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.