Fifteen years

15 years ago today, I was a freshman in college. It was very cold in Blacksburg and I was just arriving back at my dorm when I received a phone call. My mom had waited to call me after I finished taking some sort of math quiz.

My fingers fumbled with opening the door to my dorm – it was cold and I was in shock. I turned the corner down my hall and like it was in slow motion, all of the books and papers in my arms fell to the floor. I cried out and my roommate must have known. She flung the door to our room open and sat with me as I slumped in the middle of the hall in a messy pile of books and paper and hot tears. I cried – big, heavy, weighted sobs – right there in the middle of the hall.

I had lost someone very special to me. I was feeling my heart break right then and there and the pain was so real, I could feel it. It wasn’t just my grief splintering my heart though, I was feeling grief for one of my best friends because it was his dad who died that cold December day.

I have so many stories I could share about Mr. Scott, but I think quite possibly my favorite memory of him was the morning I felt so alone and oh so shy in Sunday School at church. I looked about as awkward as I felt, as middle school often does to a person, and my social game was weak and awkward too. I could barely bring myself to walk into church I was so shy, but Mr. Scott always greeted me with a warm smile and led me by the hand to a seat next to someone sunny and sweet. This particular morning, he led me right down to the front while the music played and everyone sang, and sat with me the whole service. He chose me – a shy, awkward, nerdy middle schooler – to sit next to, when he had a hundred friends he could have chosen instead.

Week after week, he showed me Christ’s love and through the years became a role model to me that I’ll always cherish. I went on vacation with his family more than once, and I even called him before I called my parents when I got into my first car accident. He paid for every chicken tender and fry I ever ate when I went with his family for dinner. He loved his wife easily and tenderly and set a great example for his children. He was hardworking and thorough, firm but kind. He had a winning smile, the most generous spirit, and a heart of gold.

That day in December 15 years ago, I felt like the cold was creeping in around the edges of my heart. Like I was angry that someone so gentle and so good could be taken from me, from us. I wrestled with my grief for months, and years later I realized that God had shown favor to His child by removing him from the heartache of this life – the broken world we live in – and rewarded his faithfulness with eternity at the throne of Jesus. I pictured the moment when God looked at Randy and said “well done my good and faithful servant, well done. You loved so well and I’m so proud of you.”

He was too good not to remember, so today I thought of him all day long, and cried a little and smiled a little, thinking about jus how wonderful he was. I vowed to be like Mr. Scott – to honor his life with a continuation of his ministry – so when we planted a church years ago and I stepped into my role as a pastors wife, I modeled my actions after his. If my ministry ends up anything like his, then 15 years from now, maybe someone else will be talking about how I changed their life.

His are big shoes to fill but I think there is an army of people made better because of him and determined to model Christ’s love like he did. I’m certain I won’t ever forget the chill of that December day, or the gentle man who I call my hero.

God Bless The Sweet Waitress at Cracker Barrel

God bless the waitress at Cracker Barrel…
Tonight we tried to go to IHOP for 59cent short stacks for IHOP’s 59th birthday. They were, of course, slammed. Brandon made the executive decision that we would not be dining at IHOP tonight and that instead we would go to Cracker Barrel and use the gift card we had. The boys were starving and the baby was tired and lucky for us, the food took a little longer tonight.

Out of desperation for keeping the peace and trying to maintain a shred of dignity, I made up a game on the fly “if you had to choose.” We chose between French fries and tater tots, chocolate and vanilla, blue or green, cupcakes or donuts, and the list goes on. My mind went as quick as it could trying to think up new categories to keep my 6yo and 3yo enthralled, because, boy were they fast with their answers! Then dinner finally arrived, I nursed the baby discreetly while cutting pancakes and gave half my dinner away to hungry little boys whose tummies wanted more than what we’d ordered them.

All was well for about 8 minutes. Then the baby wanted her bed – NOW – and the syrup was kicking in. Maverick dropped his water cup and the bacon and the pancakes and the biscuits were gone.

