Livin’ the Dream


It wasn’t until the past year or so that I discovered my dream job. This is the job I will do when I retire because it’s not quite lucrative enough to support the kiddos and I. My dream job is, (if I was tech savvy enough, I would somehow insert a drumroll, when your computer sensed you were at this part of the story), a professional baby snuggler. I would love to sit in the NICU with babies who need love or just a visit or a little lullaby. I would sing to them and pray for them and tell them all my great stories and share all of my jokes. And I could wear my leggings, a hoodie, a pony tail, and last night’s makeup – and I would not be judged. I wouldn’t be yelled at. It’s the dream.  

Anyway – my realistic dream job, which I wrote about here, is helping people like their jobs. I have an eye for talent and passion. I love getting to hear about what makes people love their job, what their suggestions are to make it better. So often, as leaders, we task ourselves with the business of problem solving for our teams – when they are perfectly capable and excited to solve problems alongside us. And guess what happens when we involve them in the problem solving process? They are bought in. Their engagement goes up. Their loyalty increases. And guess what all of that can lead to? Less turnover, more retention, a high skilled staff and happy people. Woop, woop!

It may sound like cupcakes and rainbows. And for me it is. In January, as I sat with my defeat of getting fired(!) I kept repeating to myself that my undeniable “ah-ha” moment was coming. When the Director of Talent Acquisition for a healthcare company called me and offered me the job – I looked up to the sky and said, “um, God? Is this it?” It wasn’t undeniable. It wasn’t fireworks. It kind of felt more like, “this is the only person asking me to work for her and I have a family to support, so, sure, I’ll take it.”

And, I almost wrote about it then – but I was scared. To acknowledge the fact that I had gotten a new job left me feeling extremely vulnerable. In October, I opened my talent, my heart, my time, my passion and six weeks later, it was all taken away from me suddenly, in such a mean, unkind way. Would that happen again? If I pretended to be non-chalant, if I put up a solid, brick wall, if I covered myself in chain mail would the pain be less if it happened again? Would I be protected?

During this time, I kept thinking about my pregnancy with Charlotte. Just because I had experienced tremendous pain and loss, with the miscarriage before her, did it mean that if I approached Charlotte’s pregnancy with little to no attachment – would it be easier if she didn’t make it to full term? No, it wouldn’t have. Did I approach my pregnancy with her with joy and excitement? I really didn’t. And did that rob me of joy? Yeah, a little bit.

To approach new experiences with trepidation doesn’t protect us from failure or hurt or grief – it robs us of our moments of joy. Charlotte is an exceptional reminder to experience joy. I always describe her as the girl that sees a swimming pool and is filled with so much excitement that she runs and dives right in and experiences the  joy instantaneously, whether or not the water is warm or cold, whether a towel is close by, whether the pH is balanced just right. My son, is more calculating. He sees a pool, weighs the pros and cons, licks his little finger and sticks it in the air to test the wind direction, dips his big toe in a little bit and makes an educated, informed decision. He is cautious and a little bit like his mama.

I have been in my new role for almost four months. And I can honestly say, that besides snuggling newborn babies, this is my dream job. This is my calling. It’s my realistic dream job. And I am so blessed and fortunate to be living out my calling. I have, with my team, had the opportunity to create programs and conduct research to find out what daily barriers our teams are struggling with, what suggestions they have for improvement and what drives them crazy. It is worthwhile work for me. It fills me with a purpose and a great sense of accomplishment.

I get to travel a bit. I get to work from home a lot. My boss is compassionate, kind and flexible. My partner and I get along well. She is funny and we are a small but mighty force with big dreams to change the culture in our company – a worthy goal, in my humble opinion.

Work Fun

It can be daunting. It can be annoying. But it’s also so fun. Every single person that I have had the privilege of speaking with tells me the same thing, “I love my residents.” (We are long term care facilities and rehab) And you know what? You can’t teach passion. We can teach and train people on so many things, but you can’t teach people to have passion for taking care of our seniors. It’s an honor and privilege to serve our residents and our team members in this capacity.

So I will throw myself in the thick of it. I will jump in the pool and enjoy every moment (well, not every moment, I am human). I will allow the fear of loss to take a backseat and allow joy to fill me up as I bask in the blessing that I am livin’ the dream. 🙂


Categories: inspiration, joy, travel, water, waves, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dear Little,

Dear Little,

How many letters have I written that start with that salutation? So many. But these letters were mostly on college ruled paper, hand written with a mechanical pencil and folded into a cool shape or sometimes just a lazy rectangle.

