When they Walk through the Valley of Weeping…

Just a few days ago James was on a huge high.  He was on his sister’s marching bands pit crew and as he helped, we could see his confidence soar.  I love seeing James confident and self-assured.  He stands a little taller, smiles a little bigger and is so much more independent than he is normally.


The day after the competition though, I noticed some small signs of his bipolar cycling again and felt my heart seize a little.  When James begins to cycle, none of us really know what is going to happen.  From a grumpy mood, to a full-blown images-16physical explosion of aggression or some vague sadness to out right depression mixed with suicidal idealizations; bipolar seeps into the cracks and crevices of James’ psyche seeking to tear down any and all gains he’s made.

Hoping the fatigue and even the excitement of the day before was triggering some of his symptoms, I sought to have a very quiet down day where James had no pressure – just peace.  I knew it was too little too late when James began to ask with an urgency that he NEEDED to see Lynn, “right now“.  Lynn, is James’ counselor who has been a rock for James and the rest of us as we’ve navigated some very difficult terrain the past few years.

As I tucked James in bed, I told him the words he has heard a million times over.

“James, there is nothing you can ever do that will make me not love you.  There is nothing you can ever say that will make me not like you.” 

I meant every word… Oh how I meant it.  I also knew though, in all likelihood, in the next few days those words would be tested as James chemistry causes him to cycle deeper into the world of bipolar darkness and rage.

Just a few hours later, when we were all soundly sleeping James was up.  Though his medications normally help him sleep through the night, the chemical imbalance now over road them.  Pacing, walking, filled with unbridled energy; like a thief in the night, bipolar came to rob James of his peace, his rest and his hope.  Before we were even fully awake and aware of what was going on, James was coming unglued.  Coping mechanisms failed, fear invaded and the spiraling began.  Down, down, down James went into an abyss.  No rest.  No peace.  Up and Down.  Rapid taking.  Anger.  Aggression.

As I awakened and realized James torture I wept inside.  images-17God help me.  God help me find my son.  God help me find my son in the midst of this….

Today has been long.  As the day has drawn to an end my sweet baby boy has headed to bed.  Under my watchful eye I pray he will sleep and sleep and sleep until his mind, body and spirit have found rest.  I am fully aware though, that as of now, he’s yet not totally himself.  And I’m not yet sure which way this cycle will go. He will either stabilize and find his footing again or, spiral again into that horrible dark place where he feels so lost and I feel as though I can’t find him at all.  Of course, it is my greatest hope that tomorrow he will awaken once again full of hope and ready to do whatever brings him joy.  I am however prepared to stand with him should tomorrow and the follow days go the other direction too.

You see, I am painfully aware of the hopelessness that the struggle with bipolar brings into my son’s life.  It surely seeks to bring its own form of hopelessness to me when I see him standing there and want to so deeply to heal his wounded soul and yet I am unable to do just that.  Instead of giving in to that hopelessness however, I have learned  that though we often live in the  Valley of Weeping, God will fill that place with His refreshing springs when we trust in him. There is a choice to trust him even when it hurts – and in doing so I promise you there is over flowing gifts of his peace.

Let there be no doubt, we have medications we faithfully administer, and wise doctors/counselors who help us through the most difficult of times. How thankful we are for each of these things.  In the end though, I know I could never love James as deeply and as well as he deserves without God’s help.  I also know, James will never be able to withstand the overwhelming pain that bipolar disorder brings without a deep understanding that even in the midst of this horrific confusion and pain there is a God who loves him unconditionally.

Knowing the struggle James faces is a life long struggle and choosing to walk that struggle with him no matter what, I find my peace not in the highs of when he is doing well or my devastation in the lows of his frail state.  Rather, I find peace and hope in my God in Heaven.  He sees.  He knows.  He understands James suffering and my mama’s aching heart.

Psalm 84:6
6 When they walk through the Valley of Weeping,[b]
it will become a place of refreshing springs.
imagesMy love always,


The Neurosurgeon

In 2012, I underwent a life changing surgery.  After I was overdosed by my nurse I developed an excruciating condition called hyperacusis where even the most quiet of sounds were horribly painful.  Hoping to fix the problem, my neurosurgeon went into the back of my head and examined my cranial nerves looking for any problems.  To his, and everyone’s surprise, he found an artery thumping away on my acoustic cranial nerve that was the cause of the pain.  Delicately he slipped a small teflon pillow between the two and instantly my horrible pain went away.

A few months after my surgery, for reasons we just don’t know, I had a stroke.  I remember walking into my doctors office with a pounding headache.  My previous surgical wound that hadn’t been healing extremely well had opened up from the pressure behind it and was bleeding.  A different neurosurgeon – who was equally as kind as my first – explained something was really wrong and I needed to head back to the hospital straight to the ICU.

Disheartened, I went to the hospital where I was admitted and rushed to the MRI.  They found the stroke and decided they needed to go back to surgery to make sure I didn’t have a chronic problem that was causing my more acute issues.  Even though I had indeed bled into my cerebellum, no other issues were found.  The doctors were able to sew my wound back up and I was able to recover in the hospital. I was soon home again.

Over the next few weeks my wound started to seep again. I was so discouraged.  I needed our life to be normal.  James’ bipolar disorder was just beginning to declare itself fully and after a year of my struggle to recover Faith was showing definite signs of stress.  And yet, no matter how diligently I followed doctors orders, my wound continued to seep, leak and do everything you just don’t want it to do.

Finally, one evening it opened back up again.  Horrified, Phillip took me to the ER where we met my third neurosurgeon.  I was so discouraged and just wanted him to throw a few stitches in the back of my head.  He, insisted that he really needed to take me back to surgery to look for a chronic CSF leak.  As we talked, I asked if I could pray for him and he kindly allowed me to and shared he was also a Christian.  After all I had been through, finding commonality in our faith was just what I needed to intrust myself to him.

I don’t remember a lot after that surgery.  I’ve been told as I awakened I was violent, and acting incredibly out of character.  This, to this day, horrifies me.  Apparently, I was so out of it, I was even placed in restraints so I wouldn’t pull the stitches out of my head.  Anyone who knows me know, understands how truly odd this type of behavior is for me under any circumstance.  Days apparently passed – again I have no real memory of them.  Just vague flashes of the doctor asking me loudly to do things when all I wanted to do was sleep.

One doctor of mine suggested that after an anoxic brain injury the year before, a stroke, and three back to back surgeries on my head my body just kind of run out of gas.  That I was exhausted and needed time to recover.  I think that is a really reasonable explanation.


Once home, I discovered my son James was utterly horrified by my head incision.  He thought it looked like worms crawling out of my head and he started to have nightmares.  I tried to cover it up and in doing so managed to really do a doozy on my incision.  Embarrassed I returned to my surgeon and explained what happened.  I expected his understanding.  After all, he was my fellow Christian – the one who had Christ’s love working through him.  But instead I was met with frustration and anger.  “You did what?”  “Why would you do that?” He shook his head looking down his nose at me oozing judgment and arrogance.  I wanted to crawl in a hole.  I felt bad enough for pulling some staples loose — He didn’t seem to care though.  He seemed to enjoy heaping more and more embarrassment on like searing coals to my very weary heart.

For the next several weeks I felt physically awful and my wound looked awful too.  It became infected and was a horrible mess. Instead of compassion though, my surgeon treated me like someone who was lesser than him. His anger towards me climaxed one afternoon as I winced as he stitched my incision back up without numbing it at all.  I could almost feel his delight in hurting me tug after tug.

Finally, after many months my head wound had finally healed — but my heart was raw with new wounds from how this doctor had treated me.  He had decided — with no evidence  — that I was tampering with my wound.  Why?  Because he was too good of a surgeon to have a patient who would get an infection and have wound problems under his care.  Sigh…How wrong he was.

During my whole experience with my surgeon another doctor who had eyes to see and ears to hear sent me to a geneticist in Denver.  He wondered if there might be an underlying condition that caused healing issues that would explain all that had happened.  As the geneticist looked at all of my surgical scars from many past surgeries, heard of my unexplained stroke, saw my hyper mobile joints and various other issues he easily diagnosed a connective tissue condition called Ehlers Danlos syndrome.  As a told him how my neurosurgeon was cruel and accused me of not handling my incision right – he looked me straight in the eye and said, “You are 100% vindicated.  Your surgeon knows a lot about brains but he sure doesn’t know anything about this”.  I wept.


It’s been almost 5 years since my nurse overdosed me and the hardest thing to get over has been how this one neurosurgeon treated me.  I’ve been able to forgive the nurse and pharmacist who caused my overdose.  I’ve been able to embrace myself as I am today instead of yearning for who I one was. Yet, I still deeply struggle with this man however, who says he knows and loves the Lord Jesus, and yet demonstrated no tangible evidence of His love in how he dealt with me.

1 Corinthians 13:1-8 talks about what it looks like when we live life with or without love.  In my weaker moments I’d love to burn this doctor at the stake for how he treated me, however if I’m honest, I’ve treated people without love too.

1Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned,[a] but have not love, it profits me nothing.

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails. 

