Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Reflections of the past...

Tomorrow, December 11th, marks a year since my sweet sister-in-law, Erika, went home to be with Jesus. The memories of the events leading up to her death are like a movie rolling through my mind. All the phone calls, texts and trips to the cities to be with her seem like yesterday. I will never forget THAT day when they told us she wasn't going to make it or being by her bedside as she took her last breath. I will never forget God's peace that covered us all & the stillness in her hospital room. I will never forget the worship music playing or the grief & sadness that we felt, and the tears that were shed. Nothing prepares you for that experience or the experiences that follow loosing a loved one.

2013 will go down in my book as the toughest year of my life. Experiencing everyone & myself grieve was nothing short of an emotional roller coaster. There were times in my marriage when I asked myself if this is how it was always going to be and can I handle it? There were times when I needed to step away from relationships cause it was too much to handle. There were times that I was angry, sad, & numb. There were & will always be times when I wished Erika was still here to do things with me.

I miss shopping with her. I miss going to coffee with her. I miss working out with her. I miss doing Bible studies with her. I miss dreaming about our future of our boys together. I miss spending time with her at the cabin. I miss her cooking. I miss her walk. I miss hearing about the latest trends from her. I miss planning vacations together. I miss her voice. I miss watching her be a mom. I miss seeing her next to Sam.

2013 not only brought on the grief of loosing Erika, but I also had a very close loved one who was suffering from severe anxiety and depression. At times that loved one couldn't be left alone and was barely functional. They were hospitalized on numerous occasions and at one point was on the verge of death. The last couple months this loved one has made great strides and has taken control of their life again--Praise the Lord!

As I sit here in front of my Christmas tree and reflect on all that I have walked through I am in awe of how God has carried me every step of the way. He has placed strategical people in my life to love & support me. He has TRULY given me a peace that has passed all understanding. If I didn't have him in my life I think I could have been admitted somewhere or should had been on major meds. God has whispered that its going to be OK and that things are going to change; and he was right. I am constantly reminded to keep my eyes fixed on HIM and am so thankful for his love, sovereignty, and grace. I'm so thankful for the power of prayer and for HIS word.

With a new year around the corner also brings a new season. Sam and my nephews, Ben & Jake are moving to Maple Grove next week. I have gone through a plethora of feelings when I received the news. I felt like I was grieving again; loosing them. I have come to peace with this and ultimately want the best for them. I'm excited for Sam to have a fresh start and for their future. I can't promise you that I'm not going to pray them back to Alexandria, but for now it's going to be OK. Our boys are so close; they are almost like brothers. I will miss seeing them a few times each week and having my "auntie stamp" on them, but they are only an hour and a half down Highway 94.

Despite all of the negative things that I have walked through this last year I still have reason to celebrate! One being the birth of our son, Blake Alexander. He is the sweetest little boy I know. His disposition is so chill and his smile lights up the room. There have been many times when I felt like my world was caving in. I would look over at him and he would give me the biggest, drooliest smile. He exudes joy! He also has the best thighs in the world, who knew cellulite could be so cute?! He is by far my biggest baby. At 7 months he was starting to wear 18 month clothing. He is weighing in at 23.5 lbs--almost off the charts! I have been so blessed by him and the way that my older two boys adore him!

Another thing to celebrate is my health! In August I started with a natural, whole foods health supplement company and was able to loose my baby weight, not be addicted to caffeine (Caribou & Diet Coke) anymore, gain incredible energy, build lean muscle and fill in my nutritional gaps. When I initially started on the products it was for weight loss and energy, but now its more then that. Loosing my Dad, Josh's Grandma, & Erika all in 16 months has made me realize the importance of health. In today's world eating clean & working out are not enough. I will admit, I would had rather bought a new shirt then pay for health supplements, but I now understand the importance of them. The days that I forget to take them I feel sluggish & tired and usually end up making poor food choices. I also have been able to meet some incredible individuals in the company that are passionate about helping others get healthy and succeed! The company has also helped our family financially. Financial responsibilities always come up out of the blue and thanks to this company it has helped off set those costs. This company also allows me to do some of my passions--helping others and fitness!

