Friday, December 8, 2017

The Death of a Child - Part 1

Anticipatory death . . . a thousand deaths. I anticipated this – obviously . . .I was told my son had a fatal disease and he most likely would not out live me. The anticipation of my child’s death lead me to seek out other parents who had been through it. This is what I heard . . .

“You’ll never be the same . . .”
“Not a day goes by that I don’t think about her . . .”
“It’s the worst thing ever!”
“A piece of me died with him . . .”
“She’s the first thing I think of when I wake up in the morning and the last thing I think of before I go to bed.”
“You don’t ever ‘get over’ it.”

That was unsettling. Surely there had to be hope . . .?

What I didn’t hear was – it’s going to be OK. You’re going to be OK.

Monmsters, I’m here to tell you, it’s going to be OK. You will get through this.

Early on I knew this difficult journey was going to push me beyond anything I could try and imagine. I needed help so I went looking and started to prepare.

One of the things I did to prepare was read the Bible cover to cover.

One thing that stood out to me is that God brought all of us here for a purpose. He loves each and every one of us sooooo much. He created us. We are His. Thinking about this I thought, “Then these children are not really mine . . . they are His.”

Yes, they are His. I am here as their mother to fulfill one of the purposes He has planned for me. But, God is their Father. No one will ever love my children more than I do except their Father.

In view of this, I started to look at our journey a little differently. These little assignments from God are here to bless us. I knew no matter how difficult things got He would see me through it. I learned to rely on God and His blessings.

And difficult it was! I can remember the weeks before my son passed away. The pain was getting unbearable as I watched him struggle and suffer. I can remember at one point as I was walking down the hall toward Mike’s room. . . the hum of the oxygen machine . . . and his dreadful cough. I collapsed against the wall, exhausted mentally, physically, spiritually and I said out loud, “God, is it time for you to take him? Are you coming soon? Are you trying to tell me? Because I know my Mikey is getting so tired . . .  Dear God I don’t know how much more I can take . . . please give me strength!” 

When my son went to be with his Father, I didn’t die too. Yes, I was in incredible pain. But by this time I had gotten into a pattern . . .when I was in awful pain I laid it at the foot of the cross  . . . it took a bit but finally one day the habit kicked back in and I said out loud, “God, I can’t carry this!” As always, my Father was with me and He heard each of my cries for help and answered every one. I was reminded once again about everything I had read. I knew what God wanted me to do. I needed to continue to carry out the other assignments He had given me. I remembered that even in my darkest times He saw me through. I had renewed faith that He would help me survive this as well.

And momsters, he does. I have no other reason for the peace that I have. It is given to me. I do have to work at it. I remember how hard Mike had to fight to stay in the ring of life as he went round to round. I reflected what Mike taught me and began to fight – fight for my peace. The tempter wants to take it away but I fight for it when I need to and God always helps me.

It’s never too late to start to fight. Be good to you. I didn’t start out doing that. I took no time off of work and jumped right back in the day after Mike was buried. Even if it has been years – start right now. When you need something ASK. Don’t do the – well, if they don’t know, then . . .  That only hurts you. Believe that you are important enough to have your needs met. Remember, no one will value you more as a person, than you value yourself. Meaning, if you keep taking on all kinds of crap, that’s what you will get. Because that is the message you are sending.

Don’t take on too much (the pot calling the kettle black here). When you need to step back and take a break, take it. Even if it’s been three years! You will be of no use to anyone if you drill yourself into the ground.

If you’ve not been able to do much of anything, take baby steps. Fight. Remember there are other assignments God has for you. If you don’t know what they are – seek them out. We all have our own purpose to fulfill.

In my darkest hours the thing that always helped me was practicing gratitude. While my son was lying there dying before my eyes, my heart and mind went on auto pilot. I had the most overwhelming feelings of gratitude and peace. Even when he went through his restless stage (which, while I anticipated it, I thought surely would push me over the edge) my heart told me to be thankful - God is using this in Mike’s fight. Better for him to want to go home to Jesus then be tormented by fighting with the world to stay here. I wish I could articulate this better. My heart was grateful as I trusted God’s plan for Mike and for me.

