Fractured Moments

A frantic voice calling hello on a voice mail; scared, and hurt. A stranger telling you from your husband’s phone that they were in an accident. They. The family. My family. Two little girls – my stepdaughters, my husband, and………my teenage daughter? Was she with them?

I can’t understand him. This stranger. This man with my husband’s phone. I start to panic. How will I know where they are, or what happened? I hear a hospital name. THAT I do know.

Shaking……..Shocked……..Shocking……..I leave. I don’t know what I’ll find, but I head to the hospital.

I text my daughter. TM: Were you with them?

She is always with them, but she had told me she might go to a friend’s house. Did she?

There was no reply.

They weren’t at the hospital. There are no ambulances in dock. No sirens. Nothing.

The silence is deafening. The unknown – terrifying – pressing and pressing its steely claws of fear.

My phone rings and it’s my husband’s name, but it’s not him. It is a paramedic telling me my two step-daughters are being transported to the children’s hospital in downtown. My husband, and sixteen-year old daughter to the hospital across the street from the children. This? Made it very real.

I left the wrong hospital. I still didn’t know if they were okay or not, but I knew it was very serious.

My husband’s brother is with me. He is calm. I feed off his calm. I need calm, because I so badly want to fall apart. But I can’t. Not now. Maybe? Not ever.

I use the phone. Shaking hands dial the number. I call the mom of my four, and seven-year old step daughters. I call her to tell her…….both of her children are on the way to a children’s hospital by ambulance.

And I don’t know. I don’t know anything.

It is the most helpless feeling in the world. I hear her pain, her panic, her raw emotion. I wish I could help her, comfort her, but I am numb.

I have to pick which hospital I go to. I have to choose a room, and a person. I can’t see all four. I can’t know all at once.

I need to pray……. but I can’t remember how to pray. I want to cry……..but I can’t remember to do that either.

All I can do is repeat the phrase going through my mind. I trust you, Lord. I trust you. I know you will keep my family safe. I know you won’t give me anything I can’t handle. I trust you, Lord. I do.

In the ER, in a tiny room off the red line. I see my daughter’s gray-blue eyes. They are just above the rim of her neck brace. She has blood streaks all over legs. A spot of dried blood on her forehead and in her ear. She cradles her right hand covered in a bloody gauze. But she is awake. She is aware. She knows I’m here.

I want to cry, but I can’t. They are taking her off the back board.

My husband is around the corner. I find him. I see blood. So much blood. He is in a neck brace too. They are cutting his clothes off. But I see his clear blue eyes. I hear him talk. I bend my face over him. I am here.

Tears well, but they do not fall.

The paramedics tell me the little girls are at the ER and in rooms. Sydney tells me they were okay when she was with them, just scared, but not hurt (I hope).

I try to make sense of what happened and how. I ask questions.

I hear different versions from traumatized accounts.

I try to piece it together. The back drivers side tire struck by a turning truck. The Jeep rolled and landed upright. Pieces all around.

I head across the street. I have to see the little girls. My husband, their dad, on a stretcher in the ER needs me to see the little girls. My eyes spot the littlest one first. She is so scared. I can see it in her lower lip quiver. I ask her if she can speak and she nods. She takes a deep breath and says, “Yes, I can.” Using her brave voice with no quiver. Breaks my heart. I touch her silky hair. Her little voice so small trying to be so big.

The oldest step-daughter, Molly, smiles when she sees me. Her smile is all I see beneath the hulking neck brace. I see all her teeth in her bright grin. I almost lose it.

These precious babies…….so brave……so scared………but alive and breathing. I hug them. I kiss them. I tell them I love them. Oh, how much I love them!

I witness…. a miracle.

My family survives a very tragic, and scary ordeal.

Six hours after their arrival, I drive Jason and Sydney home. The little girls released long before to their mother who hugged me when I saw her, because God knows we needed all the hugs we could get.

It was over. They would heal. Emotionally and physically, but they were all still with us by the grace of God. His hand on them. His protection over them. I trust you, Lord. I do.

I visit the wrecker service lot. I see the Jeep. I feel the impact of what my family went through. I finally cry.


2008 JEEP Wrangler rolled.


Point of impact, back tire wheel.


Thick metal chunks were found through the entire car.


The spot where my sixteen-year old sat. Passenger side front.


She was eating an ice cream cone…with sprinkles.


The crushed windshield from the roll.


My step-daughter Bridget always holds this phone and plays music on it. She was holding it when the accident happened.

My step-daughters visit the day after the accident. They look amazing, and more beautiful than ever.


The littlest.


The biggest.

Their faces are so happy. So full of life. So overwhelmingly gorgeous.

We try out the new booster seats for my car. Ones that have the high-back like they had in Dad’s Jeep. But this time…they have a protective head rest too.


New high-back booster with head rest.


The youngest in the car ready to head home.


The new car seats are pink. Of course….

These fractured moments bring me clarity. They breathe new appreciation for our most precious cargo – family. My Sydney survived a horrific accident in the front of a badly crushed vehicle. I will never forget the moment I saw her side of the vehicle. My husband got to hold his children again and tell them he loved them after losing sight of them at the scene and not knowing for many hours how they were and not seeing them for more than 24 hours. I get to appreciate life in a whole new way.

One second. One moment……can change everything.

I know many of you prayed from Facebook. I can’t thank you enough. I believe God heard our cries.

