Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year????

Well, my friends ~ this morning as I did my devotions and sat and pondered the year we are about to say goodbye to and the year ahead . . . there were many realizations. It occurred to me that at the beginning of 2007 I believed it would be one of the greatest years of my life! I knew that we would release ‘Gratitude’ and launch a marriage ministry – there was so much anticipation. On a personal level we were taking our first major family trip (to Disney in April of ’07) and would have all three kids in school ALL day come fall (you can figure that one out !)

That year, however, ended in such despair that I truly cannot put the depth of that feeling into words. As I turned the corner from ’07 into ’08 just one year ago tonight . . . it was with dread and fear and pain. I was saying goodbye to the last year I could ever ‘be’ with my beloved . . . and entering into my first year of ‘alone.’ I had no idea what ’08 would bring . . . but I knew I didn’t want it . . . ANY of it! I wanted my beloved . . . but I knew that there was NOTHING I could do but trust God! And trust I did!

2008 began with me truly wanting to die. “Please God . . . can’t our home be filled with carbon monoxide and ALL four of us wake up with You and Chad?” This is me . . . being real . . .with you! I DID NOT want to continue without my beloved. I am so thankful, however, for God’s sustaining grace and strength. I made it through those first dreadful months of ’08 . . . truly, only for my children. Slowly ~ hope for a new future began to emerge . . . despite dealing with illness that put me to bed for most of June and July. I am so thankful that God is bigger than me (duh!) and works despite me. All the while I was working to grieve and mourn, God was working to continue to bring healing and hope and a future.

Throughout 2008 I can truly tell you (and with a smile on my face) that I have found ‘ME.’ You see, when you are married . . . you work to meld two into one. That is our job as a married couple. Not that I LOST me while I was married . . . but I wasn’t ever just ‘Sarah.’ I was Chadandsarah! That is how we wanted it. That was our command from the Lord . . . the two shall become one! We spent 12 ½ years working toward becoming one person. I entered 2008 limping – feeling that ½ of me had been ripped away and I was wounded and bleeding and exposed. I cannot tell you the depth of that feeling. I remember walking through stores, driving through town, attending church or kids’ activities with a constant ‘wonder’ within me . . . . trying to figure out where Chad went and who in the world I was without him. Even, and especially, into June and July my journal read “I don’t know me without you.” I remember frantically looking around wondering who would marry me . . .because I certainly couldn’t be alone! It was a terrifying feeling. I didn’t trust my own emotions through any of that . . . but I was so afraid to be alone . . . I got married so I wouldn’t have to be alone! Now what? How could I possibly face life alone?

But, I am so happy to tell you, friends, that I have figured out who ‘Sarah’ is . . .well, I should say, I AM figuring out who ‘Sarah’ is. It is a wonderful feeling. I do not feel the ‘need’ to have a man . . .should God bring one along I will be blessed . . . but I WILL NOT settle out of loneliness or despair. I will not have a man JUST to not be alone. All that being said . . . guess what? I am going on a date! Someone called and asked me! Isn’t that exciting? I won’t tell you when or where . . . that is for me (and him) to know and you NOT to find out .

When Chad first died, people told me “don’t worry, Sarah, you are young and beautiful and there will be men lined up around the block.” Well, in November of this year (over a year after Chad died) I told my brother that I was clearly standing on the WRONG BLOCK!!!!! And, while there certainly is NOT a line . . . It is exciting to know that someone is interested and we will just go out and have fun . . . and THAT will be nice!

Also!!!!!! I have VERY exciting news!!!!!!! Last week Christmas In Heaven hit the charts at #30 on the Billboard Christian (radio airplay) chart AND #17 on THE national Christian airplay chart ~ (click on the title of this blog to go to the chart) (! That is the top 20!!!!! Today, a radio guy I know wrote and congratulated me . . . my Christmas song beat the new Casting Crowns song!!!!!! Wow!!!!!! Thank you God! I am truly SO, SO thankful!

So, my friends, as I turn the corner into a new year . . . there is much to be hopeful about. We have made it through what I hope will live down as the toughest year of our lives. The kids and I are happy and healthy . . . PLEASE don’t mistake that for thinking that our hearts don’t still break . . . for, every single day they do. I DON'T WANT a top 20 song because my husband is dead . . . I DON'T WANT to go on a first date because my husband is dead . . . but, though this isn’t the story I would have been chosen it is the story I have been given and I WILL make the best of it! I WILL glorify God through ALL of it! I WILL rejoice in ALL that HE is doing and I CHOOSE to trust ALL that HE is!

I realize that today, as YOU turn the page on a new year, you may be facing great pain or many trials. I understand that, my friend! PLEASE hold on to Jesus! Please REST in WHO God is and how truly faithful He is! He IS good . . . even, and especially, when you don’t FEEL it! Nuzzle yourself under the shelter of the shadow of His wings (Psalm 91:1) . . . stay SO close to Him that when light or dark surround you it doesn’t destroy you because you are so close to Him that His shadow protects you from whatever it is that comes at you. It doesn’t mean that you don’t feel the heat or the pain . . . it is not a magic ‘eraser’ for this life and this world and all that it holds . . . but it IS a sustaining recipe for our lives! Christ . . . and ALL that HE IS will get each of us through WHATEVER 2009 holds! That, my friends, is for certain!

God Bless your 2009!


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

quick update

Greetings Friends! Thank you all so much for your very sweet comments . . .they bless me richly. I am so thankful that the song Christmas in Heaven is ministering to and blessing so many people. Last night I received an e-mail from a manager at 'Billboard' . . . as in Billboard Magazine . . . the Top 40 . . .etc . . . He said that the song Christmas in Heaven is 'charting' on their chart this week and that they need more information!

Wow! I may have a 'Top 40' song! Can you believe that? Little ol' me . . . little Sarah sitting in Midland, MI . . . just trying to honor her husband and get through some very painful holidays . . . little ol' me . . . so thankful and honored . . . Billboard! Wow!!!!! Let me say it again . . . BILLBOARD!!!!!! Now, I think they might chart the top 100 songs . . so, I could be number 98 . . . but, that's o.k. :-) I'm still on the Billboard charts . . . and, I'm thankful.

Well, Friends. These holidays ARE proving to be very difficult. I cry a lot. For months the crying had really tapered off . . . but in the past week I have cried enought to make up for any lack of October and November. It is just SO hard and SO painful. I miss Chad more than I could ever even begin to describe. My heart breaks for my dear children.

Last Saturday Noah had a good break down. He cried and cried and told me he wishes we could just skip Christmas this year and that he wants to die and go Home to be with Daddy. Oh, how my heart broke. I couldn't hug, nor hold him tight enough. Sweet baby . . . 10 years old and carrying a weight SO much larger than he.

If you were to look back to the winter months of last year, my journals would read the same as Noah's wishes . . . 'Lord, can't there be Carbon Monoxide in our house and all four of us just wake up in Heaven with Chad? . . . Please Lord! Get us out of this misery!' Perhaps you think that means we have little faith. You can think what you like . . . judge away if that makes you feel better. It just meant that my heart broke more than I ever dreamed it could . . . I understand little Noah! Bless him, Lord. Please bless these precious children this Christmas and help us all to celebrate even when the pain is just so great.

I have much to say . . . I have Blogs begun that will BLOW YOU AWAY :-) . . well, they'll give you something to think about . . .but right now I am just working to get the kids and I through this holiday AND keep up with the CD orders . . . there are waiting lists all over this area, and I have envelopes addressed and ready to fly out of here . . .but NO CD'S!!!!! I am not too happy with UPS right now! They were supposed to be on my doorstep last Friday (It is now Tuesday morning). A terrible snow storm kept them away . . . I understand that. Nothing we can do about that. However . . .they SHOULD have been delivered yesterday and were not.

So, today, my dear friend Christy is driving to Saginaw to PICK THEM UP and begin delivering them to all the bookstores that are out and then will bring them back here so we can begin stuffing envelopes and filling the last of the order.

Just a quick note - you can now digitally download the song on CD BABY - so if you are waiting on a CD to arrive, and need a 'temporary fix' . . . that is an option. If you are waiting - I am SO very sorry . . . this has truly been out of my control!

Blessings to you all this Christmas season! May the Lord give sweetness to your Christmas festivities . . . even if, and especially when, they may be seasoned with pain!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Greetings Friends ~

At about 10:30 this morning, after doing a radio interview with a station in Port Huron, Michigan, I sat down and began a blog. It is now over 12 hours later, and I have barely had time to breathe today - much less finish the blog.

I do believe this is what record companies are for, but alas, I am an indie artist - so the grunt work all falls on me . . . and my wonderful girlfriends who are with me around the clock right now! They are helping me return e-mails (they are flooding in from people around the country who are being touched by Christmas in Heaven), fill the constant stream of orders, answer the phone which is ringing off the hook with people wanting to stop in and pick some up or bookstores wondering if they can sell it, assisting with the many business details (like verifying bank accounts, e-mail programs that MAY NOT WORK when you need them too!!!!!!, etc .. ) . . .and the list can go on and on! These are truly SUCH WONDERFUL problems to have. I am very thankful.

What noone can help with is the fact that what I would really like to do is have the time to go curl up in my nice warm bed, clutching the flag that laid over Chad's casket and weep for my beloved whom I miss more than anyone could ever know. What noone can help with is the fact that at the end of all of this chaos and business that are my career going to new hieghts - my beloved is still dead and the reason that I get to sing this incredible song is because he is gone. What noone can help with is the fact that in the midst of all of this our hearts still break.