You know how man friends call their relationship a bromance? What do women call theirs? Girlmance? Chickmance? Friendship -yeah we don’t need labels. (Just kidding, we totally need labels). To say that Lindsey and I had a bromance would be an understatement – we are women. And so much cooler and so much more than a bromance, it’s a sisterhood. (Ooh, new recruitment marketing strategy?!)

I joined a sorority to appease my parents’ legitimate concern about my mental health. (When I am feeling less vulnerable – maybe I will share that journey – spolier alert – happy ending). It was an ultimatum, join a club or a group or you know, move home and go to therapy – which meant in my head – white jackets – padded walls. So, choosing greek life, was at the time the lesser of two evils and it kept me on track to graduate on time. (Please note- as an adult I am a big fan of therapy).

I didn’t always fit in. I didn’t drink until I puked. I didn’t sleep around. I didn’t ever kiss a boy I had just met much less have a “sleepover” (!) with him. I studied hard enough, I had other friends outside the group, I had interests outside the group and since it didn’t overcome my life, I felt like I was kind of on the outside looking in.

Maybe deep down, I was actually afraid that someone would freeze my bra or put my hand in warm water so I would have a potty accident….ah hem…wet the bed. (#motherhood). That never happened, as I didn’t go to school in a 90’s movie.

Somehow – joining a group (it would have happened the same way in any large group of women and in fact, did years later) was supposed to make me feel included and less lonely and somehow, it had the opposite effect until I found my Little.


I am just not a big group person. It took me a long time to learn that that was an okay thing to be. I had a similar experience in a MOMS Group, years later, where I was forcing myself to go to events I didn’t want to go to and hang out with women I didn’t really like just to be in the club. And while, my mom cohort now includes some other MOMS Club drop outs, it also includes women I genuinely enjoy being with and learning from, laughing and crying with.

This may sound harsh – and it may sound as if I hated my sorority – but I didn’t. It shaped me and helped me to meet some amazing women. I have a high bar for my small circle. So, as I cultivated friendships within this group – they were meaningful and strong and authentic. I didn’t like everyone and not everyone liked me. One sister wrote me a mean girl letter and sent it through international mail, overseas, to France, when I studied abroad and told me, in no uncertain terms, what a terrible person I was. I pondered, while she was spending her time on me, loathing me like the Grinch and the Who’s, what wasn’t she doing…? Was this the best use of her time? Was she shouting on the top of Mount Pleasant listing all of her grievances with me? I don’t know, I was mildly annoyed by the letter but I was in France!

C’est la vie.

A big highlight of my sorority adventure was getting my Little Sister. It is truly a momentous occasion. For me it even trumped being initiated. It’s where you choose a new member to be your bitch… I mean pal, friend, mentee, little sister. They also choose you. It’s nice when it is mutual. And for us, it was. And it’s nice to be chosen.

Being a competitive lady, I can confidently say, that aside from my Big’s Little, my Little was the best. She was competitive too, talented, smart, fearless, a tough cookie and almost as funny as me. There was not a better feeling than seeing a big smile pop across her face because I made her laugh. (I almost wrote that sentence in the present tense – but I have children now – and I worked really hard to make them and then get them out of my body – so that trumps Lindsey’s smile.)

She was my biggest cheerleader and one of my favorite things about college and the absolute best thing about being in that group.

Today, on a work (hooray, for gainful employment!) trip, I was able to catch up with Lindsey. It had been about a decade since we’d seen each other and many lifetimes – mostly because parking in Nashville is a competitive sport. We had a lot to catch up on: kids, marriage, jobs, moves, travel adventures, finding ourselves as adults. Surely, not enough to squeeze it all in in a two hour lunch visit – but – I’d had enough of her and her second chapter love story – geeze girl – reel it in! “I love my wife, she’s the best, she’s so smart and so athletic, I can’t get enough of her, blah, blah, blah…”

Totally kidding. Grateful that she gets to experience incredible love – I can’t imagine someone more deserving.

Friendships that transition into adulthood are rare. We are different people now. So different. I mean, we can both legally buy booze now.. We are a little more confident, a little less lost, have a little more spandex in our pants, a few more gray hairs on our heads but still just as funny and just as competitive.


So, dearest little, thank you for my lunch date. Thank you for being supportive and loving during transitions. You, my sweet sister, are a light. I look forward to our next visit and hope lifetimes don’t pass in between. If you come to New Baltimore, you can park anywhere for free! Certainly not as fun as in Nashville, but always a guaranteed win.

Love in the Bond,


Categories: change, College, friendship, Nashville, parenting, Sorority, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Make Sure the Top is Always on Your Chapstick.

As a mother, I am often delighted in my children. Please note, that I am also often horrified by them and mortified by them. But it’s a delicate balance.

