Monday, September 10, 2018

Kathleen R. Olson: The Last Day I Saw My Son

Kathleen R. Olson: The Last Day I Saw My Son: Alex, Elisa, and Evan McComb, Mississippi January 19, 2016 marked the 20th anniversary of our little boy's death. At times, i...

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

5 Simple Joys

Is school out where you are? I home school our youngest son and I called it this week. We are officially done for the school year!

I did a post like this a couple of years back. I love reading other people's lists like this. I'm a pretty simple person and enjoy simple things. (Not that I wouldn't like to hop on a plane and travel to Italy - I would!) But I'm happy with ordinary life, too.

So here in no particular order are five things that I consider simple joys in life.

1. Watching Kathie Lee and Hoda on the Today show. I hardly ever had a chance to sit down and watch it in years past because of the time it came on in the morning. That is a busy time for me. But now that we can DVR shows, I tape it and watch it in the early evening. I love their friendship. I basically just watch the first 15 minutes and kind of fast forward through the rest though:)

2. Morning coffee! Our Keurig seems to be biting the dust, so I've been making coffee the old fashioned way. I'm breaking out in a cold sweat most mornings waiting for the coffee pot to fill. Did it always take that long?! I love my morning cup of coffee. It's one of the simple joys of life. My mornings are pretty much the same each day. I'm up very early, have my coffee, read my Bible, watch Joyce Meyer, and catch up on all my blogs.

3. The Middle.  We have been watching this television show for the past 9 years! I'll have to admit that the last 3-4 seasons haven't been as funny to watch. But if you've never seen it at all, the first four seasons were well written and acted. I'm afraid I can relate to Frankie a little too well as a mom, but I especially was a clone for Sue when I was in junior high.

4. Ina Garten's Chocolate Ganache Cake. This is one of the richest, most decadent chocolate cakes I've ever tasted. It is linked below.


5. Prince Harry and Meghan's wedding.  My daughter and I got up at 4 a.m. to watch the ceremony and we loved every moment. I had done the same back in 1981 to watch  Diana and Prince Charles marry, and again in 2011 for Kate Middleton and Prince William's wedding. I loved them all!
I especially loved how Prince Charles walked Meghan down the aisle. It was a beautiful moment.
I've prayed for William and Harry for many years now. I really have! Maybe that is why their marriages were so magical to me.

Meghan and Harry on the way to their reception

Do any of these resonate with you? I'd love to hear some of your simple joys. Have a beautiful June!

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Pretty Palettes

I love working with colors and putting things together that look nice. It's kind of  fun to spend 30 minutes now and then playing around with outfits and jewelry.

Navy always looks classic and elegant. Burgundy is a fun accessory to add even if  you're not a fan of this particular shade.

The jewelry is from Baublebar, Kendra Scott, and Nickel and Suede. The clothing, shoes, and purses are from Nordstrom.

navy earrings - Baublebar
white necklace - Kendra Scott
white earrings -Baublebar
clothing, shoes, purse - Nordstrom

burgundy leather earrings - Nickel and Suede
Burgundy tassel - Baublebar
Burgundy and gold earrings - Kendra Scott
Burgundy necklace - Kendra Scott
Clothing and purse - Nordstrom

Thanks for stopping by! Let me know which is your favorite!

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Monday, April 2, 2018

If Your Dreams Have Shattered

"We don't care if it's a boy or a girl, as long as its healthy."

When soon to be parents say these words, my heart stops a little.

I know what they mean, of course. I probably uttered those words myself once upon a time. I'm sure I did.

But what if they aren't healthy?

No one wishes for that ending. No one hopes for that ending. But sometimes, the unexpected happens. Then what do you do?

When I was pregnant with twins, I was the most shocked pregnant woman you would ever wish to meet. There were no twins on my side or my husband's. We already had a beautiful little boy, healthy and happy. Suddenly, I was pregnant and so sick again with severe morning sickness. Then at a routine ultrasound, we learned that I was having twins. I came home in a dazed state. Was it really possible? Would we actually have two babies? I was thrilled at the prospect.