I trust you, Lord. I do.

Super Secret Project Revealed

Well, it happened.

We pulled it off. A surprise birthday party for Jason’s mom (Happy Birthday Mom!).

She thought we had all forgot. No party, no grandkids, no handsome sons.

No presents, no cake.

Boy was she ever wrong – because this family? – knows how to party.

Surprise!

The best gift of all? HER. Being with us. Second best? We had already gotten together on the sly for her birthday present.

A gift of photographs. A gift of love (and photographs) for a woman who doesn’t just teach about love, but lives it, and passed it on to her family.

She showed us all the power of family when we met in those hospital waiting rooms praying with all our heart for her healing. She showed us the power of strength when she emerged from intensive care and knew her families faces and names after a brain aneurysm leak and a stroke on top of it. Then she showed us the power of miracles because she is still with us today. Walking, talking, and loving us all.

She tells the story of Jesus sitting with her during her dark days of a coma and encouraging her to go back and tell her family she loves them.

Never mind that we already knew that. Her story touches many, many hearts. Even the printers were moved by it.

I am intensely proud to be part of this family, it’s not just strength of it, but the compassion and care that drives it. And Sue? Is the best driver I know.

Happy Birthday to my sweet mother-in-law. We are SO glad you are here to celebrate.

Photo book with verses from 1 John Chapter Four.

She tells us to tell our kids we love them every day. The grandkids wanted her to know…………tell your grandma too.

Lots of love shared on this day.

Most of the grandkids are seeing their photographs for the first time.

Lots of birthday hugs for Grandma.

I love her joy (and her hair is sooo cute!).

She passed her love down through the generations. To a stunning group of children. I have no doubt these kids will continue to honor love with their future families just as she has.

What a special day and celebration of a beautiful woman inside and out.

1 John 4:16
And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.

Valentine’s Day Weekend Wedding

I’m not gonna lie. I was a nervous wreck. I panicked and went auto a few times. I was in the way. I wasn’t in the way enough. I scrambled. I used wrong settings. Forgot to change settings. Completely lost all ability to use my camera controls correctly. I questioned everything and most of all???? I LOVED IT.

What a beautiful couple. The moments were so stunningly intimate. I couldn’t be happier for these two.


Praying with her Matron of Honor before the ceremony.


The pastor’s Bible.


Her son and grandson walked her down the aisle.


That kiss had some heat!


Ahh, the relief, and JOY.


First picture of the family together. This is the bride, groom, matron of honor, grandson, and the groom’s two adopted daughters from China. These girls were soooo incredibly happy to have a new mom. I wish you could have heard them. Their mom passed of cancer after they were adopted. The groom was a widow. It’s a very touching story. Isn’t love always?


Cutting of the cake.


Love how their hands clasp together so tightly. They would not even take off their rings for me to photograph those on flowers. I thought that was too sweet. Congratulations!

Of course, I have tons more pictures. I just wanted to grab a few “sneaks” for you to see. I was afraid to look at them until now. I’m not kidding. My terrifying vision entailed image after image all being blurry once on the big computer screen. And weddings? Well, you get ONE shot.

This photography business is tough for a perfectionist. Good thing, my photography teacher told the class as long as we strive to take a better photo, to get the shot, angle, and composition adjusted. As long as we keep reaching for that. We are growing, and learning.

This business is a welcome challenge. I can’t wait to learn more.

A Wedding Post – The Sand Ceremony

Four months ago, I stood under a beautiful stained glass window, in a charming Methodist Church. A place our daughters, and mother loved dearly. A day fraught with meaning, love, and dedication (not to mention the blood, sweat, and tears).

I made God breathed promises to a man and his two daughters. Three people who I adore with all my heart. With my stunning daughter, two families became one. Our blended joy held in a clear glass vase of unity. Our wedding sand ceremony.

The colors were peach, beige, and pink. The girls were pink (of course). Jason was peach, and I was the beige. We each had a vase to hold and pour. One, by one, we filled the vase with our personal color. Not only combining a beautiful tapestry of art, but a reminder of this moment, and this day when we became a blended family.

Our differences unique, but when blended together, make a beautiful piece of work. It was perfect.

I did consider the unity candle, but to me, the sand was so much closer to what I thought we were. And I love that we can keep it on our mantle at home.

The song we played while we poured the sand was Have a Little Faith in Me sung by Westside Music Ministry. I’ve put a video together of the wedding pictures our step-brother Kevin took. I haven’t ordered Kellene’s yet, but I will as soon as I can. I love them all.

The song we picked wasn’t just for the flow and tune (although, I do love that). The song reminds me of our “broken” roads of the past. Both of us devastated by divorce. Neither of us intent on remarriage. Neither of us willing to risk being hurt again. And neither of us wanted our children to EVER suffer another divorce, and believe me, it is the children that suffer.

It took a lot of faith to walk that road. To trust. To love. To believe. To I do again.

“When your back’s against the wall, just turn around, and you will see. I’ll be there to catch you. I will catch your fall. Just have a little faith in me.”

Faith is why we chose to love again. Faith healed our hurts. God brought us together and every broken piece from our lives FIT (perfectly).

On this day, our wedding day, we faced a mom (his) in ICU. And a mom (mine) missing. Yet somehow, God held us close and brought us a day we will never forget and always cherish.

Have a little faith…..have a little faith…..

Happy four months to us and many, many more.