Brandon went to go pay the bill and I stood up to bounce the baby in one arm and gather our belongings. As I juggled the diaper bag and the car seat carrier and the baby and grasped for Maverick’s hand, a waitress stopped by our table and touched my elbow. She said “You’re doing a great job mama” and I laughed (so I wouldn’t cry) and said “oh so you saw us huh?” feeling the blush creep up my neck. And she said, “Everybody did baby, and we’ve all been watching how you handled tonight like a champ. It seems hard and overwhelming, but you’re doing a really good job. Have a good night hun.”

Can you believe she said that to me? I could hardly believe it. I mean, I have 2 strong willed little boys – one who can’t hear (literally… we have a follow up with ENT next week to see if he can pass his hearing test now after being on meds for a month or if he needs tubes again) – and one who thinks he knows it all (I have no idea where he got that from), and an overtired little babe. I had avoided looking at other patrons because I was certain their judging eyes would look disapprovingly at us for all the ruckus and here this sweet waitress was telling me that we were doing a good job.


One of my coworkers told me today that I would survive, that it would seem as though we wouldn’t, but that we would. That the days seem long but the years are short.

I am exhausted, to say the least. Up at least 3 times a night with Bridges, working 40 hours a week and can barely keep groceries in the house and clean laundry folded. Yet God used several people today to encourage me and I kept thinking about how He knows the names of the sparrows. I wasn’t even particularly frustrated or even the most overwhelmed I’ve ever been, but boy am I tired. I almost cried right there in Cracker Barrel when He used a waitress to pat me on the back and speak life into me.

I don’t have it all together, and my house is definitely “lived in”, but I felt my spirits lift tonight hearing those sweet words “good job, mama.”

To the waitress who encouraged me tonight, thank you for your kind words. I hope you are blessed tenfold, and I hope I remember you when I see a tired, overwhelmed mama out to dinner in the future. Thank you, sweet waitress from Cracker Barrel, thank you.


32 Weeks Pregnant

Once again I’m kicking myself for not blogging more this pregnancy. Typical third pregnancy, eh? So much else going on with the two other munchkins, the holidays and working full time. Not to mention the crazy nesting that has set in.

Speaking of nesting, I have always been a “what if” person and that leads to keeping a lot of stuff. Like “what if I need this in the future?” and “what if I get back down to this size and want to wear this again one day?” and “what if I won’t get as good deal on this in the future as I got on this one?” or “what if I can’t find this exact one again?”

Seems silly to some I know, but I think its really just rooted in being frugal to the core. If I can get away with just using half a paper towel, I will, so I don’t waste the other half… *waits for judging thoughts and eye rolls*. Sigh… weird, I know, but I hate to waste things, and therefore money. Anyway, I digress.

Nesting. I have never had nesting hit me this hard before. I’m like throw away all the things. I don’t know who this girl is, but she keeps taking bags of trash out and bags of stuff to goodwill. And the thing about cleaning out when you have a lot of “stuff” (and by stuff, I mean years of random things we’ve held onto just because of my inability to let go) is that you can spend hours going through said stuff and it looks like a tornado went through your house even though there are 6 trash bags sitting by the door. So frustrating. And counterproductive to the nesting urges because it totally un-motivates.

But, fear not, I have plugged away, as quickly as my big belly and low endurance levels will allow at this point (think very slow progress each day… very slow). And I have sorted and organized and walked down memory lane in an effort to get ready for this baby because we realized shortly before Christmas that she could come practically at any time and we are not ready.

We still have to move Maverick into a “big boy room” and then tackle the nursery. We need to un-Christmas-fy (yes, I just made up that word. You know what I mean right?!) the guest room because in the event I go into labor, my out-of-town family will need a place to sleep and the guest room is Grand Christmas Central Station during the holiday season. I have also suddenly come to the realization that my closet organization is insufficient and must be rectified immediately. I spend my evenings looking at closet organization solutions on Pinterest and Amazon and then dream about a place for every.single.thing.we.own.

See, that’s the problem with “stuff.” It needs a place, and if it doesn’t have a place, it overwhelms me, and if it overwhelms me, chances are, I ignore it. Possibly for years. And I only say that because this is a safe place, right? If you judge me, just do so silently and then pray for me. Insert toothy grin emoji.