Oh how deeply I regret those times I’ve treated people out of anger or frustration.  My heart aches even more so now that I was so poorly treated and understand the lasting  scars behavior like this inflicts.  When we fail to love, we cause wounds that are deep and lasting.  How I pray those who have been on the receiving end of me not loving you well will hear this.  I am so deeply sorry  for how I hurt you and how I failed you.  I ask you to please forgive me.

The story of my neurosurgeon and me now stands as a living memorial of how I do not want to live.  It shines a light brightly on my own heart and reminds me when I am tired, disappointed, frustrated or even angry that I have a choice of how I treat others.  It reminds me daily that God’s commandment to love others as we love ourselves is truly one of our highest callings. It is my greatest hope, that as we Christians journey through life we will be known by our love and one person at a time, we will change the world.

Much love always,



A fist NEVER solves ANYTHING

The other day, while at the store picking us some cough medicine with James, he was in a rather irritable mood.  He’s sick right now and feeling miserable.  Whenever he is sick, his behavior cycles rapidly through dramatic highs and lows.  It isn’t easy to gauge when those moods will change either.  So, when we left the house, he was on a high laughing and smiling.  Once at the store though, his anger and frustration kicked in and I knew we needed to make a quick get away.  I remember saying to James, “I know you’re feeling crummy.  We will only buy this one thing and then we are out of here so just try to hold it together for just a few more minutes”.  In the mind of a young man with cognitive deficits, autism spectrum disorder and bipolar however, a few minutes, are like hours of horrible torture.

As I paid, James said some inappropriate things and everyone around us heard. Gasps filled the air.  One mom quickly covered her child’s ears and she made a rapid get away from my, “Monster” (yes — she used that very word).  What the people around me didn’t know — and certainly didn’t even consider — was the possibility that James has hidden disabilities that impact his ability to cope.  Sigh.  Why is it so hard to consider for one moment that there might just be more going on than meets the eye???

As James behavior escalated, all I wanted to do was get out of there away from the stares and shaking heads.   As the clerk handed me my change and we began to make our get away, a man looked at me and sharply said, “If he was my kid, I’d introduce him to this.” — and then he raised a clinched fist right in front of my face.  FistThankfully, James was so preoccupied with wanting to get home, he didn’t even see the man.  So, exasperated I pushed around him and rushed James to the car.

Once home, James headed straight to his room and slept for the next three hours.  I went to my room and sobbed.  After so many years of people telling me how’d they handle my son, my frustration had peaked with that man’s stupid fist.

Quiet no more — I want the world to know

  1. There are thousands of parents who are tirelessly raising their children with disabilities.  Note I said tirelessly.  But honestly, that isn’t totally true.  While we will never grow tired of our children and our love for them has no end, we are often physically and emotionally EXHAUSTED and HAGGARD.  Sometimes, we are utterly CONFUSED.  Please understand our fragile hearts caused by hope deferred.
  2. There isn’t a day we don’t question ourselves and how we are parenting our child.  We’ve read books, consulted with experts, done countless therapies and yet there are just days and times when NONE of it WORKS. NONE. OF. IT.  And yet we keep on trying again and again and again.
  3. We DO NOT regret having our child.  WE LOVE THEM.  They are our TREASURES and that will NEVER change.
  4. We do however HATE people who look down their noses at us and our kids — Our days are challenging enough without you bringing your judgment and arrogance into our world.
  5. If you can’t be supportive and understanding then don’t bud in.  Its NOT helpful and instead very hurtful.
  6. If however you can offer a smile, an encouraging word or even a hug WE WILL TAKE IT.  Kindness and compassion can take an awful day and turn it around.
  7. A fist NEVER solves ANYTHING.  A fist NEVER heals ANYTHING.  A fist is the lazy mans way out.  The road less traveled of unconditional love is the road we CHOOSE and whether you like it or not, it is far more powerful and life transforming than any fist or act of violence could ever bring.
  8. We CHOOSE love.  We CHOOSE to stand with our kids to protect them from your stares and your shame.  We will always stand with them — because LOVE NEVER FAILS.

So, the next time you see a tired mom or dad standing in the store with their over six foot son who just isn’t acting as you’d like, instead of being the nightmare of the day, STOP and instead choose to be kind, compassionate and caring.  Smile at them.  Tell them a funny story you’ve had with your kids where things didn’t go as you would choose – find a way to ease their burden.  Find a way to create hope through love.

I am a far better person because James is my son.  Before he came, I thought I had it all figured out and I likely would have been one who rudely counseled a tired mom or dad at the grocery store when their child with a hidden disability acted out.  Because of James though, I have grown in compassion and have learned to give more of myself than I ever dreamed I could.  Because I love him, I’ve learned to persevere with him, and hope for him no matter how bad the day is.  He has grown my heart many, many times over and I am so very proud to be his mom.