After Mike’s death I looked for people who needed help. They are all around us. It helped me to give back and to reach out. Purpose.

God has given me new 
assignments/blessings :)
When I say practice and fight I mean that literally. These things will not happen if you stay in your bed with the covers up over your head. They won’t happen while you choose yelling and screaming at everyone in your life because you are in pain. They won’t happen while you are logging every insurrection that has been done to you since your child passed. And I know how tempting it can be. Baby steps. Make a better choice. It might not be the best choice, but progress that moves you forward – no matter how small the step- is better than moving backwards.

There is so much more that I want to share with you. I will make this Part I. It is Advent. As we prepare our hearts and our homes for the Christ Child, I hope that you will seek out the peace that only the Christ Child in the manger can give. Peace that goes beyond anything that we can comprehend. It is a wonderful peace.

Please don’t think for one moment that I have this all figured out. I don’t. I stumble and fall but then I get back up and I try again – even after 3 years. More to come in Part II. I just really want to share with you what has worked for me because seriously, most of the time I have peace. These same things are what get me through every time. Trust God. Rely on His promises. Be good to you. Forgive yourself. Forgive others. Don’t take on too much. Know when enough is enough. Stop pretending everything is fine. Practice gratitude. There are many, many hurting people out there that need your help. Fight. When you have a bad day let it go. Forgive yourself and get back up for “One More Round!” Look for the little assignments God has in store to bless you with.

Please know this . . .this journey of peace is not a destination that we are trying to get to so we can say we are “over it” as some might seem to imply. It’s a guide of how to survive and maybe even thrive while we finish our walk toward home.

It’s going to be OK. You’re going to get through this. Your Father walks with you. We are all in this together. You are not alone. Reach out. Peace and blessings to you my friend.

Love, love, love,
Mama Gina

Sunday, August 30, 2015


“What am I good at?”
“How come Annesley can look at her memory work and then say it and I have to look at it and look at it and look at it and I STILL don’t know it!”

Mrs. Wagenknecht was a wonderful advocate in Mike’s life. When he was a small boy he struggled as I continued to work at getting his learning disabilities diagnosed. He was in second grade and he still couldn’t read. He uttered the words above in frustration. Mrs. Wagenknecht knew all of the students in the classroom. She was telling me about all of their attributes and I asked her, “What about Mike?” Without hesitation she said, “Mike is a good friend.” 
Mike is a good friend!
How true. That statement would be reiterated from almost everyone he met for the rest of his life. Pretty much everyone liked Mike and he was a good friend to many. When he was working full time he felt he was contributing. When he was dancing he felt accomplished. Especially when he was doing charity work with Julie.

Learning to paint on the clown face
from our family friend Pam
As time went on and Cystic Fibrosis weakened his body, he began to question his purpose. We talked about this on more than one occasion. We had lots of time to chat on the drives back and forth to Madison or during my visits while he was in isolation. It never seemed like it took much to encourage him. He would talk about stuff but you never really saw his struggle. I think it’s because Mike lived his life with such intention. He had to purpose every day to continue to thrive.
A few months after Mike passed away I went up into his mostly untouched third floor room. I started looking around. Just kind of nosing about. I became quickly frustrated not really knowing what I was looking for and gave up my quest.  A few days later I found myself up in his room again. Just looking around from corner to corner thinking about Mike and his life. I started to search once again . . .this time a little more intently. I picked up a couple of his things and then walked over to his book case. This is where he kept pills and CDs and things that were close at hand . . . and there it was.
I didn’t remember it when I first found it . . .I had to read and study it. It was exactly what I was looking for.
Let me write you a few of the words I found in this letter I had written to Mike in March of 2013:
We talked about plans and the future. Do you ever wonder why we are here? Why God put us here in this very spot, at this very moment?

I believe we are all here for the same reason and that reason is to glorify God. Some of us will do that by being a Pastor, some by being a policeman and some by riding a motorcycle, being a good friend etc.

