“I feel bad.”


It’s late and I should be sleeping, but there are just moments in life that ask to be written about.

Tonight was a Brighter Tomorrows night. Those who know me know this is my favorite night of life, every single time it happens. Those who don’t know me now know that it’s my favorite. Moving on.

We had 37 kids RSVP. That’s amazing to me. I don’t want kids to have cancer, but if they do have cancer, I do want them to come to Brighter Tomorrows to play games with us, to laugh with us, and to have summer camp with us once every month.

One conversation (among the many that are seriously the most inspirational things in life) tonight struck me and just keeps playing over and over again in my head. That’s why I am writing and not sleeping.

There is a 7 year old boy with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. I know most of his story because I’ve read it, met his family, talked with others who know him. But he doesn’t know that. He just thinks I know him for him. So we’re making some crafts and I mention that he still has his port accessed (most of the time kids don’t leave with a line in if they are just going for chemo) and I ask him why that is. He tells me that it’s for radiation and goes on to explain the burns that he has from it.

He rolls down the edge of his comfy pants, and I see the red line where that burn starts. I ask him casually if it hurts (because to him, cancer is casual and a part of life…I remember) and he says “Nope, not at all.” I’m sure at some points it does because his skin is all a deep, deep red and has a rough look to it, but he gave me the right now answer which is technically what I asked for. (Kids are amazing and I love them.) Then I go on to explain to him that I had cancer as well. I explain my leg and why I didn’t need any radiation and why he does but how we are similar. And then he listens and he and his brother start asking questions.

“Do you have a scar?”
“Yes, one here and here and here.”
“How did they hook it back on?”
“With a plate and screws.”
“So you have metal on you?”
“Well, sort of. Technically I have metal in me.”
“Does that hurt?”
“Nope, not at all, and it keeps my leg on there safely.”

We giggle.

He persists…

“Does it hurt to wear your leg?”
“Nope, it’s made just for me.”
“So your foot is just in there like that, huh?”
“Yes, just like you’re doing it!”
“Wait, so you lost your hair!?”
“I sure did.”

He stops.

“I feel so bad,” he says.

I tell him not to. He tells me he feels bad for me. I tell him I’m okay and everything is good and life is great. He insists that he feels bad for me.

Life is about perspective, my friends. Look without yourself.

…because love wins.

Every day is wedding day.


Today, I want to make mention of these people – who have stood by us in great times, bizarre times, and hard times. Who make us laugh, bring purpose to our lives, and who we could not be ourselves without. These are words for them:

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”

-Elizabeth Kubler Ros

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…because love wins.

An Open Letter to America on Veterans Day 2016


Dear America,

I don’t know what it’s like to be away from my family for days, months, and years. I’ve never been through basic training and I’ve never carried a ruck sack – not even a cute one that I could buy at L.L. Bean. I’ve never slept in a trench – in fact, I’ve hardly ever slept in anywhere but a bed. I’ve never had to run through wilderness, face chemical warfare, and I’ve never had to carry a bleeding friend of mine hoping they would survive.

Because I’m American.

I don’t know what it’s like to bury a son, a daughter, or a father or mother because they died in the line of battle. I don’t know what it’s like in Iraq, or Iran, or Mexico, or Canada for that matter. And I don’t know what every day terrorism is like. I’ve never driven a Hummer – and certainly not one of military grade. I’ve never eaten meals from a bag wondering if it’s my last.

Because I’m American.

I have rights – that were fought for. That are fought for – every single day by people who are more brave than I can even begin to imagine being. I stand when the national anthem plays, and I cry when standing in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. I don’t let the flag touch the ground, and I fly it at half staff when people are fallen, hurt, or in oppression. I have respect for this country and its beautiful people.

Because I’m American.

I vote. I vote for the economy. For social rights. I vote for who I am given the choice to vote for, because of what the majority of this country says it needs. I am united with my fellow citizens. I will not move, and I will not ransack a city. I will be thankful that I was able to vote, that I have food on my table, and that I don’t have to carry a machine gun at night to feel safe. I am thankful for our system of democracy – electoral college and all.

Because I’m American.

I am educated. Because I am in a country where not everyone is just like me. I am free to walk down the street and express what makes me unhappy, and sometimes I am heard. Sometimes I’m not. But I am able to speak, and that’s something. I pray. Because this country protects my right to do so. And I pray for this country. I am an important part of the fabric of this time of life and the future.

Because I’m American.