I've written before that during the months following, I dreamed of how it would be. I would have a little girl and boy. They would wear matching sailor suits of blue and white. Why sailor suits? I have no idea. Maybe I thought this is what twin siblings were supposed to wear. But in my mind's eye, I saw them toddling down a sidewalk, holding hands. Their backs were to me as they walked on a beautiful sunlit day.

But it wasn't to be.

The twins were unexpectedly born 2 1/2 months early. Their lungs could not function yet on their own. The next few weeks were a blur of caring for my little boy at home and going to the hospital to see our twins in the NICU.

It was a happy day when two months later, they were able to come home at last. Finally, I thought, we could begin our happily ever after.

A few months went by and I began to notice that they were not progressing as I thought they should be. There seemed to be developmental delays. My daughter, especially, seemed very stiff when I tried to cuddle her. They both cried almost all day long. They were not sitting up on their own. I talked with their pediatrician who assumed the delays were due to their premature birth. But I couldn't shake the feeling that something was wrong.

Some time later, a neurologist did an MRI and the results came back - cerebral palsy. The brain damage looked severe. She could not tell us if they would ever walk or even talk.

Then one of our twins, Alex, began having episodes where he would suddenly stop breathing. The first time it happened, I was giving him a small bottle of apple juice. He was drinking when he coughed and turned a dusky blue and became limp in my arms. I felt like I was moving in slow motion. An ambulance came and he was taken to the ER. We hoped that this was just an isolated incident, but in fact, this would happen again and again. He was diagnosed with an additional diagnosis of tracheomalacia which meant that his trachea would suddenly collapse, making it impossible to breathe.

My world suddenly became very small. I wanted to enjoy their childhood and enjoy our days. But fear and exhaustion were constant companions. Every single day was filled with fear. A day could start out normally, but end up back in an emergency room. There were times that he almost died, but somehow would pull through. I think it was hard for other people to understand what our daily life had become. It sometimes seemed we were living hour by hour. There just isn't a way to convey the stress that we were under.

I wondered where God was. I was so very tired. There seemed to be no end to the circumstances we were now in. I stood in hospital rooms and looked out the window. I craved ordinary days doing ordinary things. I wanted to be standing in my home doing the dishes and watching my children playing with no threat of illness or death.

One evening when we were all home, there was a knock at our door. A young couple, who also worked at the same ministry, stood on our porch. They came to tell us that they were pregnant and were having twins. I managed to congratulate them. I must have said all the regular things that are said at these times. But as soon as they left and the door clicked shut behind them, I had a conversation with God. "Are You serious? Am I supposed to watch someone else have twins - normal twins that have no health problems? Their twins will be able to walk and run and do all the things my children cannot do. Please, God, it's too much." I was happy for this couple. I would not wish health problems on anyone's children. But now, I not only felt that God had abandoned me, I felt he was giving my dreams to someone else. Why? I didn't know. I couldn't make sense of anything.

Over time as I tried to give my shattered dreams to God, He was able to bring some sort of peace to my heart. But it was a process - a very slow going process.I would take three steps forward, then five steps back.

Are you facing a crisis in your life right now? Maybe our situations are different, but on some level, I understand. Are there dreams you have that have been shattered into a million pieces? I'm so sorry. I wish I could put it all back together for you. I wish I could just make it better. But I can, in some small way, say to you that God has not forgotten you. He can put your heart back together. You may be standing in the ashes of all your hopes, but somehow, God can bring beauty out of it all. I can say it and know it's true, because this is what He has done for me.

It certainly didn't happen overnight. And honestly, at times, I still struggle. I was at a baby shower recently and when I got back in my car, I sat and cried. Grief will sneak up on you like that. I still wonder what might have been. I can't imagine how different life could have been had our twins been born healthy.

And yet, despite all the trauma, despair, and agony of soul, God has shown His kindness to me a million times over. He has been a very real friend to me and walked with me through the darkest valleys. I think you only get to know someone, really know someone, when you go through a crisis together. Jesus and I have walked and talked and cried together. He has let me know countless times that He was there. Sometimes I was aware of this during a hard time, sometimes not. Oftentimes we aren't truly aware that He was indeed there until time has passed.