So in other words, it doesn’t matter what we do as long as it glorifies God. Can we do that by being disabled and riding a bike? You bet!
You said you don’t feel like you do anything to be proud of anymore. Maybe that is the problem - - it’s not about you. When our focus is on ourselves we don’t glorify God. When our focus is on God, then everything we do is for Him. We glorify Him by making the best with everything He gives us and that is what you do! And that is what people see and admire in you. Your perseverance. The fact that you get back up and keep fighting no matter how hard life has kicked you down. You stumble and fall like the rest of us but you get back up and press forward with more determination and motivation and that motivates and mystifies others.

You have a disabling disease and learning disabilities but you have so many more gifts than disadvantages. You are creative. The stuff you have done with music and dancing are remarkable. Just beautiful. Your inner strength shines brightly. Your thoughts are so deep. You have such an understanding of people and life.

I could go on and on. I couldn’t be more proud of you if you were a brain surgeon or astronaut. Keep doing the best you can with what God gives you like you always have. That glorifies God and is exactly what his plans are for you. I love you so much! XXOO Mom

Circumstances in life might temporarily or permanently change and tempt us to feel useless ( I don’t like that word) . . .  But that is not truth. We are never useless! When one door closes I believe another one opens. God tells us we have purpose. We might need to re-purpose ourselves but we will always be able to contribute if we choose to do so.
Proverbs 19:21 Many are the plans in a man’s heart, 
but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.
Whether Mike was making balloon animals for the kids down the hall in the hospital, juggling for kids at church or charity events, dancing in competitions or choreographing for charity, or just riding around on his bike with his brothers – Mike was purposeful with his time and talents.
He loved riding his bike with his brotha Dennis and other brothers

When I went searching up in Mike’s room I guess you could say I went searching for my purpose. I found it. What purpose did I have in Mike’s life . . . during his final few years here on earth? So many times I wished I could do more. I wished and prayed I could take away his pain. I would have done anything to stop the progression of his disease. But my purpose came in encouraging him. It came by helping him to hold up his arms . . . as did so many of you. It was God’s purpose for me at that time. It was obviously important to Mike too or he wouldn’t have kept that letter so close at hand where he could see it every day.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another 
and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
I encourage you to take the time to write these things down. To write letters to the ones that you love. Tell them how much they mean to you. Record it. If you find yourself down and out for a time maybe you are being given that time to write a letter to someone who needs the encouragement.
It may be the only thing you have left when they are gone. And trust me that will encourage and lift you up when you need it.
Juggling flaming torches at the family reunion

Should something happen to you, your words will encourage the receiver forever. There is something special about the written word. 
I am thankful I took the time to write this letter to Mike even though things were crazy busy the last couple years of his life. Finding this helped me in my healing process. Almost as much as some of the things Mike gave to me or wrote to me. 
I hope none of you ever have to walk in Mike’s shoes but I know many of you will. A few of Mike’s friends have recently found themselves in a hospital bed staring at the ceiling. I have been praying for each of you. I am proud of the way you keep going. I hope that Mike’s story continues to be an inspiration to you as it is to me.

Each of you had a purpose in Mike's life and that purpose is complete. How will you re-purpose yourself?
Blessings to you! Love, love, love.

Psalm 57:2 I cry out to God most high, to God, 
who fulfills his purpose for me.

WI State Championship 2007

Monday, July 20, 2015

Honoring Mike's Legacy - A Big Hug

Thank you Nugget and all the Top Hats for a special remembrance of Mike
Click on any of the pictures to see them bigger :) 

On Saturday a bunch of Mike's brothers and friends got together to honor him by placing a stone at the Wisconsin Motorcycle Memorial in Sturgeon Bay.

The group left the clubhouse and headed to the cemetery to pay their respects. But before they all left Peggy gave me the most awesome t-shirt that says "I MISS YOU" on the front. On the back it says:

I think about you
I think about you still
You have never been
And you never will
I hold you close
within my heart
And there you will remain
To walk with me
throughout my life
. . . Until we meet again

Still chokes me up to read those words. It isn't just the gift of the t-shirt. It is that she thought of me, then asked Katie what size to get, got it in PURPLE, and had it there for me on such a special day. It takes someone truly awesome to do something like that. Thank you Peggy Gray! You bless me!

