10 years ago today was my due date with baby #6. All 9lbs., 3oz. of him were born after just 4 hours and 39 minutes of labor. While everybody thinks a fast labor is awesome, I disagree. The short labors I’ve experienced are what I call “fast and furious.” I really preferred the “long and laborious” ones! Unfortunately, we women don’t really get a choice in the length of our labor. But I digress. Back to the birthday boy.

10 years. I realize all of us mamas marvel at the birthdays of our children. Every year we can’t believe how old they are, how our baby can be a year older. Birthdays remind us of how fleeting time is. Even more so with these milestone birthdays.

Birthdays are joyous occasions, but after child loss, they are rarely ever experienced without grief attached. As our soon-to-be ten year old’s birthday approaches, I can’t help but think of his older brother. As I thought of my son’s birthday this week and of all the fun things we have planned for him, I also had the thought He was only four years old when his brother died. While it seems incredible that my birthday boy is going to be ten and amazing how the time has flown by, I am also sad that it has been almost six years since his brother has been gone. It feels like forever. And I am sad as well as joyful.

I try not to wonder what it would be like if Matt were here for his brother’s birthday. (Actually, two of his brother’s are celebrating birthdays this week. Technically, it’s this week and next week, as child #7, our youngest, turns eight five days after child #6.) But wondering and “what ifs” isn’t productive. I learned that early on in this grief journey.

Nancy Guthrie focus

Instead, I will remember God’s goodness. I will give thanks, and I will mark birthdays with joy and grief. I will open myself up to life, to now. My two youngest boys celebrate their birthdays this week, and I want to inhale every precious moment of it.


Angie signature


Yawning into Thursday

How funny that several of my kids remarked how fast the week has flown by for them. Yay for them! As for me, I was thinking, “It’s only Thursday?!” However, I have to say that though the week has been overflowing with appointments, we’ve managed to get school done by 1pm each day. That alone is reason enough to celebrate. Not to mention, for the most part, my “students” had have good attitudes. That alone is half the battle.

This Thursday morning I am tired, but thankful. Three of the kids are currently sitting at the dining room table coloring. Conversation sounds like this: “I’m going to put warts on her face to make her uglier.” “I’m going to color her teeth yellow.” “Eeeehehee, eeeheehhe.” (Cackling witch sound)


I call this art class. They call it fun and a break. (Two of them call it competition.) Whatever. It’s the quietest my dining room has been in a while. Perhaps I should find some more coloring contests in the area.


Angie signature

Father’s Day

I scroll through my news feed on Facebook and see a multitude of people giving thanks for the dads in their lives. I smile wistfully and am happy for those who have that privilege.

My dad died when I was 12 years old.

Before then, my parents were divorced, and my dad was an alcoholic. It’s been a long time since I uttered the words, “I love you, Dad.” I have just a precious few memories with which to remember him by. I remember the time he took me and my little sister to the store to pick out new dolls as a Christmas gift. I remember he taught me how to play Cribbage. I remember a time in the kitchen when he made Monster cookies. I remember a Christmas Eve midnight mass where I fell asleep on my daddy’s lap, secure against his chest.

I don’t often think about my dad on Father’s Day. Not because he isn’t loved, but because when I think of my father, I most often think of the One who loves me unconditionally, who is perfect in all His ways. While my earthly dad loved me, my heavenly Father is the one who taught me about forgiveness, faithfulness, and truth.

A father is important, more important than our estrogen dominant culture would admit.

My dad shaped my life, for better or worse, but it is God who has sustained it. It is God who has really shown me what it means to have a father I can count on, a father who never disappoints and who is always there. God is the one I turn to when my heart hurts, when I am filled with joy, and when I seek answers for the things in my life that don’t make sense.

Some fathers are amazing, and my husband is an incredible dad. I am blessed. But they, like us, are not perfect. We fail, we get it wrong, and we hurt our kids at times. And we forget. We forget that we are made in the image of God. How often do we reflect Him? How often do we neglect to be like Him?

What a relief it is to know that all it takes is looking in the mirror of His word to see what a good, good father God is.

Father’s Day is meant to honor the fathers in our lives, to recognize their profound impact on us, and to tell them we love them. Today, I want to say I love you, LORD.



Angie signature

The goal

They say the whole goal of parenting is to have your little birdies leave the nest. Well, I don’t know who “they” are, but I can tell you this: “they” left out a few things. Significant things. Things like this:

One day you find out they’ve entered, not only your world, but your body. For nine short months you are inseparable.

AbbyWavingAnd then, before your very eyes, they grow independently of you.

1abby doing Kindergarten school3They do all sorts of things by themselves, learning and growing each day.

Abby's graduation (16)

Until, one day, they spread their wings and fly.

They didn’t tell me that the spreading of our little birdies’ wings to fly would ache so in our mama hearts.

They didn’t tell me that leaving the nest would take the breadth of a wing span. Eighteen years? Just a flap of the wings.

They didn’t tell me that those labor pains don’t just occur at birth. They come ’round again when that young birdie, now a young adult, fledges the nest.

They didn’t tell me that mamas never stop worrying. Yes, even if you’re a woman of faith.

But this is the deal: the goal, I discovered, really isn’t getting them to leave the nest. The goal is getting them to fly, to do what God designed them to do.

This is what I want for all my children, to use the gifts God has given them because I know when they do, they glorify Him. He made them; unique, individual, and dependent. Dependent, not on me, but on Him.

My girl is flying, but I know the sound of her call. And I’ll be listening for it.



Angie signature