Search Results for: broken heart

Compassion fatigue.

It’s term I first heard back in October, to me it basically means that while the Internet can bring about great and amazing things, it also means that we are exposed to so much heartache and people in need of help. Death, sickness, terminal illness, injury, natural disasters, loss and heartbreak.

Leaving us weary. Wanting to help everyone but knowing that it is simply impossible to do so.

Today I am going to ask for something very simple, words of encouragement to a very new mom.

Her baby, Tanner, was born February 3. The first week of his life has been spent in the hospital with pediatric cardiologists focusing on Tanner’s heart. I’m not doctor, but there’s a lot wrong with it.

Tanner is being sent to another hospital, at least 3 states away, where doctors will better be able to handle the open heart surgery that Tanner is going to have to go through in his first week of life. His mom will spend weeks with him away from her family, Tanner’s dad and everything she knows.

This is never how anyone pictures new motherhood.

Tanner’s mom is Ali. I can’t even call Ali my high school best friend because we were more than that, we were inseparable. We had our own language. Her family accepted me for everything I was when my own family couldn’t see much past the trouble I caused. On the list of 5 people who shaped me into who I am today? Ali and her family are on it, right towards the top.

Over time we grew apart, our lives changed and took different paths, but I find myself still fiercely loyal to Ali and wanting to protect her heart from all this hurt.

Tanner’s story is can be found here.

If you could simply leave her some words of encouragement, let her know they will make it into your prayers…my hope is that the support from all of you will carry her, if even for a minute, through this scary journey.

Thank you.

A brokent heart has a very audible sound if you’re around to hear it.

It is a deeply painful and exhausting noise that manifests itself when there’s just not any more room left for hurt on the inside. It comes in waves. Long heaving sobs followed by quick uncontrollable gasps. Then a sort of relief comes, like you couldn’t possibly cry any longer.

But you are reminded of something…it could be anything involved with the origination of your sorrow.

And it starts again.

The problem with the sound of a broken heart is that they are rarely heard. Not because they are rare, but because they generally begin and end in private.

Those who don’t know the sound, those who haven’t been somewhere alone as their body is overtaken with such sorrow that nothing is a a motivation to keep going will tell someone going through a broken heart anything that sounds right and logical at the moment. “It’s going to be alright.” “Everything happens for a reason.” “They didn’t deserve you anyway.

It may be true, but broken hearts don’t reason and they don’t do logic.

Those who do know the sound? They will just shut up and get to work.

In whatever way that may be.

When I think of all the sorrow I’ve seen come across my screen over the past year I think of all the broken hearts. Ones that will never be heard aside from a few words tapped out for us to read.

The mind has a way of numbing the pain of a broken heart, although I firmly believe it is never truly gone or better. Which leads us to suffer in silence occasionally, because to the outside world we should “be over it already.

I’ve made the sound. I know the sound in a very intimate way. When I hear it the numbness around my heart is weakened.

Oh, how I know that sound.

And I’m so sorry that you have to know it too.

My friend Heather talks a lot about her heart gut.

Maybe it’s because I have so much in common with Heather that I know exactly what she’s talking about when she speaks of her heart gut or maybe it’s something we all understand but on very different levels.

The author of one of my favorite books speaks of a heart gut in much more clinical terms (he’s a Harvard psychology professor) but it’s the same idea. And he says that one of the worst things we can do as parents is undermine a child’s heart gut.

It is natural as parents to want to protect our kids from the ugly and the sad and the scary. But there are also ways to explain the ugly, sad and scary in a way that will not only develop their compassion and understanding, but also develop their heart gut.

Addie has a well formed heart gut. Whether it’s from being trapped inside my broken body at such an awful time or being with me through every treacherous step of my depression, the little kid is smart and in tune with what’s going on around her. The last few weeks have been no exception.

I have cried over the past few weeks. A lot.

Out of frustration, exhaustion, happiness and sometimes simply because it just seems like the only thing left to do.

Of course Addie asks why I’m crying, and while it’s tempting to hide and say that I’m not, I’m just going to the bathroom for a really long time or I have something in my eye…I don’t. I tell her why I’m crying. I explain to her the difference between a sad cry and a happy cry. And most of all I tell her it’s okay to cry, and that there are times when you are so tired it really is the only thing left to do short of pass out.

There have been times in our marriage that Cody has been tending to me when I’m not at my best. Addie comes in and asks what’s wrong. Cody will tell her “nothing” or “mom’s fine” and ask her to go out and play. He’s only trying to protect her from the scary and sad. Addie always catches my eye before leaving the room and gives me this look like “I know you’re not fine and I love you very very much but I’m going to listen to dad.” I always attempt a smile at her, or at least give her a look to acknowledge that her heart gut is right and to never stop trusting it.