My latest celebration is that my little sister, Kourtney had her first baby, Holden Matthew on Monday, December 2nd. I'm so proud of her and Adam! They are going to be amazing parents! I'm so excited to be an auntie again, he is perfect! I find it so ironic that there are only boy grandchildren on both sides--God sure does have a sense of humor!

This is the first December in the past two years that I'm finally excited about the winter/Christmas season. Life is starting to feel normal again. Relationships are being restored, healing has taken place in people's hearts, my marriage feels stronger then ever, my children are thriving and life feels good. Memories of Erika will never go away, nor will the void in my life, but all of the firsts are over. I'm excited for a fresh start in 2014. It won't be a year tattooed with tragedy and loss.

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, from the bottom of my heart! Remember not to fret the small things, look for the beauty in everything, find the gold in everyone AND most importantly fix your mind & eyes on HIM. Jesus is the reason for this Christmas season.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

a symbolic weekend

Hello Sweet Friends!
I can't believe it's been since December since my last entry. The past 8ish months have felt like I an emotional roller coaster that I can't get off. Grief is such a complex emotion. It's an emotion that looks and reacts differently to everyone. I can attest to this because everyone in our family has handled the loss of Erika differently. Thankfully there is no right or wrong was to grieve, I'm just thankful that we are. Professionals say if you don't grieve right away you will later on in life. The later on in life can be more messy then the now.

This past weekend Josh & I had a weekend away and stayed in Deerwood, MN to mountain bike Cuyuna State Recreational Area. We had heard about this park last year and had read that the trails were in a league of their own; they are nationally ranked! Who knew we had a gem so close to home? We biked Friday night and Saturday afternoon and it was an amazing experience!!

As I was out on the trails white knuckled, heart racing, not always knowing what to anticipate what was around the corner I had an epiphany. These trails were a metaphor of what the past two years of my life has been. At times life has been an uphill battle with many bumps in the road. Life has felt out of control and overwhelming. There were many different paths to take, but if I misread the map I would get off course. Just like in life, I have choices to make to stay on the right path, when I try to do life my own way I get off course. Through it all Jesus was there to hold me, to pour his love out on me. He met me where I was at every time. He rejoiced when I rejoiced and cried when I cried. On those trails all I could do was trust. I had to trust in my abilities and trust that the Lord will protect me.

Mountain biking I had to keep my eyes fixed on what was ahead, if I didn't I could crash (and I did) or fall off the side of the cliff (I almost did). That too is symbolic of the last year. My eyes have never been so fixed on HIM, I knew that if I didn't fully rely on him for everything that life could get messy. I knew that I needed to reach for the sword, the Word of God, to use that to protect and help heal our family.

Cuyuna was absolutely beautiful. We remembered to "stop and smell the roses" and took in some breath-taking scenes. These moments, too, were part of my epiphany. Even though we have been grieving we also have had reason to celebrate; to relish in the moment. The birth of our third son, Blake Alexander, happened, our boys have reached new milestones in their lives, my sister, Eva, got married and summer has happened!

This weekend has felt healing. I love it when moments like this happen and I least expect it. It was so fun to spend time with my husband and to be able to be outside in God's nature!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Tribute to Erika

Lives changed, hearts transformed, souls won over for Jesus & life put into perspective is what Erika's legacy has left us with.

It was a week, today, that I was at the hospital watching the doctor's do everything in their power to restore Erika's health.

It was a week, today, that we watched the medical staff walk out of her room, one by one, with tears streaming down their face delivering the news that her fight was over.

It was a week, today, that we spent two hours with her waiting for the paralytic medications to wear off, so they could remove her ventilator. We spent that time worshiping our Lord and Savior, holding her, telling her how much we loved her and how proud we were of her. We told her that it was OK to stop fighting and that she could go Home now. We told her that we would take care of her babies, and Sam too.

It was a week, today, that they were finally able to take her ventilator out. The forty minutes that Erika lived without it felt like a flash before my eyes. I never gave up hope that God could have a Lazarus moment--heal her body or raise her from the dead. As we watched her heart rate slowly decline we clung on a little tighter to her body, not quite ready to let her go. Finally at 3:25PM, her heart beat for one last time and she made her grand entrance into Heaven. Our bodies really are just a home for our spirit, as soon as she was gone, her body looked immediately lifeless.

