Sunday, October 20

Happy 3rd Heaven Day

Happy Heaven Day, Gwenny.

Three years ago today, at 3:30am in the morning, you 'fell asleep' in my arms.

Wednesday, October 9


I made macaroons tonight.

(The normal coconut macaroons; not the amazingly brilliant colored macaroons that are trending right now.)

And I thought, "I'm making macaroons. Who has time to make macaroons? Remember when I didn't think I would ever be able to shower/fold laundry/watch a movie/smile/breathe/pray...? And somehow three years later, I'm making macaroons..."

Sunday, August 25

Gwen's story revisited

If you're a Hope Mom, talking about your children just isn't the easiest thing.

Answering the question, "How many kids do you have?" or "Oh, too bad you don't have a girl!" or "Is this your first?" becomes complicated the moment it leaves the person's mouth. Any conversation becomes awkward as soon as death is introduced.

Wednesday, July 17



I think that's the best word for how I'm doing today - I'm antsy (which really, is a strange word. My thesaurus app tells me that "fidgety, stir-crazy, anxious, or agitated" might be a better option. Maybe "antsy" was one of those words back in the day that didn't make any sense and caused the older, literate generations to shake their heads in shame... much like I do when my summer counselors use "cray cray" for "crazy". Our nation is quickly becoming the stupidest, most illiterate country in the world... and I don't claim to be an exception!)

Sunday, June 30

household values

It's a quiet Sunday morning over here at the Cushman house. Blair is down at camp, preparing for his Sunday morning message (that he'll share by the time I've finished writing this blog), Malacai is taking his mid-morning snooze, and I'm enjoying the stillness. My heart, of course, is anything but still: we put an offer in on a house yesterday.

Monday, June 17

a lotta babies

Last week, I had the joy of photographing the "Camp Eagle Baby Boom" kiddos. Including Gwendolyn, there have been eight babies born to 5 families in the last 2.5 years. On average, we usually have three women pregnant at the same time. (Currently there is no one, but I'm sure someone will catch whatever is in the water here soon.)

What a beautiful picture of God's miraculous grace to us. All of these babies are healthy. All of these babies are in a family that loves them and cares for their every need. Do you know how uncommon that is in this world? I'm so grateful to be a part of a christian community that truly sees that children are a blessing and heritage from the Lord!

Wednesday, May 1


I'm a big fan of pictures. If you know me at all, you know this about me. I value photographs. I love capturing slices of life: an expression, a light in the eyes, an unguarded moment. It's a way to imbue the mundane with meaning, to find beauty in the smallest things. Thats why it's disheartening that I don't have good photos of Gwendolyn.

Saturday, April 20

our "double portion"

One year ago, I was cuddling this little guy, amazed that the Lord had graciously -undeservedly-  answered the desire of our hearts. This past year has been a beautiful, redemptive year as the Lord has filled up our days with Cai's laughter.

Happy first birthday, Cai. You are a delight to my heart, and I am so thankful for you. Every moment I have with you, I am reminded that "all is grace"; it's a matter of God's undeserved favor to me that I have had 365 days to soothe, nurse, laugh, teach, and play with you. You are a double portion of joy to us, and I hope for many days to come. I love you, infinitely.

Wednesday, April 10

letters, longing and gratitude

There's a holy longing welling up in me today, and for the first time in awhile, I feel like I'm fully myself: I'm missing Gwendolyn. And I'm reminded once again that missing her, longing for her, is an integral part of my makeup - I am her mom, and I miss her.

I'm cleaning out drawers, finding treasures among the scraps: letters written to Gwendolyn, letters to me on her first birthday, words flowing with love and mourning and hope. Heavenly Day is playing and I'm weeping, remembering.

Thursday, March 14

a baby shower devotional

Recently I was blessed to give a devotional (more reflections) for a friend's baby shower. I wanted to be able to share them, because it's really just a conglomeration of what the Lord has been teaching me!

Friday, February 15

debunking Heaven myths

Good morning! 

I'm sitting in a lovely condo in downtown Houston, listening to the sounds of the rushing traffic outside (unusual for me; unless you count gators and CAT equipment as traffic.) Cai and I tagged along with Blair and some friends for their camp marketing trips. Cai is currently napping, which gives me a bit of time to think, reflect and blog.

Monday, February 4


I'm closing my eyes, imagining that I am sitting with you ove a cup of coffee, and telling you about the last three days of my life. If I peek my eyes open (to double check on my spelling) I see a home that's in a bit of chaos, which too easily distracts. So I close my eyes again and the scenes of this past weekend at the Hope Mommies 2013 retreat create a slideshow for me:

I see women nervous, unsure about why in the world they just drove or flew so many miles to spend with women they don't know, sharing a wound too deep for human words.