Slip n' Slide

And even more importantly, that I will be okay. Promise.

Do you listen to your heart gut? Do you encourage your kids to do the same?

2014 is already 1/24th over and I’ve not done a thing around here, not that I haven’t wanted to — I’ve just been busy keeping other people alive. Tiring work, keeping other people alive. But I feel as though I need to give you a brief update, as well as document things for myself because if 2014 goes as fast as 2013 I’m going to look into suspended animation because, whoa, slow down.

1. I actually cried over a biscuit last night. It was this culminating moment where I just felt so screwed over as a parent and was so frustrated and selfishly angry that parenthood is such a thankless gig. I DO EVERYTHING FOR THESE PEOPLE, I just wanted the biscuit I ordered. (Maybe there will be more on this one later, I’m still feeling out my emotions on it.)

2. I cried at the bottom of some stairs on Monday night because the elevator was broken, it was 11 pm and Vivi was fast asleep in her stroller. It wasn’t the true emotional pressure release I really needed, but it was a start. Woe be unto the people who are around when my true meltdown occurs.

3. Oh, by the way, we were in Florida all last week. We covered Universal Orlando, Disney World and the Walt Disney World marathon. We took off last Saturday because we knew the weather was going to get dicey and we just got back at 8 am this morning. Yes, we drove. Yes, 16 hours is a long way but it was totally worth it.

4. Despite being gone for 12 days, Addie only missed two days of school because school was cancelled ALL OF LAST WEEK. Meaning had we not gone I would have been stuck in the house with these little girls for ANOTHER week (after Christmas break) with polar temperatures outside. WE BASICALLY RULE ON VACATION TIMING.

5. Cody ended up getting vertigo on Monday (brought on by a double ear infection and sinus infection) and he was easily the most sick I’ve ever seen him in our entire marriage. He was rendered completely incapacitated for at least 4 days, and is still recovering from the spins. He’s also recovering from running a marathon on Sunday, six days after he was released from the ER.

Cody runs his second marathon in the morning, six days after being the most sick he's ever been in our 13 years together. His motivation? He wants the medal. Wish him luck. #runDisney #wdwMarathon

6. Poor Cody, yes? Also, perhaps you remember that the last time we went on vacation together I got pneumonia. At least on that trip we didn’t have the little girls with us, I was a very primary caregiver for the majority of our trip last week which is part of the reason I cried at the bottom of the stairs and over a biscuit.

7. Regardless! We had fun. So much fun. Those two little girls together surrounded by Disney magic was just that, magical.

We're just going to pretend a dozen toddler meltdowns didn't happen today.

8. Our hotel room at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge had bunk beds for the girls. Despite our best efforts to wedge Vivi in, she still managed to fall out of bed at least five times.

9. Vivi is addicted to roller coasters. She went on Flight of the Hippogriff at Universal Orlando six times in a row, and the only reason we stopped at 6 was because I was *thisclose* to passing out. At Magic Kingdom she rode Goofy’s Barnstormer 10 times over the course of three days. She giggled like crazy every time. Addie on the other hand, she’s always cried on roller coasters and still does.

10. We have something in our family called “Mickey Sandwich O’clock.” It started with Addie when we took her to Disney World for the first time in 2008. You know that point in a very busy day when everyone is DONE and tears are all over the place and there’s maybe a little screaming? That’s when we seek out Mickey-shaped ice cream sandwiches and chill. Works every time.

11. Wink missed us. He held hands with Cody and me as we took a well deserved recovery nap today. I’m fully expecting a face full of cat tonight.

12. Cody refused to wear his marathon medal out in public — because despite him finishing a marathon after being so sick, his medal was third tier in the assortment of available runDisney medals. You see, people had the option of completing both the half and full marathon and receiving a special “Goofy Challenge” medal. There was also a “Dopey Challenge” medal for people who completed the 5K, 10K, half and full marathons over the weekend.  In protest to not winning all the medals, he’s already got his eyes on the “Double Dumbo” and “Coast to Coast Challenge” medals in Disneyland. THEN he can walk around with all his medals and not feel the least bit inferior.

ER to finish line in under a week. He got his medal, now he gets a nap. #runDisney #wdwMarathon

13.  Addie is quite possibly the best kid to ever exist. I mean, ignore the incessant questions, the refusal to comb her hair and the fact that she can’t keep her room clean for more than an hour — the kid is just spectacular. I could have never survived last week with Vivi without her. She also managed to run a 9:06 mile in her “Mickey Mile” race, Cody is boastfully proud of that little girl.