After calling me into his room, for the 30th time since I put him to bed, five minutes before, I was annoyed. I was irritated. I was trying to watch Jeopardy to boost my confidence.

I opened the door, gave a big motherly sigh, and said, “What?” through gritted teeth.

“Mom,” my five year old said, “I learned something really important today.” He piqued my interest.

“Today, I was pretending the chapstick was a microphone.”

I wondered where I was when this was occurring. I was so sad that I missed his performance, he has such stage presence.

“And the chapstick was open, but I didn’t realize it.” Probably lost in his song.

“And I got chapstick all over my hands and now I have an invisible rash. I learned an important lesson today, mom. Make sure the top is always on your chapstick.”

I smiled before I burst out laughing. Now, his statement of learning will likely not turn into a famous quote or precept or words to live by, but it was profound to me in my little world.

I often refer to bedtime at my house as a battle. It’s has been the same routine since almost day one. So, he is five and half, and if my remedial math skills, serve me, that is more than 2,000 evenings of, settle-down show, books, teeth, potty break, bed. Some nights it goes so right and some nights, I shut their doors, pour a glass of wine, and pray that the Jeopardy theme song will drown out their calls for me.

That night, though, I was tired of mom-ing, ready for my own settle down show and irritated that I was shuffling down the hall in my light pink orthopedic slippers once again.

A few Christmas’s ago, my sister-in-law, Cait, opened her gift from my mom. Cait is a few years younger than me and at that time hadn’t hadn’t joined me in the momma ranks yet. As she opened the box, she revealed a brand new pair, of trendy, beautiful suede boots. When I received a similar kind of box, I smiled at my mom. I hope they fit, I thought.

When I opened my box, I gasped in horror. Orthopedic slippers!

How old am I? I did the math, 31. Surely, this doesn’t necessitate orthopedic slippers. I tried to hide my face, as it so often, very loudly and boldly, says exactly what I’m thinking.

I was grateful in the moment but at the same time horrified that I had transitioned from cute, young girl, to very old, decrepit lady, all in the time it took to rip the wrapping paper off the box.

But guess what? I still have them and still giggle when I put them on. Because, while I was horrified at getting Grandma, no, Great Grandma, slippers, they are now my favorite thing to wear around the house. They remind me how loved I am to have a mom who really cares about my foot well-being. And while they made me feel old and uncool, they have endured, supported and warmed my feet and continue to bring me joy on cold winter nights, that I never would have anticipated that Christmas.

In 2005, I studied abroad in France and over our Spring Break, I had the opportunity to go to Northern Ireland. It was just like the pictures. It was rich in it’s color and hospitality. The people were lovely , the beer was gross (to be fair, all beer is gross), but it was absolutely breathtaking.

I had gone with two classmates to Belfast. We decided we really wanted to go up the coast. So we took a bus tour and every twist and turn of the winding roads kind of made us want to vomit- but at every stop, our stomachs settled and our gaze widened. I’m not sure if I have ever been to a more beautiful country.

Part of the tour was to Giant’s Causeway and a quick stop to the Carrickarede Island. Carrickarede Island is a very small island that is connected to the mainland by a 66 foot rope bridge, almost 100 feet above the rocky, ocean below. My friends crossed first.

I was nervous, I guess. But it was more like a means to the end. I wanted to see the Island and the only way to get there was to cross the bridge. It was windy – not a gentle breeze but a fierce, loud, ocean wind. The bridge was more than swaying. The ocean roaring, icy blue water, slamming into the rocks below. I took a deep breath, dried my sweaty palms on my sorority windbreaker and took my first step.


My friend Sam, captured the exact moment of joy. It was exhilarating. It was terrifying. It was magnificent. It was joyful. The joyful kind of joyful. I wasn’t anticipating feeling so much, so quickly, so high up – and that makes it joyful, joyful. It’s one of my most favorite photos of me – it certainly isn’t glamorous and it certainly was taken with a camera that held a roll of film – but it was so full of joy that I wasn’t anticipating, it caught me off guard and figuratively blew me away.

So, at the end of a long bedtime battle, when Cameron shared his very important lesson from the day, I smiled and crawled into his bed for a few extra snuggles with the boy who smelled like cherry chapstick.

There are often times where God provides us joy moments, some are so clear and some we have to choose to see it. But the great thing about faith is, even in the trenches, we know, in our gut, that joy is coming.

That night, Cameron reminded me that there is often unexpected joy at the end of the hallway, inside the box or in the middle of a bridge, and the unexpected joy is the best kind of joy.

Categories: chapstick, Christmas, family, inspiration, ireland, joy, parenting, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Tugs on Your Heart

“Getting fired was the best thing that happened to me.”