If that wasn't enough Peggy had purple bandannas for anyone who didn't already have one. Some of the Lady Top Hats wore purple shirts and other purple accessories. They knew I haven't been around a lot so they came up and gave me a big hug and told me how much Mikey meant to them and how happy they were to be going on this ride. Even though there had been severe thunderstorms just hours before, the turnout was fantastic.

Richie wanted to come along and meet Mike's friends. They were all so sweet to Mikey's little brother. Richie is getting over some of his shyness around them. Like Peggy says, "They don't bite! Unless you want them to! lol" Bear said the nicest prayer for everyone's safety and blessing. Nice to have an ordained minister in the group.

We left the club in a procession and started the over 2 hour trip. Several of us were in cars behind the motorcycles. We stopped a couple of times along the way. I said to Richie, "Do you think you'll ever ride on a motorcycle again?"
May 2013 - I chose this picture so you can see Mike's patch. It was one of the
first ones sewn onto his vest. I am my brothers keeper.
Click on the pic to see it bigger.

"YES . . . I want too!" came his quick reply. He had only gotten to ride with Mike one time. Mike made a point to pick Richie up on the last day of school and give him a ride home. Richie loved that short ride.

We stopped at a gas station about 15 minutes from the cemetery. I thought to myself that it would be cool if Richie could get a short ride (he's only 15 and his arm still hasn't healed so I didn't want him to go very far). I asked around and Jenni said she would give him a ride but we didn't have an extra helmet. I called Big Mike and Kay said she had one he could use once we got to the cemetery. Katie and her dad cleaned up Mikey's grave from the storm that had just blown through.

The brothers pulled Mikey's bike up to his grave. They silently all went up to pay their respects. I couldn't watch. I was last. It melted me down . . . Richie went with me . . .I told him - don't ever leave me . . .he shook his head. I gave Richie one of Mike's patches to keep. I was a puddle . . .and then one by one my other boys came and gave me big hugs. That helped a bunch.

Then I froze up . . . I kinda talked to Richie about getting a ride and he was excited but the next leg of the ride would be an hour. I wasn't really ready for that and he's so shy and his arm . . . I looked around at all the bikes and the ones with the wrap around seats with handles were full with pretty Lady Top Hats :)
Richie getting ready to ride :) 
Gitter said he would be honored to give Magik's brother a ride - what a sweetheart. I was a little concerned about my Richie being so shy and super nervous about his arm. Uncle Don said, "I have a grandpa bike if he wants a ride. I won't even feel him back there." I looked over and saw exactly what I was looking for - still a little nervous but I could see the excitement in Richie's face. Richie knew Derek's dad, Uncle Don, from Mike's parties and he seemed relaxed and anxious to go. I said yes and he got the biggest smile on his face. Yes, Mikey's cousin Derek was there too. He is the cousin who put Mikey to bed until we see him again.

More folks joined the group (including Big Mike and Kay) and it was off to Sturgeon Bay.

Unfortunately, a couple of bikes broke down on the way but brothers look out for brothers and they were prepared with the trailer.

It was a HOT day. It didn't matter to anyone. I didn't hear one complaint. Richard road in with the same big smile. Big M rode Mikey's bike into the Memorial park.

The Door Devils had the stone all ready. We were joined by some folks from Rite 'O' Ways and Outlaws too. Did I mention it was HOT? The group gathered and Radar spoke on behalf of the club.

He had ridden with Mike the 45 minute drive when Mike chose to come home to die. I'm so glad Mike got to spend that time with his brother rather than with a stranger. Shannon hadn't shared information about their time together until Saturday.

I was so touched. They were all there living out Mike's legacy of love. Joye shared how Magik wanted all of his brothers to have a patch like his. He had shared that with me also. One of his dreams that he wasn't able to fulfill but his brothers will for him and Joye will see that it gets on every vest.

Peggy placed a purple ribbon
under the stone.
Then it was time to place the stone. They let Mike's father Mike put it in place. He knelt down and placed it in the ground . . .and he couldn't get back up. And the boys came and gave him big hugs to help him. And they toasted their brother Magik and went over to visit Chopper Jim across the way. Becky came along to honor Mike. I am so touched.