I will not lessen or ignore the pain that so many feel today because of an election. But I will speak hope because that’s what our veterans give us. There is an ebb and a flow to countries. There is an ebb and a flow to our dreams, what we think the future is, and what we make of the future. But it’s not up to one person. One person does not MAKE America. We live with a government in checks and balances, and ruled by One greater than who we elect. Therefore I will stand strong today. I will smile at my fellow citizen – listen to them, and create peaceful and productive ways to give us all America. I will learn from people’s pain, and I will change what I am able to change. I will change my insight. I will change my heart. I will choose to speak good when there appears to be nothing but bad.

I will not decide that someone is less of a person because of who they voted for. I won’t think that the leaders, elected or not, are less people than we all are. I will not sit on a computer and argue with people who are hard for me to see as people behind facebook comments. I will talk with them so that we can all remember that we are American – that we all are people. We are the people.

I will hope, as it has for hundreds of years, that America will always prevail. That we all remember that men are created equal – even presidents. I will hope that you will still be my fellow American even if you voted differently than I did. I will give a chance to the American people to surprise me in the way they respond in pain. I will hope, that America remembers that veterans fought to make this the land of the brave and the home of the free. And I will make my voice heard by loving my neighbor.

Because I’m American.

…because love wins.

veterans-day

 

Weddings are dreams…if you do them right.


I got married this weekend!

Everything everyone says about the day going so fast, but being so beautiful, is right. Everything they say about being madly in love being intoxicating, is right. Everything they say about the great blessing of being surrounded by the people who love you, and who you love most, is right. They’re all right. It’s magical, but it’s only magical if you do it right. It’s only right if you’re marrying who you should marry. And if you’re upholding marriage until it’s time for marriage.

The most magical parts of our day were not the flowers (even though they were beautiful!), or the candles (which I got from the dollar store and that didn’t burn right…not that I noticed – I heard from my people), or the hair, or the makeup, or the suits. It wasn’t the “rager” we had after (the whole thing was over by 10pm), and it certainly wasn’t the tight (although also beautiful) dress I was wearing.

What was magical was Jesus. Jesus, who picked us for each other. Who made a love story out of our resistance (see any other blog post from before this about how we thought our lives should go). Jesus who changed us like water into wine, and Jesus, who was our first love. Jesus, who taught us what love is. Who teaches us what love is. Jesus, was the magic. Jesus, is the magic. Today is magical. Because marriage is Jesus’ and it can only be done as marriage, with Jesus. The rest is a sham.

Ray and I didn’t freak out about details while planning. We laughed a lot. We learned how to tie bows, and he got to watch me wander around Hobby Lobby a lot and grow his patience. We made time for our families and extended leases so that we didn’t have to live together before our marriage. We cried in the last three years as we lived in different houses, and states, and had surgery and almost cancer diagnoses, ER visits, hair loss, reconciliation of pasts, and figuring out how to fit into a new life. And we did it all together. It wasn’t easy, and it was magic too. This time with each other and Jesus, was our magic.

One of my two most favorite moments of our wedding was walking down the aisle with my father to greet my groom. After three years of up and down and changing as a person with him, there is only one person who could ever have compared to the love that my father has for me. I was proud of the man I was marrying. I was so blessed that my dad loved him so much and how much he has laid down his life for me. I am thankful that my father taught me to wait for the man who could make my life magical.

My second favorite moment, was when the man of my dreams cried while dancing our first dance with me. I have a hard time dancing – mostly because I am a white girl, but also because I have a prosthetic leg. While most people are busy working on shows for their first dance, we practiced me following him so that I didn’t step on him or my dress. It’s a vulnerable point for me. And it’s a space of challenge that only he could have worked himself into. He led me like the man of my dreams who knows exactly how to let me be independent while empowering me by holding me up in ways that people do not see. He has done physical therapy I didn’t know I needed, and he has wrapped up the broken pieces of my heart into one whole piece.

But he couldn’t do that without being led by Jesus. Half of the letter he wrote me before the wedding was Scripture. Wait for the man who doesn’t just give you himself. Wait for the man who unashamedly laughs with you while you plan for your wedding, who cries on your shoulder because he thinks you’re the most beautiful person in the world, and wait for the man who gets up the Monday after the wedding to go to work so that you can rest. Wait for the man who gives you Jesus.