I’m sure you’ve heard about remarkable people with a plethora of rejection letters that say rejection fueled them forward. Every rejection letter brought them closer to the right fit, the right job. Edison said, “I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” That is perseverance.

I am hopeful for a time where the hindsight becomes indisputably clear. The a-ha moment, where I say, “Oh!! That makes complete sense.”

This my friends, is hope. This my friends, is faith.

Getting fired. Just saying it (well, typing it) makes me…hopeful.

It allowed…no, forced me to take a step back and examine what was next. I hated the job where I got fired…the description was actually so perfect: creativity, facilitating change, creating a captivating culture, organizing. It all sounded so wonderful but job descriptions can be deceiving.

And when it vanished, or when they pulled the rug out from under me, it made me question everything. Maybe Human Resources wasn’t the right fit. Maybe I wasn’t good enough. I had a lot of free time now to doubt myself. Maybe it was time to try something completely new – or maybe this was a test of my own tenacity and I needed to push through and carry on. 1 down, 9,999 to go. That seemed daunting.

When I was a student at Central Michigan University (Fire up Chips!). I remember proudly declaring my major my sophomore year. Though I was ready to declare it at Freshman orientation (although, I could have declared it in the middle of sixth grade).

fire up (1)

French, please. Ah-hem, Francais, s’il vous plait!

I wanted to shout it from the rooftop of Pearce Hall! I adored the culture, the language, the pastries, the literature (mostly Children’s) and everything about the Eiffel Tower to Mont Saint Michel to the white rocky beaches of Nice. My passion was clear! My excitement was unparalleled.

My parents, who have always supported me, cautiously, said, ok… They encouraged me to pursue something I loved and boy, oh boy, did I love French.

People would often ask me, French and what?

And I would say, “and what, what?”

Why did French need to be accompanied by something? Why wasn’t it good enough to stand alone? I tried some teaching courses and had to complete some hours observing and I was as bored as the students in the classes. And yes, could I teach French in a unique, dynamic way? Probably, but I just didn’t feel that tug, that lets you know you’re undeniably, on the right path; that passion, that is a necessary component of a powerful, impactful teachers (Read: Richard McMullan, Rebecca Schrauwen and Geoff Wickersham).

So I tried business.


Then, sorry, French, but for a brief moment, I had a tiny doubt. A doubt-let. I wondered, shoot! Is this what I am supposed to do? Is French it? Is that dumb? Is that a marketable skill or just a neat party trick? But a Bachelor’s degree is a Bachelor’s degree right?

Then I found Hospitality. That seemed like a natural connection. This would likely propel my soon-to-be amazing career and take me to amazing places far and near. And it did, but more on that later – it also helped me form one of most meaningful friendships, in my adult life. And our love of the language, perpetuated us on a trip to Paris, only after having met each other in person, one time.

untitled design

Paris, France 2018

So, I stuck with French. Because it has captivated me for so long. I often long for Paris, Angers, Auvers Sur Oise. I long for the metro smell and then the more pleasing smells like fresh bread, wafting and dancing over me as I stroll casually, immersed in my favorite country, wondering if anyone can tell, that despite my very French scarf, that I actually didn’t belong.

And my passion for French is similar to my passion for people. My favorite thing about Human Resources is the people. When I worked in retail, early in my career, specifically in Customer Service, I would often experience such shock at the unkindness and harshness of people who didn’t get what they wanted. They yelled and screamed like children. I used to go home at the end of the day, flop on the couch, in my red and khaki and say, exasperatedly, “I hate people.”

Ironic, right? But HR is the behind the scenes of people. The man behind the curtain. (Or the lady in the office upstairs). I was able to help people, just like at customer service, but I was helping them grow, chase their dreams (as corny as that sounds), provide development opportunities and encourage them that even when things get hard, it gets better. I was a champion for corrective action and helping teams get better or make a different career move. I helped women in abusive relationship, I helped people who were experiencing homelessness, find solid ground. I grieved loss and miscarriages with my teams and provided love and light and usually chocolate. I celebrated new marriages, new babies, promotions.

“We all have stuff.” My favorite boss used to say this to me and was a big turning point in my adult, leadership education. We take care of our teams so they are able to work hard for us and for themselves. This is core of my passion. When our teams know they are cared for, they care for us too. “We all have stuff”, makes us not just manager and employee but rather, just two humans. We relate to each other knowing that even though we may have different loads to carry, we are still both carrying loads, and sometimes they are too heavy and we need to know that we are allowed to set them down, even if only temporarily.  I think this is called, compassion.

It is the people that my heart is called to.