Throughout Erika's journey with Leukemia and pneumonia there was an undeniable peace in any room that she housed. I can look back on the last nine months and say that the Lord never left our side. He strategically placed people in our lives and even allowed us to witness a few miracles. Erika's life has not only changed our family's, for the better, but 100s of other people.

I was planning on sharing some memories of Erika at her funeral, but I couldn't mustard up the words or would have I been able to contain my composure. So, I wanted to share with you today what my sweet sister-in-law meant to me.

The first time I met Erika was in February of 2003. Josh and I had only been dating for a few months and we were spending the weekend with her & Sam in Chanhassen. Josh & I were attending college in Fargo, so we didn't get to her house until late. Being the great hostess that she was, she whipped up the most amazing Fettuccine Alfredo. Josh & I still talk about it. It was a great weekend getting to know her.

Some of my favorite memories with Erika are going to hip hop dance classes at LifeTime Fitness on Sunday night's, reliving our glory days! (When they lived in the cities). Working out together--going to Carlos State Park and walking the trails, taking our boys on walks, mountain biking and running.

We both loved to shop, I learned a lot from her and was always in awe of the deals she would find and the amount of bags she would bring home. We would say that the Lord knew we needed to be sister-in-laws because we were the exact same size---pants, tops and shoes!! Erika had one of the most giving hearts, she was always giving me her handy-me downs and I was always so thankful. It was fun to be able to share. She would call me when she would get home from a shopping trip and tell me to come over so I could see all of her new treasures! I am really going to miss that. Husband's don't get as excited, nor do they appreciate our fashion shows!

Saturday mornings were typically spent at Caribou Coffee. Mary, Erika & I would spend hours there sharing our hearts, laughing and just enjoying each other's company. As the years went on, our little boys would join us. Sometimes we would spend all morning there, then head to Doolittle's to get our favorite salads and spur the economy at the shops downtown.

When Erika's heart was hurting she was still able to love to the fullest. Josh & I were able to conceive very easily and that was not Erika's experience. I remember when I first found out I was pregnant with Logan, I was really nervous to tell her because I knew of all of the heart ache and procedures she was going through. When I told her she was so excited and never let on too being jealous. She was so gracious to us, hosted a baby shower for us and shared in our excitement and joy. When Logan arrived she would come over to the house a few times a week after work so she could spend time with him. Logan & her had a very special bond. Only auntie Kaka could fix his hurts and her snacks were the very best!

Erika and I were excited to be mom's to our boys. We had fun dreaming about what it would be like when they all got a little older. We both wanted our boys to be close--not just cousins, but best friends. We talked about taking our kids on vacations together, we wanted them to play all of the same sports and we loved dressing them up like "little men!" We wanted to raise our boys to have hearts after our Heavenly Father, to be respectful, hard working, wise, honest, trustworthy and kind. Erika & I always talked about adopting "little Erika's!"

Erika was someone I could trust. I knew I could confide in her and that she would give me honest feedback. I knew she would always be there for me and that she had my back! Erika was one of my prayer warriors!

I loved watching Erika in the kitchen. She was a gourmet cook! I was in awe with her taste buds and how she could throw together a delicious meal at any given moment. She made sure you never left their house hungry!

Life will never be the same without her. I hope to continue to carry out her legacy of telling other's about Jesus. To let her little boys know what kind of women she was and how much she loved them. The last nine months have been grueling to walk through, but they have been life changing--for the better! Erika was not just beautiful on the outside, but the inside as well. Erika's legacy will never be forgotten!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Boy or Girl?

Today is the day that we were able to confirm what the sex of our baby is. I am always on pins and needles when this day arrives. Surprises don't always sit well with me or maybe its just that I get too excited and impatient.

Last month the doctor gave us an idea about what the baby might be and she was right! The Timm Family will be welcoming a baby BOY on April 10th (via C-Section). It's going to be a wild and crazy adventure having three little boys to raise. I am excited to meet this little peanut! This will be the final baby for our family, unless the Lord calls us to adopt one day.