One of my children had a meltdown . . . absolute meltdown tonight! One came home sick today. One had a meltdown yesterday. We are dealing with some major issues, and there is no daddy here to help me. No partner to give me the perspective that I so desperately need right now. Noone to say 'Sarah, you are doing it right.' Well, that is not true . . . Marni and Christy and Missy all told me that today. But, I really want Chad to tell me that! I wish he was here. I need him! I want him! Sometimes I just don't know if I can do all this . . . And yet, in the midst of it all, as the tears stream down my face as I type this, I know that God is giving me a strength and a peace that truly come from Him!

Right when I need to know what to say as a parent . . . the words are there. Right when I need to make a decision as a business woman . . . the wisdom is there. At my weakest . . . the stregth wells up from inside. Right when I need a hand . . . someone is here to lend it. I just wish Chad was here.

Underlying everything . . . the excitement of hearing my song on the radio over and over and over . . . the thrill of seeing orders escalate day after day after day . . . the knowlege of knowing that today, and tomorrow, and the next day I will have the chance to be on both radio and television all across the country and encourage people that they CAN make it . . . underlying everything, my friend, is a constant thread of pain. A constant ache. A constant knowlege that this is our suffering being redeemed . . . even as the suffering continues.

I am thankful. God is good. God is faithful. I know and feel ALL of that tonight! I hold tight to Jesus and ask Him to PLEASE tell Chad I love him. . . and to please tell Chad how much we all miss him.

Blessings - and good night!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Order Information

Well - please read on down, my friends . . . but many of you are wondering how you can get the Christmas In Heaven CD ~

They are available for sale on my website They are beautifully packaged as a single and make wonderful gifts. You can purchase them for $5 each or 5 for $20 - I cover the shipping.

Thanks for asking!

By the way . . . I sold 199 today! Just today on my website! Yea God!!!!! And . . . Thank You, God! I am so humbled!!!!! Thank You!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


This is going to be a quick one, my friends. I just wanted to let you know that today I stand in absolute awe of God! Not that I don't all days . . . but today I am just amazed at His sweet goodness and faithfulness.

It is 10:00 a.m. in Michigan . . .and I have already sold almost 100 CD's TODAY!!!!!! That is just amazing! Christmas in Heaven is taking the country by storm! I am so thankful. I sold almost 100 yesterday, as well.

Yesterday morning I had the opportunity to do an interview on a very big secular station in my area. Soon after leaving the station my cell phone rang. It was a very sweet mama who lost her son two years ago. He was in his young twenties. She had heard Christmas in Heaven and had to have the song. She is struggling in her faith - the questions and doubt looming within her. I was able to encourage her to continue walking in her faith and I prayed with her.

"Lord, today may You continue to bless that mama as she tries to make sense of her loss. Father, at the end of the questioning may she surrender back to You. You are good, and faithful. We can't always see that . . . but Father, we KNOW it to be true so we TRUST YOU! Lord, please continue to anoint this very sweet song "Christmas in Heaven." Please use it this Christmas to minister to thousands of wounded hearts. We will be so careful to give you ALL of the glory! Thank you, Lord."

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Some days . . . I cry.

Today, I cry. It has been a while since I have had a 'day' in which all I want to do is cry . . . but today, it has come around again.

I must say that at times my life just seems very overwhelming. It is hard to be both mama and daddy. I had to spank Noah today and I had to call the parents of Abbi's long time best friend to tell them that Abbi did not want to attend their child's birthday party because the girls are just not getting along. It is hard to parent by yourself. Chad and I always worked so beautifully as a team . . . I know he is here, cheering me on . . . but I long for him HERE . . . WITH me! A couple of Micah's birthday presents have broken and I need to take him to the store to look for replacements . . .but oh, how I long for a daddy for him to help a little boy pick appropriate little boy toys. I can and will do it . . . but that is what my heart feels.

Plus, there is laundry to be put away, laundry to be done, an invisible fence for the dog to be ordered, dishes to be done, a driveway to shovel, beds to be stripped and redressed, a swim meet to pack for, I need to unpack from TWO, yes, I said it . . TWO trips! . . . the list could go on and on . . .

I have been planning all week to decorate for Christmas today . . . I've even been excited to do so. Marni and I bought some new decorations yesterday and I've looked forward to this day. But now that it is here it just seems overwhelming. I look around the house and see so many HUGE and beautiful funeral plants and I don't know where the tree(s) will go this year and it just seems like such a BIG job.

Today - I would rather curl up in my big bed with a sappy movie than face my life. On top of all of that I have a long, long list of 'should do's' regarding my career . . . I'm not going to go into all that, though.

Sometimes I think that if I go to the grave and sit above the casket maybe, just maybe, I'll feel closer to him. Our life is moving on. . . we have a lot of happiness in our daily lives . . . we are finding the new normal. Yet, I still long for and miss the life I had planned. I long for and miss my beloved. . .

What amazes me is that in the midst of longing for Chad, I am also beginning to long for someone new. I know that I need to blog about this new adventure that will be 'dating' . . . but that is a discussion for another day and time. My heart does wonder, though, HOW can I long for what was and yet look forward to what may be? How can I weep for my husband all the while praying that somehow, someway, my sweet Heavenly Father will bring us a new husband and daddy?

Oh, the diversity of the emotion . . . this great big ball of emotions that we call grief! Alas . . . God is good. I trust Him for all of this!

Now, I'm going to light a fire with my sons and try to make sense of the boxes of Christmas decorations and all these blasted funeral plants! Blessings to you all . . . if you have not read the next blog entry down . . . please keep reading . . .it may just change your life!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Big Questions

Good COLD December evening, friends!

Perhaps you are somewhere warmer than I . . . lucky duck! I would like to begin by thanking you all for your kind thoughts, comments, and especially prayers of blessings over my sweet baby, Micah. We have spent the last two evenings celebrating his birthday ~ last night we had a special family dinner and tonight he took six of his closest friends to Chuck E. Cheese for a party. Micah has begged for YEARS to go to Chuck E. Cheese . .. it isn't a place that we frequent. The kids had a nice time, but I will say that there has been a 'frustration' in Micah for the past couple days - today included. I began to feel a bit down - perhaps I try to make up for Chad's absence a bit too much in material ways (a question I ponder often, and still think the answer is 'no' . .. but I don't want to not ask myself the hard questions and in doing so let it get out of hand)? Did he not appreciate the party? As I was tucking the kids into bed tonight and reflecting back on Micah's mood I was once again hit with the notion that we continue to celebrate the holidays . . . all the while 'pretending' that everything is alright . . . but knowing that everything is, indeed, not alright. I sensed that in Micah this past couple days. So, again, I thank you all for your prayers offered up on his behalf!

Well, I could probably end there tonight . . . but there is much more to come. In fact, I believe that what I am about to post is probably THE MOST IMPORTANT thing that may ever go on my blog. Please don't check out on me.

If you have followed this blog for any amount of time, you know about my new friend Jenny Coin. Jenny was widowed unexpectedly three and a half months ago, and soon after she lost her beloved husband, Shawn, she miscarried their first child. Jenny and I have been ministering to one another, and in doing so we are becoming good friends. Jenny is strong! I am so proud of her. Jenny asks really good questions and we are saving all of the letters that we write back and forth to one another so that we can soon launch a new blog of our letters and our journeys through grief as young women.

On Monday morning I awoke to find this e-mail from Jenny. My kids were all home because of a snow day . . . and when I found her e-mail I knew that this could possibly be one of the most important e-mails I have ever, or will ever respond to. I asked the kids to keep the noise to a minimum and proceeded to answer her questions to the best of my ability. Below you will find her e-mail to me . . . and my response. Please stick with it to the end . . . and I would like you all to know that if anyone has a question about a relationship with Jesus and you would like to e-mail me, personally, I would welcome your e-mail. You can find me at Blessings!

Hi me again,

I got another sympathy card in the mail again yesterday...they just keep coming. However this one got me thinking. The card was from a family that I used to babysit for while I was in college, when Shawn and I were living in Marquette.

Anyways there was a note at the bottom of the card. The note said "There must be a better grand plan for you because you are a wonderful person and deserve great times ahead" Several people have told me this the last three months, especially after the baby. Actually many people have been telling me that my 'new life' will be so much better, that the plan for me has changed and my new path will just enhance my life more and bring me more joy. Well for some reason just today it got me thinking two different things.

1. I know when people say this to me, they only mean the best for me and mean well. But sometimes I just want tolook at them and say to them "what the heck are you talking husband just died and I just lost our baby....what do you mean my life is about to get better?
My response to that at first was...well I don't want a 'better' life, I loved the life that I had...I loved my husband and our life...I wanted to have our baby...I wanted the perfect family...I didn't ask for nor did I want a different life, I was perfectly happy with the life that I had.

I know I have a lot of time to grieve yet and to figure out my 'new life' and what I want to do. I think just now after 3 months I'm realizing that my life is going be extremely different from what I had "planned". I'm trying to come to terms with having a different life and trying to figure out how my life is going to be so much "better" then what I had. For now, I'm going to keep doing what I've been doing for the last 3 months...breath in and breath out and take one day at a time. I also have been remembering Matthew 6 that I found on your blog. I am a HUGE planner, that is where I get my control and security from. I'm quickly realizing that you can have everything all planned out, but just as soon as you can have a plan, it can all come crashing down around you.

So I guess my first question is...After Chad passed away did people tell you that God had a better plan for you? and How did you respond to that?