Katie and Richie bonded in a new way that day. I can't put it into words but I think it helped both of them heal a little more. I am grateful for that opportunity.

Richie talked to me on the way home for the first time about losing his brother. I think watching all the other brothers express their love and grief helped him to know it was OK to share his. I will forever be grateful that this group of men and women shared this with us. And as I was saying thanks Nancy said, "You're family now!" Thank you for your kind words Nancy. And happy birthday to you and lil bit today :)

Mikey's girlfriend Amy helping to place the stone.
I know there will be other times for Richie. He is getting over his shyness and Gitter, Shine and others offered to give him another ride whenever his arm feels better. Thanks for being patient with him you guys.
Katie and Amy - and everyone went back to
the clubhouse to celebrate the July birthdays
including Mikey's :)

We had a lot of fun remembering our special son, brother and friend. No one may ever look at this post . . .but years from now a younger little brother will find it.
A little brother who was only 9 years old when his brother passed . . . who is hurting and confused.
A little boy who won't go past his brother's room without the door being closed.
But one day David will be stronger.
One day he will come here because he will want to remember and learn more about his brother Mike . . .
and his big brothers will still be around . . .
and they will tell him how much Magik meant to them . . .
and they will give him a ride . . .
just like they did for Richie.

Then the LORD said to Cain, "Where is your brother Abel?" "I don't know," he replied. "Am I my brother's keeper?"

And Mike is up in heaven saying to Cain: Dude
I AM my brothers keeper!
I am one blessed momma - love, love, love

Blessings to you!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

The Most Loving Thing

A long time ago, a woman who I respected very much said, “In all situations, I ask myself, “What is the most loving thing I can do here.”

I think about that all the time. Between stimulus and response we make a choice.

I also really like this passage:
Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. Matthew 12:34

Recently, I have been taken back by the violence and unrest on social media. Mike’s friend Paul articulated it very well this week as he too contemplated leaving social media behind.
I have a huge family and there are good things about social media that I enjoy so I will stay. But I don’t have a problem blocking things when necessary.

There is one thing that can bother me. That is when someone gets upset about something that has happened – verbalizes it vehemently and then turns around and does the very same thing to someone else. Hmmm. That one gets me every time. This is where my choice comes. This is where I hear the little voice in my ear saying, “What is the most loving thing you can do in this situation?” I usually seek to understand.

I ask lots of questions. I always have. I enjoy hearing the perspective of others. How will I ever truly understand if someone doesn’t tell me their side? When I ask it is because I seek to understand. Not because I necessarily disagree. Not because I want to be swayed to change how I may feel on the subject. Sometimes I want more information because I haven’t really formed an opinion. There are lots of reasons for my questions. I usually ask people I feel will have some insight that I can go from. Or I wonder if they have thought it completely through . . .

Unfortunately, often times my questions are met with pugnaciousness (sorry, it is still the best word – argumentative, anger . . .). That makes my heart sad. I can’t even ask to better understand without hearing things like, “Oh, I’ll go there . . .” How do you even start a conversation with that? I made a choice. I still wanted to understand – even from this person.

I appreciate hearing the perspective of others when spoken in love and I am thankful there are folks out there who are willing to do that. I’m sure it’s not the most comfortable thing, but I appreciate the genuine effort. How will we ever understand each other if we don’t know where people are coming from? Can we continue to speak – in love? (And please, don’t take my lack of response to mean that I agree – wanting to understand does not automatically mean I agree.)

What I do hope is that I will always have my right to be heard, have my right to voice an opinion, even if it isn’t popular, and have my right to disagree. I think many have fought for their right to be heard so I’m hoping they will understand me wanting to keep mine. We are a great big country and we are never going to agree on everything, but hopefully we will all agree that we each have the right to voice our opinion – spoken in love.

I don’t blog as much anymore. I am mocked for my blog by some. I am hailed by others. I don’t think I deserve either.

