Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Four years later

Today I have cried so many tears. I've cried so many tears this week, this month..........the past 4 years. Every day hurts, but today stings. It stings because it's so real. You look at the calendar and it just screams at you. I think about enrolling Xander in 6th grade, buying his school supplies and a new backpack. He kept telling us he was going to go. I truly believed the Lord could raise Xander out of that bed and he could be healed, made whole again. Never once did I ever doubt the Lords power. But the Lord did start to reveal His plan........and it was not the same as my plan. The agony and sorrow our physical bodies felt as we watched Xander slowly drift away from us and move closer and closer to the presence of the Lord, was tremendous.

 I have replayed that day from 4 years ago in my mind over and over. Who came to the house. What happened leading up to those moments, the moment. How our children reacted, how we all reacted. What it must have looked like from the outside looking in.
How I thought I would never catch my breath. How I thought I would never be able to live without Xander.

I wrote in my journal just a few days before Xander died, "I'm not afraid of Xander dying, I'm afraid of living without him".
I share this because I want to be real. I want to let others who are grieving or hurting know that the journey is not easy. The roads we have traveled the past 4 years have been filled with darkness and light. I've said before that it's amazing that joy and sorrow can coexist. And still to this day the grief and sadness are real! There are seasons that are harder than others. This would be a hard one, school beginning, a new year, a fresh start, all things that Xander wanted. With each year that passes, Xander seems further and further away from us. We have so much life to live. The Lord is not finished with us.

If you have been in my home, you may have seen this picture. It was taken last October. I have not shared it because I'm just not sure what some will think of it and it is very personal. Honestly, it was very hard for me to look at when I first saw it. But quickly I fell in love with it.
When I close my eyes I see all 7 of us. This picture represents our family. It symbolizes so many things for Doug and I. Who knows how tall Xander would be or what he would look like. I kind of think Carter would be taller than him and that would drive Xander out of his mind!

Here we are 4 years later. We are living. We are living with pain, but we are living with joy. We even have a new life, and that little boy is a gift.
I'm thankful for all that we have 4 years later. I'm thankful that Doug and I still love each other deeply. I'm thankful for Carter, Charli, McClain, and Baker. They are constant reminders that God still has good for us! I am thankful for family and friends that share their memories of Xander and continue to grieve with us.
Xander stands in the presence of Jesus, His savior, someday we will stand there with him. My heart longs for that glorious day.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

the Lighthouse

It has been 3 years and 8 months since Xander went to be with Jesus (1,311 days to be exact). The Lord has led us to this moment. We are returning, Xander is not physically with us, but we carry everything he believed in, lived for and taught us in our hearts.

Today we will load up and head to the Lighthouse. The Lighthouse is a retreat for families living with pediatric cancer. There are about 18 retreats each year that take place along the beaches of Destin, Florida. Our family had the privilege of attending the Lighthouse as a patient family on two different occasions. This time we will attend as a family partner. We are ready and anxious!

In 2011 Xander was in amazing health when we went to the Lighthouse, he won the cannon ball splash contest and no one would have ever known he was "the sick one" if it weren't for the scars on his body. It was an amazing time and we were served by wonderful family partners. We knew then that someday when Xander's cancer treatment was over, we would return as family partners.

In 2012 Xander's treatment schedule did not allow us to attend as a family, but Doug took a group of high school students to serve.

In 2013, one month before Xander passed away, we made the trip to the Lighthouse. It was all Xander wanted to do, this time he was 80% wheelchair bound. The two trips were complete opposites. Xander was dying. We knew that the Lord must perform a mighty miracle for Xander's body to be restored. Our dreams of returning as a family to serve with Xander were slowly fading. But we still knew we would return.

The Lighthouse has been a blessing to our family. The families that served us became dear to our hearts. They loved us, encouraged us, cried and rejoiced with us. We so badly desire to be just that this week.  My plan was to serve as a family and let Xander tell of the healing power of God and for him to bodly share the hope of Jesus with families that were hurting. The Lord's plan was different. I pray that the Lord will use us this week to share the hope of Jesus, to share the joy that can only come from knowing Jesus, to encourage and love these families that are in a place that might seem hopeless.

The Lighthouse is free for patient families. All fundraising and support comes from family partners. We have raised money through Xander's Lemonade Stand and t-shirt sales. However, it is not to late to make a donation to this effort. Simply go online to


We appreciate your prayers and support.