I’m working on everything having a place in this house, and if it doesn’t, it goes. It is not welcome. It is causing me more stress than joy and it.must.go. So, if you see my random posts of things for sale, or if I poach your trashcan, dear neighbor, because ours is overflowing, just know that I’m a very pregnant woman dealing with very pregnant nesting urges, and everything must be in order so we can bring this baby into a home of peace and order.

I have rambled on enough about my inadequacies as an orderly wife and housekeeper and will just ask you to move right along to the 32 week survey below :)


How far along: 32 weeks 4 days

Baby’s size: Baby is 16.7 inches long already and approximately 3.75lbs, um, what?! She is getting SO BIG.

Total weight gain / loss: +30ish lbs (oh my, two words. The holidays.)

Maternity clothes: Yep. I am actually starting to grow out of my maternity clothes too. How depressing. If you see me wearing the same 4 outfits over and over, its because I am frugal and I refuse to buy any more maternity clothes. 😬 Oh, I am SO excited to wear my regular winter wardrobe after she gets here, I just hope I lose the weight in time to wear some of it before it gets warm!

Stretch marks: Like a boss. Straight up, like a boss. If we’re in a competition for stretch marks, I win. Hands down. Don’t even try. I take the cake, and the road map. Trust me, this is a battle you don’t want to win.

Sleep: I get up a lot to pee, and sometimes wake up anxious and stay awake for a long time praying and trying to get a handle on whatever I seem to be anxious about. I’m not really that anxious during the day, but maybe because I’m dealing with it in the middle of the night?!

Loving: The Christmas festivities and having baby girl get so spoiled by family! Also loving the snow days we’ve been blessed with this weekend.

Loathing: Morning sickness, and reflux when I lay down and the leg cramps. Oy! Also not enjoying being this big. I am seriously limited in what I can do compared to pre-pregnancy. For all you leg-crossers to put your shoes on, bless you. I am used to being able to whip my foot up practically to my face in order to put my socks and shoes on (thanks to years of gymnastics) and now I can’t even think about putting my shoes on in less than 5 minutes, and a lot of times I get Paxton to do it for me.

Missing: Being in shape and being comfortable. I am going to try to walk at least 3 times a week though because I’m seriously worried about how hard labor will be if I don’t do something to whip myself into shape.

Movement: So active! She is non-stop practically all the time!

Cravings: Hot tea still, and if it doesn’t give me heartburn, then it sounds good. And Chick fil A Ice Dream ice cream, except now I am struggling because my church is doing a 21-day fast and since I can’t do a complete food fast, I decided to fast processed sweets so that means no ice cream for 21 days. I can do this. And this will be good for me. Because I am going to pray every time I want an ice cream cone, and that will be a lot.

Aversions: COFFEE. Oh please, please don’t talk to me if you’re drinking coffee, and bless my mother and step-dad for taking their Keurig into their room over the holidays and drinking their joe in to-go cups with lids so that I wouldn’t have to smell it. Other aversions… things with tomato sauce, like pizza and spaghetti, and garlic, and anything that might try to burn up my esophagus later when I’m laying down. Ok, those aren’t really aversions, but they could give me heartburn just by looking at them and that makes me really really not want to eat them.

Labor signs: I mean, this might be weird, but I feel like I might already be dilated?!?!?!? And loooooooots of Braxton Hicks contractions that are getting super strong. Like crazy strong.

Symptoms: Morning sickness unfortunately, especially after I eat. And hip pain, and leg cramps.

Exercise: I walked on the treadmill for 30 minutes today. And I did some squats the other day… someone please hold me accountable to working out (ok I realize that’s a liberal way to put it when we’re talking about walking and doing some unweighted squats) every week. I’ve got to get ready for labor, and it is no easy feat.

Belly button: Same answer as before: Already popped out, but that wasn’t a big deal since my boys already gave me a belly button adjustment 😉

Wedding rings: Still able to wear them during the day but have to definitely take them off every night because my fingers swell so much while I sleep.

Mood: Pretty good, but still easily irritable.

Husband: Poor guy has had a rough few weeks with his Crohns, and I’m praying we can keep him well before, during and after the arrival of baby girl. He’s otherwise been very supportive and helpful with my nesting, and gladly takes those trash bags out :)

Can’t wait for: Decorating the nursery!

Sooo, I don’t have a 32 week picture yet (hey, snow days equal pjs and no makeup ok?! 😝) but I’ll add it to this post when I do. For now, here are some comparison pictures for 30 and 31 weeks. Enjoy! 😜😁



Bring on 2017! Happy New Year!

4da6c7ba-8b98-4e4d-b594-64a8b77ff0ddc1c8840a-78f1-4d2f-a81f-292bcb873b752016 was eventful. That’s a good word to describe a year with multiple hospitalizations, surgeries, broken bones, starting (and selling) a new business, and finding out we’re pregnant with baby number 3, right?! Yeah, I thought of a few other words too, but eventful seems safe.

I have had moments of serious panic over the last few weeks thinking about January coming up. Maybe it’s been the cold weather, or maybe it’s the fact that I’ve been having some of the same pain that landed me in the hospital in the first place, but I feel my breath quicken when I think about January 4. January 4 is that fateful day that I went for a run in the cold with my sister-in-law, and thought I was maybe coming down with a stomach bug, only to be sent to the emergency room the next day and put in ICU with ischemic colitis that caused me to be septic. I am seriously struggling thinking about crossing from December into January. It just feels so eerie, and scary. Call me crazy, but I also get really freaked out in the cold too. Like, I’ve never liked the cold (EVER), but knowing that it (and my lack of a certain important artery in my stomach) put me in the hospital for 3 weeks, makes my heart drop and my palms a little sweaty. Totally weird, I know, but it’s like trying to eat a burger after it was the last thing you ate when you got the stomach bug, ya know?!

My Facebook newsfeed has been full of comments and blog posts and memes about the new year, or the one we’re leaving behind. Some have had good years, and others can’t wait to turn the chapter in their book of life. I guess I’m somewhere in between. I was so optimistic about 2016, because we were leaving a kind of rocky 2015 behind and were ready for a brand new year. Then BAM, don’t you want to start your new year in the hospital for 3 weeks and miss the first 2 months of work on medical leave?! Ahhhhhhhhh!!!! It was like a bad dream, especially after everything Brandon has been through.

Even though the doctors didn’t know exactly what my diagnosis was until about 2 weeks in to my hospital stay, I was still strangely optimistic that everything would be ok. I think that’s called peace. Peace that the Lord gives His children when though they can’t yet see the outcome, they can hear His quiet voice assuring them He’s still in control. The last 3 years have been rocky for the Delk family, but I have to say that without these last 3 years, I would not have experienced the Lord the way that I have. I have had to depend on Him, release control over what I think is best, and fully rely on His provision. Our medical bills are more than what a car cost… a new car. But God is so good, and we have not once gone hungry, and we’ve enjoyed chuckles at the robo-voice billing office workers who call and ask if we want to go ahead and pay our $4,573 balance in full today… really, it’s quite funny! I always ask “do other patients respond ‘Sure!’ And whip out their credit card for you?! Because you’re one of approximately 21 medical providers we owe that much money to.” Then I laugh and tell them I’m just giving them a hard time, and offer to pay $25 :)

God also taught us about loss this year, with losing my grandmother and Brandon losing his great uncle. Those moments made us realize how precious people are, and how short this life really can be. Thankfully they are spending eternity with Jesus and we can rejoice in that fact, though we miss them terribly and feel their absence so strongly.

img_4305Then God apparently thought that this would be a great time for us to get pregnant… WITH OUR THIRD CHILD. Talk about a surprise! Not only did we think we couldn’t have any more children, but we weren’t exactly planning on this little munchkin, especially after the craziness of the year so far. We’ve talked about peace, so let’s talk about trust now. We laughed and we cried and we sat down slowly over that little pregnancy test, and had to pray and ask the Lord to help us trust Him and His perfect plan. Don’t get me wrong, we are THRILLED beyond measure to welcome a baby girl into our family, and think she will be a perfect addition to our lives, but I had my moments where I asked the Lord alllll sorts of questions… like “why now Lord?! I’m juuuust now recovering from a very serious acute illness that we really don’t know a ton about since it is so rare in someone so young.” And questions like “how can we afford another child with all these medical bills?!” And “why would you allow us to be told we wouldn’t have more children three weeks before we found out we were pregnant?” And “are we equipped to be parents to three? Officially outnumbered.”