This world is getting to be a tougher and tougher place to live and I hope we can all find encouragement along the way. I have been told that my blog encourages others. I am humbled. That is why I continue to put myself out there.

If you are tempted to anger by reading anything I post on social media or if you don’t like my curious nature – feel free to unfriend, unfollow or delete what I share. We can agree to disagree. I will still think of you fondly.

If you meet someone who is not responding in love . . .what will your response be?

I choose love.

When you are tempted to anger think about your response - consider - What is the most loving thing I can do in this situation . . . 

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. And the greatest of these is LOVE. 1 Corinthians 13:13 

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Battles – CF Awareness – May 16

This is a picture of Mike with his favorite nurse Erin. This a picture Mike
would allow you to see. There is so much more that hasn't been shown. I share
this now to help people understand what CF really is.
May is national CF Awareness month. I've been pretty quiet on the subject. It is hard for me to talk or type about it. 

Daily treatments. Hours upon hours. This machine was a blessing and
no more pounding on Mike's chest. It gave him independence.
I thought there would be a cure by now. 

Mike fought this battle hard for 31 years. There were many battles. Each one with its own set of challenges. 

He lost the ultimate battle – but Mike won the war.

One year ago today Mike wrote this:
A routine port placement became life threatening when
his lung was nicked and collapsed. No more veins
available on his right side. Would this port hold?
I've been thinking a lot about what to type. It's been 15 days since I was last in the hospital and now I'm on home ivs for a week. Then another 2 weeks in the hospital. Pain is all the time. On oxygen all day every day. I’m not righting this as a poor me but to show people what they don't see when they look at me. It's CF awareness month and if you are not aware u wouldn't know why u should give. It’s to help some1 have a better breath. Please take the time to look it up and help so many ppl. Thank u for reading this.

Thinking back to the suffering my son endured is almost unbearable.

So many weeks spent in the hospital in isolation – so many alone. Years of his life inside a hospital room. On a hospital bed.

Drugs, drugs and more drugs.
Side effects that would make a chemo patient cringe. The knowledge that the only true end to it will be death. No remission. No cure.

Constant pain.

Constant annoying sinus drainage – sore throats, uncontrolled coughing. Interrupted sleep. Chronic fatigue.
Taken after his lung collapsed in 2007. Mike was at his healthiest. You
can see how thin he was. Again, this was his BEST,

Almost constant hunger, diarrhea, rectal prolapses (these are excruciatingly painful). Feeding tubes and nausea from the formulas that are meant to be the remedy.  

Testing – horrible, embarrassing, degrading, PAINFUL testing.

Patience – enduring all the doctor and nurses who have their agendas. Well-meaning but though to endure over and over and over again. Year after year for 31 years.

December 2013. Intubated. Only God's grace gave
all of us the extra year with Mike.
The constant threat of death and separation.

Invasion of privacy.

Lack of choices.

Judgement from others – well-meaning or not – some folks feel it is there right to verbally articulate those judgments rather than keep them to themselves. 

Insurance nightmares, keeping track of all the appointments.

Daily compliance with airway clearance that takes hours everyday. 
The GUILT when a treatment is missed.

The constant psychological warfare – am I doing enough? Am I getting sicker because I’m not doing more? Are people judging me? I’m so tired. I just want to have some fun too. Does it all have to be about CF? How long will I live? Is this my last hospitalization? Am I dying? If I make a new friend am I going to have to explain all this? If I do try will they pass judgement and be one more person I have to fight for understanding? Will this bless me or is this just one more thing I will need to endure?

The loneliness – no one understands what this chronic illness is like. Even other CFers. Some don’t have it as bad as me and they strut around like they are so much better. Like somehow they can control this disease and it is only because I’m not doing something that I’m declining.

Financial pressure – there never seems to be enough money. Will insurance drop me? I want to buy that part for my bike and the doctor says I need a new medicine. Will CF take everything? How can I manage it all? How long will this continue?

CF was a battle Mike fought every day of his life.

Like all of us he fought other battles and made choices. We all have battles to face. Some are worthy and some are worthless. I’ll have more to say about this another time.