I never pictured myself as a mom to ALL boys. To be honest, it's been a shock to my system. When I first heard the news, last month, I was in denial. I was so sure that this was going to be it; this little baby was going to be my little girl. My pregnancy had felt so different from Logan & Shane's and I was having a lot of the same symptoms as my friends that were having girls. I also knew that the Lord knows my heart and I have dreamt of a daughter since I was a young girl. I even had started her wardrobe! I have all of the websites bookmarked on my computer that I wanted to shop at for when I got the news that it was a girl. I dreamt of all of the girly things we would do together, how I would dress her, how I would raise her to lover herself, Jesus and other's around her. I dreamt of having a work out buddy once she got older and the day that she would get married. I was excited to finally have someone on my side at home, because the boys are always ganging up on me. Basically anything you would dream of, I have dreamt!

I'm not going to lie, I shed a few tears knowing that at this point in my life I will never have a daughter. I'm sure you are thinking that I should just be thankful that I can have children and that I already have 2 healthy boys-- and I am! You see, I am more then thankful for the blessings of my boys. It's a death of my dream, and I need to lay it to rest. I know that God sees the bigger picture and I can be OK with that. I needed to slowly start letting go of that dream and I am thankful I have had this last month to process it.

I have started dreaming about my life with ALL boys and I am excited! I hope that this last one will be a mama's boy, because at this point Josh gets all of the love. I am thankful that I like to do outdoor activities and sports. Hopefully this will help connect me with them once they are older. I pray that with the help of God we will raise men that are respectful, honest, hard-working, kind, compassionate, Godly men. I pray that my boys will want to be friends and have a close relationship.

So there you have it, this concludes a chapter of my life. I will be done bearing children and our family will be of all boys! (At least I don't have to change the title of my blog ;) I am sure I will have some entertaining blog posts in the future!

Josh & I are on the hunt for boy names, if you have any suggestions send them our way!

Monday, November 5, 2012

a divided country...

The Marriage Amendment. This topic has stirred up a lot of feelings inside of me. I have been so upset over the misuse of God's word, my blood pressure has gone through the roof. People are passionate about what they believe in, but some people will twist and turn words to distort the truth. If you don't believe in God's Word or believe that it's not God inspired/God breathed then I don't expect you to believe the same as me. But DON'T use the word of God to debate this topic if you don't understand it. A lot of people have been posting Old Testament verses to support their "NO" vote. These people don't understand the context of the Old Testament or why God had such laws in place for that time. They also don't understand that God sent his one and only Son to earth, to die on the cross for our sins. Because of this selfless sacrifice we have been forgiven and follow the laws of the New Testament.

People have been using the debate that we are all sinners so because of that none of us should have the right to be married. (they are referencing the verses that say homosexuality is a sin.) They are right, we all are sinners but God defined marriage between a woman and a man. It's got nothing to do with what our sin issues are. If God intended us to be married to the same sex, then he would have figured out a way for pro-creation to happen, but it doesn't work that way. Homosexuality has been around from the get go, don't you think God would have said that it was Ok, if HE was OK with it?

I have friends that are gay and I love them. They are people just like you and I. Even though I care about them and love them I'm not going to re-define what God has already defined for us. This doesn't make me a hater nor does it make me intolerant. We will never agree with everyone's choices. I would never treat anyone unkindly based on their sexual orientation. God has called us to love one another.

So, the whole point of this post is to stand up for the Word of God. I know that we all differ on opinion and that's what makes us Americans. I have zero tolerance for people that misuse the Bible. If you want to vote "no" on the marriage amendment, please leave the Bible out of your debate.

Regardless of who you are voting for and if you will fill in the "yes" circle or the "no" circle, YOU NEED TO VOTE. This election is important--they all are. People before us fought long & hard to ensure the right for ALL Americans to vote; regardless of sex, race or color.

I hope that you will exercise your freedom, VOTE--Tuesday, November 6th.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Five Precious Years

The little man that made me a mom turned FIVE last Thursday--Logan Jeffrey! I never could have imagined what it meant loving someone so much until he arrived. (Minus the love for my husband and Jesus) I never knew that kissing hurts, changing diapers, middle of the night feedings, witnessing his love for his little brother, listening to his laugh, teaching him right from wrong, watching him play and learn could be so rewarding.