Then in September, God thought the perfect celebration of our ten year wedding anniversary would be a 2 week stay in the hospital and another surgery for Brandon. OK, you have our attention! Talk about learning to trust in Him and literally living out our marriage vows to one another. In sickness and in health… Where you go, I will go, where you stay (the hospital haha!), I will stay, your people will be my people and your God will be my God. I never felt so vibrantly in love with my husband than on our ten year anniversary. I felt so passionately secure that THIS man was the man God hand picked for me, and that THIS journey was the most magical ride and I was so stinkin’ grateful to be on it with him, serving our Lord together, raising 2 (soon to be 3!!!) children to follow Him, through the good times and the bad… the scary diagnosis, and the thrilling (and surprising 😉) positive pregnancy tests. Through the surgeries and the bills and the adventures of moving and living and starting new beginnings.

Its beautiful really, the way this life weaves itself together. I couldn’t create a better one for myself if I tried. God knows exactly what I needed to grow and to mature and to love more deeply. We didn’t ask for trials upon trials but I wouldn’t be the woman I am without the life I’ve lived these last 3 years. And the year hasn’t been all bad. In fact, it’s been so sweet in a lot of ways. We’ve gone on some fun trips – some with family, some with friends – had friends who’ve had babies, celebrated some important milestones in our lives and the lives of those dear to us, and grown closer to one another and to our friends and family.

As I look to the new year, I look with a different outlook than I did at this time last year. I’m not slamming the door on 2016, although it was fraught with trials and hurdles for our family, because I know that God had everything perfectly planned out, and that He knew exactly where we’d be in this moment right now, a year ago. Instead, I’m embracing all that the Lord has taught us and shown us and looking eagerly ahead to the year before us. We have much to be excited about… we have less than 2 months before we meet our daughter and we are asking God to teach us and grow us and provide for us in ways that are perfectly planned for us. He is so good!

If you’ve experienced great success and happiness this year, I’m thrilled for you and praying that it continues. God wants to pour out His blessings on you! If you lost someone dear to you, or fought for your life – after an accident, or in a chemo chair every week – know that He is still good. He is weaving together the not so yummy parts of life with the lessons and the blessings that only trials can offer us. Trust in Him with all your heart, for there is nothing you can do on your own that will too what He has in store.

For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland. Isaiah 43:19

He is the master at creating a way through the wilderness and we have wound our way through 2016 and are anticipating what God has in store for us in this new year. Whatever it may be, our eyes are on Him, and we know that He is good.

Happy New Year, friends. We love you dearly!


13 Weeks Pregnant

imageI love being able to go back and read about my other pregnancies so I want to document everything about this baby too. I have been too sick to blog before now so this will have to do. To summarize weeks 6-12: NAUSEAS

YEP, that about wraps it up. I went through my typical Taco Bell craving phase (that silly cheesy gordita crunch gets me every pregnancy! 😜) and was so intensely sick the last 7 weeks, I haven’t been myself at all. I haven’t cleaned, cooked, or been much of a wife or mom at all. I’ve been eating zofran and phenegren like candy, and I could care less if I ever saw another saltine in my life.

Heres to rounding out the last of the first trimester and feeling better!

How far along: 13 weeks

Baby’s size: Baby is almost 3 inches long already – wow!

Total weight gain / loss: +2

Maternity clothes: not yet, but I’ve had to do the hair tie trick already with a few pairs of pants. I’m not ready to feel fat yet.

Stretch marks: Oh you mean all the lovely ones my boys gave me? Yep, still there and starting to stretch more I’m sure :/

Sleep: Mostly good… a few weeks ago I was waking up here and there in the middle of the night because I felt like I was going to vomit. Other than the fear that raced through my heart that a) I was going to throw up and b) I really hated to throw up on our comforter, I have been sleeping pretty well.

Loving: Starrrrrrting to feel somewhat better.

Loathing: Being nauseous. Haven’t I paid my dues already?! I am so over being sick.