That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

I've thought of this verse many times over the years. There is fellowship of his sufferings each time we go through the pain of not understanding why. But more and more, I want to know Him, really know Him. I was praying today and telling Him how I wished He had never had to suffer all the things that were done to Him. I wish He could have avoided it all. But I know that His answer would be, "You were worth it all." A few years ago, I would never have replied with that answer, at least in regards to myself. But now I know it's true.

This life is truly so short. We will probably never have all the answers to our whys. But maybe there is something more He wants to accomplish. Maybe He just wants you. You are better than a thousand sunrises and sunsets to Him. He is really interested in you. You matter to Him. Your life is significant. You can trust Him when there seems to be no answers.

Monday, January 8, 2018

God Gets Your Question Marks

I have a funny way of thinking a lot of times, I guess. Since I am a teacher, I will read something and will think about it from a teacher point of view.

This morning, I was thinking about ideas for practicing punctuation for a 10 year old. As I sat and thought about it, I felt  God suddenly and quite unexpectedly speak to my heart. Who would've thought? It didn't exactly seem like a God moment.

I felt like God said, "I'm interested in punctuation." It certainly wasn't what I was expecting God to say. I barely care about punctuation. Well, I do really. But why would God? It wouldn't seem to make the cut in the book Things God Cares About. 

But God definitely does have an interest in punctuation when it comes to our lives, if you think about it.

A lot of times I feel like there is a big question mark over my head in regards to my daughter's health and our little boy. (Our daughter has cerebral palsy and our son has a rare genetic disorder.)

There's always been a, "Why God?" in regards to Elisa and now, Nathaniel. I think I will always have the question, "Why? Just why?" 

I don't know. I may never know. I know that God sees that giant question mark in my heart. He isn't uncaring or distant. He sees and knows. He just hasn't answered in the way I would like. But I always (at least I try) to counteract that "Why" with the words, "I trust You. I know You. You are kind and good. I don't understand at all. But I know this about You. I can trust You." 

I think I can say that God and I are close friends.  I've said before that walking this dark and uncertain road with Him has caused me to draw close to Him. I'm afraid a lot of the times, but He walks very close with me always. Sometimes I've plopped down on the side of the road and said,"I'm stopping here. You go on without me." But He always waits until I sigh and get back up again. Where else would I go? And who else could I possibly walk with?

Sometimes we put a period where there shouldn't be one at all. We may think a chapter in our lives is done and finished. But God may not want a period there. 

period is a full stop. It marks the end of a sentence. It marks the end of an idea or a thought. It marks the end of an action.
Maybe it isn't time to place a period. God may have other ideas for you. You just don't know it yet. 

Instead of a period, perhaps there should just be a comma. A comma indicates a pause.  Maybe some time just needs to pass - time brings clarity and healing. I'd like to tell you that the pause won't be for long, but I couldn't promise you that. But I can say that where there is a pause, there is hope.

But when God thinks about you, whoever you are reading this right now, He definitely thinks of you with an exclamation mark. An exclamation mark signifies intensity of emotion. God doesn't think of you and think nothing. He takes great delight in you. The way you think, the way you look, the way you are an infinite joy and delight to Him, whether you think so or not. Maybe you think that God could never love you. Ask Him to show you the truth of how much He cares. The Bible says that God demonstrated His love for us, that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. But I think you can also ask God to show you how He feels about YOU. You are definitely an exclamation mark.

This was a strange train of thought, I guess.  If you think about it, God is interested in all kinds of things that we may not even think about. He loves science. He created our bodies, the planets, He hung the stars in the sky and calls them by name. The winds and the seas obey Him. Why wouldn't He have an interest in punctuation? :)

Punctuation in writing shows the intent of the author. In writing, you are not privy to the inflection of the speaker's voice or their body language. You have to use the punctuation as the guideline as to what the meaning of the words are.

 If someone forgets punctuation in their writing, it can change the entire meaning of what is being said.

Importance of a comma

We can look at our situations, but easily misinterpret the Divine intent behind it. We can look at circumstances and misunderstand what God is doing. Without punctuation, our writing is merely words that can be interpreted numerous ways. When you trust the heart of the Writer,  you can trust that His intent towards you is only good (and we know He doesn't mean to eat grandpa!)

Class, let's review:)

1. Don't put a period in too hastily. It may not be the end just yet. Allow God the final say in the matter.
2. A comma means a pause. Maybe God has you on the pause mode right now, but it won't last forever.
3. God can handle your question marks. He may answer your, "Why?" either directly or indirectly. But He also may remain silent on the matter. It's very possible.
4. You are definitely an exclamation mark to the One who loves you the most.

Hopefully, you will never look at an exclamation mark in the same way again!
Have a beautiful August, friend!

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Friday, November 17, 2017

Favorite Things Friday

I love looking outside this time of year and see the leaves swirling around my yard. This is such a beautiful time of year where everything has a magical, soft back light that seems to illuminate every leaf and every tree.

I haven't done a Favorite Things Friday in a long time and this seemed a good day to share a few items that make my list.

I saw a lady wearing these boots in the Target parking lot last week. I asked my daughter about them and she said they were Uggs. I'm sure I have seen these before, but never really paid attention to them. I would love to wear these during the cold, Iowa winters. Maybe there will be a big Black Friday sale on these?

We've been listening to this Michael Buble Christmas cd in the car for the past two weeks. I don't think anyone sings All I Want for Christmas is You better than he does, do you?


This is one of my current favorite perfumes, but.....


I would really love to try this one - Jo Malone Peony and Blush Suede. I had a sample of the lotion and thought the smell was fabulous.


This is an interesting concept for lipsticks. They are vintage, old Hollywood types of lipsticks. You can choose the year you are most interested in such as the 1941 American Beauty or the 1959 Red Hot Red.
 Lipsticks will always make my favorites on any list. I haven't tried this one yet, but they have beautiful colors to choose from.


Nickel and Suede make these earrings which are made out of a lightweight leather. The green would make a great holiday gift.

Starbucks Holiday drinks just make me happy during this holiday season. I don't indulge very often, but my favorite right now is their Eggnog Latte.

If you have a little girl in your home, I spotted some adorable things for them to wear.


This movie comes out during Thanksgiving week. I'm a big Charles Dickens fan, so I would love to go and see this.

I love reading about ladies' favorite things. I wish I could be Oprah for a day and give you one of each!

I hope you have a beautiful and blessed Thanksgiving!

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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Fall Inspiration

This time of year always makes me think of a quote from You've Got Mail.

Joe Fox: Don't you love New York in the fall? It makes me wanna buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address. 

Whoever wrote that line in the movie, got it right! Every September, I get happy seeing shiny new boxes of Crayons, backpacks, and yellow pencils in their packages - a start of a new season always makes me smile.

I have been to New York in the fall and it is beautiful. But I love the feeling of fall in my home, too.

If you are looking for a little fall/holiday inspiration, then take a look:)

Central Park in the fall



 I'm sure it might cost a gazillion dollars to live in one of these NYC brownstones, but i would LOVE it!!





pinterest (Home Goods)


Take some time to enjoy this time of year. Order a Starbucks pumpkin latte, pick up a few pumpkins at the grocery store and set them on your front porch, make pumpkin bars, make caramel apples, and watch It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown with your kids (even if my kids are all mostly grown up, we still try and do that together).

I love the way the light comes in the windows during this time of year. There is a softness and shimmer to the sunlight. I like to have candles burning and things baking in the oven. I've always felt that your family just feels happier when Mom is making good things in the kitchen.

This is the time of year to savor every moment. Don't get in a rush and let it pass you by.


Thursday, June 22, 2017

Tassels and Tops

I hope you are having a wonderful June! It's hard to believe that July is almost upon us.

I found a few pretties that I thought I would share with you.

The tops are from a site called and most are under $20. The earrings are from . 

Black Shirt, top row.
Striped shirt, second row. White shirt, second row.
Third row striped off shoulder top
Third row middle
Third row blue off shoulder

I love these last two items, also. They help foundation go on smoothly and not melt away during the heat of the summer.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

My Five Favorite Movies

If you know me even slightly, you know I love a good story. I love to read, but movies are probably my favorite way to experience a story.