Because I know James’ heart I will never allow those few bad moments in the store define him.  He is the most gentle of souls.  He is tender hearted and kind.  Though he struggles mightily, he also loves deeply.  He is an overcomer and never ceases to amaze me.

I have learned through James that loving someone who struggles is an honor.  He is my joy.  I am so incredibly proud of James and because of this, my Mama’s hearts cry is that others would know and love him too.



Let us Remember – We do Have a Choice

I awakened today with a heavy heart of remembrance.  It feels as though, at least it Colorado, the Heavens are remembering too as the skies are filled with weighted gray clouds, the bird’s singing is quieted and a tense hush has fallen across our normally majestic landscape.

It’s 9-11-2015.

How is it possible that it was 14 years ago that our nation was suddenly awakened to the cruel reality of terrorism across our great land?  In my minds eye, it seems like just yesterday.  How well I remember when I turned on the television and saw the first tower burning.  We didn’t yet understand what was going on as I stood with my eyes glued to the screen.  I remember thinking about those poor people who were trapped.  Surely the firefighters would get to them…right?  And then, the second plane flashed in the corner of the screen and before I could even comprehend what was happening, it slammed into the second tower.  I fell to my knees and began to sob.

Our nation was under attack.

Terror filled my heart as more news reports flashed across the screen.  The pentagon was hit.  Precious people were jumping from the towers.  All flights in US airspace were being grounded.  The towers fell.  Flight 93.  When would it end?  How many were lost? What type of world were my kids going to grow up in?  Would there ever be peace again?

That night, as darkness fell across our land I wondered and worried what the next days would bring.  We were a nation broken in spirit — how could we possibly go on??  And yet, that is exactly what we did.  As the sun rose the next day, flags filled neighborhoods while kindness and compassion for each other overflowed.  Honking horns on the interstate died down, patience grew in grocery lines, millions of dollars were donated and political lines in the sand were torn down.  We discovered the truth of 2 Corinthians 4:8-9

8we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing;9persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;…

In the midst of tragedy, we found peace and comfort in each other and common goal to not only survive but thrive and flourish once again.

As time passes thought, great moments in history often fade.  Moments of unity like we experienced after 9-11-2001 that paint a nations resolve in bold colors of crimson red, lemon yellow, kelly green and peacock blue dim into faint memories of what once was.   Grays, harsh black and whites begin to rule the land again stealing hope of unity, freedom and peace.  Anger settles in as hope deferred makes hearts sick (Proverbs 13:12) and suddenly instead of flourishing we are faltering.

Friends, we are a nation on the edge of a mighty fall caused by our own inability to see that united we are strong but divided we incredibly weak.  Let us never forget September 11, 2001.  Let us never forget those we lost – those who suffered the most – those who still ache to just hold their loved one just one more time.  Let us also never forget the lessons we learned in the days, weeks and months following 9-11-2001.  May we all press back in to those memories and breath living color back into the truth they bring.

Remembering is the first step.  Bringing the lessons we learned back to life is a journey we should never stop travailing.  We do have a choice.  Instead of becoming complacent or embittered, we should fight for every moment of goodness, and grace we can in a world that has become very hateful, and tragically dark.  A small match illuminates the darkness of a room.  If we all bring God’s light to the darkness of the world, I guarantee you, the beauty, hope and peace we will find, in spite of the darkness that tries to consume, will be powerful indeed.

Love instead of hate

Forgive instead of holding a grudge

Be kind and compassionate instead of rushed and indifferent

Choose to see those around you in need instead of walking by

I’m in…how about you?

Love Nancy

Little girl, Young Woman. Little boy, Young Man


Next February, will mark the 5 anniversary of when my hospital nurse came to my room with a syringe filled with Epinephrine to treat a recurring allergic reaction.  A split second after she began pushing it into my IV, my life was changed forever.  My heart pounded out of control and my head felt as though the top was blowing off with each drop of medication.  As I screamed and then found myself gasping for air, darkness came and I thought, I am dying…

Now, I am one of the lucky ones.  The majority of people who are overdosed with epi step into the darkness as I did, and never come back out.  They die tragic deaths due to horrific heart attacks or have massive strokes.  While I have struggled mightily to recover, I have gained back some of what was lost.  Or, at least, have learned to cope with the differences my brain injury has caused in me. I am indeed blessed.

Sadly, while so much attention was focused on me during my first years of recovery, far less than normal was on our kids.   Our daughter Faith was just 11 years old and a sixth grader in middle school and our son, James, was just 10 at the elementary school across the way.  The morning of my over dose, both kids fully expected to see me home that night; neither dreamed I would be in a hospital ICU hooked up to tubes and machines unable to sit up or even give them a hug.  I can’t imagine how helpless they felt and how afraid they were when their world crumbled around them.



Now there is no doubt that their daddy did an amazing job.  Phillip was rock solid and stable throughout those days, weeks, months and ultimately years as I endured endless doctors appointments, therapies and oh so painful surgeries. 1353177483299
And, my family our friends were incredible too.  Still, the stronger I have become, the more aware I am that Faith and James were left to struggle through times they never should have had to alone.  This aloneness impacted their hearts and their ability to trust deeply.  My condition scared them and left them waiting for the other shoe to drop.  It left them vulnerable to fears of abandonment and loss.  The overdose changed my brains ability to function correctly, but it also changed my kids souls from soft and pliable to hard and guarded.

In Febuary of 2013, though only two years had passed, it felt as though suddenly Faith was a young woman and James was a young man  While I had physically been present, I was so emotionally drained by recovery, they had grown up right in front of me and I hadn’t even noticed.  So much attention and focus was on me, that my  my kids had fallen out of focus.  Something had to give.

It was time to get to know my kids again.  It was time to let me see me for who I was including my faults and weaknesses.  It was time to start showing up, laughing and growing together.  And so, with the help of amazing counselors, we started to rebuild.

At first it was awkward.  I didn’t really know my kids any more.  The things Faith and I connected on before she no longer enjoyed.  James interests were vastly different too.  I was a stranger in my own family.  During the previous two years the kids and Phillip had rebuilt their lives without me as a functional member of the family and now I needed to push my way back in.  That pushing however was more complex than you could ever imagine.  Quickly I learned I had to respect the kids had boundaries.  Where they once came to me with their heartache their hearts were now locked up tighter than Fort Knox.  It was not a smooth process.   A laugh here, led to a smile there with a whole lot of blow ups in between.  It was painful and gruelingly hard for all of us. It was also our finest hour because we discovered healing together is a far greater journey than apart.


Rebuilding something that is broken is incredibly painful.  Once broken, shattered, and scarred as we were, nothing can ever work or look the same as it once did.  However, it can be better and more lovely even with scars because they represent courage and overcoming.  Most important in our lives though, those scars represent trusting God with the most delicate and sensitive areas of our hearts believing he would gently and softy heal them.  Today, I can say without hesitation that is exactly what he is doing!

We still have healing to do.  There is no doubt about that.  It is with great anticipation that I look to our futures.  I see the hand of God working, healing, restoring and rebuilding.  I see his faithfulness and promises found in Isaiah 61:3 coming true.

To those who have sorrow in Zion I will give them a crown of beauty instead of ashes. I will give them the oil of joy instead of sorrow, and a spirit of praise instead of a spirit of no hope. Then they will be called oaks that are right with God, planted by the Lord, that He may be honored.



They aren’t my little girl and little boy any more.  No, they’ve grown up a lot.  Our hearts are healing together and our hope is strongly resting in the Lord.  We’ve learned, there is no safer place to be!



A Wretch like me….

Yesterday the news went wild with the most recent story about Josh Duggar.  Apparently, he has led a double life.  Though he presented himself as a loving husband and father, devote Christian and family values activist,  he had hidden affairs, watched pornography and essentially did everything he publically spoke out against while hidden in darkness.  He issued a public statement calling himself a hypocrite and that appears to be true.  Some say I shouldn’t care about this.  But the truth is, I really, really do.

I grew up in a Christian leaders home with two parents who deeply loved me.  Though they worked hard to teach me right from wrong, I just didn’t get my need for a savior.  I kind of liked the draw of the world and felt embarrassed by my families sometimes rigid rules.  When I entered my preteen years, I began to rebel and started to push strongly against the boundaries my parents had put up to keep my safe.  By the time I was a teenager, boys were my focus, music was my god and I was determined to make the world my playground.

Now lots of things happened in my life between those teenage years and now that really humbled my heart.  Health issues, miscarriages, kids with illnesses and disabilities.  Dreams lost and forgotten, hope deferred, the lost of relationship with my younger sister, and frankly and even most important some really dumb decisions on my part that needed a lot of grace and forgiveness from others for me to recover.  You see, my pathway to humility and a true understanding of my need of a savior came through heartache, stumbles, bumbles and outright sin.  It came from failing loved ones and desperately wanting and needing their forgiveness… when I knew I didn’t deserve it at all.  It came when my life crumbled and instead of being haughty and high minded I was crushed.  Yes.  It was in my darkest hour that I truly found Jesus and I understood only with him I could go on.  Perhaps this is why I so deeply resonate with the hymn Amazing Grace.

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. 

Such a deeply humble line where a composer admitted from the depths of his heart that was truly despicable or vial person.   A line where he admitted he was so low, he desperately needed saving.

I once was lost, but now am found.  Was blind, but now I see.

Surrounded by the utter darkness of hopelessness.  No way out.  No way out without rescue.  I can’t do it on my on.  But now I see, I don’t have to do it on my own.  I can rest safely in the arm of a living God and finally have peace!

You see, being a Christian is not about having it all figured out.  It’s not about living a perfect life nor is it about looking down our noses at people who live differently than we do.  If you’re doing  that, and calling yourself a Christian, you’ve run off course and it’s time to step back, and reevaluate what Christ has called you to do.    Fundamentally it is understanding that your sin separates you from a Holy God and because you understand that you need a savior to bridge the gap between you and him.  Once that gap is bridged a process is started where you hopefully begin to grasp your own brokenness and stop concentrating on others.  It is a process of change from the inside that takes a lifetime. Old habits sometimes die hard.  Sin loves to creep back in.  You’ll stumble, you’ll mess up, you’ll outright fail.  Which is why walking through life humbly, honestly with a spirit of love, mercy and grace is exactly where we all should be.  Goodness friends…it is where I have to be because trust me I stumble and bumble through this life all. the. time.

I deeply care about Josh Duggar, his wife Anna, their kids, and their extended families.  I also care deeply for all those who will be walking through the fallout of the Ashley Madison mess.  As more marriages implode, and no doubt more will, lets be really careful to not react gleefully as many are on twitter right now.  Let us always remember we ALL need forgiveness.  We ALL need a savior.  We ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.  (Romans 3:23)

Instead of wasting our time looking down our noses at people, leading pious lives or even worse falling into double lives to convince people we’ve got it all figured out, lets humbly learn from this situation.  Let us be quick to forgive, humble in heart, strong in determination to grow and always draw near to Jesus who saves.

Bring in the band…

A couple of months ago I wrote about my son James and how I wished people would want to know and love him too.  With ever word I typed, tears streamed down my face.  It seemed, his life, was destined to be filled with loneliness and rejection.  I hurt so deeply for James – and while I was so incredibly thankful for his one friend Ryan – I knew if new friends didn’t come soon he would again spiral into the world of depression and hopelessness where he is almost impossible to reach.


In a somewhat desperate attempt to provide social interactions with kids his age, a little over two weeks ago, I “forced” James to volunteer with Faith’s high school band.  My hope was, he would connect with one or two boys and that he would enjoy listening to the music.  In my wildest dreams though, I never imagined what would happen…


His main job was providing water for the kids in the hot afternoons.  Each day, he’d fill coolers with water bottles and ice and then refill as necessary.  Day after day James said hello and smiled at everyone who came by but instead of the kids just giving a polite hello back, often they stayed and chat with him for a moment or two. For the first time in many, many years, James was not invisible in the midst of his peers. It seemed the kids didn’t care that he didn’t always understand what they were saying or, that his answers sometimes didn’t make sense.  They were just kind, and grateful and it made a huge difference in his life.

The more time James spent with the band, I noticed he was standing a bit taller, smiling a lot broader and was far more independent in his job too.  Sometimes James ventured away from my side to go and say hi to the kids when they were on break and instead of coming back frustrated he came back excited.  One time he even commented, “Mom, these kids are different.  They notice me.”

It made me wonder…what is it like to live life not being noticed?  Not being seen? images

During our second week at band camp more and more kids talked to James and asked him about being part of the band.  They thanked him for his hard work.  They knew his name….they made him feel like part of them.  Interestingly enough, the more accepted James felt, the more calm he became at home.  Our nights at home were far more peaceful, his relationship with his sister became far more relaxed and our family time filled with more laughter.

Yesterday, James started high school…with confidence.  For the first time in his life, when he arrived at school he didn’t hesitate to get out of the car.  He instead looked at me and said, “Mom, I’ve got this.  I’m going to do what I did at band camp and I’m going to make friends.”   He then stood tall and walked into the school without looking back.  When I picked him up, he was with four other kids laughing, smiling and having the time of his life.  HE WAS SMILING…I cried


In a world where status seems to be everything and ignoring people who aren’t like us seems to be ok… in a world where everyone seems to in it for themselves…in this world where slowing down and seeing, hearing, understand those around us is far less important than getting ahead I am so touched, impressed and moved by these incredible band kids.  They changed a life.  They changed James life.  It is not too much to say they may have even saved James life by taking a moment to care about him.

We can all learn from these kids and do the same when the James’ of the world enter our lives… can’t we? Ambition is great.  Accomplishment is wonderful.  However, I’d say recognizing the needy, loving the lost, and  helping the hopeless are much higher callings and profoundly greater purposes.  We have to grab hold of this and change this very broken world.