Missing: working out. I have been so sick, I haven’t been able to work out, and I also have let myself sleep for as long as possible every morning because you can’t be nauseous while you’re asleep… oh wait, see response about sleep above…

Movement: Nothing yet!

Cravings: baked potatoes, mashed potatoes

Aversions: COFFEE and sweets. Oh my goodness, the smell of coffee sends me running for the toilet to lose my lunch and sweets want OUT as soon as they get inside my belly… out the way they came unfoturnately. I can’t eat fruit, ketchup, or any kind of dessert or candy. You can just forget it. Its not worth it.

Labor signs: None

Symptoms: Morning sickness

Exercise: none this week. I can’t wait to get back in the gym.

Belly button: Already out loud and proud! (Thanks boys!!!)

Wedding rings: Still rockin’ em! :)

Mood: A little emotional, but not too bad… says the pregnant woman. Maybe you should ask my hubby this…

Husband: Been such a huge help while I’ve been so sick. We only had only little spat where I screamed and danced around and had steam coming from my ears, but we talked it out and I think we’re on the same page now! haha! But seriously, he has been Mr. Mom and Dad the last few weeks and has done more housework and taking care of the boys that I could ever thank him for. He has been a huge help, because let me just tell you, this girl has barely been able to get out of bed. I have been so sick and honestly haven’t been able to do anything to help. Hello single parent.

Can’t wait for: Our labor Day weekend trip!!


Update After Remicade Infusion #1

Mini update after Remicade infusion numero uno:


Many of you have asked how Brandon’s first Remicade infusion went on Monday. I think it went about as well as it could go! Praise the Lord!

His appointment was in the afternoon (strategically scheduled during the latest appointment slot they offer so he could work most of the day and then be able to go home right after) and since I was in South Carolina for my uncle’s funeral, Brandon’s mom went with him. He was given an iv and the nurse programmed the iv to infuse the proper amounts at certain intervals, in the amount that was right for his body weight. The infusion took about 2 hours and then he was required to stay for another 30 minutes so that they could monitor him for signs of allergic or adverse reactions.

The nurses all recommended that he bring a laptop/ipad/book or something else to do while he’s there, since he isn’t able to do anything else but sit while he’s being infused. When the infusion was complete and he had waited the half hour, he was allowed to leave and we were told that most serious adverse reactions occur during infusions 2 or 3 in the onboarding process.

He has his second round of Remicade in 2 weeks, and then 4 weeks after that will be the third round and last in the onboarding process before he will begin his every-other-month treatments.

I know you’re probably wanting to know… does he feel any different/better?


Of course, I’ve been the annoying wife with my questions:

“How do you feel? Have you gone to the bathroom? Does your stomach hurt? Are you tired? Do you feel better? Do you feel different? Are you breathing OK? Do your ears hang low? Do they wobble to and fro? Can you tie them in a knot? Can you tie them in a bow?”

OK, OK, just kidding! I didn’t ask if his ears hang low but I should have! All the other questions I’ve asked though… approximately 35 times each day. Anyway, when I asked if he felt any better he said “I don’t want to jinx it, but I think I do.”

How awesome is that?!

I know what you’re thinking, because I was thinking it too… Is it all in his head? Is it more mental than anything else?

Maybe. But that’s OK. Because even if it is partially mental, that helps anyway with relieving some of the stress. Because this dude has been anxious. I hope he doesn’t mind me telling you (we’ve been pretty real with yall so far, so why stop now, huh?!) but he has been. He’s had pain and that has skyrocketed the anxiety. He’s been (over)analzying every little feeling, every little twinge, and when the pain started, he really (semi)freaked out. SO, I think that when he went for his Remicade infusion, just knowing that he was on medication was a HUGE relief to him. It was like he could finally let out that breath…

“I’m gonna be OK. The Remicade is going to control the Crohn’s.”

THANK YOU for praying for him (and me!) and for checking in with us over these last few days. So far so good and we’ll keep you posted on how he does with the next round!

Take THAT Crohn’s! #boom

If you missed some of our Crohn’s disease story, you can catch up here.


Hard days and infusion treatments

Today will be a hard day. Today, we will bury my uncle.