Over the years, there have been several movies that have left a deep impression on me. Some of these movies are funny and light hearted, and some deal with grief and pain. I like both kinds. One of these movies in particular was a way in which God spoke truth to my heart of how He looks at me. You may question that, but that's okay. God can use anything He wants to show you something - even a movie.

My five favorite movies in no particular order are:

1. Father of the Bride - starring Steve Martin. The original with Spencer Tracy and Elizabeth Taylor was good, but my favorite version is this one. Do you know the feeling you have when the sun is shining, the birds are singing, and all is right with the world? That's the feeling I have each time I watch this movie. Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Diane Keaton create something magical. I also fell in love with their house. The exteriors are a real house, of course, and the interiors are stage sets, but still...I loved that house!
    The bond between a father and his only daughter getting married is shown in such a hilarious and sweet story. I've never gotten tired of watching it. I've lost count on how many times I've seen it (as my children will say with a groan). Smile.

2. Little Women - starring Wynona Ryder, Susan Sarandon, and a young Christian Bale. While I love this story of the March family and the love between the four sisters, I'm also drawn in by the beautiful photography of this film. There are several opening scenes that are so visually stunning. That may be an odd thing to notice, but it's always been something I've paid attention to. Christian Bale is perfection as Laurie, but I don't think I will ever get over the fact that he and Jo don't end up together.The music is also hauntingly beautiful. (I'm listening to it right now while I'm writing this post.)

3. Home Alone - starring Macaulay Culkin  This is also another movie where, while I love the story, I may have loved the house even more. But I do love the plot and any scene with Joe Pesci is wonderful.

4. Signs - starring Mel Gibson. Directed by M. Night Shyamalan. I have to start out by saying that this director is so gifted. I wish I could sit down with him and hear his thoughts on directing and creating a story.
    This is not a horror film, but it is a suspense film. It does have a couple of scary scenes, but not violence or gore. You may be surprised to know, if you have never seen the film, that it is really a story of faith. Mel Gibson plays a minister who suffers a loss in his faith after the death of his wife. Whenever it is on, even if I can't watch the whole movie, I will stop whatever I'm doing and watch the last five minutes. The reason is (spoiler alert here) that Mel Gibson's son almost dies from an asthma attack, but in the end, he lives. I like that happy ending. It fulfills something in my heart to watch it because, in real life, we didn't experience that happy ending with our son. For a few minutes, I feel happiness and joy that someone had a happy ending with their child, even if it is just a movie.

5. Slumdog Millionaire - starring Dev Patel.  I think I wrote a short blog on this movie a few years ago. Ever since that time, I have planned on writing a lengthier post about it, but haven't. Here's why. It evokes such an emotional response in me that I've kind of shied away from it. I know that I will need to sit down and watch it again, and while I love the movie, the way that God opened up His love for me through it makes me react in the same way all over again. I literally cried for days after I first watched it. I was totally engrossed in the story and had no idea that God was about to say anything to me at all. God is funny that way.
   The movie takes you back from Jamal's childhood with his brother Salim and their meeting of a girl, Latika. It takes place over a several year time span where he is reunited with Latika and then loses her again. In the end, he doesn't know where she is, but comes up with a desperate plan to find her. The love that he has for her and the efforts he goes to to find her are so moving. God suddenly and clearly spoke some very personal things to me near the end of the movie.

Another movie worth mentioning is the recent movie, Lion, also starring Dev Patel. It is based on a true story and it really touched my heart. It's a pretty intense, emotional movie.

 I've also enjoyed two other movies recently- The Intern with Robert DeNiro and Anne Hathaway (not a family movie) and Joy with Jennifer Lawrence. If someone had told me I would love a movie about a lady named Joy that created a mop, I would have laughed. But it is such a masterfully told story with so many interesting characters. I loved it.

There you go! If you wanted to know a little about me (you can tell a lot about a person by their tastes in movies) or were looking for a good movie recommendation, I hope this helps. I'd love to hear some of your favorite movies, too. We have a daughter with CP and is wheelchair bound,and watching a movie is about the only thing we can do as a whole family.

Much love to each of you! Happy, happy April!

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