Matthew 25:40

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

I’m in…how about you?

Love, Nancy

Kick the crazy to the curb

All across social media lately, I’ve seen a lot of bickering.  Interestingly enough, most of it has been between fellow thRST4IIZHChristians.  Differing points of view have led to healthy discussions and then, for one reason or another, those discussions have broken down and mud slinging and out right attacks have followed.  Recently, I received a personal attack in response to a blog I wrote that was so vile I refuse to repeat any of it.  Why was I attacked in such a way??  Because I suggested we do not have to agree on issues to choose to love and respect others.

Really?  Choosing to love people who I might not always agree with warranted a hate-filled response from anyone???

Friends, it is time for a sanity check.

We are living in a world where evil is running rampant.  Isis is beheading our bothers and sisters in Christ when they will not convert.  In North Korea, thousands are tortured in concentration camps in the name of Christ.  ALL OVER THE WORLD PEOPLE ARE LAYING DOWN THEIR LIVES IN THE NAME OF JESUS while we are bickering??  Please tell me why we are wasting time fighting instead of doing what we are called to do…love as we would love ourselves.


What if we all stopped for a moment and instead of getting bogged down in debating the distractions of the daily news instead sought out opportunities to surprise people with authentic love?  What if we looked at the state of this crazy world as an incredible opportunity demonstrate amazing grace by forgiving quickly?  What if we stopped bickering long enough to pay attention to the people around us who are really in need?  Some will say I’m a pie in the sky thinker — and maybe in someway I am — but unless we stop the bickering and mud slinging the world will never see us as God’s authentic people of love.  The world will never see our authentic and all loving God.


Let’s collectively kick the crazy to the curb and get back to what is important.  It’s all about His love…I’m in…are you???

Love, Nancy


Is life really about just doing what makes you happy?’

Awhile ago I decided it was time to go off a med that was prescribed shortly after my overdose and brain injury.  After all, I reasoned, the only way to know if I still needed it was to dial the dose down and see how I did.  So, I dropped my dose weekly until I couldn’t drop it any more.

To my amazement, the lower the dose, the more the world filled with living color.  I felt alive again instead of horribly dulled.  Feelings of joy and silly happiness filled my heart.  Additionally, my opinions became stronger and more focused than they had any other time during the past 4 years.  It was an incredible experience to say the least.  After learning how to live with my brain injury and the limitations it has caused me, it felt like I was being given a reprieve from my sometimes still painful life sentence of living differently than I would choose.

Interestingly enough, my family was experiencing the impact of my med change much differently than me. Instead of joy and happiness, they experienced an overbearing, intense and, at times aggressive version of me. The flood of feelings that made me feel alive weren’t nearly as measured as I thought and, very unintentionally, were hurting those I love the most.

As Phillip and the kids began to give me feedback I felt very disconnected with what they were saying.  I didn’t see things like they did.  What they described felt foreign and out of whack with my new found joy.  Gently and consistently though, each shared how my newly regained emotional pliability was negatively impacting them.  As they did, I couldn’t help but remember my very wise doctor who told me right after I was overdosed that I would be very wise to listen to those who love me.  Why?  Because my brain no longer works like it once did which causes me to misinterpret or even miscommunicate when things fall out of sync and out of balance.

It didn’t take too long for me to realize how right he was as I bumbled and stumbled through the first years of my recovery making countless mistakes I still wish I could take back…

I knew I needed to hear my families concerns and weigh each with depth and seriousness.  Still, as I did, I must admit that there was a place deep inside of me that constantly said if you go back on the medication, you will never experience happiness like this again.

Now, in a world that constantly tells us to just do what makes us happy, the sacrifice of some happiness for the benefit of others (even family) seems rather upside down.  After all, being happy is of the highest value right?  One only needs to type happy into any search engine and the value of ones happiness over others is easily found.




I believe our cultures’ current mantra of, “Do what makes you happy” has made us as a society incredibly self-centered people lacking high character morals of sacrifice, and living in the best interest of one another.

I’ve always admired Mother Teresa.  And while it sounds silly, I cracked open one of my books filled with her quotes as I wrestled with the idea of going back on a medication that surely would dial down my personality and turn the colors and textures of life that I was so enjoying back to hues of gray. As I thumbed through my book and stumbled upon the below quote I knew she had it right when she said,


That day I called my doctor and asked for a new prescription of my medication.  That night I took my first pill.  The next morning a lot of the vibrant happiness diminished and by that evening I knew I was forever closing the chapter of my life in living color.

