kids draw police chase scene

We forgot to tell you the rest of the story. Many of you wanted to know what happened to the car… Well, in case you can’t interpret kid art (above), the fine folks at NNPD found the guy. In fact it was a friend of mine. He was out on patrol with his partner and saw it drive past him in the opposite direction. He whipped his car around and took off after him. After some fancy maneuvering ending with our car crashing through a fence and into a pole, the guy jumped out of the car and was arrested. And yes, insurance is handling the claim for repairs to damage and we should have our car back in about a week’s time.

The pictures are from our kids. They wanted to thank the officer who was looking out for our family. Below is a picture from Rosie and Grady. Thank you, Brandon and Tully. You guys are some of the finest around!

kids police car drawings

Don’t Miss the Point

It’s easy to see symptoms, right? We put bandages on cuts. We take ibuprofen for headaches. We drink energy drinks with loads of caffeine. We’re addressing the symptoms but we’re not really dealing with the deeper issue. We’re deferring time or deflecting attention so that we can move on with whatever feels urgent right now. We are all susceptible. We are all guilty. But how long does it go on before we pull down the wall and take the time to do the hard work of trying to deal with the real issues?

What I mean is this… maybe you don’t need to take two Advil every morning with your four shots of espresso. Maybe you need more sleep. Maybe you don’t need to buy fourteen tubes of toothpaste just because it was on sale. Maybe you need to deal with the pain of losing your son. Sometimes life just sucks. So why pretend that it’s fine when sometimes it just isn’t?

The Apostle Paul sent lots of instructions that would help shape Timothy into the leader he needed to be. He warned him against people who would try to maneuver into position using money. Money was their distraction. It was a bandage. For some of us it still is. But for most of us it’s something else. And in 1 Timothy 6:17-21, Paul gets to the point. He says, “Tell those rich in this world’s wealth to quit being so full of themselves and so obsessed with money, which is here today and gone tomorrow. Tell them to go after God, who piles on all the riches we could ever manage—to do good, to be rich in helping others, to be extravagantly generous. If they do that, they’ll build a treasury that will last, gaining life that is truly life. And oh, my dear Timothy, guard the treasure you were given! Guard it with your life. Avoid the talk-show religion and the practiced confusion of the so-called experts. People caught up in a lot of talk can miss the whole point of faith.”

Be careful when you get caught up in the chatter that you’re not missing the point. Get to the source. Don’t be distracted by smoke and mirrors. Don’t miss the point. Jesus even warned us there will be those who say, “But Lord, I did all these wonderful things in your name,” and that He’d still say that they missed the point. His point is that doing is not the end itself. It’s knowing. Knowing Him and what He cares about and following Him into the world. Doing is born out of knowing. Not the other way around.

What are you deflecting? How are you missing the point? Maybe it’s time to deal with it.

It’s Difficult to Breathe

It’s been a very tough weekend for us. We appreciate the extensions of love and care. But it is painful to tell the story over and over again so we thought we’d share it here and invite you to read it.

While Randall was in Guatemala, Kelley made an exciting discovery. Something to the tune of six pregnancy tests confirmed that we were having a baby. I came home from Guatemala and found a wrapped gift waiting for me that contained a tiny baby onesie that read, “3 is for quitters!”. We were thrilled. Shocked, but thrilled. And, after a few days of secret keeping, we decided we were just too excited to keep quiet and shared the news with the kids (who were ecstatic) and our families.

The week went on. We immersed ourselves in baby prep – apps, websites, magazines, etc. – started talking about names, discussing where we’d deliver. Weird cravings, nausea, newly-pregnant-mommy stuff… The kids would kiss the baby goodnight and tell everybody how they weren’t supposed to tell anybody about the baby yet. Rosie’s famous line was, “I can’t tell you that my mommy’s gonna have a baby.” She’s not great at keeping secrets, but then again… no female in this family is.

The last couple of pregnancies have started with scares. Spotting. Emergency room visits fearful of tragedy. Both Grady and Rosie are here despite those moments. They were able to fight through to become healthy babies. Eli too. His life was in peril before he came into this world, as most of you know. We are so grateful for the health of all of them.

Midway through the week this week, the spotting started. We kind of expected this. But it continued to get heavier. And on Thursday it became concerning. We had friends coming in town. As soon as they arrived, we left our kids with them and met the doctor at the hospital to see if we could get some insight into what was happening. The ultrasound showed a little blood in places there shouldn’t be blood. But really, it didn’t show what we were looking for. Which was a tiny little baby. Kelley had some bloodwork to check her levels of pregnancy hormones. The doctor called us later and said her level was 33, which was low. Very low. We knew we were losing the baby.

Our amazing friends stayed the weekend. They cooked dinner. They played with our kids. We sat around a fire, listened to music, drank beer and soaked up the time spent with our dear friends. Kelley was sick all weekend. Friday night was the worst of it. She had intense labor like pains (I guess it was labor). But we held out hope that the follow up bloodwork would show a miracle.

We went to church this morning, which was difficult to say the least. Not many people knew what was going on but it was obvious that we were sad about something. We weren’t ready to say anything until we had gotten the results from the follow up labs. But Kelley knew this morning when she woke up that things had changed. She recalled not feeling pregnant anymore. And this afternoon, the test results confirmed it… we’d lost the baby.

We told the kids that sometimes babies are sick. So very sick that it’s better for them to go on to Heaven. And even though it’s sad for us now, because we wanted to meet this baby and to hold this baby, we get eternity together in Heaven, reunited with our Father.

Eli took it the hardest. We wondered if we should’ve told them about the baby. But, here’s the thing. This baby is a part of our family story. We can’t ignore it. Life is joy and sorrow. Today our family was reminded that our Father is the great comforter. That he is able to reach into our darkness and pull us from the depths.

I’m not real sure where we go from here. We don’t know how to feel. Overwhelmed, for sure. Feels a bit like drowning. Like in ‘How He Loves’… if grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking. It’s difficult to keep breathing some moments. Partly due to the pain and mostly under the influence of the love of our Father.

Over the next few days we’ll be taking some time as a family to begin healing. If you find yourself in a moment where God brings us to your mind, take a second to pray for peace and that Kelley’s body heals without the need for surgery.

We love you very much. We are thankful for your concern and care for us and for your sacrificial love for us, especially to Jeff, Jodi, Beth, the Grove Elders, Dr. and Mindy Castor, Kari and Mitch, the band and our families. You are special to us and we are grateful.