So, my passion is clear. People. And French. No need to doubt. It tugs at my heart – so I know I’m on the right path. So, now, on the pursuit of what’s next, I will allow God to provide me with my undeniable a-ha moment. And I will be joyful and patient in the pursuit, because I know it’s coming.




Categories: change, family, France, friendship, hope, inspiration, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment


As I reflected back on my 2018 – it is only appropriate to say that I made it out of the back half, alive, barely. Stress, anxiety, financial burdens, career changes, address changes, marital status changes and illness all rocked my world.

I sat in the unemployment office for nearly eight hours when they finally called my number. I’d finished a book and did a significant amount of people watching. I judged them harshly- taking advantage of the system, I’d thought.

But was I any different? I had been fired (!?) from a job without any fault of my own. Wasn’t the “system” supposed to help me stay afloat until I found a life raft, a ship, a dolphin, a wave to ride to shore? As the day wore on, and I eavesdropped on conversations of unjust terminations and connected with my bench buddy who was laid off from his construction job, I softened. Are there people who abuse our systems? Yes. But I don’t think they hold the majority.

I am certainly not even close to a Mother Teresa type of human- but it made me think of what she said about people: If you judge people, you have no time to love them. Now, did I fall in love with my bench buddy? No, but he crushed my preconceived notions of those who wait in the unemployment line.

As 2018 drew to a close and I was fighting near unbearable upper respiratory shenanigans, I kept thinking to myself, that the waves will subside.

I kept getting knocked down by waves. Really big ones. Really close together. Surely, the waves won’t last forever.

My divorce was finalized in September. Bittersweet to be sure. I got a new job in the fall and I thought it was the dream. It was closer to home, my boss had so much knowledge and experience and it was flexible with my home schedule. It turned out to be a flop. He hired me to replace a woman he didn’t get along with – but then had her train me. This should have been a red flag but oh, the rainbow.

Let me tell you about the rainbow. When I went into accept the new job, I left there, feeling apprehensive. Was this the right move? Is this what God had planned for me? Was this where I was meant to be? And as I unlocked my car, I saw something reflecting in the window – it was a rainbow. Obviously, rainbows symbolize God’s promise – but after having miscarried and a rainbow baby that joined our family later – it meant so much more to me. God is faithful. God is present. God is always working. God sees me. God put me here for a reason. He was affirming my decision. I felt like I could walk on water, calm the waves with my hand. With God cheering for me, how could I falter?

My boss, worked out of three locations and I never knew where he was. When he was in my location, his door was shut. He never responded to my emails, never gave me a list of things to work on, never spoke to me. So I shadowed the other HR woman who was supposed to be terminated who I grew quite fond of.

And then, six short weeks later, I got a phone call, the Friday before Christmas and my boss, whom I’d idolized from the get-go, said, “you’re fired.”

“Why?” I managed to whisper.

He went on to explain that even though I had organized employee files, created new applications, rewrote the employee handbook and negotiated benefit contracts – that I was not the right fit.

Truly, honestly, that hurt my feelings more than if it had been the quality of my work performance. To me, it was so personal, he just didn’t like me. He was cold and callous. I said, “it’s Christmas.”

He replied, “Well, there’s never a good time to fire someone.”

And all I could mutter was, “well, there is a bad time.”

He hung up the phone.

But the rainbow!

The rainbow?

On that cold, wintery, December night, it was dark. No sun, no rainbow.

I wondered why God had lead me down this path. Why did he allow the waves to keep coming? One after another. I barely had time to catch my breath before another wave came to knock me down.

After the holidays, things will settle down, I thought. Surely the waves won’t last forever.

And then I got sick. It was the long lasting, never ending, illness that knocked me off my feet. So, tiny sliver of silver lining. At least I didn’t have to go into work. I could rest and try and recover.

I went to my parents lake house on Lake Huron for a change of scenery.

The lake there is incredibly blue and deep and powerful. It is so often my church. I spent many evenings on the rocky jetty, worshiping and chatting with God – usually with a glass of wine.

As I watched a storm roll in, the wind blew in these incredible giant waves, I saw that they were relentless. They were deafening. They were crashing on shore, washing away the beach and clearing a path. I was so moved by their power, their persistence, their tenacity.

Waves are powerful forces. They change the landscape. They move things. They redirect. They shift. They change. They are fierce but there is beauty in their power.

waves are powerful forces. they change the landscape. they move things. they redirect. they shift. they change. they are fierce. there is beauty in their power.

Am I God’s landscape? Is he using these waves to transform me? I want to shout above the roar of the waves, “Just tell me what you want, I will do it, I’ll be it, I’ll give it.” But a lump of coal doesn’t demand to be a diamond. It endures heat and pressure, and it’s own waves, as it were, to become a diamond. It takes time.

