Joy is a Mystery

joy is a mystery

I found this quote yesterday and it speaks to how I feel almost everyday. Sometimes I can’t put my joy into words because the pain of my loss is too great.

The joy I feel, in the midst of my suffering and through my tears, I know is from Heaven.

This faith I know to be true can be a mystery and I know that one day, when I too will be in His presence, it will be solved.

For now, I take moments of joy as a blessing, and know that it is just a fraction of the joy my girls have in Heaven.

Anna’s Prayer

Every night after our evening routine (teeth brushed, happiness journal written, running around her room 20 times and dancing) we would lie in bed together and pray. Anna liked when I said the prayer, she was still bashful to pray out loud. Every night when I finished she would tag on her own request to God, “oh, and one more thing please put a baby in my mama’s belly.” Every night I would also say that prayer wanting so badly a little brother or sister for our kids ~ our family!

It was Saturday morning and I had a list of things to do. I jumped on Facebook for a second and was completely overcome with a feeling I thought I would never have again. A friend of mine had posted a picture of a little girl in China who was in desperate need of adoption. She was 10 months old and very sick, she needed a liver transplant or she was going to Heaven.

There was something about her little face, something about her eyes, her nose that felt so familiar to me. I immediately called Tom into the room, shared the post and said, “we can do this.”  He agreed.

We spent the next 2 days calling the adoption agency and people connected to her story, writing emails, and filling out paper work. My to-do list got pushed off my desk and the only thing on our minds was this little girl getting a chance at life. I had no idea how we would ever come up with the funds for an international adoption, let alone all the medical cost that would go into this little girls needs. I had no idea about anything but something in my heart told me none of that mattered ~ she needed a chance.

On Monday morning I talked with a woman from the agency and it turned out that there were a number of people who were already in their system who were interested in this little girl. These families already had all the months of work that goes into an international adoption behind them ~ we were just starting and this little one didn’t have lots of time. My heart broke for Tom and I but I knew that there was something bigger at work in all of this; I trusted God.

I sat and prayed that if we were not going to be her family that God already had a family all lined up for her. I gave thanks for this little child of God for opening my heart to a possibility that I never thought I would want again. I grieved that she would not be ours.

That weekend, God placed this little girl in our path to open our hearts to His plan ~ one that was too hard for me to even bear until I saw her face.  I really had no idea what He had in store for us but It is very clear to me that this little one is part of our story. I pray for her everyday and will do so for as long as I am here.

A couple of weeks ago I found out that not only did she get placed with a forever family, she also received a new liver and is doing great.

Scarlett 2

It had been a hard couple of weeks, Mother’s Day was just around the corner and I didn’t want to spend it without my girls ~ my unfixable problem.  We had some plans but we have learned not to have a lot of expectations for holidays ~ we never know just how we will feel.

I opened my eyes and took a deep breath into my reality, as I do each morning. That morning, though, it was different for some reason, I wasn’t feeling very well. I was nauseous ~ a feeling that was very reminiscent to one I had 8 years earlier. I started to do some math in my head and realized that this feeling I had could possibly be something a little more involved than a bug. I had been extremely tired for weeks but thought it was just due to grief.

I shared with Tom and he ran out of the house for the grocery store.

The test couldn’t be more clear ~ we were having a baby.

I sat on the bed and cried. Happy tears and sad tears both poured down my face. Happy for this little life that Tom and I created and sad that our girls were not here to share in our joy. I then remember Anna’s prayer, one I did not continue to say once she went to Heaven. A baby in my belly was Anna’s prayer, her gift to us.

God’s timing, His plan and the events of the last couple of months all became very clear. He was preparing our hearts for this little soul ~one that He has selected just for us, for our family.

Anna’s prayer was answered and I can’t think of a better Mother’s Day gift from my girl.

baby 1


Yesterday I spent some time hanging posters and passing out info about our upcoming Love Rocks Run.

At one point I found myself looking at the poster of the run logo, on it a Love Rock with the fabric heart made up of these words ~ Anna, Abby, Love and Joy. I couldn’t help but be proud of my girls.

My friend reminded me of the word Hope today and I can’t stop thinking about it.

Anna and Abby represent Hope in the truest sense. Two lives that left this world way to soon but have shown that love and joy will always win. They have shown us that even  though our deepest suffering, having Hope as an anchor for our soul will keep us firm and secure in knowing that love always wins

Their legacy of Hope is what I’m thinking about today and I’m smiling because I’m so proud of them and feel so blessed by the lessons they are teaching.


Artwork by Maren Bickling

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.  Hebrews 6:19

Anna and Abigail’s Heaven Day

I was laying in bed and I heard her, like I did most mornings, put her feet on the ground and run down the steps. I knew exactly where she was headed and I remember, as I did every morning, feeling grateful that she still loved to cuddle.

We fit perfectly together.

We didn’t cuddle for long that morning but instead, after having a discussion about waffles, got up and headed to the kitchen. I pulled down the waffle maker and she grabbed the bowl to start mixing the batter. We chatted about the day and the weekend, it had been very full.

She told me stories and I listened.

I told her I loved her, as I did many times a day, and she responded with a smile.

Our love is solid, our bond is deep and our hearts are connected.


That same afternoon I was walking home from the theater after volunteering, it was a beautiful Fall day. I stopped to take a picture of my feet in the leaves, the title ~ I love Fall!

I saw them hiding behind a tree and knew exactly what they were doing. Wearing spy glasses and hats both girls were trying not to move.

I played along.

Eventually they both came running towards me excited to tell me about their day.

Anna jumped around a bit, happy to have been playing with her sister, and then ran up the street back to the house.

Abigail walked with me and told me all about her first Annie rehearsal. Her voice was sore and her feet tired. They had started with It’s a Hard Knock Life and she was thrilled to be an orphan. The excitement in her voice made my heart so happy.

I loved that she was sharing, she was happy and that we were connected. I remember looking forward to her teen years, and although they would come with challenges, as they do with most teenage girls, I knew we would make it through with even a deeper connection.

Abigail is a blessing that I never knew I needed and, as we were growing in our relationship as mother and daughter, I felt so much gratitude in having her in my life.

I grabbed her hand and she held it tight.


We ate dinner before I needed to leave for another obligation with the theater. The girls sat on the bar stools and laughed about spying on Tom. Anna, very happy to be playing with her sister. Abigail, happy and loving life.

“I love you to the moon and back,” I said as they continued to laugh and giggle at their seats. My heart was happy they were having so much fun together.

My heart filled with love for my family, I walked to the door, turned around and said goodbye.


For Tom and I, every day of the year is another day without our girls. We never stop feeling the heartache of their absence.

Today, on their Heaven Day, we give thanks to the countless people in our lives, both near and far, that have prayed, supported, loved and held us this past year. We believe that God has used each and everyone of you to show that He is so real and His truth is alive and well.

We know our girls are good by the peace that He places on our hearts everyday.

We know that if we asked them to come back they wouldn’t.

We miss them terribly but trust in God’s word and look forward to the day when we too are in eternity.

We see clearly the love and joy He wants us, all of us, to spread.

Our girls lives were remarkable and now, in Heaven, they have shown us all what it truly means to love one another.


When I said goodbye a year ago today I had no idea what that truly meant. I rest in knowing that one glorious day my girls will say, “Welcome to Heaven Mom!”

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

Heaven Day

I love you both so much to Heaven and back!!!





In Love

He sat at the end of the bed with tears streaming down his face, “I miss our girls.”

“Me too.”

I was in charge of greeting everyone that came to the medical clinic. I stood, in the hot sun, most of the day connecting with the people of Kijabe and loved every minute of it. They were all so kind and thankful for what our team and the local doctors and volunteers were doing for their community.

It was a very humbling experience to sit and talk with people about what their basic needs – they included many things I took for granted daily.

Tom was in the prayer tent, each person who attended the clinic went to this space to have someone pray for their specific needs. We planned on taking these prayers home with us and would continue to pray for the beautiful people of Kijabe – sometimes that is all one can do.

He had just come out of the tent, was standing about 20 ft away talking with another team member and a local woman.

My heart started to race as our eyes connected.

I smiled and realized that the racing of my heart was due to the fact that I was madly in love with my husband. I was so proud of him and could outwardly see his love for the Lord. He is such a gentle soul and has so much to give to so many. He is a wonderful father and loving husband and I am so blessed and grateful to be walking this journey of life with him.

My heart is still racing!

Tom in Kijabe

We walked into the kitchen and pulled out some Kenya coffee beans. “I’m so glad you pushed us to go on an adventure for God instead of going to Fiji,” I said with a smile. “I love you more today than I ever have and I’m so glad that we are in this life together with God to guide us.”

“Me too,” he responded with a heartwarming smile.

We went on this adventure to serve God in hopes that he would draw us closer to Him which would in turn draw us closer together. He is so faithful and has done exactly that in our lives.

I am so in love and I know my girls are smiling in Heaven!!!



Thank you all so much for your prayers and encouragement over the past two weeks. God has done amazing things in our lives and I can’t wait to share.