Holidays and birthdays spent in the hospital.
He fought with everything in him. He made the best of a really crappy situation. He lived his life fully with the circumstances he was given. He picked himself up time and time again and pressed on. He had some good friends and family that helped him on his journey.

I know, like my son Mike, I will win the war. I know this because Jesus won the ultimate war for me. Because He lives I too will live eternally and in that paradise I will be reunited with my son. This I believe with all my heart.

If you are so blessed and can donate money to help this fight against Cystic Fibrosis we would appreciate your support. It is a terrible battle that so many children and young adults are fighting.

Thank you for considering to donate to CF. 
As Mike said above “It will help someone have a better breath.”
Diabetes - another side effect of CF. Daily monitoring and shots.
I probably shouldn't have distracted him while he was doing this.

Writing this post is so much more difficult than I thought it would be. I guess that is why I have procrastinated this long. My family and friends know how hard we fought this battle. We raised so much money and a cure was not to be for Mike. I can hardly look at an article about CF right now. For us it is too late. But please, there are so many beautiful people out there who need our help. Please continue to support CF. CF awareness was so important to Mike. He walked that fine line of not wanting pity but wanting people to understand how horrific this disease can be. Please give. In honor of Mike and all those fighting this battle. Thank you.

To paraphrase a quote from Mike: 
May is CF awareness month.
I have My son lived with CF and I am very aware. 

Yes I wrote that correctly. My son lived with CF. You don't die with CF - you live with it. Please help us spread CF awareness. Share this or a story you have. We won't stop until CF stands for CURE FOUND and no other human being has to live with this disease. To find out more about CF visit. Thank you!

Blessings to you. Love, love, love!

Monday, May 11, 2015


We all make choices.    Everyday there are choices.    We all make them differently.

I am very saddened by what happened this weekend. What makes me so sad?

Wounds will heal. We are so blessed that Richie's and his friend's guardian angels protected them from severe injury. But the loss of innocence is saddening. It wasn't just Richie and his friend that lost this, it is each and every one of us. Everyone in our Community. Each of us will have to rethink the choices that we make and the choices we make for our children. I spoke to several people today. I could see each person was contemplating choices in their head. Maybe someone reading this is revisiting choices they have made in their small town. This kind of stuff only happens in "big" cities?? It makes me sad. We want our child to be responsible and it seems we have to monitor closer and closer and withdraw more choices because of the poor choices of others.

I thought about that - the choices of the three young people who did this. Did they have choices? I had to trace back the steps. I had to talk to Richie and his friend to put the pieces of the puzzle together. The report that came across the radio was inaccurate. I haven't seen the police report but I know officers are busy and they can't get every detail. 

Choices. Were either of the perpetrators under duress? Does their life circumstance make them feel like they have no other choice? Were they bullied into this? 

Richie keeps asking why. Senseless. There may never be an answer to why. 

Just like these 3 young people, I am a sinner too. I have made some really poor choices. I made the worst of them when I was about their age. At times I convinced myself I had no other choice.

Isaiah 30:21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left, 
your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, 
"This is the way, walk in it." 

We can not judge the hearts of these three people. We can only judge their actions. I pray that they stop this violence and make better choices. Do I want them to be found? Do I want justice?

I have not had to pay for every sin that I have committed. I did not get caught at all of them. 

What I have done is confess all of my sins. And I do know that each and every one of them - no matter how horrific - have been forgiven. I've never claimed to be perfect - just forgiven. That same forgiveness can cover over an assault. We forgive as Christ forgave us.

What I want most is for these three people to stop and never do this again. I want them to repent and feel the freedom that I have. I want them to learn the truth. However God works those things out is OK by me. I don't need to know how it is done. 

Many people are once again praying us through this unfortunate situation. Thank you so much. Richard and his friend appreciate the prayers and support. I know it is difficult but please pray for these young people too. Only God can change a heart. I pray God uses this experience to draw them closer to Him. I pray that if they feel like they have no choice that they listen to that voice in their ears telling them which way to go. I sure wish I would have listened more closely to that voice when I was their age. There is always help. Reach out and get help.

