These Tiny Feet

Just over 19 years ago, I met a precious little toddler. She smiled and brightened a room, and had a little pony tail that stuck up and fanned out in … [Continue Reading]

Baseball, Pumpkins & Not So Perfect Moments

Our weekend was made up of these perfect moments that take your breath away and make you wonder how God could trust you with these precious lives he … [Continue Reading]

In the Storm

We're in a Tropical Storm right now here in Florida, with enough rain to make you think to build an ark and enough wind to blow you over.  Except that … [Continue Reading]

Miracle in Ohio

This has been the most exciting week in a long time in the world of missing persons.  Not only did a long time missing loved one come home, but three … [Continue Reading]

Choosing Joy

A few days ago I wrote half a blog post that I couldn't get finished for some reason.   I was reminded of it this morning, how I'd written about … [Continue Reading]

Sunrise, Sunset

Up until relatively very few years ago, people believed that everything revolved around the Earth.  The reason that Galileo was not just laughed at, … [Continue Reading]

a note for the strugglers

Over the past few weeks, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how to encourage myself and others as we chase goals and dreams. I’m passionate about helping others do that, and LOVE that I’m building a small business around the skills I’ve honed in the corporate and non-profit world that I can tailor to other small business owners. I’m truly excited about what’s to come. (And you can get more info on that here)


I’ve also been writing and sharing these things during the toughest season of my life to date. And y’all, if you’ve followed me at all, you know I don’t really have easy seasons . But this has still been the most daunting. So, this hasn’t been my high time of productivity and smashing goals and really believing in myself. Some days, it’s been a struggle to just get up.

If you’re in one of those seasons, I get it. You may just be trying to not give in completely, or are holding on to some big ideas to help get you through as you dream about better things to come. Offer yourself grace. Heck, even if this is the easiest and best season of your life and there are no struggles (which is literally no one), offer yourself grace.

There is so much beauty in the struggle. It’s not an “excuse” and don’t get me started about some of these people who will try to tell you that any reason you have for not doing it all are just excuses– nopity nope.

But don’t give up. Put some things aside and handle the stuff you need to if you must. But come back soon, dust them off, and keep heading towards that brighter day. You and me both.

until tomorrow,


He Knows Your Name

I have the moments. Sometimes they’re long moments. Where I think I’m forgotten. By God, by people, by luck or fate or whatever other forces people think are at work in the universe. Because I’m often dealing with the dark things of a sometimes lonely life, and can’t imagine that I’m not alone.

And then, a message comes. Someone I don’t know very well, just an acquaintance really, told me that she’d been told by God to give me a message. She didn’t know why, she felt uncomfortable, but knew it had to be done. That message? These simple words, “you are not forgotten.”

She had no idea how much it was needed, or how it would be more meaningful coming from someone who really didn’t know what I was facing.

*****Now, fast forward… because I started writing this blog post in 2014, when I was feeling forgotten and lost. I don’t remember the exact circumstances, but I remember the feeling. I just pulled it out and dusted it off to give it a quick finish. Because 3.5 years later, not much has changed– and that’s hard in some ways, but also beautiful in others. Because no matter what, that truth remains. He knows me, loves me, and hasn’t forgotten me. I find comfort in that, and comfort in friends and family who still let me know that.

Why am I sharing that with you? Because such a large portion of people I love are facing the hardest of days right now. From illness, to serious financial hardships, to loss of loved ones, or loss of what they thought their future looked like. And maybe you’re having dark days too, the kind that feel like the sun may never rise. I’m not sure what your beliefs are specifically, but I pray that you find the peace that comes from knowing that you are known. And loved. Oh my friends, so loved.


This will be quick, because it’s been late and I’ve been working for a LONG time today. I had some brainstorming happen out of the blue, and I had to put the work into it right then! So, I’ve made some {small} changes to my site, pulled {what felt like a bunch of} my hair out over things I had to figure out, and will relax for a bit now {until I fall asleep in about 90 seconds} knowing I’ve marked a few things off my to do list.

In this new journey of small biz ownership, I’m quickly realizing a few things:

– we all knowledge/skills/wisdom that are unique to us, and we can offer
– that includes me. I know I can help others launch or grow, based on the years of experience and passion I have. It’s true!

