Sunday, December 16

December 16, 1996

That is the date of my baby brother's birthday. And I realize that most of you don't know that I have a baby brother, which means you also don't know my story. So I'm going to tell it to you. :)

I was born in 1983, to Christian parents and three older siblings. I had a good childhood, as much as I can remember (and I have a terrible memory). But I knew that I was loved, I knew about God, and I knew that I was a sinner. When I was eight, and on the way to Disney World, I asked my dad how I could avoid hell, and he explained about asking Jesus to save me, so I did. I didn't understand at that point that faith also requires a repentance.

Friday, November 2

responsibility and refined sugar

"So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin." James 4:17

About 10 years or so ago this verse really hit home in a ridiculous way.

Tuesday, October 30

asceticism or indulgence?

Malacai is taking one of those rare naps that last longer than 20 minutes, which has left me with a good chunk of time to spend with the Lord in His Word and prayer, and also sort through my thoughts and emotions from the last few days. This past weekend was a fun whirlwind of relationships, as my mom, aunts, sisters and cousins came to camp for a girls retreat. On Sunday afternoon, most of the women had left and I was able to enjoy a few hours with just Autumn and Debi (and Cai of course). I always feel like I'm constantly learning when I'm with them - they both have such different interests than I do, and have both done their research, so I feel as though I'm mining the riches of health, parenting, homemaking, and christianity "tips" when we talk. And of course I'm left to wonder if the things that interest me are a waste of time, and I should rather invest my time, treasure and talents in more than crafts, creativity, and Pinterest.

Monday, October 22

One Day

Two years ago today, on a cold and overcast October morning, we laid our Gwendolyn's precious body in the earth. At the service, Pastor Chris had declared, "One Day, there will be a great undoing of everything we're doing here!"

Looking forward to the Day! Come, Lord Jesus.

Thursday, October 18

birthday post script

There were a few interesting things about your birthday today, Gwenny.

First, while I was pulling out the wish lanterns that we would send to the heavens later this evening, I accidentally tumbled over a shoebox. To my surprise, the shoebox was filled with old love letters from your dad, and our long lost wedding vows! I have searched high and low for those vows, but never found them until today. That was a gift in itself for me, and it was precious for me to be reminded that your dad and I had vowed to love each other through hardship and joys- both of which we've endured. The Spirit may not give me a picture of you yet, Gwenny, but today He reminded me that He is what has sustained my marriage, enabling us to keep what we promised each other exactly four and a half years ago today.

Second, the lighting was just right and I had just enough spark of creativity to put together a quick photo shoot of your little brother. I took a photo of him and our "gwendolamb" - a gift that a sweet friend had given us after you went Home. Gwendolamb has caught many a tear and allowed me to hug her fiercely when I've longed to hold you these past two years, and is often sporting the pink and white crochet hat that you wore while in the hospital. She's my favorite cuddly thing, and now I have "you" and Cai in a great photo together. (Good photos just make me happy, hon.)

Third, we had a birthday party for you tonight. I made you a pumpkin cake and many of the people that had known you came over. We ate a lot of sweets, sent off two wish lanterns, and sat by the fire after everyone had left.

I didn't know how to feel today, Gwen. I told the Lord this morning that I was unsure how to go about today... and was reminded that even though I may not know the layers of my heart, He does. And so even if everyone mourned/remembered/celebrated with us, or no one did - the Lord knows. There is great comfort in that, isn't there? Hmm. I just realized that it was exactly about this time that I met you face to face two years ago... what a moment that was.

I'm thankful that I can count on many more to come. I love you, Gwendolyn Hope Cushman. You have profoundly changed my life, in nearly every way imaginable. I'll see you soon.

Happy Birthday, Baby

Good morning, darling.

It's the morning of your second birthday, and I'm enjoying a cup of coffee at the kitchen table while waiting for the monkey bread to finish baking. (I've decided that monkey bread will be a birthday breakfast tradition.) From where I sit, I can see your little brother rolling all over the floor and chasing the blocks that stay temptingly out of his tiny reach. Your footprints are staring at me from Daddy's coffee mug, and I'm already teary and overwhelmed by how people are loving  our little family today.