2. This is a biggie! Ok, how am I who just had MY perfect life ripped out of my hands supposed to one, believe that there is a bigger/better grand plan for me? When all I've ever wanted in my life was to be the best wife to the man I love and a mother (I thought that was my plan and truly why I was put on this earth) those are both now gone and two after I have just had my 'original plan' ripped out from under me, how am I supposed to put my faith, heart and sould into a new plan...what if that plan gets destroyed and I get hurt again. I don't think I can handle it if anything else 'bad' would happen. The new plan makes me so scared as well. I sit here typing this with tears streaming down my face as I listen to Bring the Rain from Mercy Me.

I don't know maybe I'm just feeling this way because like I've told you in the past...I haven't been a very religious person. I have always believed in God and said a prayer here and there, especially in times of struggle but I don't think I've ever really let him into my life. Correction I know I haven't really let him in. Does that make any sense to you? I will honestly tell you though that during the last two months I have been really trying to let God into my life more. I need to know why...I need to know what is next for me...and I now know that God is the only one who knows this. I didn't let him in so much the first month, I was so mad at God for taking Shawn from me, I even prayed the morning Shawn died on my way to work for him to please keep Shawn healthy and to please fix what was wrong with him. I mean I really really prayed hard, out loud and everything. Three hours later he died. I haven't told anybody that, nobody knows that I prayed that morning. Like I said maybe I'm just feeling this way because I just don't know how to feel. Maybe I'm feeling this way because I haven't been to church in a really long time. Maybe I need to find a church and just go.

Wow this email is making me think of a zillion things. Maybe I will wrap up this email and we can talk about some of my other questions another day. Funny how such a life shattering event can make you feel like you need to re-think the religious or lack of religious aspect of your life. I wonder if I would have belived harder in God before if Shawn would still be here with me?

Ok, well I'm going to go and read for a while and try to stop thinking so I can sleep. I will talk to you soon and sorry this got so extremely long. Maybe this would have been better to ask in person.


Jenny ~ Wow! What wonderful questions you are asking! They are good, and healthy, and I am so glad that you are asking them. I'm not sure I know where to start - so let's start with the most important part . . . God!

Jenny ~ The one thing I am absolutely sure about is that God wants to have a relationship with you! Can you believe that? The God who created Heaven and Earth and who keeps it all in order and in motion wants to have a relationship with YOU! Jenny, He doesn't want to be some far off god that you pray to on holidays or when you really need something. No, my friend, He wants to be your friend! Just like you and I have become friends . . . that is who God wants to be in your life. Please forgive me if I go into more detail, or tell you something you already know, but there may be someone who eventually reads this who does not know these things. Jenny, God the Father sent His beloved son to die on the cross because sin had separated us from Him. Jesus died on the cross to reconcile us to God the Father once and for all. For thousands of years people had needed to offer sacrifices as a way to reconcile themselves and their sin. God sent His son as the final sacrifice so that we could walk in relationship and have the assurance of eternal life.

I, personally, think that the 'relationship' part of this is the key. Think of it this way ~ if you wanted to have a relationship with me, but only called once every few months or when you needed something . . . would that be a relationship? God never changes and He never moves! He is ALWAYS surrounding us waiting for us to call out. He tells us in Romans 3:23 that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." But in verse 24 He goes on to say, "Yet now God in His gracious kindness declares us not guilty. He has done this through Christ Jesus, who freed us by taking away our sins." In Romans 7 the Word tells us that we wrestle with this thing called "sin" all our lives. It is why we do the things we don't want to do and don't do the things that we do want to do! It goes on, though, in chapter eight to tell us that when Jesus comes into our hearts the power of sin is broken and that it is like the lights come on in a dark place! There is a new power at work in our lives.

How do we get this reconciliation and new power? We do it by repenting of our sins - basically, admitting that we were born with sin in us, and asking Jesus to come into our hearts and have a 'relationship' with us.

Now, Jenny, I would like to tell you about my personal relationship with Jesus. I grew up in a Christian home. I knew all about Jesus . . . but I will never forget one night when I was thirteen years old I decided that I wanted more . . . I needed a relationship with him. My daddy had left us when I was eleven, and I needed a 'constant' in my life. I needed someone whom I could trust was ALWAYS there and would ALWAYS love me. In the book of Philippians the bible tells us the "Jesus will never leave us nor forsake us." That, was what I needed. I took a step one night at a church service and went to the altar and gave my heart . . . ALL of me . . . my hopes, my dreams, my life . . . to Jesus. Since that night, I have lived my life with Jesus in mind. I had watched enough Christians by this point to know that a life with Christ didn't mean a life free of trouble, rather, that when troubles come there is a constant . . . an anchor.

This, my friend, is the crux of all of this . . . please hang on here for the most important part . . . Jenny, when Jesus died on the cross, He rose from the dead and not long after that He ascended up to Heaven to live there with Father God. When He did that, He sent something called the Holy Spirit. When we ask Jesus into our hearts, at that moment the Holy Spirit is deposited into our "spirits." One thing the bible teaches is that there are three parts to our physical being . . . our body, our spirit, and our soul. Our soul is our mind, will, and emotions. Basically, at the moment of salvation, we lay down our souls and let the Holy Spirit come in to inhabit our 'spirit' being. The Holy Spirit is an amazing, incredible part of all of this! The Holy Spirit is our counselor, our guide through this wonderful and horrible life, our constant companion and our light to follow. The Holy Spirit becomes that little voice that directs our path . . . the world sometimes refers to women having a 'sixth sence.' Well, what I have come to know as a believer is that my 'sixth sense' is the Holy Spirit that lives within me. . . always comforting and guiding me.

Jenny, there is something regarding my faith that I am really chewing on right now. What I am chewing on is this concept of 'peace.' You see, what I know beyond knowing as I look back over this past year of my life and all of my grieving is that all of my pain and fear and mourning and questions have been enveloped in a very sweet peace that has come from the Lord. When I was thirteen years old, I had NO idea what my life would hold . . . .the good OR the bad. But that decision as a teenager has changed the way that I relate to my life. I could have become paralyzed the day Chad died - paralyzed with fear, pain, or both. But instead, I look back on that day and know that, truly, the Hand of God ushered me through every horrible step of the grieving process. That doesn't mean that the pain was magically gone or that I didn't question or get angry with God or Chad, or even that I didn't sometimes want my own life to end! It didn't mean that I didn't feel hopeless at times as I grappled with the most horrible pain I ever could have imagined. It doesn't mean that I didn't question how in the world my life could ever go on. What it does mean is that through ALL of the questioning and grappling that there was a CONSTANT! Jesus was with my through every step and every tear. The Holy Spirit was, and is, my very constant companion.

In Phillipians 4 the word tells us that, "when we present our requests before God, with thanksgiving in our hearts, that He will give us a peace that passes all our understanding that will gaurd our hearts and our minds." Jenny ~ I DO NOT understand how it is true! But, my friend, I KNOW that it is! I have had a peace that has truly stood gaurd around my mind and my emotions. It is way bigger than I . . . It is truly something that only God could do! I am so thankful for my relationship. HE is my best friend! The Word says that we will have a friend in HIM that will stick closer than a brother! I have tested it and know it is true! He is SO good.

One thing that one of my counselors told me this past year was that it is in times of great trouble like you are going through that we must go back to what we KNOW to be true . . .NOT what we FEEL! I tell people in my concerts, that the God of October 6th - the day before Chad died when my life was perfect and good - and the God of October 7th - the day my whole life came crashing down on me - are the SAME GOD! My circumstances don't change WHO God is! God is good! Period! I trust that! I trust Him!!!!!

Now, for the comments that people say to you. Hmmmm . . . I am so sorry that people feel that they have to make sense of all of this for you! The best thing for them to say would just be to say they are sorry - but they feel that they need to help, so they tell you that there will be good ahead. You know, Jenny, there WILL be good ahead. I know that because God's Word tells us that "All things work together for good for those who love Him." I am a BIG believer in the fact that God "redeems our suffering." That is a topic for another time . . . but basically, it means that God does not waste our suffering.

However, please let me assure you, Jenny, that God did not take your husband from you so the He could give you better! That is absolutely NOT the way a loving and tender Heavenly Father works. When God created Heaven and Earth, death was not in His plan! However, when sin entered the world, so did death. I am so thankful that God made a way through Jesus for us to be reconciled back to Him . . .and therefore back to our Husbands who now live with Him in Heaven! The notion that somehow God did this to you so that you can have a bigger, better future is ridiculous!

Does God have a plan for you? Absolutely! Will it be good? Yes and no! I TRUST my precious Lord who gives me this amazing thing called 'peace' to have a good future me. I don't believe that my life will be without struggle. I DO know that God longs to redeem all of this pain and anguish and I trust that somehow, in some way He will bring good into our lives.

Jenny, remember our little pup Miah? She is named after Jeremiah 29:11 that says, "I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and to give you hope and a future." THAT is the heart of a Heavenly Father who does, truly, want good for you.

Psalm 91:1 (God's 911) says, "Those who live in the shelter of the Most High God will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty." Jenny, God longs for you to be snuggled in so close to Him that you will be sheltered in His shadow. Cry out to Him! Open your heart completely to Him and let His sweet Spirit envelope ALL of who you are - your pain, your future, your hopes, your dreams! He longs to hold it all in His hands . . . so that when the plans YOU make fall apart - He is there to hold you through it!

Another part to all of this, is that I would recommend that you get into a really good, supportive, bible teaching church. Marni and Collette and I would love it if you would like to come with us! Our church is great! I know you have a church . . . but I'm not sure how plugged in you are. Our church has absolutely been a rock to me through all of this! But, we can talk about that later!

I love you so much, Jenny! And I pray God's best for your life!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

My Little Micah

Greetings All!

Well, you have blessed me greatly! Thank you all for your comments, thoughts, and encouragement! They mean the world to me . . . as do your prayers . . .and I know that many of you are offering those up on our behalf, and I thank you!