I’ve been thrilled this week to receive some encouragement and advice from a fellow business owner, hear about the personal motivations and success of another, and offer some help of my own.

I believe you have some things no one else has, or no one has your spin or experiences in. Don’t ever forget that! I’m reminding myself of the same.


Dear VA: I Messed Up. V/R, the Forgotten

My husband is veteran, proudly serving his time in the U.S. Navy as a Seabee. His years included peace time and war time, with him on the Kuwait and Iraq border as Operation Iraq Freedom officially began in 2003. He was tasked with maintaining electrical services to the base camp, and his battalion was instrumental to multiple branches during that time. He didn’t relish in or crave war, but did what was needed.

Before that, he spent another deployment building a college on a Navy base, and spent homeport times training (and golfing and fishing). He was good at what he did as an electrician, and truly contributed during peacetime and wartime.

But we’ve messed up. I made a mistake.

Are you ready for the horribleness to come?

I dared to have our family try to be normal. To try to have vacations, to have outings, and even to have birthday dinners. I don’t do it often, I don’t let myself forget that we aren’t able to do so many of these normal things. But sometimes I do.

Had a ‘stand in’ husband since mine had to leave because he got sick.

On this recent Veteran’s Day weekend, I was again reminded that we are missing much of what others take for granted because of an illness that we have managed and suffered through for 18 years. It has stolen so much from us, and made it difficult to have hope that things could ever be different. His illness started shortly after boot camp, and to this day no one knows the cause. Something triggered that first episode of nausea and vomiting that couldn’t be controlled. Something kept triggering it through 18 months at a Navy hospital that didn’t even try to find answers, but would send him home still vomiting with a shrug of their shoulders. A move to a new command and episode on day one in a new town meant a new hospital, and our first glimmer of hope from a doctor who researched through the night to find what may explain his thick chart. Tests were ordered, deployment was pronounced impossible, and it seemed that we might find help. But, as we later learned to expect, that communication fell through and off he went. A new hospital, four major episodes and admissions and the only person who knew what was going on with his health and care thousands of miles away. But then, home he came. Back to the hospital trying to find answers, and trying to find successful treatments. But again, it was an Air Force facility, who again determined him not deployable, but again had the communication to his command fall through. So more tests and hospitalizations continued until it was time to deploy again. This time to the very edge of war, weeks before it was declared. And off he went with his battalion. The field hospital could only keep him hydrated and monitor him. And give a sigh of relief when his deployment was shortened due to his enlistment being up.

We believed that he’d be taken care of after, and blindly hoped that the end of his time in the Navy would improve his health. It didn’t. And 14 1/2 years later, here we are.

A mess.

Trying too many times to make birthdays, events, holidays or even trips happen. Trying to make jobs happen. But so many things trigger his extreme nausea and vomiting, that it’s almost impossible to really plan on him being anywhere. Most routine things go okay, but anything out of the normal schedule is a trigger. Especially good things. And we’d need a whole day to talk through the mental health affects and life impacts of those. Too much to tell.

So yes, Department of Veteran’s Affairs, I messed up and believed he’d get the care he needed, and believed time and time again that we could make something good work out. But it’s just not working. We believed that you’d see the reality of his need for 100% disability and truth of being unemployable. That hasn’t happened either. Yet. But we won’t give up hope. I’ve made a lot of errors through the years, but that won’t be one of them.

Last week, he had a last minute appointment scheduled with one of your doctors, who has previously told him that he should be rated 100%. We don’t know what next steps are or where the process is, or what we’re waiting for, because he got too sick during the appointment to even ask. He spent the next 12 hours in a hotel room to use the hot shower to get it under control so that he could drive home. That’s just not how it should be.

So yes, we’ve messed up and forgotten the limitations and realities and finally get it. This is where we are, 18 years later, still needing the military to take care of him in all the ways we can’t do alone. And like 18 years ago when I was asked by a nurse to help him get dressed to leave the ER because he was too sick and out of it to do it himself between vomiting, I’m still here.


Still waiting.


The forgotten.

Hello There….

My last post here was on the 9th year mark of Austin missing. We’ve now passed 10 years. 10 years. It’s unimaginable, yet here we are.

And here I haven’t been. Haven’t been writing, haven’t been doing much it seems besides surviving day to day.

But I’ve updated all the fun technical website type things I had to, I’ve renewed my domain, and I’m writing again. No promises on how often or how insightful, or how long the next break will be. I realize that making grandiose plans often don’t work. So for today, I’m saying hello and I’ve taken the needed steps to have this space back.


And I’ve done a little bit more, with some plans very fresh and wobbly and very uncertain, about how to make this more effective. Someone I know who first walked me through setting up this space has some big things going on herself, and I loved these words she shared today. Here’s a snippet from Julie:

“I can sit here and worry about so many things and they all just don’t matter when I line up my mission and vision with what the world needs. When I stop the bustle and just focus on the one thing that I am called to do. Because if I don’t, my life may be over in a blink and I will have missed my chance.”

I’d already planned to hand over my credit card to her once again to learn some things, but that made me get moving even quicker. More to come. We’ll see how it goes, but I’m excited again about the possibilities. And for today, that’s good enough.



9 years

9 years.
Everything has changed. Well, almost everything.
9 years ago, I was driving home and got the call that you hadn’t shown up for work. I had no idea where you were.
That hasn’t changed. 9 years later, and I still have no idea.

But yet, I was driving home to a home we no longer live in.

Your nephew had just celebrated turning 4, and now we marked 13 two days ago. He has lived this story, so he remembers stories, remembers searches, and knows your face well.
He won’t say so, and I don’t ask, but I doubt he remembers you, other than what he’s been told.
He was so sweet, asking people to “help me find my uncle austin” without really understanding what was happening.
Now he’s a kid that reminds me much of you (and me). He’s a smart ass, and speaks sarcasm fluently. He laughs at me, like we laughed at our mom.
The morning of an awareness event we did for you about 6 weeks after you went missing, I walked him across the busy street, his hand in mine, to register him for t-ball. We’d looked forward to that day for so long, and I didn’t want to skip it. We signed up, walked back across, and continued our quest to raise funds and awareness for an upcoming search.
The plan was to find you quickly, and get on with letting that cute kid learn to play ball.

9 years later and he’s a pretty darn good ball player, driven to be great. He is now a big brother, to the sweetest boy in the world (who is also a bit wild) who is already older than when you last knew Drew.
Then there is the precious toddler who brings new life to our home, who has her own difficult story that I’ll tell when you meet her. Well, I don’t think you’ll meet her, but maybe you already know… or if not, this isn’t the place.

But you see, everything has changed.

Michael has long ago given up his football playing cleats for coaching cleats, and stopped chasing his own trophies and instead now builds them. His health hasn’t been good.
Our mom and dad… well, they have their own stories to tell, I suppose they aren’t mine to share. They love us, love my kids, but your void can’t be filled.

9 years later and it’s still surreal. I still avoid discussing it much. What can I say?

9 years later and it’s still the same, because we still don’t know where you are. We still miss you. But yet it’s all so different, because time cannot stand still. It just doesn’t work that way.

9 years….

(note: this is a bit disjointed and not very poetic, and yet it fits because that’s how it is.)



Long Lost Me (Updates, Announcements & Ponderings)

It’s been 11 months since I’ve shared here. No one but my encouraging/pushing/believing mom has asked me about it, and I almost didn’t renew my site when the emails came recently about the automatic renewal that would happen soon if I didn’t cancel. I decided to do the same thing I’ve done with the blog for the last year- nothing.

But I have been writing. Not as often as I’d like to say, or as much as I’d like to claim, but I have been slowly and steadily writing. For years I’ve wanted to put my perspective on our story into a book. I’ve pondered the format and style and how much to share and how to share it…. I’ve pondered if it matters. I’ve pondered the why. But I’ve settled on most of that, and look forward to finally publishing it. I’ll share more as it gets closer, but one thing I know I’ll need is your help. All the “cool” people writing books now are forming launch teams, and I should probably do the same. When it gets close I’ll ask any of you who are interested to join a Facebook group so you can give me some feedback, keep posted on launch dates, and help spread the word. In the end, it may just be my pushy 🙂 mom and I reading it, but on the other hand, maybe God can use this bravery.

So, that’s the big announcement!

The rest of our story continues on much like it did 11 months ago. No updates in the search for Austin, the continued ups and downs of battling Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome, still being the main caretakers of a now 17 month old who stole our hearts, and living life the best we can through it all. God may choose to wrap up some of these loose ends, but I’m not counting on it, just still counting on Him to be with us through it all.