Thursday, October 11

a late night prayer

It's late for me (10:24pm to be exact, which yes, I know is not "late" for most of the world). Malacai is sleeping in his crib, in his room, for the first time tonight, so I think that has me a bit wired and edgy. One benefit of his moving to his room is an open space for me to think, and so tonight I'm thinking of my daughter.

Wednesday, October 3

So long September?

Well I don't know how it happened, but I entirely lost the month of September. It some how was swallowed up by trips, and visits, and sunday schools starting, and flat tires. (I think; I mean, it was swallowed so I can only surmise.) But somehow it's October...

Friday, August 24

Happy Birthday Reese!

Today Reese Aleyna turns two in Heaven. She is the precious daughter of my friend Mary Beth, and I wanted to create a small something to honor her and the growth that her parents have undergone in the last two years. 

I was almost finished with this print when I received an email from MB, telling me how her eldest daughter Riley wanted to send Reese a birthday cake via pink and purple balloons. It was a little bit of God's irony in my day; I hadn't decided what "gift" the balloons would be tied to, and then little Riley filled in the blank.

Happy birthday, sweet Reese! We look forward to the day that we see you!  

Add caption

Wednesday, August 22

bringing me back

Dear Gwendolyn,

I wonder if the end of summer will always bring me back to you. In 2010, the end of summer made us deliriously happy, thinking that you were so close. We started driving to San Antonio for birthing classes and once a week appointments with gusto. Back to school supplies and fall decorations flooded the stores. You dad and I went to a pumpkin farm for kicks, and you rivaled the size of an 18 pound jack-o-lantern (in my belly of course; you were a bit smaller once you were out... but just a bit.) Fall brings me back to you, making your absence "like the sky, spread over everything" once again.

I miss you, Gwen. I'm so thankful that I can look forward to seeing you, and that the grief of losing you has softened from a raging despair to a deep, abiding longing. I can hope and trust and cry at the same time. (I think this is healing?) And yet, the reality of our separation has created a yawning chasm of fear in me. I am so afraid of being separated from my Loves here. Last night I laid in bed, with a hand on both your Dad and Malacai's backs, just feeling them breathe and reminding myself that it's okay to fall asleep; they will be there in the morning.

"The Lord did not give you a spirit of fear," your dad reminded me after I woke him with my tossing and turning. And yet I am afraid. So that leaves me to conclude that I am not trusting Him... which causes me to be afraid (and I smile ruefully, recognizing the cycle.)

My problem is this: I want to want Heaven more than anything else. I want to long for it the way that Jesus tells me to. I want the reality of it to so own me that I cease to hold so tightly to everything here. But I am afraid to pray for that kind of conviction, because the Lord just might give it to me. And if He does, then will He take Blair and Cai away?

And I recognize my faulty reasoning; my thought process reveals a faulty belief about God's character. And yet...

And to think that I could have an almost two year old toddling around instead of all these fears! Oh Gwenny. What a different life I would have had. But this is God's goodness;  I am determined to discover all of it's treasures.

I love you Gwendolyn Hope Cushman. I will see you, sooner than I know.


Tuesday, July 31

My first free printable

Okay, so here's my new hobby: messing around with Adobe Illustrator. I made these cute little cards to have on hand, and thought I'd try to share them! So, hopefully this works to let others download this printable. Let me know if it doesn't!

Click here to download!


Dear Headwaters Staff,

I have a theory. In a normal life, under normal circumstances, twenty-four hours seems like a long time. When your twenty-four hours revolve around a steady schedule that you've selected, time seems under control, and your priorities are (or can be) just what you want them to be. 

Sleep deprivation changes all of that. Whether your shut eye hours are limited because of the complexities of getting twelve 8 year olds to bed, one three month old to sleep, or waking up intermittently with sleepwalkers, or campers throwing up, your perception of time is thrown off kilter. The phrase, "Time passes like a blink of an eye," begins to have meaning as your ability to discern beginnings from ends wanes. 

Watching all of you prance around while playing Birdie In A Perch on Sunday made me realize that I feel the effect of sleep deprivation, and wonder at how quickly the time has gone since you have arrived. We are nearing the end of your first summer at Camp Eagle (or 2nd, 3rd, or 4th summer) and I don't know many of you the way that I wish I could. I am wishing for more time. 

Nevertheless, I have been continually impressed by you. As a group, the words "trusting, willing, devoted, and genuine" define you. As individuals, on whatever plane I've gotten to know you, I am wowed by your humor, joy, servant heart, and grace toward others. 

And so, while lack of sleep seems to blur days into one another and make this summer seem incredibly fast - I wish for more time with each of you; preferably over a delicious cup of coffee (since that is where many great conversations take place in my book.) 

So I am pretending this morning that I am enjoying this coffee with you, listening to your story, your heart, or your laughter as you share your life with me. In reality, I know you are sipping it while on the go, gearing up for another crazy day of being an amazing counselor. And that is what you are: amazing. 

Love to each of you,


Friday, July 27

a new look

Well, what do you think??

Since Gwenny's first birthday I've been wanting a new look to my blog. (And I've wondered if I should keep blogging, but that is a separate story.) But, being the "particular" kind of person I am (ie: type A, OCD, perfectionist...) I couldn't decide what I wanted it to look like. I knew it needed to a few things: Bright. Happy. Simple. Because while my reality may not always live up to those adjectives, my blog shall.

So after scouring a couple hundred blogs and websites for ideas, I came up with the design on my own, and enlisted the help of Kelsey to make it a reality! I was so thankful to find her; she's awesome to work with, obviously talented (as you'll see by her designs) and her ability to turn my design onto the web was just what I wanted. So thank you Kelsey! :)

That's all for now. I'll write a new blog again soon, when I'm not late for dinner at camp or trying to feed Cai and type at the same time!

Tuesday, June 26

summer days

It's our 4th week of summer camp at Camp Eagle, and although I do not play an active role in the programming, I still like to be around for meals & morning/evening experiences. But, what that means is that I have other time throughout the day to do "non-camp" things:

Monday, May 21

little things

I'm finding great joy and accomplishment in the little things. Well, now most of my life is full of "little" things - from where I sit I can see a little pair of boy shorts, baby scissors for cutting nails, a little monster backpack, a little rocking chair, and diaper rags strewn about. But now my highlights for the day are "little" in comparison to ... well, everyone else's. :) But I think that's how this phase is supposed to be.

Friday, May 4

being full

I've been wanting to blog, or journal, or write SOMETHING, anything to just get my sporadic thoughts into the open so I can evaluate and measure the quality of my life. But, "sporadic" is an apt word for my internal churnings these days.

I feel off balanced, but in the best way. I am out of any type of normal routine, but joyfully so. It really feels wrong to be this happy. I think the frantic worry phase of the first week with Malacai has worn off, and the fact that I think he's here to stay is sinking in.

Friday, April 27


Well, this whole thing just seems crazy.

And by "this whole thing", I mean the fact that I now have a baby boy, a son, sleeping just an arms length away from me. You know that verse that says, "Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life."? (Proverbs 13:12) I feel like this little tree seedling is such a tender, precarious thing... I'm almost afraid of enjoying it too much!

Thursday, April 19

the day before you were born

Dear Baby,

It's Thursday, April 19, 2012. And very early tomorrow morning, you will make your entrance into the world.

Tuesday, April 3

Resurrection Week

"One day, there will be a great reversal of everything we're doing right now."

Pastor Chris said those words at Gwendolyn's graveside service, and it's honestly all that I can remember from his eulogy. It's all that I think of when I go by her grave, and whisper over her body - "One day, Gwenny! One day this will all be undone."

Tuesday, March 27


24 days.

Twenty-four days until Baby Monster makes his or her arrival into the world, and we are really, really excited. :)

I wonder though, if I "seem" excited. I've had quite a few people ask me if I am, or how my heart is doing in preparation for this baby. And I'm sure those who haven't experienced infant loss wonder what a subsequent pregnancy feels like, and how to emotionally prepare... so I know it's all in love that I'm being asked.

Tuesday, February 7

Recapping the weekend

"I'm wondering what exactly you prayed for two years ago...?" was a comment a friend of mine just quipped in a email, in response to my current situation in life.

Thursday, February 2

To say Yes

It's been an early morning for me. Today I awoke at 5:17am, with the Hope Mommies retreat on my mind. This past month I feel like I've been in the final stages of wedding planning, and today's the big day! For the last 4 months I've been planning, prepping, and praying for this Winter Retreat. We have 24 Hope Moms traveling from 5 different states (and Canada!) to spend a weekend sharing our lives, losses, and journeys through infant loss.