Any maybe in this uneasy, unpredictable season (I hope it’s just a season), I am being transformed. Into what? God only knows.


Photo Credit: Vinia Photography

And when I find myself praying for the waves to cease, a reprieve from the big ones. I am often caught off guard with the thought that waves are never ceasing. Even on a hot summer day, when there is not a whisper of a breeze, the flatness and calmness of the lake still shows ripples of waves. Tiny, to be sure, but waves nonetheless, a gentle reminder that God isn’t finished with us yet. 





Categories: change, hope, inspiration, lake huron, Photography, travel, water, waves | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Thrill of Hope

When I was younger, I remember my Grandma Thelma, getting excited over my achievements or

adventures. She would always say, “Oh Cathy, I’m just so thrilled.”

It stood out to me, even then, as a lover of words. What made her choose the word “thrill” over other

words, like “excited,” “stoked,” “jazzed?”

Thrill, to me, was often associated with danger and bad choices.

My grandma, I’m sure had her fair share of thrills, married to my grandpa Bill, drag racing down Ten Mile

Road, but I knew this wasn’t what she meant.

Being thrilled was to have a classy (my grandma is nothing, if not classy) excitement over something. So

exciting in fact that it might even cause a tremor of fear.

“A thrill of hope, a weary world rejoices.” Has always been one of my favorite lines of one of my favorite

Christmas carols, although, not until recently did I truly hear and understand the line. Sometimes, the

world does seem all too weary. Too much hardship, too much hunger, too many bills, too many

catastrophes, too many acts of violence, too much politics, too much pain, too much hurt, too much

sadness, too much death, too many commitments, too much suffering, too much despair.

Weary, indeed.

I had a job interview last week for a job I lazily applied for as I was scrolling through the job boards. I was

really hesitant about the job itself and the company in general. I was really doubtful and was surprised

when I made it through the recruiter screening and was scheduled for an in-person interview.

I got there a few minutes early and said a prayer, as I almost always do, before an interview. “Let it go well

and let your will be done.” I want to do a great job, leave it all on the table and present my best self.

I will let God control the outcome and I will accept it – I just don’t want to look like an idiot.

In I went, and who greeted me at the door? A Great Dane named Bella. She was happy and friendly.

The place was modest but there was a tangible, positive energy. I had been saying for years that I really

wanted to work at a place with a dog. (Was this, a sign unto me?)

I left, kind of dazed. The interview went well, really well, so well in fact, they checked references before I

even got home that night. They wanted to make an offer in 24 hours.

When I left that interview, my heart was racing, I was excited, no, I was more than just excited. My

Christmas song suddenly had meaning, depth, it was like I had heard it…like really heard it for the first

time. I had a feeling down to my core. I understood what it meant to feel a thrill of hope. A job I wasn’t

sure I even wanted seemed to be the exact right fit. I was more than excited. I was absolutely thrilled – so

thrilled in fact it scared me a little. It was this incredible feeling deep down to my bones of something

better, something exciting, something good is on the horizon.

And the shepherds that night?

A thrill of hope.

Excited but terrified? That sounds about right.

But it’s now been 94.5 hours (but who’s counting?). So, I’m thinking it’s a no for this job. But there is a tiny

sliver, a tiny ray, perhaps from a bright shining Bethlehem star, of hope. But this isn’t really about a job. It’s

a lesson intertwined into the everyday moments.

In the waiting, I’m hopeful.

The parallels are not lost on me. As we are immersed in the Advent season, the season of waiting,

anticipating the good, the better, the exciting, it’s only fitting that we are asked to wait.

So, weary world, we will wait and we know the promise of a future that is good and better and thrilling,

is one worth waiting for. The shepherd’s will tell you that. The thrill of hope is coming, and it’s worth the


Categories: advent, Christmas, hope, interview, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Preschool Prayer

Five years ago – we decided to try for you. It was a long road. We longed for you. We prayed for you. We railed against God when you didn’t come and when you finally came, to say we were overjoyed, would be a gross understatement. We noticed your every detail, every feature, every grimace, every scowl, every yawn, we gazed at you in awe. You were pure love, joy and light.

The last three and a half years, though we didn’t think it possible, we grew to love you more – falling more in love with you every day. You are incredibly funny, you have impeccable comedic timing for your age, you are kind, you are feisty and fierce, you are imaginative, you are compassionate, you are so special and we are so lucky.