This morning, I read a verse that I wanted to share because of how profound an impact it had on me. I constantly question what I’m supposed to be doing, how I should handle situations, and if I’m on my own path or one God has laid out. When I don’t know those answers, I can turn back to this directive every time. It simplifies it. And when I’m doing this, it sets me on the right path.

Philippians 4:8   Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

Phil 48.jpg

8 Years

If you turn the number 8 sideways, it looks a lot like the infinity sign.

If you’ve lived without knowing where your brother is for 8 years, it feels a lot like you’re turned all sideways and have been for infinity. But that sideways becomes your norm and you function quite well walking around sideways.

But after 8 years, I can still hear his laugh with no trouble. And in those moments it seems like maybe I’ve made all this up and he’s here, that at most I just saw him yesterday.

That’s what it’s like. Forever and yesterday, and turned sideways and sometimes feeling right side up, tears and laughter.

There is no new news, no new search or anything to mark the day. Sometimes that’s the way it is after 8 years. You get up, go to work, love your kids, go see a movie with friends, and carry on. I’m okay with that today. I couldn’t forget if I wanted to, but today I choose to focus on the laugh. My oldest ‘baby’ comes home from camp today and I’ve missed him and will hug him lots! One of our best friends is leaving in another week and we’ll hang out with his family and laugh. Each year is a bit different, and we each handle it differently. And there are other sorrows I could easily focus on right now, but not today.

Job 8:21

He will once again fill your mouths with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.


More than Gold

I was asked to join a planning meeting about the women’s conference that our church was going to put on this Spring, and because the timing was SO tight (yes, we’re the crazies who planned a full day conference in about 10 weeks), I just thought of it as another thing adding things to my to-do list. But the topic was announced, and my head was spinning with ideas and takeaways that I wanted the women who gathered to believe. That I wanted to believe.

In the end, it was a day of women of incredible talent and wisdom coming together to share and it was special. For me, the best part was that I’d gotten the courage to ask for a spot in the day to talk from my heart, and I did. I wanted to share it with you too, and on this Good Friday because it’s why Christ died for us. Because, we are worth that much. We started with reading from Psalms 139, because so much about believing our worth is found there.

shirt design 1Psalm 139

You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.


When we believe this, we know that we’re worth more than gold. Because a God who knows us so well, who formed us and planned our days, who guides us with His hand wherever we are, would only do all that if our worth is beyond our understanding. Why else would He care so much?

So to believe those words in Psalms means that we know we are worth more than gold. And most of us do believe those words, right? I’m going to be honest and vulnerable with you, and the first part of that is saying- I believe it in my head, I do. But when it comes to my heart, I question it too often. And maybe you do too. But I tell others how valuable they are, and mean it. So I’m going to hold a magnifying glass up to my own life and a few people I love, because maybe you’ll see some similarities, and maybe it can help you.

My friend who is just 28, mom to a cutie pie 5 year old, newly engaged, in training to be a retail manager. Diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer last year, put into a trial for a new drug since traditional treatments were having no impact, and had new scans this week to confirm the belief that her tumors continue to grow. Does God not value her? Of course he does, and though I struggle with the right words through this for her, I do know that she is precious to Him.

The sweet woman I know who was cooking her son’s 23rd birthday dinner, waiting on him to arrive home from work 15 years ago, who still has no answers on his devastating disappearance. Who is raising her severely autistic grandson in place of her daighter. Who can’t speak about her missing son without being overcome with emotion and believes it means she is weak. I’ve seen her incredible strength and the way she quietly comforts others in similar situations. I know God uses her and values her, even in the midst of her pain.

The itty bitty 16 week old, cute as can be, smiling at everyone she meets, and learning to roll over. Whose biological grandmother overdosed and died, whose biological uncle died as a child of complications from drug related birth defects, whose mom hasn’t yet changed the cycle of brokenness, but is trying. I know God has a plan for her, and even for her mom, who I know he loves.


You wouldn’t disagree with me on the fact that they are worth so much, even in their pain and their brokenness. We know that God loves them, that He created them with a purpose, and that He will use them for His glory.I truly believe that.