On that note . . .would you please lift my little Micah up in prayer tomorrow . . . it will be his eighth birthday. No matter how much we brace ourselves for the inevitable "hole" in our holidays . . . it is still there. Will you please pray a blessing over this baby ~ that his birthday will be one of joy and laughter and that his memories of his daddy will be sweet and comforting as he continues his journey through his little life?

Kids can and will be mean and every now and then we have to deal with the reality of that. Last Tuesday Micah came out to the van after school and his usually pleasant face was looking a bit glum. He said that he never wanted to go back to school again! I asked what was wrong and he told me that a little boy in his class had teased him because his daddy was dead. Oh, man! My heart just sunk! My poor little guy! I explained to him that what the little boy had done was wrong but that I think he did it because he is confused about death and maybe even scared by it. But all of my explanations and coddling at that point could not remove the pain that must have pierced Micah's heart when that little boy said that. Micah's teacher has been very compassionate and has done what she can to help the boys work through this, and for that I am very grateful.

I am finding that when holidays and special events roll around my kids seem to be a bit on edge. They are too young to verbalize the depth of the emotion that they feel and therefore it comes out in sheer crabbiness! That is fine . . . may our sweet and faithful Heavenly Father bless them each as they work through their grief as 12, 10, and 8 year-olds!

Father in Heaven ~ will You please Bless my little Micah tomorrow? Please bless the next year of His life. Please give Micah hope for a wonderful future. I ask that You will help him to like school and that You will anoint those working with him to know exactly how this precious little guy's mind works. Father, please guard his heart and mind with Your sweet peace and pour into and out of him all the counsel and comfort that is his through your Holy Spirit. Thank you, Lord, for the gift of Micah ~ our wonderful little surprise. I know that You have incredible plans for his life and I thank You for them. Please keep the memory of his daddy ever present in his little mind. Please bless, bless, bless him, Lord! Amen.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Your thoughts!

November 30, 2008!

Yea! My last post received over 10 comments! Sorry . . . you are hopefully smiling at that . . . but I have been watching to see when my little blog would get 10 comments. Now, technically two of them are mine . . . but close enough! We did it! I'm so excited! Thank you to all who read this and to those of you who comment. I watch all day to see who comments and from where and what you have to say! You bless my socks off (and I LOVE socks) when you leave me comments, so I thank you!

I would really treasure some feedback from you all right now - and no, this is not a way to just up the comments, despite what you may think :-). As of late I have been using my blog as a sort of journal. Since Chad passed away I have been journaling quite faithfully, but keeping both a journal and a blog seems a bit repetitive. There are things that I will write to myself that I will not share with all of you . . . but not many. Well anyhow, I had some very deep thoughts today, one of which I will blog now and the other I will do in the next couple days. I tend to be a pretty deep thinker. I lean toward melancholy and thus my thoughts tend to be a bit on the serious side. What I would like to know from you is do you mind the deep thoughts? Because this journey is a bit long and painful right now, I fear that sharing my journey and emotions with you might become a drag - and yet, I don't want to miss an opportunity to encourage some of you by the mere fact that I open myself up for you to watch the entire experience. On the other hand, perhaps you are here for the sole purpose of seeing what is going on with my music. If that is the case, you may want just the stories about what is going on with that front.

All in all, I don't want to get too heavy for the daily readers . . . and yet, I DO NOT want to sugar coat all that we are going through! So, I guess I am answering my own question - but I would love to know your thoughts. So . . . on to my deep thought for today . . . It is not long . . . but it is a window into my soul ~

Tonight I began Christmas shopping and also bought Micah a birthday present - as he will turn eight on December 3rd. It never ceases to amaze me how you can be in a store or a mall FULL of people and yet be all alone. I am settling into the 'alone.' I am figuring out who I am on my own and the 'alone' doesn't bother me much anymore like it did in those early months after Chad died. Back then, the 'alone' terrified me. But today, I often relish the quiet time in my life and the 'alone' doesn't seem as horrible as it once did.

There are, however, still moments along this journey that the 'alone' pierces me to my very core and sends a chilling reminder through my emotions that I am, indeed, 'alone.' As I walked through the mall and navigated the toy aisles at Target and Walmart I was struck with the keen awareness that this year I shop 'alone.' Chad and I used to deliberate long and hard over what three gifts (to signify the three gifts that Christ received) the kids would get. We then LOVED traversing the crowded streets and stores to create a very nice Christmas for our babies. We always did it together. Tonight, walking 'alone' through the toy sections, longing for his input and discernment as a daddy for his sons, my heart just broke! The familiar songs play, the warmth and excitement of the season are in the air, and yet, the realities of life are never far from my daily functioning. This year I will shop alone. This year we will even celebrate alone. That is reality, my friends. I will be o.k. WE will be o.k. But if you see me out and about, and perhaps my mind seems miles away its because it is. It is most likely far off in memories of a time when 'alone' meant free time away from Chad and the kids . . . not reality.

Blessings to you all!

Friday, November 28, 2008


November 28, 2008

Oh, my Father, once again old and new collide. Yesterday was so very hard, yet today brings bright hope for tomorrow.

It is so strange – today I will sit at my brother’s house, probably in my pajamas, and have a wonderful, relaxing day with my children and family. The whole time knowing that all throughout America people will hear Christmas In Heaven for the first time. It is a song that will stop them in their tracks. They will be pierced by the lyric of it and it will stick with them forever. I know this because I have experienced that firsthand and I am now receiving testimonies of the power of the song on almost a daily basis. Today, over 250 radio stations all across this great land will begin playing Christmas in Heaven. Oh, Lord, please bless it! Please! Please draw people into it and please compel them to find it and buy it. Lord, may I be so bold as to ask that this be the song that puts me on the map. Today, there is much, much evidence of the new . . . the good . . . excitement!

Yet, yesterday was marked with tremendous pain from a past that I can no longer call my future! This is NOT how I would want this, yet, my sweet Lord, I submit and find refuge in You. My days are so much better now, emotionally, that I thought perhaps I would make it through the day without much fuss. That, was not the case. By nine a.m. I stood weeping in the kitchen, my heart absolutely breaking for my beloved who is not here. Oh, how I miss him! I long for the future we had planned. I ache for my sweet children who’s daddy is in Heaven – not here on Earth to be all that they need him to be. How ironic that as I stood weeping it was those precious, wonderful little vessels of Chad that came and stood under me, arms wrapped around me, and held me as I wept for their daddy. And my heart broke – the questions. The pain. I miss him so very much. I weep and mourn for three wonderful babies who no longer have their daddy.

Why do they have to hold ME as I weep for their daddy? Why do our hearts have to break like this? As a mama, I worry – how are they really doing? I know and understand what this means in their little lives . . . I see the whole picture. But, how are they really? They all continue to go to counseling. Abbi wants to stop going, well, she never wanted to go to begin with. But it is my duty to make sure they get through this with their emotional self intact. Perhaps they go more for my peace of mind than for theirs. This way I know that there is always an outlet for their pain and questions. If I can’t make sense of it – how in Heaven’s name can they?

My heart breaks for them. Why? Abbi needs a daddy here to show her how a man should treat her. I am so thankful – ah, yes, it puts a smile on my face – that the very last thing her daddy taught her was how to let a boy down easily. What a beautiful thing! Thank you, Lord! And my boys – my sweet, tender, intuitive Noah – who is so, so much like his daddy. He needs a daddy here to play Lego’s with him and to usher him through all the changes that lay ahead for his body and his emotions. And precious little Micah – how in the world can this baby possibly make sense of any of this? My goal is just to work as hard as I can to keep his daddy’s memory alive for him. Oh, Lord! Thank you that you wired Micah the way you did . . . please keep vivid ALL of the memories that he has of his beloved daddy. Lord, thank you for the men . . .the men who have risen to the occasion and been daddy’s to my babies throughout this past year. Thank you! Please bless them all!

Father, please give me the wisdom and strength to guide these babies through all of this. I love when they hold me – and yet, I hate it! I need to be the strong one – and yet, I am thankful that they have seen me mourn and weep for the love of my life.

I see signs of their mourning in other ways . . . Micah still needs me throughout the night. Oh, Lord, You know that we were never a ‘family bed’ family. Micah starts out in his own bed, but usually by Midnight he has crawled in and is snuggling with me. He tries to crawl inside my skin, I think. Several times throughout the night he will look for my hand . . . his little hand searching to find it. When he finds it he wraps his little fingers around my thumb and holds on, usually with an “I love you” to follow. Often times I will wake up with his head on my chest – I know that he is listening for my heart. He knows his daddy’s heart stopped . . . and I know he finds peace in listening to mine. Oh, father, please be his refuge. Please give this baby peace as he wrestles with a beast so much bigger than his almost eight little years. Please shelter him.

Father, I must say, that I am amazed. I am amazed at the peace. Your word promises it. Over and over it tells us to rest in you . . . to present our requests to You and You will give us peace . . . .to know that You are our refuge. Yet, through this storm that has been so big, and dark, and painful, and engulfing . . . You HAVE been a refuge. I do not understand it . . . I do not know how it works . . . .but I am thankful. Thank You, Lord, for being my refuge and strength. Thank you for granting my soul ‘rest’ when my body and emotions are weak beyond weak. Thank you for granting to me a peace that goes so far beyond anything that my understanding can figure out.

Please, God, be all of that to my precious children. Please be their refuge. Please help me, as their mama, to demonstrate to them, all that You are. Please help me to be their mama AND their daddy. Please complete us, Lord. Please prepare us for all that lies ahead. Oh, God, please send them a new daddy and me a new beloved. That is the prayer of a widow’s heart . . . that is the prayer of a mama’s heart. We submit to You, oh God. Lord, may You get the glory.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Birthday, My Love!

November 27, 2008

Well, my friends, today would have been Chad’s 37th birthday. My goodness . . . that sounds old :-) Ironic that this year it falls on Thanksgiving. He always loved that. He was a pie lover . . .he could have skipped cake all around – but NOT pie! He loved it! He loved that he could have pie with a candle in it for his birthday. Chad used to tell stories of his mom making him his very own pumpkin pie for his birthday . . .and he didn’t have to share it with anyone! It always put a smile on his face! He said no one could rival his mom’s pumpkin pie!

So, today we will celebrate two holidays – Thanksgiving, and my beloved’s birthday. We will begin bright and early at the cemetery. The kids and I will go to the grave and place a beautiful, orange rose there to honor our husband and daddy. We will then pick up my dad and head off to my brother’s house over near Grand Rapids. My whole family will be there. The last time we were all together there was the morning after the marathon when we gathered there to tell the children of Chad’s passing. These next few days, I must admit, will be seasoned with very painful memories.

One year ago today I was being crushed under the weight of uncertainty. My entire world had been turned upside down and inside out all within one heartbeat. There was no warning and there were no goodbyes. I know that at Thanksgiving time last year I was still in such a state of bewilderment and confusion . . . still in a total daze! I really did not understand what had just hit us and I certainly could not see any end to the pain and confusion. I literally could only breathe in, and breathe out. There were moments in those early days that the mere act of breathing was even asking a lot.

I am certain that some of you who are reading this today might feel the weight of uncertainty in your life. Perhaps, today, the simple act of breathing is asking a lot. Perhaps questions are haunting you or maybe you are facing a mountain that seems impossible. This is my journal entry (part of it) from last November 27th ~
“Happy Birthday, My Love! Do you have any idea how much I miss you? How much I hurt? I just can’t take this! I miss you SO much . . . I feel so lonely without you! I love you so much, Chad! Please God – if he can’t see this – please tell him! Oh, Chad – I miss you! I still just can’t believe this! How could you just be gone? We had a party for you tonight. Michael (one of Chad’s best friends) lost a stone in his wedding band about a year ago and he had it replaced with your birthstone as a tribute to you and to what we have sown into their marriage. Also, Pam Wellington came over today and told me about her hair dresser and her husband. They have both given their hearts to the Lord since your funeral. Could you have ever guessed it, Babe? May our children know your legacy! Can you believe it – funeral? It just doesn’t seem like it could really be! I would give anything just to touch you one more time – or to talk to you – tell you goodbye and that I love you! You were all my dreams come true! Thank you for being Christ in flesh – for loving me and filling all the dark holes in my heart. I love and miss you. Do you know how miserable we all are without you? Lord, I just give You all of this – may You get the glory!

Those, my friends, are the words of a young woman completely blindsided by uncertainty and pain. I am amazed at how much pain time has healed. One year later there is still uncertainty . . . yes, there is definitely still uncertainty. But, you know what? It is o.k. I am learning the beauty of Matthew’s words in Matthew 6, “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.” I used to spend so much time planning and analyzing and thinking about where we were and where we were going and how to handle the in between of all of that. In one instant all of it was stripped away.

I am learning the beauty of the word ‘rest.’ You see, no matter what my plans are, there is a plan that is way bigger than I. Perhaps we are all just pawns in the Father’s hand. I could wish for nothing more than that, really! To be a pawn in His hand is the greatest thing I could imagine! If that is the case, then all I have to concern myself with is staying so close to Him that His hands encompass me. It takes me back to all the evening when Chad and I would put the kids to bed and then sit snuggled up on the couch. We were snuggled so closely that if one of us reached for the remote it would move the other one’s body as well. I long to be snuggled so close to God that when He moves I am there to be a part of it.

Some of you may know already that I love the sweet old hymn, ‘Be Still and Know.’ It has ministered to me in profound ways since Chad’s death! Oh, the sweetness of those simple words . . . “Be still and know that I am God.” Saying and singing them may be simple, but following through with it on an emotional level is a bit more difficult. How do you ‘be still’ when the world around you is swirling, when the waves are crashing against you, when the winds are shredding all that you know to be true? That, my friend, is the place where ‘seeing’ and ‘faith’ collide.

Today, you may only be able to ‘see’ the storm that rages around you. Three very dear friends of mine are walking through stormy waters today. One just buried her mother, one is spending Thanksgiving with her beloved father who had a stroke last week, and the other just found out that her beloved daddy has lymphoma. Big storms! But, it is in those places of seeing the storm rage wildly around us that we must trust that our Abba Father is bigger than the storm. It is in those places of trial, that we must know that His precious word is true! Psalm 46 says, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in times of trouble. So do not fear, even if earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea. Let the oceans roar and foam. Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge! . . . The Lord almighty is here among us . . . Be still! And know that I am God.”

This Thanksgiving . . . rest. Rest in Him! Rest in a Daddy who has tomorrow in His hands. Rest in a daddy that is bigger than whatever storm you are facing and who says to not fear the storm. Rest in a daddy who says you can be still . . . because HE IS GOD!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Done for now!!!!!!

Well All! I am so thankful to say that after another very long, intense day in the studio - we are finished, for now! We have six songs well on their way. There will be 11 in all. There have been moments in the studio where we have spent an hour singing ONE word . . . .over and over and over. Last night we sang the word 'better' for almost an hour! This is how it goes ~ "soften the 'buh,' dipthong (a musical term that really means a very quick 'scoop') into the 'e', not so much 'e' sound - add a little 'uh' to the 'e', don't hit the 'tt' too hard, dipthong into the 'er', no vibrato on the 'er' but put a crackle on the end all while you curl the 'er' around." ALL within one second or less, with the perfect tone and the perfect pitch and the perfect inflection! Now, can you see why it can take an hour to sing ONE word correctly! My goodness! But, despite how painful the process can be at times - it is also a beautiful thing.

I am truly in awe of God's goodness. This album is my heart poured out! The sounds and essence of it are rich with emotion and meaning. It will be an album that ministers. One of the songs on the project is called 'wishin time away,' and as we worked on it today, I sat in the isolation booth caressing Chad's wedding ring and longing to touch him. I miss him so deeply - his friendship - his smile. I miss the excitement that he would share with me as we work on the CD. I know he sees and hears it all. I know he is proud. The kids and I are choosing to live! We are choosing to walk forward. This album is us walking forward!

The final words that Chad ever penned was the line "Lord, May You get the glory." The Long October Road is our way to continue Chad's legacy . . . Lord, may You get the glory!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Recording, Day 2

Good Morning ~

Most of you are probably reading this when you wake up. I, however, have not yet been to bed. The day started very early with Abbi calling at 6:40 to see if she could go to school without her wrist brace on (she hurt her wrist a while back.) Neither Marni or I could get back to sleep. So, with just a few hours of sleep we dove into our day. It took me quite a while to get ready for the TV interview. It takes a LOT of makeup and GREAT hair for something like that - - - both things that don't just 'happen' these days :-) The interview went well. It will air on Christmas day on the Christian Television Network.

Then we were off to Paul's for another 11 hours of recording. Holy moly! I am exhausted. It is now 2:11 a.m. . . . Recording can be VERY frustrating. Paul is amazing at pulling out of me a tone and attitude that I have longed to translate to my albums, but have never had someone to help me do so . . . the only problem is that he and I communicate really differently, and it can tend to infuriate me! Just to give you an example ~ I sang ONE word for over an hour today. Seriously! The same word over and over and over and I never did get it the way Paul wanted it. He was wonderful today, though, and I think has figured out that I work best with encouragement. He gave me lots of 'good jobs,' and Marni prayed REALLY hard . . .and we have gotten some absolutely incredible songs going! This new album is going to be awesome - and is truly taking my voice, sound, and music to a whole new level! It is thrilling! Thank you, Paul, for being dedicated enough to the process to really push me through . . . I appreciate you very much!

Well, off to bed . . . another long day ahead of us tomorrow. Blessings to you all!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Recording, Day 1

Good Evening All!

Well, recording 'day one' is over. We did two really fun songs today. The first one went very well and was easy. The second was very frustrating and took a really long time to get right. Recording is really tough work. Every little move of the tongue or jaw or lips can change the tone and sound. It is very technical and can get very tedious. I am not complaining AT ALL! I am so thankful for the opportunity.

Tomorrow I have a TV interview in the morning and then back to the studio. Our goal is two songs a day . . . today we recorded for close to 11 hours.

I have some very exciting news! Family Life Network out of Bath, New York is adding the song Christmas in Heaven!!!!!! That means 60 more stations throughout New York and Pennsylvania will be playing it. This is just great news! All of those stations mark areas that I can possibly go to and sing. We already know that American Family Radio will play it - that is almost 200 stations across the country. Each network that adds it gives us great momentum to continue picking up new stations.

Thank you all for your prayers and for reading my blog. Thank you for sharing in the excitement of all these new and opened doors. Blessings to each of you through out this week. May you feel the peace and presence of our sweet Savior in all that you do. He is so good. REST in Him. Abide in Him.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Lauging Again

Greetings All!

Marni and I made it to Nashville today. I must say . . . the trip flew by as we talked, talked, talked, talked, and then talked some more. Three weeks ago, when I drove down with Kraig and Malachi, by the time we reached the Michigan/Indiana border (on the way DOWN) Kraig was already out of words. He looked at me and said, "I bet when you go down with Krystn (our sister) you don't run out of things to say this quick." Uh, yeah, or NEVER! Women never run out of things to say!!!! Now, I must say that Kraig worked very hard to talk the entire trip and I really appreciated that.