Logan fits the "first born" mold to a 'T.' He likes to make sure everyone is following the rules, he tries to boss his mom and dad around, cause he already knows so much ;) He makes sure that everyone is happy and is tenderhearted. He loves being outdoors and hunting with his papa's and dad. He still loves to help with projects and thinks the world of his dad. I swear he is part-fish and has the most adorable physique. He is one of the toughest little boys I know, watching him go through all of the tests and seizures from his Epilepsy he has proved himself resilient.

I love how he, mostly, always loves his little brother. He tries to include Shane in activities and teaches him how to do new things. He protects him and loves him so much. Bedtime is my favorite when we pray together as a family and then the exchange of hugs and kisses take place. It looks more like a wrestling match.

Logan is taking a liking to sports--baseball, soccer and wrestling are among his favorites. He also has a love for music---singing, dancing, instruments (he tries). For a long time he thought he was Troy Bolton (Zack Effron) from High School Musical. He would dress like him most days, quote his movie lines and mimic his dance moves and songs.

Logan is a family guy. He loves all of his aunts and uncles and can't wait until the next time he gets to see them again. He has a special relationship with all of his grandparents and his cousins are like brothers to him. Logan loves it when mom goes away for the weekend, so he can have "Guys Weekend." Guys Weekend consists of my darling husband buying all the foods that I wouldn't, watching movies, having bonfires and staying up late!

He loves school. On his first day of pre-school last year, I was concerned that he would have a tough time adjusting. He gave Josh & I hug and waved good-bye and has never looked back. He's independent when he needs to be, but still wants/needs his mom and dad.

I could go on and on about my little man. Logan brings so much joy to our lives and I thank God everyday for giving him to us. Our lives are forever blessed!

I love you all the way to Jesus, buddy!

Sunday, October 21, 2012


I made it Facebook official so I thought I better make it blog official...we are expecting baby #3 in April! We are really excited to be adding another little miracle to our family. We had been trying for a few months and when I found out in August that I was pregnant, I was actually in shock. July was  a stressful month since Logan had begun having seizures. We were making trips to the Twin Cities to see  a specialist to figure out what our little guy had. So not to be too graphic, but baby-making wasn't our top priority. I love how God works. I can say that this has been true with all of my pregnancies. Whenever I just let go of controlling when I am going to conceive, the Lord knocks my socks off and I conceive. I guess I just need to be reminded, often, that HIS ways are better then mine!! Kind of humbling!

I found out Sunday, August 5th that I was prego! We were heading home from Gull Lake and on the way home Logan asked me if I had a baby in my tummy--completely out of the blue. At that time I had no idea. When we got home, I took a test. I was waiting for the results to read "negative" so I didn't pay attention to it. (Earlier that week I had taken a test and it read "negative.") Much to my dismay it was POSITIVE!! I was in such a shock that I had to go for a run and couldn't even tell Josh. I had a chat with God and a good laugh--his timing IS perfect. I was trying to think of some cute way to tell Josh, but I couldn't wait. (This really shouldn't be a surprise to anyone.) He was really excited and shocked all the same. I think I made it three weeks without telling anyone cause I still couldn't believe it was true.

This little honey has already ran the Warrior Dash and competed in a Duathalon. I had already registered for the events so I thought I better follow through. It was brutal running in the beginning stages since all I felt like I was going to do was throw up---a big lump just sat in my throat. I am now in the second semester and feeling much better!

This pregnancy has been different then with my boys. I have been getting pimples, my hair hasn't been growing like a weed like it did with them and have had other side effects. I am so thankful to be over the nausea stage. I felt like all I did was eat, if my stomach was empty I was on the verge of throwing up. As much as I don't enjoy the side effects of the first trimester, its reassuring that the baby is still doing ok. It's bitter sweet really.

Last Monday I had a doctor's appointment and was able to have an ultrasound. This baby is wild and crazy, he/she reminded me of a gymnast. We will be finding out the sex of the baby, so hopefully next month it will be 100% confirmed!

Side note...Logan is doing great with his Epilepsy. Since he started his meds in July he hasn't anymore since August--PTL! We go back again in December for another check-up. Erika is home with her family! She is in remission! She is still very tired and has an immune system of an infant, but she is making great strides.

Life feels normal again. Everyone is home and all of the medical issues are under control. It's been so cool to see God's hand on our lives and to see how he has been in control the entire time. I am so thankful for my faith in HIM--he was and still is my sustainer of life.