In your short life, so far, you have had many adventures and we have left you with grandmas and grandpas, aunts and uncles, other family members and good friends. You have always adjusted pretty quickly and are pretty excited to experience something new, albeit cautiously. Tomorrow, you embark on your first very big adventure : preschool.

Your bag is packed and you are ready. My sweet boy, you are ready. And, though, when the moment comes, as so many other big moments in your childhood, it is dripping with the bittersweetness of one chapter coming to a close and another brand new beginning.

I will watch you, wearing your giant Lightening McQueen backpack, your crazy “Minion hair,” walk down the hallway with your teacher, through teary eyes and will be anxiously awaiting to hear all about your silly day.

I pray that God will protect you. I pray that you are kind, you remember your manners, you share. I pray that you follow directions. I pray you make good choices. I pray you laugh. Play. Make new friends. I pray that you have fun. I pray that other kids are kind to you and you to them. I pray that you learn and grow in your independence. And I pray that you feel safe and happy at school. And I pray you aren’t the first kid to pee your pants. (and if you are, I pray the extra pants I packed, still fit you).

I love you, love bug. Have a great day at school and I will be right here to pick you up at the end of the day.

Categories: family, preschool, travel | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Happy Birthday, Little Girl

Good Morning, Little Girl and happy birthday. It’s a hard day for me as today would have been your birthday. I think of you every day and the sweet little baby you will always be to me. I only carried you in my belly for a few short weeks but will carry you in my heart for the rest of my days. When I saw those two pink lines – I instantly knew you were a girl.

On the day you left us back in March– I wasn’t sure I could ever go on – how would I “get over” you? How would I move on? And what I’ve learned was that those were never attainable goals of things I needed to do. I needed time and I needed to adjust to having my baby live in heaven instead of here with us. I was slightly comforted in the fact I wasn’t alone – that there are lots of mommas whose babies go to heaven all too quickly. And I was comforted by the image that God presented me with one night, lying in bed thinking about you.

To me, you are swaddled in light pink baby blankets, rocked in a rocking chair by your Great Gramma Halmhuber in heaven. I imagine the little girl you would have become; stubborn and sweet just like your big brother, your baby blues conning me into giving in to your every request. I pictured us having lovely tea parties, playing dress up and painting your nails. I imagine the crazy teenager you would have morphed into that I’m sure would leave me wondering how your grandma put up with me in my crazy adolescent years. I imagine the big joyful tears streaming down my face as I watched the woman you’d become walking down the aisle and someday holding your own babies.

I long to snuggle you and breathe in that baby smell and the sweet pinkness that encompasses little, tiny, girl babies. I long to comfort you in the wee hours of the morning, rock you in your room, and connect with you as you sleep on my chest. I long for your brother to know you, protect you and show you everything about this world we live in. I wish for your daddy to hold you in his arms and know that while girl babies are scary – he wouldn’t have our family any other way.

Tonight, Cameron, your daddy and myself (and your baby brother or sister in my belly) went to a park on Anchor Bay and released a pink lantern into the sky to celebrate your birthday and honor you, sweet baby. Cameron asked sadly, as it floated to heaven, “Is that lantern becoming a star?”

“Yes,” we replied. Our little star. We will think of you when we look at a beautiful night sky and remember how we celebrated your birthday.

And I know that while all of my dreams for you may not be realized, I do know that I will someday be reunited with you and hold you in your sweet pinkness and for now, that is enough.

Happy birthday, little girl, I love you.

Love, Momma

(from Pinterest)

(from Pinterest)

Categories: travel | 1 Comment

A Moment, 17 Years in the Making

Seventeen years ago I was forced to go to church camp…not just any church camp but choir camp. My family and I had just moved back to Michigan from Pennsylvania and this was going to be a “great way to meet people.” At 13 years old, I was less than impressed by the prospect of going to a nerdy bible camp where we had to sing all day, every day. I can’t carry a tune and had no interest in learning but my mother forced me to go.
And (long before today) I was so grateful.
When I timidly stepped into the musty, dingy cabin with my turquoise sleeping bag under my arm a bright bubbly blonde interrupted my 13 year old angst-y thoughts.
“Hi! I’m Amy!” She said. She was a magical ray of sunshine in that dark, dreary cabin.
And that is how I met one of my oldest friends. We survived middle school and high school together having an occasional class together , we grew up in the church choir room together, four more years of choir camp, and then we went our separate ways to college. But we still had our chats on the dock of Walnut Lake, cinnamon toast from Einstein’s, we traveled around the world separately, we both got married back at home and then we both moved away.
After fifteen years of friendship, I got the most wonderful news! After a long road, she and her husband were expecting twins. I was thrilled and deeply saddened at the same time. This was the time that Matt and I had been trying for over a year. We had decided not to share our news or lack of news with anyone to try and avoid undue stress. But when I found out that she was pregnant, I knew she could be someone to reach out to. She talked me off many levels of ledges and our friendship grew in a completely different direction.
A few months later, we were pregnant too! We literally grew out together during this time. We were 700 miles apart but it was as though we were sitting on the dock sharing our stories, thoughts, and worries along the way.
Last week, we spent time together. In person. With our children. We drank coffee and cinnamon toast and traded stories of how wonderful a blessing our children have been to us. And conversely how awful and lonely mother hood can be. How messy. How grumpy. How exhausting.
Our kids played near each other, stole each other’s food, and drank out of each other’s sippy cups and we watched the three of them in awe. She reaffirmed my parenting style and I told her how beautiful her children were. We reminisced. We laughed. I cried.
Big sappy tears: Tears of happiness; to finally have a friend who understands without judgment. Tears of sorrow; for knowing our visit was going too fast. And tears of joy because how lucky am I to have had a friend for seventeen years for many seasons of life? How blessed. How magical.

the six of us

Categories: baby, camp, friendship | Leave a comment

Waiting for Cameron

I’ve been thinking about this post for a long time now but was never sure how to start it…. So tonight, one the eve of my son’s first birthday, I thought I would just dive in.

Someone once told me, they had a hard time getting pregnant with their second child, “it took three months,” she said. Three months!? Really? I was twelve months deep and still no baby. I had been poked and prodded, medicated, charted and still nothing but heartbreak. To have compassion for this woman was beyond my realm of possibility. Or was it?

I realized that we are in a society of instant gratification, when we want something, we get it. When we want a baby, we want one immediately (or at least 9 months from that decision). So no matter how long it took you to get pregnant, whether it’s three months or three years, it’s heartbreaking month after month to discover you are not.

It took us fourteen months to get pregnant with Cameron and we needed a lot of prayer and a few milligrams of science to get us there. When my cousin was pregnant with her third baby, she connected with the Michael Buble song, “Just Haven’t Met You Yet.” And it became their song. When I got pregnant with Cam, our song was, “1,000 Years,” by Christina Perri.

The song is melancholy and lovely and for me describes my love and relationship with Cam from the day I got pregnant, to his birth, to his first birthday and beyond. And while, I love this song, I can’t sing it without a lump rising in my throat and a tear falling down my cheek. I didn’t know I was capable of such a love. I sang (or tried to sing) this song to him when he was readmitted to the hospital five days after he was born to treat his jaundice, I sang it to him when we danced in his room, I sang it to him on my last night of maternity leave and I sing it to him now when he has trouble getting to sleep.

When they placed him on my chest, after one power outage, one viewing of the Wizard of Oz, one Tiger’s game, one epidural, two tums, lots of ice chips and 23.5 hours of labor, the lyrics came to me. “I have died every day waiting for you, darling don’t be afraid, I have loved you for a thousand years.”

I couldn’t believe my prayers were answered. Every devastating month waiting to get pregnant, I had the hope in the back of my mind that God was just waiting for the perfect time to send the perfect baby and in that moment, when I held him for the first time and heard Matt whisper in disbelief, “It’s a boy,” I knew I was right.

So, happy birthday, Cam. You have taught us what unconditional love looks like, what patience looks like and you have taught us that sleep is mostly overrated and something we can do without, more often than not. You are kind, you are loving, you have amazing hair, you make us laugh, you love to eat everything, even carpet fuzzies, and I can’t imagine our lives any other way. You were so worth the wait.



Happy Birthday, love bug.

“A Thousand Years”


Heart beats fast
Colors and promises
How to be brave?
How can I love when I’m afraid to fall?
But watching you stand alone,
All of my doubt suddenly goes away somehow.

One step closer

I have died every day waiting for you
Darling, don’t be afraid I have loved you
For a thousand years
I’ll love you for a thousand more

Time stands still
Beauty in all she is
I will be brave
I will not let anything take away
What’s standing in front of me
Every breath
Every hour has come to this

One step closer

I have died every day waiting for you
Darling, don’t be afraid I have loved you
For a thousand years
I’ll love you for a thousand more

And all along I believed I would find you
Time has brought your heart to me
I have loved you for a thousand years
I’ll love you for a thousand more

One step closer
One step closer

I have died every day waiting for you
Darling don’t be afraid I have loved you
For a thousand years
I’ll love you for a thousand more

And all along I believed I would find you
Time has brought your heart to me
I have loved you for a thousand years
I’ll love you for a thousand more

Categories: baby, birth, family, infants, newborns, parenting, pregnancy, singing | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Create a free website or blog at