Early Friday morning I got a phone call that he had passed away very unexpectedly in his sleep. I am devastated for my aunt and my cousins. The most heartbreaking thing about losing a loved one is knowing that hole they left will never be filled. No matter what happens, it will never be the same. Life has shifted course and it’s a different road we’ll travel now. The road without him.

We rejoice in knowing that he is with the Lord and that we’ll see him again. But our hearts are heavy, so, so heavy with the ache of this loss.


What do you even say to someone who has lost their best friend of 40 years? There are no words I’ve been able to come up with. I recently watched a video on the difference between empathy and sympathy and there is a striking difference. Empathy allows for that silent agreement that there is nothing – said or done – that can make it better, but comfort in recognizing the incomprehensible sorrow that person is going through. The illustration was like this:

Empathy-sympathy image

Today I feel compelled to tell you to connect with your loved ones. It’s sad that it takes an unexpected death to prompt me to do this but life is so short. Don’t just “hug your loved ones”, connect with them. Make time to be with them. I wish I’d spent more time with my uncle.

Don’t let life pass by without making those you love feel important. Take the time to make memories with them.



This past weekend, my college roommates and I got together and went to the Virginia Tech football game. We made an oath of sorts when we graduated to get together at least once a year. To make it a priority to plan ahead and schedule time to see one another, to travel the distance between us, however far apart we may be, and reconnect. It’s been almost 10 years since graduation and we’ve been there for each other’s weddings, gotten to know each other’s kids, and shared in the joys and sorrows of life together. Because we made it a priority. We could have easily let this weekend pass us by… Because it was too much trouble to arrange childcare or travel or had other things take priority. But instead we cleared our calendars and we were so glad we did.

Connect with those who matter most. And if you’re reading this, allow me to capitalize on this moment and invite you to know Christ. He is our ultimate comforter and protector and wants a personal relationship with you. I know I’ll see my uncle in heaven and I take great comfort in that. My cousin put it so beautifully:

“I’m thankful that death is not the end and that through my faith in my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, I will get to see my Dad again one day. If it were not for my faith, this pain would be unbearable. I pray for those of you who do not know the Lord to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior who will guide you through the painful trials of life and it will be the best decision you will ever make!”

Please join me in covering my aunt and cousins and our family in your prayers today, and in the days to come. Pray for supernatural peace and comfort to overwhelm them.

Also, while I’m asking, please pray for Brandon today. He has his very first Remicade infusion today. I’m upset that I won’t be able to be there, but Brandon has been so understanding and insisted that I go to the funeral. I’m so grateful to his mom for rearranging her schedule so she can be with him, and to my sister-in-law for helping with the boys. We aren’t sure how Brandon will respond to the treatment, both immediately and long-term, so we covet your prayers that he would have no adverse reactions and that it would be successful!

It’s been a crazy ride, this life, the last little while, but more than ever now I’m so grateful for the people I get to spend it with.

Pre Surgery Update

Pre-surgery-crohnsLast night was a blur and everything happened so quickly that I’m writing this update from my phone since my laptop is in the car. Forgive me (and Siri) if autocorrect creates some interesting dialogue.

Last night brandon began to feel bad and went downhill quickly. I thought he was going to spend a sleepless night in the recliner so I took a half a Benadryl (don’t judge me too much, I was anxious and was worried I wouldn’t be able to sleep) and went upstairs to try and sleep. Not much later, Brandon came upstairs and began to get violently ill. After an hour or so of that, he laid down in the bathroom floor and asked me to call his mom.

Fastforward a few hours – past the whirlwind packing and calling Brittney in the middle of the night to help me dress Brandon, pick him up off the bathroom floor, and get him down the stairs – and we were sitting in the Emergency Room in Chapel Hill. After hours of trying to control his pain and nausea, we were finally admitted to a room.

We have spent all night – a long, miserable, sleepless night – trying to get Brandon comfortable. It is now 10:05 (time to pray yall!!!) and we are awaiting transport to go down to pre-op for surgery. Please cover us in prayer over the next few hours. Also, please comment under this post with encouraging verses or comments so I can share them with Brandon.

We love each of you and thank you for keeping up with our story!

Surgery in t-2.5 hours!