moment. i have them from time to time and i just let myself go there. after i grieved for a few minutes, i posted a comment that felt right to me.

"although he's an angel, Matthew Phillip was her first grandson."

and that was that.

if you ask parents who have lost children, i think most will say, what they want secondary to having their child back, is for he/she to not be forgotten. i have this precious friend, laura, who lets me know several times a year how much matthew meant to her and how he changed her life. i treasure hearing those words.

you just want the life you carried, birthed, loved and so badly wanted to be remembered fondly...

... to not be forgotten.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

sunny san diego

well, the navy has moved us to america's finest city...sunny san diego.

we're just wondering where the sun is?!?

we have officially been here 1 month today and i want to say we've seen more cloudy/cold/rainy days than we have seen nice warm ones. could that be true? maybe, or maybe i exaggerate but i have had several san diegans tell me this weather has been very unusual. a day has not passed where we have not had the heat on at least at night; and sometimes during the day too.

we've moved into a great little rental house in southpark with a wonderful little back yard and it's only 1.9 miles to ken's work at balboa hospital. he's working at the navy hospital as the facilities department head. it's so great having him so close; he's been able to come home for lunch sometimes.

we have seen more sickness in 1 month than i hope for all year. we all passed around the stomach flu at least twice and i completely bleached down the entire house afterwards. we've had bouts with colds/coughing/congestion and i'm just praying we can all be a lot healthier in the future! but with moving to a new city, you get exposed to new germs and subsequently have more sickness in the first year.

we got an annual membership to the zoo and have enjoyed a few outings so far and one trip to the beach. kennedy keeps asking when we're going back to the beach. "as soon as we have nice weather sweetie!" but she's very concerned about the "eagles" (what she's calling seagulls) getting our chips. we were all at the water's edge and we looked out to our picnic blanket to a large number of seagulls hanging around and a clever one trying to carry off our bag of chips. kennedy tells complete strangers all about the "eagles" coming down and trying to take our bag of chips. apparently this is on her mind a lot. come to think of it; she's been waking in the middle of the night for several weeks now talking in her sleep and sometimes crying a little. i now wonder, could she be having bad dreams about the "eagles" stealing our chips?! :)

we plan on being in san diego until at least january 2016; possibly longer depending on ken's commander board results which will be released in june. please come visit!
here are a few pictures of us exploring our new city!