TERRIBLE driver. (But fun!)

14. Totally unrelated to last week, I’m amazed at how many people were pregnant at the same time as me or after me in 2011 and already have another baby, or are pregnant for a second time. I cannot even fathom either, I am barely holding myself together with two six-years apart — even friends who swore they were done with 2 are onto 3, 4 or even 5. I am not that lady and God knew *exactly* what He was doing when He gave me the two He gave me when He gave them to me.

15. Last week I received an unexpected email that informed me that my best is moving to Belgium by fall of this year. I’m not really okay with it but I don’t really have a choice. All I do have is a current passport and a broken heart, she was my first real friend I made in Indiana, she’s who made Indiana home to me. Sure she’ll be back and I’m sure time will fly and we have the Internet and blah blah blah, but Indiana will never ever be the same without her. 🙁

I’m attempting to make a photo book beginning with my pregnancy and ending with Vivi’s first birthday. I’ve printed out a few photos here and there and every time I do I’m genuinely shocked that they actually look good printed out and that hey, maybe I am pretty good at this taking pictures thing. I’ve organized them fairly well, I certainly have my favorites, but it seems everyday I add new favorites. They’re nothing spectacular or magical, just our everyday life. Going to the park, doing laundry, grocery shopping…pretty boring stuff if I’m being honest. My guess is that this book will be somewhere around 400 pages and you’ll need a comfy couch, a cup of cocoa and two or three potty breaks to make it cover to cover, maybe even a nap.

There’s just so many stories in all of these photos I take. I want to surround myself with them, wallpaper my walls with them, show them to complete strangers and wear them on t-shirts.


A little over a year ago today I could barely get myself out of bed. My brain was swamped with so much muck and depression I couldn’t bring myself to use my camera let alone my words. Now I’m able to use my words and photos to pay my mortgage, pay my tithing, take care of my friends and take my husband on a cruise. (ZOMG WE’RE GOING ON A REAL TRIP FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER IN 11 YEARS WITHOUT LITTLE HUMANS.) It seems so indulgent, the things I’ve been able to do with this accidental talent, just today Cody had to remind me that if anyone deserves time together on a boat with all you can eat buffets and middle aged men with fanny packs, it’s us.


What a magical little word.

Us was almost they. As in they got divorced. They didn’t last. They broke up.

But we fought for us and we won.

It’s scary putting your whole heart and hope into something you’re not sure will hold you. Every night I take a little white crescent shaped pill and hope that it will carry me through the next day. Carry me above all the ugly I know is lurking down there at the bottom. Three years ago Cody and I traded hearts with tears across the center console of my car not entirely sure if either one of us was capable of such a grand and scary responsibility. He has held my heart with all the care and tenderness in the world and I can only hope he feels the same about me.

Every night I get on my knees and pray to someone I’ve never seen but I know is there. One year ago my prayers were filled with desperate pleadings. Please. Please let me feel better. Please make this hurt less. Please let me do better. Please give me another chance. Please take the sting of tears away from my eyes.

They are still filled with pleadings. But they are pleadings for others. Pleadings for those with sick kids, broken hearts or lonely souls. Pleadings that I will be able to do good while I am here and pleadings that I can stay. That this me, this wonderful self I haven’t ever known before can stick around, one more day, one more week, one more month. I promise to do good. I promise to make Him proud if He’ll just let this me stay.

My prayers are also filled with gratitude. Gratitude for the trials I’ve gone through, gratitude for the platform I’ve been given to share my struggles, to help others and to give words to some of the scariest emotions in existence. Gratitude for these two little healthy girls and this strong man I get to call mine. Gratitude for my house, my shutter finger, the sunshine, my cats, working kidneys and orange juice. Gratitude for new shoes, new babies and hope.

I am drinking in this phase of my life in furious gulps, hoping that by wholly immersing myself in it I’ll be strong enough to weather the storms when they come back, because they always come back. I’ve finally stopped living in fear of this phase ending, rather I have been squeezing every drop of beauty from every day until my hands are numb and weary.

miss vivi

Sometimes I am convinced that you gave birth to sunshine.” –Jessi

Cody is my world, Addie kept the sun from ever setting on it and Vivi brought it back to high noon.



This photo was taken in San Francisco over two years ago.

So much has changed since this moment.

Three and a half babies have been added, one has been taken away.

All of us have been hurt and damaged in so many different ways since that night, and when I think about just how much…

I’d rather not think about it.