Marni and I didn't need to 'work' at it at all! We got to Nashville around 11:00 pm and I took her on a little sight seeing expedition through Music Row and downtown Nashville . . . Why not? We're both night owls. Although I do need to get to bed as it is 2:11 a.m. and I must get rest for my voice this week!!!!!

It was hard to leave home today. . . it always is. I wonder if it always will be. The feeling that Chad should be there to send me off just never dims. It is always there. Then, of course, the reality that he will not be there when I come home is there, lurking, as well. In some way, though, I know that he is with me more now than he ever was here on Earth. I know it. I feel it. I rest in it! Jesus . . .please tell my beloved how much I love him.

We begin recording at 10:00 tomorrow (Tuesday). It will be hard work. I am very excited to report to you all that I had a wonderful concert on Saturday. Not wonderful because of me or the performance. No, it was the people. The church. It was at a Catholic church in Bay City - St. James - and the people were so kind and receptive. We had a great time! The last time I had sung I took 270 pre-orders for Christmas in Heaven. This concert almost felt like a test . . .was that enormous pre-order response just a fluke? Would that happen again????

Yep! It did! I am so grateful! I sold 218 copies of Christmas In Heaven! Wow! God is so faithful. My first 1,000 are almost gone and today I reordered 2,000 more! Thank you, Lord! Thank you!

I would like to share with you a little diddy that wrote the other night while listening to the kids! I pray it will encourage you and put a smile on your face. Please lift my babies in prayer this week as I am away. May the Lord bless them and keep them and make His sweet face to shine upon them and be gracious unto them! May He grant all three of them His wonderful peace!!!!!

Friday, November 14th: As I write this the sound of laughter fills our home. The children are wrestling - all three of them - AND giving Micah a MAJOR wedgie . . . something their daddy would be very proud of! It feels so good. . .not the wedgie . . . the laughter. I see, every day, that joy is returning to our home. I am so thankful.

Stay tuned for a fun week of recording . . . .Blessings!!!!!!

Friday, November 14, 2008

A Tale of Two Coins

Hey all - As you read my blog from today, I comment about a friend of mine . . . her blog. I have figured out that it is A Tale of Two Coins! Check her out! Jenny is amazing. Please be praying for her. . . her grief is new, and big, and hard, and horrible.

Jenny - remember today - - - - YOU ARE SO STRONG!!!!! You are loved and lifted up in prayer.

November 14th

Good Morning All -

Before I begin - I am excited to let you know that Christmas In Heaven is now available to order on my website. It makes a wonderful gift . . . a teacher gift, a boss gift, a stocking stuffer. It is just the one song and is beautifully packaged. Please order LOTS of them :-). My website is Also, I want to let you know that a new friend of mine, Jenny Coin, and I are going to be doing another blog together. Jenny was widowed 11 weeks ago now, and is only 31 years old. This blog will be letters that we write back a forth to one another about our journeys through grief. It will be fascinating. We have e-mails stacking up that we have written to one another. It will be moving and intriguing. Please be watching for more information about that. You can also check out Jenny's blog. . . although . . . I'm not sure where. Well, she has left comments for me . . . so maybe you can find her that way. Jenny . . . when you read this . . . why don't you comment and leave your info. I'm so bad at this 'tech' stuff! I can barely find my own blog - in fact, if it wasn't just a tab on my website, I wouldn't know how to get here :-). Pathetic, I know!

I am sorry it has been a while. I cannot seem to keep up with my life right now. I have had some good writing time - working on the book. It is getting harder and harder. I am now writing about the marathon weekend - and this is where it becomes emotional. I find I don't cry much anymore . . . I just don't have time. My counselor advised me this week to MAKE time to rest and to cry. That is wise counsel. All that being said, writing about what happened in Chicago is very emotionally draining and difficult. Trying to sort out ALL that happened after the marathon is daunting . . . but God is so very good and I know it will all come together.

My mom was down last weekend and we worked on paperwork. I had gone about a month w/o opening mail (can you believe that?) and it had been two months since I had done any paperwork regarding Sarah Schieber, Inc . . .which meant much work for my dear mom. She has been a bookkeeper for years and years, so I have asked her to take over the bookkeeping. We met with my accountant and the two of them are off and running. I have been having work done on my computers all week (the computer guy - who's name happens to be Chad Michael - is here right now) so that we can get the corporation up and running. I am so thankful that my mom can take all of this over. The paperwork really overwhelms me, and she 'gets' it all - so it is really a blessing. She and my accountant will get it all computerized, and we are off and running!

I have a concert tomorrow in Bay City. I leave Monday for Nashville. My good friend, Marni (Mary's mom), is going with me. While we are there I will sing, sing, sing - to record my vocals. I am really nervous about it - so any prayers offered up on my behalf would really be appreciated. Also, on Wednesday morning I will do a TV interview - I will give my testimony and sing Christmas In Heaven. It is pre-recorded, and is for a Christmas special on the Christian Television Network. I have a publicist in Nashville, named Gina Adams, and she will go with me to this event.

There are TONS of interviews stacking up for December. I have a feeling it will be a VERY busy month. Some are for articles that will be written about Christmas In Heaven and my testimony regarding it, and some are for radio. Please pray that Christmas In Heaven will be played ALL across the country and that I will have favor with the programmers. Please pray that I can keep up with all this . . . as I type I remember that I have many cd's I need to put in the mail today to go to radio stations . . . my house is a total MESS . . . .I need to pack . . . I need to practice for the concert tomorrow and practice the songs I will be recording next week . . . I need to figure out what I'm wearing for TV . . . I need to make a list of where and when my kids need to be next week for the gal who is staying with them . .. AND - I need to keep working on the outline for the book! Ug!

Well, I better get to work. Enough blogging! Oh, I do want to update you all on Mary and Micah first. It has become very evident this week that not only is Mary smitten on him . . . Micah is smitten on her!!!!! In fact, he has told his buddy's at school that he has a girlfriend (of course, Mary has no idea of that, yet) and one of them told him yesterday that he should kiss her. He said, "Mom, I'm not going to kiss her, but if I did, how old do you think I should be?" The last two days as he has gotten in the car after school he told me, "I couldn't stop thinking about you know who all day." Now - you all know the adult code of ethic, here, right? This is top secret! You must not breathe a word of this to Micah! Bless his little heart! He has got it bad!!!!!!!

Please remember today - Psalm 46 assures us that God is our Refuge and Strength! He is our very present help in time of trouble! "A very present help" . . . think about that . . . not a distant help, not "I'll get around to it when I can" . . . no, my friends! He is here . . . NOW. Right when you need him . . . He is here for you today. Blessings!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

November 6th

Today I weep. My beloved is gone. I miss him so deeply. There is nothing I can do. I cannot hear him, nor see him, nor touch him, nor talk to him. I would give anything to just have him for one moment. Oh, my heart breaks. The tears . . . the weeping.

It seems now that many days are good. There are days without weeping and I am thankful. But, when it hits it is still so deep and painful. I am writing the book outline and am getting to the weekend of the marathon. It is really difficult to relive it. I know that is why the tears come. How do I ever capture in word all that happened that weekend. How do I capture in word the emotion? How do I capture in word God’s unending faithfulness when my entire world had come crashing down?

I miss my beloved. Chad Michael – you were all my dreams come true. Thank you for your life and your love. Today I snuggled up next to Micah as I woke him up. His skin feels just like yours, Chad. There is so much of you living on in our babies. I snuggled him close and kissed that sweet, warm, skin. I told him that we weren’t planning to get pregnant when we did. I told him that he was a COMPLETE surprise . . . and one of the best surprises of my life. I told him that I can’t imagine life without him and that he reminds me so much of you. Honey, you would be so proud of our babies . . . they are such wonderful people! I know you see us! I know you must. Please show us signs of you today, Chad. Please! I need to see you today! I love you.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Voting day! Finally! We can get back to life as normal . . . please get out and vote.

Today, I am going to tell you about two precious babies. My little Micah and his buddy Mary. Many of you know about our new puppy Miah. Well, when I set out to find a puppy, I called a lady in our church that I had heard of but had never met. Her name is Marni, and in no time at all Marni and I have become the best of friends. (Are you confused, yet? These are a lot of "M" names.) Our kids are similar in ages, and that makes puppy play dates (they have three dogs) really fun for all of us.

Marni's youngest is Mary. Mary is 8 years old. My youngest is Micah. Micah is 7 years old. They both have birthdays the first week in December. I remember Marni telling me, when we first met, that her little Mary is her 'fireball.' The one you never know what to expect from. The one who lives larger than life. That would pretty much sum up my Micah. We call him our 'enigma,' because there is so much more going on behind his eyes than you could ever know. The first five years of his life the most frequently spoken words were "Where's Micah?" He would quietly wander off to follow the garbage truck down the street or to follow a snake across town!

Surely I digress . . . back to 2008. It seems that little Mary has a bit of a crush on Micah. At kids camp this summer she informed my daughter, Abbi, that she should marry Micah. She is the MOST adorable kid I think I've ever met . . . so I am happy to betroth my child to her :-) We recently all went to a movie and Marni and I made the mistake of letting Mary and Micah sit way at the end of the aisle next to one another . . . all through the movie all we heard was 'giggle, giggle, giggle!" The two of them are two peas in a great big pod! Mary smiles her way through life and Micah giggles his way through life. They are so much fun together. You can just kinda see the wheels turning the whole time they are playing. Mary has also informed her mom that they should go on a date for their birthdays. If they go to Applebee's they can get two appetizers for the price of one AND each get a free dessert. In fact, she said, if they get married they can celebrate their birthdays like that every year and that should be perfect!