But me? Worth more than Gold? I’m not as sure if I’m honest. I’m a mess. Most people only see a fraction of the mess, because like most of you, I put a cleaned up version of myself out there. I love God, truly and wholeheartedly. I serve because of that love. But I am broken. I suffer from anxiety that comes out in odd ways, including obsessive-compulsive behaviors that are strange. I’ve battled eating issues for much of my life, and struggle more than I ever admit with the image in the mirror. I fell in love with a guy that was a mess too, and has a chronic illness that impacts every area of our life, and man does it make him question his worth. Then, after having our first baby boy and settling into life somewhat, managing it all okay it seemed, one of our biggest life changing moments happened. My brother went missing. We’ve now spent almost 8 years without answers on where he is, 8 years of searching and praying for just confirmation of his death. 8 years of telling people, and meaning it, that God knows where he is, and for now that has to be enough. And you’d think I’d be an emotional mess sometimes. But I’m not, because I just don’t deal with it. I talk about it when necessary, participate in events and interviews when it might help. But avoid it as much as possible. We have two boys that keep me so busy that it’s easy to avoid. So I keep plugging along, working full time, volunteering here, sharing our story some, and I keep waiting. Waiting for some resolution on the circumstances in our lives. Because THEN I’ll be able to really share how God worked through it all, how he brought us out on the other side. That’s the moment where I can say that God was doing a big work in our lives. Because until then, I believe it, I know it, but sometimes my heart questions if we’ve been forgotten. I wonder if we did more or prayed more or believed more if just one of these huge things in our lives would have some resolution.

And then, instead of bringing an ending to any part of our story, 3 months ago He brought another middle to struggle through in the form on that tiny baby I mentioned before. For 9 weeks, she’s been with us more than she’s been with her mom, and we don’t know the long term plan. But if I’m going to look her in her eyes as she grows, and tell her how worthy she is, how loved by God she is, despite the circumstances of her life, even when the path isn’t clear, then I have to fully believe it myself about myself.

What God continues to teach me, especially now with Sophia in our lives, is that He’s often working through us in situations we’d never choose to be in, because He values us that much. He believes that we are so worthy, that we can be used. I can speak love and hope into otherwise dark places. Not just because I’ve been there, but because I am there.

Not bringing me out of those places isn’t a sign of being forgotten. He’s there with me. It’s not a sign of not mattering enough to spend a miracle on. It’s just that the miracle probably isn’t in the happy ending. And I’m listening and learning and opening up to sharing more of His light in that darkness. Because I do believe I’m worthy of being used by Him in big ways.

So there are 4 stories, three of people I love, who intertwine with my own. Full of mess, and pain and darkness. And full of being loved by the God who made us. And if He is loving us, and caring for us, then certainly you can also believe- not just in your head, but in your heart, that you too are worthy.


And here’s the ENTIRE POINT of all this to me. That when we believe that we’re worth more than Gold, that we act like it. That we serve and give, and use the fires that have shaped us to bring light into the darkness for others. That’s what it’s all about.


These Tiny Feet

Just over 19 years ago, I met a precious little toddler. She smiled and brightened a room, and had a little pony tail that stuck up and fanned out in the cutest way. A few years later, I met the man I’d marry, and he’s such a sucker for little kids. He loved her right away too. She was one of our flower girls, helping make our day more special as she twirled around in her skirt, carrying a ball of pink flowers and holding our hands.

It’s not my place to tell you her story. It’s full of love, grace, pain, bad choices, trying again, and falling down. In the past few years, there’s a lot of falling down. But you know how God can make the brightest and most amazing things from these dark places? Yeah, he does it so often. Here’s a sweet and perfect one.


Don’t you just want to eat those feet up?

We’re getting to. Right now, loving that little flower girl of ours looks like loving her little girl. Consequences are tough. Getting back up again after you’ve fallen is tough. But these little feet, and everyone who loves her is rooting for her. Even though she’s burned some bridges and has a tough road. But lucky us, we’re in a position to be able to help take care (for now) of what she loves most, her 8 week old baby girl.

We don’t know how long she’ll be with us, but we know that like her mom, she’ll be in our lives forever. She’s family.

Pray for these girls that we love, and that we know that God loves and has a plan for. Pray for us to be ready to do whatever is asked of us (we think we are). And if you see us with a sweet baby girl, just be glad you get to see a tiny part of what God is doing through her.