he is their son...gotcha day 06.14.17

so many blessings...

again, i sit in front of my computer and shake my head at the way God has orchestrated people and events in my life.  

this one is a tear jerker.  that's your warning :)

the holes family lived across the street from us for about 6 or 7 years.  

during that time, their daughter, gretchen, became an important extension to our family.

after having our 3 babies in 3 years...i needed help!  

gretchen would watch our kids and help out with me.  

when she would babysit, we would come home to a cleaned up house, dishes done, cookies that had been made with the kids, and cards and pictures that she helped them with.  she NEVER ever ceased to amaze us with the responsibility she showed and the love and care she gave to our children.  and she was just a teenager!  we loved her so much, we wouldn't share her name with anyone, because we didn't want our beloved gretchen "taken" by another family for babysitting :)))

the holes family moved...not far away, but when they aren't across the street anymore, it was easy to just lose touch.  

a little bit ago, (the mom), suzi, contacted me.  after raising 5 girls, her and her husband austin, had opened up their home to foster children.  they were getting to adopt their first son, and asked if i could be there to memorialize it.  

yesterday was "GOTCHA DAY" for one very special little boy. 

and after all of this time, again, at such a pivotal time for this family, we were re-united again. 

introducing to the world:



what may change next year /thankful for tonight/ merry christmas

I can’t help it. 

Christmas eve makes me nostalgic - even weepy. 

i sat in church tonight, with lit candles, singing “silent night" and looked over at my three children’s candle lit profiles, then looked to my husband, and i had to close my eyes. 

my breathing stopped - for just a few moments. 

my heart fluttered.  

and i tucked the memory deep deep down.


maybe i’m a bit of a thinker.  

even a dweller. 

but christmas eve, always makes me reflect.  

on the past…

and also on the future. 

next year this time, what in my life will be different?

will all of my loved ones still be with me? 

will i still be here?


we live in a world of uncertainties. 

and passing the candlelight from one to another tonight, i thought about these traditions that move my heart so much.

we all have them…some silly, some spiritual, some emotional.

but why?


and it struck me that maybe we have traditions to show us that no matter how much changes in our lives, that things can still stay the same. 

families can break apart…we may lose loved ones. 

sickness may hit and relationships can fail. 

but at the bottom of it all, what we believe, what we repeat, what means the most to us, and what we celebrate, can bring great security and joy to our lives. 


tonight, over that candlelight, with “silent night” being sung by hundreds around me, i looked around.  

different from last year...

my son is now taller than me.

my daughter, almost a woman. 

i saw a boy who lost his mother this year, a woman in the midst of a divorce, and a man just diagnosed with a terminal diagnosis.


in my heart, i reflect on the changes in my own family, and most recently the loss we endured. 

yet, in the reflection, i see promise. 

the traditions we have created, i love.  they bring me happiness and security.

but tonight, i do not carry fabricated hope, but truth that i can see from thousands of years ago.

traditions can speak to us. 

but only truth can save us. 


when life falls apart…

when hearts break. 

when nothing makes sense, 

and it seems all has changed.

we can look to our traditions to remind us….

but we can only see the miracle of Jesus’ birth and the hope and promise it brings, to save us. 


so tonight, as i place the last of the presents under the tree…

and i press my ear to the doors of my kiddos to make sure they are slumbering…

i take a moment to stop and just be thankful for this moment. 

for what we have…

who is here…

for all that will carry on, 

and for a forever love, an unending future, and an eternal security. 


merry christmas