Yesterday, Mary looked at Marni and with concern in her eyes asked, "Mom, what is devil oping?" Of course, as you and I would also be, Marni was completely confused. "Devil oping?" She asked. "Yeah," Mary replied, "what is devil oping?" "Well, Mary, I don't know. Where did you hear about it?" "Well," Mary said, "I know I shouldn't have, but I peaked on my report card and at the top it says that I am devil oping." How sweet is that? In case you haven't looked at a report card in a while, one of the categories is 'developing.'

Now on to my little enigma and a story that breaks my heart. One thing I have learned about grief is that you never know when it may hit. You can be smiling one minute and weeping in a heap on the floor the next . . . literally! As many of you know, I grilled yesterday. Truly, just the fact that I actually cooked is sign of healing. I was so proud of myself that not only did I make a healthy meal, but I also used Chad's grill.

After dinner, my best friend, Hillary, and I were going to run to the mall. Dan and Hillary live about two minutes away, and Dan is a daddy to my kids, so I was taking the boys over there to hang out with Uncle Danny while us ladies were out (Abbi was at a friends house.)

I need to back up a couple weeks to another two minute car ride where Micah asked on the way to school one morning, "Where do people go when they come back from the dead?" You can imagine that it stopped me in my tracks. Micah didn't begin grieving until about July. My understanding of grief in young children is that they can only process a very little bit at a time, so it takes a while. I am just thankful that he finally began to process . . .and I am thankful for our counselor who can speak wisdom into all of this.

Anyhow, that morning on the way to school was tough, and at one point my ten-year-old, Noah, turned to Micah and said very matter of factly, "Micah! Daddy's NOT coming back." Ug, stick a knife in my heart! We talked it all through and I thought that Micah and I had communicated that daddy is not coming back and that some of his questions had been answered. I couldn't believe that for a year this baby had been thinking that his daddy would come back.

Fast forward to last night . . . the boys got to talking about Christmas and Santa and Micah informed me that he was going to ask Santa something that no one else could know. Of course, I begin panicking thinking, "has he figured all this out? Is this his way of outsmarting me? Is this the year when belief in Santa comes to an end?"

"Yep," he replied, "no one can know." "Micah, you have to tell at least Mommy." "Nope, its just between me and him." Noah being the older, wiser, non-believing brother said, "Micah, that's not the way it works." "I don't care, I'm not telling."

By now my wheels are beginning to spin, and yes, my friend, just as you are I was beginning to connect the dots. As my mind raced (remember, this is only a two minute car ride!) and I wondered how to direct this conversation, my precious baby piped up from the back seat, "Mama, if daddy comes back to life will he be able to get out of the grave?" Oh, the dagger that just drove through my heart! The joy of healing stripped away with the innocent question of a seven year old who's daddy is dead. "Baby, is that what you are going to ask Santa? Are you going to ask him to bring daddy back?" . . . . from the back a very soft, sweet, "yeah."

Dear God . . . please hold Micah when reality hits. Please, may we all be there for this precious little guy when he finally realized that his daddy is not coming back. Lord, please hold his little heart and emotions in Your loving hands and help guide us all through this. We need you, Lord. We need You so desprdesperatelyp;

May little Micah and little Mary bring joy and friendship into one another's lives!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Signs of healing

I see little signs of healing all around. A month ago I decorated for Harvest - it felt so good to want to decorate again. Tonight, I will use Chad's grill for the first time! Chad had been named Officer Of The Year the June before he passed away. He got a bonus, and with that bonus he purchased the laptop I am typing on, a cordless drill that I don't know how to use, and a beautiful, BIG grill. He loved it! We grilled ALL the time! We had had a wonderful grilled salmon and grilled veggie dinner just days before we left for Chicago. I have not been able to bring myself to use it. It has just sat for a year. But tonight, I will grill.

Healing. Progress. I think my beloved would be proud of us. We love you, Chad! We miss you!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

November 2nd –

Good Sunday all! I started typing this about 7:30 this morning – it is now Sunday evening. Did you all remember to turn your clocks back last night? I can remember last year when the clocks were turned back. My journal from that day reads:

“November 4,2007 – Well, my life feels very lonely right now . . . I just miss my honey! Last night we turned the clocks back – the LAST thing I want right now is an extra hour in my day! Ug! Time just drags by! It has been four weeks today.”

The pain during those very dark days was suffocating. I am so thankful that today, the pain is so much less. It is still there. In fact, I will tell you of a very sweet, yet tearful, moment I had on the way home from Nashville. Yes, the pain will always be there, I suspect. But, now there is so much hope. I am very excited to tell you all about our trip to Nashville last week. I will get to the teary part in a bit. . .it will be worth the wait . . . I promise!

First, I would like to thank you all for reading my blog. I am shocked at the number of you who have stopped me on the street to tell me that you are reading it. Thank you, thank you! Please tell everyone you know about it . . . and please, comment. I read them all and they make me smile. It is so wonderful to keep in touch this way! You all bless me! Many of you tell me that you are still praying for the kids and I and I truly cannot tell you how much that means to me! I know that those prayers help walk us through our days! Also, I want to let you know that I now have Christmas In Heaven in hand and ready to sell. They will be available on my website soon – but until then you can just e-mail me at to order them. They are $5 each, or a bundle pack of 5 for $20. That price includes shipping. They will make wonderful teacher/boss gifts, stocking stuffers, etc. Please spread the news!

Now, on to our amazing week! My friends, IT is happening. What, you may ask, is IT? You can interpret it for yourself – I will just fill you in on the details, you can figure IT out J. God is just so good. Isn’t He? As many of you know, my brother, Kraig, his 16-year-old son, Malachi, and I left for Nashville last Sunday. We arrived Monday evening and had my photo shoot on Tuesday. Then, Wednesday morning we began ‘laying tracks’ at the Quad Studio on music row in downtown Nashville. ‘Laying tracks’ means that we went into a larger studio with the musicians – acoustic/electric guitar player, drummer, bass guitar player, and pianist. No vocals are recorded at this point (we will do those in a smaller, much less expensive studio.) The musicians hear a demo of each song and then go play it. Now, let me qualify this – these are the BEST musicians in Nashville and therefore some of the best musicians, period! The guitar player, his name is Dave Cleveland, has played for some of the biggest names in Christian music and recently played for Miley Cyrus! Now – THAT is big time! The drummer, Scott Williamson, has produced Point of Grace. I’m tellin’ ya – these guys are the best. Can you believe that they are playing on MY CD? Wow! I am so grateful! These men were humble, kind, servants of the Lord!

So, we had a wonderful day on Wednesday. The guys knocked out one song after another. We got seven done that day. Then Paul, Kraig, Malachi, and I went to a great little Italian restaurant called Demo’s.

It was a pretty late night – but well worth it. Of note – one of the highlights for Malachi was that Dave, the guitarist, let him sit right in the sound booth with him and watch him play. Mal is a budding guitarist, and to be able to sit and watch greatness at work was a wonderful experience! Thank you, Dave!

Now on to Thursday ~ it was one of the most memorable days I have ever had. It was magical! The Holy Spirit was all over Thursday – not that He wasn’t all over the other days – but this day was special. We only had three songs left to record on Thursday. It started out normal, we got the first song out of the way. As we were getting started, a man showed up at the studio. His name is Bruce, and he said that he wanted to come down to the studio to meet me. Bruce works for a company called Lifeway. Lifeway publishes music, has bookstores all across the country, and is who Paul writes music for. The songs that Paul and I have co-written for this CD are all owned by Lifeway. Bruce had heard some of what we have written and wanted to come be a part of what we were doing. Every person whom I have met or spoken with from Lifeway are people who are in this business to serve the Lord. You don’t always find that in the music industry. These people really seem to have a focus and love for the Lord. It was great to meet Bruce.

Our second song that morning was the title track to the album, ‘The Long October Road.’ This song is obviously birthed out of grief. It is based on the idea that October will last forever in our lives. It is poignant and beautiful! The guys listened to the demo and prepared to record. As they began playing, it was clear that the glory (power) of God had just fallen on that studio in a tangible way. They nailed the song the first time through. . . but beyond that, it left us all speechless. Eyes were filled with tears. Each of the musicians walked away from their instruments with a stunned look. No one knew what to say. I looked at Paul, and his eyes were moist with tears. You know, these guys play song after song, day after day – it is what they do. But THIS song was different. The anointing fell in an amazing way. It was very special. I am so humbled. I am so grateful! Lord, I thank You!

We finished up the last song – again, with a powerful move of the Lord on it. It is a wonderful worship song called “I Am Open.” I believe it will minister to many. After that, Bruce asked if he could take us to lunch. We went to a very nice restaurant and were able to meet another of the Lifeway employees named Craig. I am very thankful to these men for their guidance and for thinking big on my behalf.

I am most grateful, however, for the sweet presence of the Lord. This is all very amazing. These are lifelong dreams coming true. It is all WAY over my head. But, never once have I felt overwhelmed by the magnitude of it. Psalm 139 tells me that nothing I do, and nowhere that I go, am I ever far from God. Nothing is a surprise to him – not Chad dying, not the recording of any of these songs, not any of the doors that are now opening. God is in ALL of it. The peace that I feel is the only thing that IS overwhelming. I am just so thankful!