Wait for the magic. Wait to see your groom until you walk down the aisle (pictures can wait until after). Wait for him to stand up and be a man. Don’t marry someone for the flowers. They will fade. Don’t marry someone for the candles. They won’t stay lit. Don’t marry someone for the sex. Married sex is the only sex that counts, and it’s not about the sex. Marry the person who you can let into the moments that make your heart break.

Wait for the man who will spin you around in front of a room of people because he can’t decide if he wants to look at you, or hold you close. Wait for the magic. Do the wedding right – it’s easy to do when the marriage is right. Wait for the right dream come true.

This is our first dance song. Here are the lyrics. Please listen and read. It is what we want people to see of our lives, which is why we picked it. The first verse is me (speaking to 25,000 this summer) and the second is him. And we have learned…nothing matters…but looking like love, Jesus, to each other, and to the world.

I hope everyone who was able to come and those who we know see that, and only that, in our wedding – and in our marriage. In our forever.

The marriage was worth the wait. The magic was worth the wait. Ray was worth the wait.

More Like Love – Ben Rector: Click here to listen

I use to think I wanted to be famous
I’d be recognized out in a crowd
But the funny thing is anytime I’ve gotten what I want
It lets me down

But now I just wanna look more like love
I just wanna look more like love
This whole world is spinning crazy
And I can’t quite keep up
It’s the one thing around here
That we don’t have quite enough of
So I just wanna look a little more
Like love

I used to think I needed all the answers
I used to need to know that I was right
I used to be afraid of things I couldn’t cover up
In black and white

But I just wanna look more like love
I just wanna look more like love
This whole world is spinning crazy
And I can’t quite keep up
It’s the one thing around here
That we don’t have quite enough of
So I just wanna look a little more
Like love

I find the farther that I climb
There’s always another line
Of mountain tops
It’s never going to stop
And the more of anything I do
The thing that always ends up true
Is getting what I want
Will never be enough

So I just wanna look more like love
I just wanna look more like love
This whole world is spinning crazy
I can’t quite keep up
It’s the one thing around here
That we don’t have quite enough of
So I just wanna look a little more
Like love

Like love

…because love wins.

first-dance

 

Our Purple Mattress Review!


So if you’ve been on facebook for the past any-amount-of-time, you’ve probably become victim to hilarious new marketing campaigns like this one for VidAngel. And this one, by Purple mattress. I’m just a down-home makeup tutorial watching facebooker like you, and I have to say I don’t mind the new marketing angles. Hilarious is key when we are in information overload every day and it’s probably why I bought the mattress I did. What can I say? I have a soft spot for smart business.

Okay, maybe it’s not all because of the funny marketing. I also think that the Purple Mattress looks really, really, really cool. And I really like the color purple – though that didn’t influence my decision to get this bed as much as smashing a raw egg that never breaks did.

My fiance (that’s Ray…ask me about him anytime…he’s so fun to talk about!) has narcolepsy. There are some other writings about that on this blog. Here’s one in case you’d like to read that next. What I mean by that, though, is that we take sleeping pretty seriously around here. It’s already hard enough for him to get good quality sleep fighting allergies, noises, roommates, and the decision of his meds to work or not each night, so we don’t need the basic nuisance of a bad bed to make things worse.

That’s why, like every good millennial, we scoured the internet for days reading reviews about which mattress will keep us the most satisfied with our sleep. I will also say – he’s not the only one that needs good sleep. I don’t even like hanging out with myself when I’m tired.

There are a number of mattresses that sell exclusively online. They give you options to try their mattress for 100 days (generally speaking) and then if you hate it, be done with it and get your money back. Usually those things appear to be gimmicky, but with Purple, it really sounds like it’s true. (See the note at the end about how responsive they are on facebook – this is where I learned these facts)

So, that all being said, we bought a Purple mattress! It’s currently wrapped up and sitting in my living room, counting down on its 100 days, but also waiting for us to be able to move into our new apartment. I will be moving in first, so I’ll get to do all the major deciding, and we’ll update you when we give it a try. From what I’ve heard, we’re about to start sleeping on a cloud. I hope that’s true!

The mattress itself was $999 for a queen. That appears to be a ton of money, but in reality, for a good bed, it’s not. Of course it will be if sleep isn’t a top priority in a home, or you have great sleepers using your mattress, but for us, like I said, quality of sleep is a huge game changer in our life. And it is much cheaper than most available memory foam mattresses.

There are a couple other costs that come with it as well. First, I have a normal box spring right now, so that must be replaced. Memory foam mattresses must be put on a firm foundation, so a normal box spring won’t work. This isn’t a huge deal for us either, because I’ve recently discovered that I am pretty darn allergic to dust mites and I know my box spring is full of them because it’s been used – and just about everything we use is full of dust mites.

That being said, we recently purchased this box foundation. Purple requires something like this to host the mattress to keep the warranty in good working effect. This foundation will be sufficient, right Purple?

It is recommended that sheets used for the mattress have stretch to them as well. We didn’t buy the exact kind recommended by Purple because they were out of our price range and because we need to wash our sheets in hot water (for the dust mites) which many of them did not recommend for their fabric. I was sure, though, to find some that are said to “give” to some degree as well as were potentially a bit over-sized for the mattress. We’ll see how that goes. We also chose an over-sized allergen and waterproof protection mattress encasement because that should give us plenty of room to use the effects of the fancy Purple polymer as well.

All of that being said, the first night trying the mattress will be late next week. I’ll update you then – hopefully with raving reviews!

If you’d like to check out Purple’s facebook page do so here. They also get points for being amazingly responsive on there!

Sleep well all!

…because love wins.

“Marry your best friend. I do not say that lightly.”


“Marry your best friend. I do not say that lightly.
Really, truly find the strongest, happiest friendship
in the person you fall in love with.
Someone who speaks highly of you. Someone you can laugh with.
The kid of laughs that make your belly ache, and your nose snort.
The embarrassing, earnest, healing kind of laughs.
Wit is important. Life is too short not to love someone
who lets you be a fool with them.
Make sure they are somebody who lets you cry, too.
Despair will come.
Find someone that you want to be there with you through these times.
Most importantly, marry the one that makes passion,
love, and madness combine and course through you.
A love that will never dilute even when the waters get deep, and dark.”

…because love wins.

I am marrying someone with a chronic illness.


I didn’t want to marry someone who had as much difficultly as I did in life. I wanted someone who had it all together – who didn’t have a hard time doing the things I do – who could take care of every part of me. Maybe somewhere in life I had been led to believe that I needed that. That I needed someone to take care of me all the time, and that there was only a specific way in which that could be done. I’ve learned differently.

So I had a list of qualities that made me think no one was good enough to do the job. They weren’t spectacular, but they were probably very different than others had. I guess I don’t really know what they all are anymore, because I think I’ve thrown those out the window in exchange for way more than I thought I needed.

Ray is perfect, for me. Not in the blah blah blah cliche way. But in the way that only God can possibly know what I need to take care of my soul, my body, and my heart.

He is a mess. And so am I. A big old beautiful mess.

When he was diagnosed with narcolepsy, I suppose that’s the time that I could have said, “Well, that’s going to be too hard, so nope.” That certainly wasn’t on my list of things I wanted in a husband. There are hard things about it. He can’t be scared because his legs will give out underneath him. (no, I’m not kidding – it’s called cataplexy) And there are certainly times in life when he’ll be scared and we can’t stop that. We have strict bed times. It’s not a lot of fun to live in the night all the way to 9:30pm before saying goodbye, but it’s what we have. The medicine is expensive, and if we don’t have it sometime in the future, we’re probably a bit out of luck. And maybe we’re naive (duh, who isn’t?) but we’ll deal with that when it comes.

Anyway, the point is, I’m marrying someone with a chronic illness. And I would recommend you do so too.

The thing is, we know we are very human because of chronic illness. I am sick, then he’s sick, and sometimes we’re sick on the same day. And those days are hard, but they are also full of love. We aren’t prideful because we are aware that it’s all pretty able to fall apart at any time. And we like our weird illnesses and the unique parts about us that challenge the other. I like to stay up late, but it’s healthier for me to go to bed. So marrying someone with narcolepsy makes me a better human – in a way I didn’t expect. Thanks God.

I’m marrying someone with a chronic illness and I’m really excited about it.

Pray for us, always, and forever, please. 🙂

…because love wins.

Words I support.


I’m tired of people romanticizing overexertion. Exhausted is not the new chic. Coffee (though {sometimes} a delicious necessity) is not a food group, and running on fumes is not admirable. Why do we hold pedestals for sleepless nights, break downs and inner turmoil? Are those things really to aspire to? Self care, balance, the ability to  know when your body, mind, and spirit need to take a step back. Those are things we should admire. We have to stop blurring the line between ‘commitment’ and self endangerment, because too many people are burning out before they have a chance to truly shine.Exertion

…because love wins.