Now, it would be easy to that this post is a pity party.  Not even close.  Though I have grieved the loss of a more passionate life, I have found God’s gentle peace in watching my family thrive again.  I’ve found a quiet joy in the simplicity of my injured brain being balanced.  I’ve found hope knowing my kids feel safe, and assured.  I’ve found rest in knowing that my sacrifice has produced good fruit in my family.  Most of all, I am confident that through this experience my children have developed a depth of understanding that life is not always about the quest for happiness — but life is rather about choosing how to love well and sacrifice when needed for the benefit of those that surround you.

This silly brain of mine needs a lot of help.  It makes me utterly weak. I have discovered however that by “…believing much more in His love than my weaknesses…”  the door for me to find peace and  experience his love only grows.  There is no place emotionally than here, that I would rather be…

How I wish you would want to know and love him too…

IMG_0236Hi fellow moms!   I’d like to take a moment to introduce my incredible son to you.  He is wonderful.  He is my hearts joy and would be an incredible friend to your child.  He is loyal, funny and honorable.  He has an incredible understanding of right and wrong and would never take your child down a risky road that isn’t good for them.  He loves to throw a football…but isn’t great at catching it yet.  Practice throwing and catching with another boy would make his heart soar.  He loves anything and everything Star Wars and is a master builder in the world of Lego.  He’s also incredible at Minecraft and could probably teach your son or daughter a special trick or two.  Jumping on our trampoline and riding his bike are also things he really loves to do as well.  Most of all, James is an overcomer.  With all the odds against him, James continually defies odds and defeats prognosis.  Every word I just wrote is 100% true and yet my awesome son lives with only one real friend in his life.

You see, when people first look at James, they see a handsome young man and assume he is like every other typical teenage boy.  After a few minutes of talking with them though, they begin to realize James is not as “typical” as they first assumed.  Uncomfortable, most make a quick exit bringing their children, who were potential friends for James, with them.

The world of invisible disabilities is incredibly painful. images-4 It is a world filled with the dream of lasting friendship and the heartache of yet another one lost.  It is a world filled with confusion, insecurity and feelings of inadequacy upon inadequacy.  It is a world of always being misunderstood.

James has mild autism.  He is verbal, and deeply desires friends which is counter to a lot of kids on the autism spectrum.  However, his autism does impact his ability to read social situations and make friends.  He also suffers from a lower intellectual ability.  While not earth shattering, his IQ in the lower 70’s makes learning more difficult and problem solving painfully hard.  In a world where boys are growing into strong leaders, we were thrilled a year ago when James finally conquered the challenge of consistently tying his shoes.  Finally, in the last year James was diagnosed bipolar disorder.  Bipolar is a rough one on James.  The chemical imbalances in his brain make him very prone to depression but with the proper treatment James has done incredibly well.

Unknown-3Some, after reading about the complexities James lives with everyday have stopped reading this blog.  Why wouldn’t they?  Year after year, once mom’s of typical boys have come to understand James’ particular disabilities, have refused to let their boys play with my James boldly saying to me, “He’s a mess.”,  “I could never let my Joey play with him.”,  “While I want to help, I just can make Ian play with him…it would put too much pressure on him.” (Names changed of course).  I’ve heard it all.  Every rejection I take and hide deep within my heart hoping to insulate James from ever hearing one.  Every time I wish…oh how I wish… someone would take the time to invest in him.  And yet, year after year, hope after hope, dream after dream, rejection comes.

Just a few weeks ago, James turned 15.  He desperately wanted to have a birthday party at SkyZone or a local Nerf Ball gaming place but sadly, there weren’t enough boys for us invite.  Not wanting to hurt James heart, I made several excuses about it being summer time and how so many are out-of-town.  With tears in his eyes James asked me. “Why is life always so hard?”  As I wrapped my arms around his now 6 foot tall frame and let him sob, I didn’t have any good answers.  In this world, there are some, like James, who are utterly rejected, ignored and hurt.  Why?  Because loving them involves stepping out of comfort zones, giving a little more and sacrificing above and beyond and many these days aren’t willing to do that type of work.  Because we lost our way and forgotten that loving the “least of these” is good…so very good.  Because the pace of life and demands on us all has caused us to forget the beauty in simplicity, and the wonder of people like my amazing James.

My James is one of the greatest people I have ever known.  If I had lived with the rejection and disappointment he has, I surely would have given up and yet everyday he wakes up with a smile and the hope for new friend.  If you have a “James” in your neighborhood, or in your child’s school I’m asking you to please urge your son or daughter to reach out, and be a patient and a steady friend to them.  You never know, they might just find value where they thought there was none and grow into a more compassionate and loving person.  I know I have…and it is all because of knowing and loving my incredible James.  How I wish you would want to know and love him too.