Now to the teary part. What does October mean to you? Perhaps it is simply 31 days sandwiched between September and November. Perhaps in your life it represents a birth, or a wedding, or maybe even like me – grief. We had a very nice drive home from Nashville. The last hour-and-a-half I was all alone. In those moments of quiet, alone with my new tracks to my new album, in the wee small hours of Friday morning, once again the presence of the Lord was enormous. His sweetness and His Spirit enveloped me as I drove and listened to the anointed music of The Long October Road. His peace held me as I sensed October. You see, what October means to me is that my beloved is gone. What October means in my life is that all the good and wonderful and exciting things that are happening in our life right now are seasoned with pain. Seasoned with the knowledge that while I know Chad sees and knows all that is happening, he is not here. His arms are not here to hold me. His sweet lips will never sweep softly across mine again. My heart can not bear the ‘missing.’ I never knew it could be bruised within my chest. October, my friends, will forever season our lives. It will forever be a part of who we are.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pictures from Picture Day

Hi, everyone!

Krystn here, posting some pics that Kraig sent me this morning. Sounds like they are having a great time. Picture taking was fun, but exhausting work. Melanie, of The Velvet Trunk,, and the make-up artist Holly, were great to work with. Kraig got to hold one of the lights all day, so was involved, too. He got some nice pix for us all to enjoy!

Last night, they went down to The Bluebird, a club, to hear an acoustic showcase, with a bunch of singer/songwriters. They loved it! Maybe one of them will post about who the folks were.

Today is THE DAY when The Long October Road begins to take shape with music. Sarah said that when she and Paul sat down the other night to put all the song in her keys, that it felt like putting on an old pair of jeans...easy, comfortable. This project is from her heart, in her words, now in her key...and now to be in the studio and recording in Nashville...well, it is truly an amazing day for her! Let's all pray God's grace like sunshine all over this project and all that they are doing down there this week!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Hi All -

Well, our trip to Nashville is in full swing. Today, my brother, Kraig, and his son, Malachi, and I drove from Indianapolis to Nashville. We left home yesterday and spent Sunday night at the home of some dear friends of mine in the Indy area. It makes a great trip. Five hours one day, Five the next.

We arrived at our hotel mid-afternoon, ran to the mall - which is right next to the hotel (how absolutely perfect!) - to pick up a couple last minute items for the photo shoot tomorrow, then we went to my producer, Paul's house. As many of you know, Paul and I have spent the last few months writing the album "The Long October Road." This week, we begin to turn the concepts that birthed in our hearts into music. This is a very exciting part of the recording process. Tomorrow (Tuesday) I will have a photo shoot. We will be in the Franklin, TN area. My photographer's name is Melanie. I can't wait to meet her . . and the hair/make-up artist. They both sound like absolute sweethearts. We will go to several different locations and are really working toward a hip, artsy look. I'm excited. It is actually a LOT of work to get ready for an album cover photo shoot. It takes a ton of planning.

Then, on Wednesday and Thursday we will be in a big studio on 'music row' with the drummer, pianist, and guitar players. They will create the tracks that I will later lay my vocals to. The musicians who will play on my album are the very best of the best. It will be very exhilarating to listen as they bring our songs to life! We can't wait!

Tonight, at Paul's house, we ran through all the songs to make sure we have them in the right keys (notes/range) and just finalized our thoughts about them. Then we went out for a great dinner and dessert (Paul LOVES to eat! - that's a really fun part about this process - we eat out A LOT!!!!!!)

The next couple days we will have pictures to post and much to report . . . stay tuned! Blessings!

Oh, btw . . . yesterday was really hard . . . well, even today I bawled on the way here. Yesterday was so bitter with the knowledge that I was leaving home to continue on the road to fulfilling my lifelong dream . . . and my dear, sweet Chad was not there to send me off . . . or to come along with me.

Then today, I was asked to open for Selah in December, and I got news that the radio programmers are beginning to send word back to my radio promoter that they are LOVING "Christmas In Heaven!" They love it so much that one let Wendell - my promoter - know that she plans to start playing it before the Christmas season! She said she suspects it will be a 'hit.' Oh, that is such wonderful news - it is SO great . . . but, it is all because my beloved is dead.

None of this would be happening if Chad had not died. It is so heartbreaking! How do you celebrate when your heart is breaking. I would rather have Chad back than ANY of this!!!!!! I miss my beloved! I love you, Chad. I love you. GMML.

Friday, October 24, 2008

October 24th –

Today, I miss my beloved. Where did he go? Sometimes I still just can’t believe that this is our life. Chad Michael – wherever you are, watching over us today . . . please know that my heart breaks not having you here. I miss you so very much. You were my very best friend. You completed me. You made me want to be the very best I could be . . . the best wife, the best mama, the best believer. You inspired me. Your memory lives on in our hearts. I hate that! I wish you lived on . . . but, alas, you do not. I cannot change what is . . .

I can only choose to continue to live the best life I can. Knowing . . . that you are watching. That you are cheering us on! Knowing that all that was good in you will continue to live on through us.

We choose to glorify God. We choose to live! We ARE going on! I wish it was with you by my side. But I do not have a say in this. Lord, may You get the glory!

Next week we will begin the recording of The Long October Road. This is an entire ‘work’ that comes straight from my heart. From deep within my heart. It is my journey through grief put into song. It will be raw, real, and true. Yet, it will also be uplifting, encouraging, and offer hope to others who walk this road called life.

My very favorite song is one called “My Beloved.” It is my heart sung to my husband. It is straight out of my journals. It is the story of a young widow grappling with her faith, the future that has been dealt her that she does not want, and the raw emotion of wondering where her beloved has gone. I leave you with part of the lyric of “My Beloved.”

Where are you, my beloved?
Do you realize just how much my heart is bleedin’?
Why did you, have to fly away?
And leave me here to pick up all of the pieces. . . .
Up here in the balcony
I’m listening to the choir sing
Don’t have it in me now to praise
So I’ll just put on my best face . . .

Monday, October 13, 2008

Honoring Chad, with love and Miah.

Well, this week marked the one year anniversary of Chad going Home to be with our Lord. It was a difficult week, but was drenched in the peace and power of our sweet Abba. I have been praying for quite some time now how we should mark such a difficult day. It is not so much about what I would like, but rather, what will mean the most to my sweet children. He was their daddy. They are so young. How do you honor such tragedy . . . yet display to them the hope that we have through Christ?

My prayers were answered, as God so clearly showed me exactly how to spend October 7th. In retrospect, I am very thankful that our day had structure from beginning to end. It really helped. We had lunch in our home for our closest family and friends (about 30) at 11:30. Just before lunch we each wrote Chad notes and attached them to balloons. Following lunch we had a time of dessert and our head pastor, Joel Stocker, and his wife, Donna, joined us for a time of ministry from the word. Pastor Joel is an amazing communicator, but more than that, he is a pray-er! He prayed about what he should share with our family, and it was just perfect.

He shared with us out of the Word that Chad’s passing was a result of a ‘finite body’s failure.’ We have grappled all year with the question, “who do you blame this on?” Did the enemy win? Did God ‘take him’ home? Somewhere in all of this IS God’s plan, but Chad died because his earthly body gave out on him. Period. Joel also shared with my children that in Hebrews 12 it tells us that we have a ‘great cloud of witnesses,’ and that their daddy is alive in Heaven and is part of that ‘great cloud.’ He told them that their daddy is the biggest cheerleader they could ever have, and to always ask the question, “what would my daddy be cheering me on to be and do?”

After the time of ministry, Pastor Joel and Donna left to be a part of the most exciting part of the day… we’ll get to that. The rest of us took the balloons and went to the cemetery. We had been informed by the police department that the headstone had been put in place on Monday . . . it was so exciting to finally see Chad honored in this beautiful piece of art. What a treat that it was there for our graveside celebration.

As a side note . . . I had not known what to expect from the police department. You know, Chad wasn’t their beloved . . . their husband or father. So, I didn’t know if they would remember. But, they did! And very beautifully! The night shift placed flowers on his grave at 1:11 a.m (that’s how they knew the stone had been delivered,) and at 1:11 in the afternoon they had a minute of silence over their radios. Chad’s badge # was 111. What a beautiful way to honor him. Thank you, Midland Police Department! Thank you! You touched us all. Thank you for remembering us! Thank you for the flowers, driving by his grave all day, and for honoring him! You are appreciated.

Well, back to the cemetery. . . it was a warm, sunny day. We took pictures at his grave, and took all the balloons out into the open space nearby to release them into the big, blue sky. One of the balloons got lost . . . how appropriate. . .as Chad got lost everywhere he went J!

Once back home, I gathered everyone in the living room and told the children that last year Pastor Joel brought them some very bad news (he was the one who told the kids that Chad had passed away,) and that this year I had asked Pastor Joel and Miss Donna to bring them some very good news! I told the kids that in Jeremiah 29:11 God promises us that He has good plans for us . . . plans to give us hope, and a future, and that this good news is a part of our hope and our future. Right then Joel and Donna came in with our new puppy cradled in their arms! My kids were absolutely speechless. Abbi’s eyes filled with tears and she said, “Mama, is this really for us . . . to keep?” Chad and I had always told them NO dogs! They are too much work! Well, as I prayed about October 7th, I just knew that this was what was supposed to happen. My new friend, Marni, helped me with the search to find our sweet little girl, Miah, for JereMIAH 29:11. She is a chocolate brown Standard Poodle. She is very mild mannered and calm. She hasn’t mastered the art of “potty outside,” but is only 11 weeks old and I’ve been told they don’t figure the pottying out until around 16 weeks. Yikes . . That’s five more weeks of constant vigilance! Oh well, it is worth it to see the joy on my children’s faces! Little Miah was the perfect ending to the day! Thank you, Jesus, for your continued guidance as we walk out this life we have been given.