I pray that the knowledge of this awful experience my son had to endure helps someone else to stay safe. I pray we all make good choices. I pray that sharing this on social media has not caused any consternation for anyone. 

Ezekiel 33:6 "If the watchman sees the sword coming 
and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and 
the sword comes and takes the life of one of them, 
that man will be taken away because of his sin, but 
I will hold the watchman accountable for his blood."

New choices I will make? Tell my children more about the bad out there that they need to be aware of. Once they start out on their bike or a walk they need to continue until their destination. No stopping or dallying (They had stopped to call home and tell us they were on their way.) A child can help someone else by getting them help. They can call 911. I will be more aware of my surroundings and point that out to my kids. We will rethink things and make new choices as we need to. I will continue to encourage others and not live in fear. I will continue to TRUST HIM.

There is only one answer to end senseless, random acts of violence and that is love. Pastor Parsons articulated it perfectly this past Sunday. I share it with you below.

I am still sad but God can heal that too. 

In case you had lost any faith in community, my family and I are receiving tremendous support once again. Richie's dentist Dr. Botsford got in touch with us to say he would check on Richie's oral health (he got his mouth pretty banged up by getting hit with braces on.) Erin the wonderful woman who saw the whole thing and contacted the police has also contacted me. God bless these people in our community you give us all hope. Fond du Lac will stand strong - together.
Surely it is God who saves me, I will trust in him and
not be afraid. For the Lord is my stronghold and 
my sure defense and he will be my Savior. Amen
Blessings to you! Love, love, love.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mother's Day 2015

This is the only year I actually took a picture of us AT the "c" church

Every year my kids ask me what I would like for Mother’s Day and every year I give the same reply. The other day Katie asked me and I just looked at her and when she looked up to see why I hadn’t answered I said, “Katie, what do I always want for Mother’s Day?” And with a big smile she said, “I know. All your kids in church with you.”

At work on Friday, many folks wished me and all the other moms a Happy Mother’s Day weekend as we left for the day. I work with some special people! As I was driving home I thought about my yearly request. And for a brief moment I thought, wow, I won’t get my wish this year. But as I looked up at the beautiful sky and thought about my Mikey up there in heaven I remembered that there are two churches. There is the “church” or small c church as Pastor Wagenknecht used to say and the capital C “Church.” The small c church he referred to is the earthly church we belong to here that has 4 walls and a ceiling. The capital C Church is the Church triumphant which includes all believers here and in the Church in heaven. So for Mother’s Day I will continue to get my wish – all my children with me at CHURCH! I am one blessed momma indeed.
This was a gift from Mike two years ago.

Everyone has a mother so I wish you all a blessed Mother’s Day as you celebrate this holiday in your own special way. I am very blessed to still have my mother here. Her example will always be a blessing to me. For those of you who have had to say goodbye to a mother I pray you find peace through the knowledge of a blessed reunion one day. And for those women who yearn to become mothers and wait for God’s direction in their lives, may you also find peace in God’s perfect plan for your life.

To my fellow grieving mothers who have lost a child or children I pray God’s presence in your life. The pain you experience is one only God can heal. I know each journey will be different but I know the only way to peace is through Him. I pray that you will find support and community to help you through long days. I pray that as we struggle, stumble and fall that people will be patient with us. May we forgive others and they forgive us.

I have to admit it was another trying week. How can things be so cloudy and then go so clear? All I know is that God is so good. He blesses us with just the right people to help us along our path. And there is ALWAYS forgiveness. Thank you God for forgiveness.

As I finished this post the phone rang. It was my son Richie. He called to tell me that as he was walking home with his friend a car pulled up and he was attacked. Richie received two blows to the face and head and then kicked after he was down on the ground. Right here in our town. A couple blocks from the Lutheran High School he attends. Thank you God for keeping him safe. God help those troubled young men. This should not be happening. 
Unprovoked – random . . . senseless. 

My son is gentle and respectful and still has a broken arm that he can’t use much. No words. So thankful God is much bigger than these young men. These young people are someone’s children. Are they celebrating Mother’s Day today? I hope so . . . Father forgive them . . . and help us to also.

Praying for peace. Blessings to you.