Sure, we “know” each other on the Internet. We know that she lost a baby, she lost a child, she lost a pregnancy, she lost a best friend, she lost a sister, she lost a husband, he lost a wife, her dad may die any day and that she just received a diagnosis of cancer. For the most part we handle each other with kid gloves. But all these “shes” that live in your computer also have real lives. They are the frustrated mom at the mall, the grumpy lady in the checkout line at the grocery store, the impatient woman at the pediatricians office, the jerk that cuts you off in traffic.

It’s funny that we can see and accept the scars and the wounds of our virtual friends online but sometimes in real life we are unable to give the people around us the benefit of the doubt.

If five people in one picture who were practically strangers two years ago have had so much happen to them since the photo was taken?

It’s safe to say every single person out there is nursing some sort of wound. Be it fresh, freshly healed or a deep painful scar.

I wish we could all act in a way that nurtured the broken hearts around us instead of assuming that most hearts are cold and hard.

Please take better care of each other. We are all so much more alike than we are different.

Addie will be in the graduating class of 2023.

It said so on her Kindergarten registration packet.

I was expecting oh, you know, Kindergarten starts at 7:30 (!!). No open toe shoes. Bring some crayons.


Too much.

2023 isn’t that far away. I graduated in 2000.

Between today and 2023 I will see her ride without training wheels. Hear her first swear word and “I HATE YOU MOM!” Watch her leave on her first date. See her come home with her first broken heart. Pick out a prom dress. Puberty. Drivers license picture. Bras. Zits. Mean girls. Tryouts. Recitals. Deaths. Births. Trips. Tears. Smiles. Graduations. College. Moving out.

I’ve always known this stuff was going to happen. But I’ve never thought about a date.


The good news? We had her first parent teacher conference today. The one I was panicking about.

My kid is a rock star. A super star. Wicked smart, kind, adaptable, emotionally stable and smaaaaaart.

Five years down. We haven’t screwed up yet!

But there’s still plenty of time between now and 2023 (for screwing up, there will never be enough for growing up.)

Even though Cody and I have been married for over eight years we consider ourselves starting over.

Starting over with a new life, new goals and a new appreciation for each other.

This is where I get to gag all of you with romance.

On the day we started over Cody started a blog. A private blog meant just for me, where he writes to me, whatever he wants whenever he wants. And it means the world to me because I have all of these words from him to me in one place that I can read anytime as long as I have a wireless signal.

He also took me to the place where he proposed to me at almost nine years ago and he proposed again. One knee and everything. But the ring meant something different this time. Instead of wearing it on my finger where I wear the ring he gave me nine years ago I wear it around my neck, some of you have already noticed it. And in his own words this is what the ring means: (reposted with his permission.)

Here is what the ring means: (1) it is small and simple and represents my priorities in life from now on. Not that I view my devotion to you as small and simple, but that my priorities are no longer complex involving personal selfish goals. I got lost in trying to get you the material things in the world. I focused so much on school and work that at some point my reasoning for working so hard at both changed from being for your good, to doing well to meet unimportant personal goals. I will not ever forget that everything I do now, is for your benefit because you are my priority. Everything I do from now on will begin with the question, “how is this going to make me a better husband, and is this truly best for my wife.” (2) The diamond in the middle represents the goal of our marriage. I did not want to get a straight gold band, I wanted it to have a diamond at the center. The ring portion represents two paths that lead to one diamond. That diamond is our goal and we each take a path towards that goal. The goal is eternal life together. It is so important that we, together, get back to the temple. If I cannot stand to lose you in this life, how can I stand to lose you in the next? (3) Finally, the ring is to be worn on a necklace as a symbol of my love for you. I want it close to your heart so that you will never forget that I love you. I want you to take the time to thread the ring on the necklace. As the ring hangs on your necklace where it was not designed to hang, I want you to feel the ring hang there. I want you to see it hanging on the necklace as you see yourself in the mirror. I want other people to see the ring on your necklace and ask you about its meaning. I want you to tell other people how you got the ring and what it means. I want you to worry about the ring not slipping off your necklace as you come home and take off the necklace. I screwed up and did not treat you right. I let you wonder whether I truly loved you. Never again. You will know I love you everyday for the rest of your life. That’s what the ring means. I love you lady.

my necklace.

I don’t write this to brag, or to gag you all on all this loooove that I’m floating around in. I write it because back in February Jen Lancaster said “I like to write about things with an ending, things that are resolved.”

This whole experience is in no way over, but part of resolving this is talking about it. I thought my life and my marriage were over, when in reality it’s just starting to get good.

There’s too much divorce, hate and unhappiness in this world. I’d like to think if we fight a little harder for what we believe in there would be a whole lot less ugly out there.

This is why I share all of this. I never expected to be here. If my experience can give hope to even one broken heart out there then I’ve done more than I could have ever expected or hoped for.