Your whole life can change in one moment. For me, my whole world was rocked by one moment, but my whole life has been changed (and is continuing to change) for the better (okay, maybe that’s only sometimes true) by the aftermath of that moment. In April of 2012, my father passed away suddenly from a massive heart attack and – in the months that followed – I learned how grief can threaten to take apart your whole world and then – in the next moment – give you opportunities to help others because you’ve “been there.”
Shortly after my father’s passing, someone said to me; “Welcome to the worst club you’ll ever be a part of, and the one club you’d never ask to be a part of.”
The grief club.
Through my own grief, I have learned how to be the “president” of this club, the “court jester” of this club and sometimes the “weird girl superhero” of this club. (I’m not Harley Quinn, but I’m not Tinkerbell, either. But if you could put them both together….) Most of all, I have learned to be the “cheerleader” of this club: the person that has “been there” and wants to make sure that everyone else who experiences loss like I did has someone to cheer them on, love them through, pray for them, and be their advocate when they feel all alone.
In my spare time, when I am not moonlighting as the “cheerleader for the grief club” and the “princess of chocolate pudding,” I am married to an amazing man who puts up with my ridiculous antics and loves me in spite of how outrageously weird I can be, and I have five almost grown up children who are each making the world a better place in their own ways. When it comes right down to raw talent and truly marketable skills, I have been told I am awesome at vacuum cleaner races, cutting bulletin board letters, pouring coffee and trying to make sure my house does not become overrun by unmatched socks. Actually, I might not be all that good at that last one. Also, in the last six months, I have learned to laminate stuff. Which probably makes me a danger to society. Or willing to have lamination races if you’re ever bored.
If you’d like to read my actual bio you can find it in the book; but I will tell you that I am in children’s, youth and family ministries and am one of the biggest cheerleaders for mission work and for anything related to Coe College. (My alma mater, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa)
In my free time I enjoy gardening, writing books that aren’t all about grief, (but some are) being the poster-child for failed attempts at pinterest projects, (okay, that’s not completely true…I am good at some pinterest projects…wreaths made out of hymnals, anyone?) and making people laugh at the most inopportune moments. I also enjoy long walks on the beach (really!), telling embarrassing toddler stories about my children and listening to Christmas music at all times of the year. (Which may or may not drive my family members crazy.)
When I grow up, I hope to own an entire wardrobe of clothes that are pink, would like to be close to 5”7, and have plastic feet like Barbie so I can fit into those cute little stilettos. And own a life-sized Barbie convertible. And make all of my sons drive it.
In the real world, I adore mission trips, a ministry called “Faith and Grief” which is responsible for blessing my life in amazing ways, people who make me laugh continuously, and anyone who can put a positive spin on almost everything. Someday I hope to be remembered as a hilarious cautionary tale for parents everywhere, as raising five children to be amazing, wonderful people is slightly harder than it looks and, as it turns out, trial and error is a terrible way to raise children. My adventures in parenting have taught me four things:
- Never lose your sense of humor.
- Love everyone unconditionally.
- No one goes off to college with a pacifier so the endless worrying about how long your child has one is needless worrying.
- Roller rink glow sticks are completely non-toxic, in case your child ever decides to drink one. They just happen to taste terrible. I would recommend against drinking them in the first place.
My posse/band of crazies/fan club includes: my husband, children, one neurotic basset hound named Oscar and one red bone coon hound puppy named Baxter who likes to eat rocks and is driving me insane – one crazed rock-munching episode at a time.
And – for the record – I never wear my lingerie outside the house (after that one time – read the book!), I rarely (if ever) eat chocolate pudding anymore and I am more like a cartoon character than anyone you will ever meet.
And – most of all – it matters to me that people are helped through the sharing of my story. Your whole life can change in one moment, but that one moment doesn’t have to be the end of your story. Perhaps it is only the beginning.