I see the nervousness and fear beginning to thaw as they realize that they are at home with one another - they can be whomever they need to be, knowing that in this one place, having a child who is dead on earth but alive in Heaven isn't an awkward thing.

I see women scattered across a beautiful house, clustered in groups. Some laughing, some weeping, some taking time to look at the babies photographs, or spend time alone with the Lord.

I see three of my precious friends bravely sharing their story, gently exhorting us with tears to see life as a gift, to see eternity as so much bigger than our short time here, to see that forgiveness is a must if we want to experience the Lord's fullness for us.

I see a cloud of balloons making their way to the heavens, symbolizing our release of our babies into the arms of the Lord. And as our eyes strain to watch them float away, I hear the longing that echoes in our hearts that one Day, we too will be released from this failing body and at home with our Savior and our babies.

I see faithful friends serving us, quietly, prayerfully and without honor filling in the gaps to make the weekend flow as smoothly as possible for these hope mommies.

I see Hope Moms putting their creative energy and heart into decorating a Hope Box in their baby's honor, lovingly and prayerfully preparing a small gift for a woman who will soon walk in their shoes.

I see a group photo of women clothed in white - unintentional, actually - but the Lord knew that. He knew that we are marked, and that through that mark he would refine us - though our sins be scarlet, he would purify us to be white as snow.

I see women empowered, eager to help share God's hope in their own communities through hope boxes.

And in all these things - ALL of these things - I see the reflection of the glory of the Lord. "For no eye has seen him", yet we beheld His glory as He moved among His beloved, comforting them with His love.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 

And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son.

Revelation 21:3-7

Saturday, January 12

Happy New Year! (+12)

2012 wrapped itself up in a whirlwind of activity. We had four Christmases, traveled by car, plane and train, dodged the flu only to catch it a few weeks later, enjoyed a heavy snow in Wisconsin by sledding (for the first time for me!), toured the Perot Museum, had 13 summer staff over for a sleepover for New Year's Eve, enjoyed a week of Schmidts, officiated and coordinated a wedding, and then... ahhh. Relaxation!

This week has been a return to normal. Cai is adjusting to the quiet, though he's making quite a racket of his own. In the few weeks we were gone, he crossed some milestones: 3rd tooth, crawling, pulling up on furniture, beginning to eat solid foods, throw legit tantrums, and say "mama" and "da da da" like he knows who he's talking about. He is a constant source of joy for us. Being his mom is also incredibly humbling, as I really (and who really does?) have no idea how to best shepherd his heart. I am so thankful that the Lord is faithful to care for Cai beyond my limitations, and He also cares for me and promises me wisdom and discernment for the "I have no idea what to do!" moments that come too frequently.

I've actually been really enjoying this new year. I am not normally this pumped about a new calendar year, but I have high hopes and expectations. I had decided back in the fall that I wanted to be very intentional and measurable with 2013. So far, my only two MAIN goals are to grow in my prayer life with the Lord, and to complete my 2013 reading list. I also have a variety of sub-goals (like gardening, blogging more often, delegating Hope Mommies responsibilities and growing our ministry, becoming a better photographer and starting a side business, buying in bulk, eating real/traditional food, making sourdough bread, simplify and de-clutter my house, opening an Etsy shop with my graphic design and crochet things... those are just a few off the top of my head.)

This week I feel like my brain is in "butterfly" mode: flitting from here to there, and getting a better scope on my heart, my household, and my ministry. So here's snippets of thoughts/updates from all my butterfly landings:

I CANNOT seem to make sourdough bread. My starter works, my dough rises beautifully, and then my loaf crashes. Conclusion? If nothing else, it's an opportunity to grow in patience.

The Hope Mommies 2013 retreat is in three weekends. We have 34 moms coming, and I am so humbled and awed that they would come (some of them from Washington state, New Jersey, Missouri and Arkansas) to spend a weekend working through one of the greatest heartaches of their life. I have a lot to do between now and then. (and then panic strikes...)

I still have Christmas decorations up.

I bought a 50mm lens for my Nikon; can't wait for it to come in and practice on the new baby here at camp! (and Cai of course. He's just not as still as Zella will be.)

Prayer is, for me, such a difficult subject of the christian walk. That's why I want to spend this year reading books, studying the Word, and actually praying about prayer. Right now I'm in D.L. Moody's book, Prevailing Prayer, and it's challenging. Here's a quote from his chapter on confession: "There is a difference between God searching me and my searching myself. I may search my heart, and pronounce it all right, but when God searches me as with a lighted candle, a good many things will come to light that perhaps I know nothing about."

And now my son is awake from his nap, our garden preparations need to be done before the day light is gone, and I have some chores to finish. So here's a few photos: