What Are You Influencing?

In todays world, being influenced by other people is a day to day thing. I myself know that when I get on social media and I see an “influencer” sharing a post about a product they love and all the great things about it, I’m very quick to click that link and most likely purchase that product.
It can be as simple as just having someone who tells me it’s great that makes me believe I must need that and I will buy it. For example, these cups. They are cups, that’s it. As you can see, I also was easily influenced. These cups are $40+, for a cup. Stupid, I know. I have plenty of cups in my cabinet but somehow I jumped on that bandwagon because everyone seemed like they liked them and then I had to have one. Five of them now actually.
My husband tells me all the time that we have too many but yesterday I bought two more because they were smaller, pretty and I could drink my coffee from them and don’t want to with the bigger ones. I told myself if I got these smaller ones then I’d get rid of my other cups that are the same size as the new ones I just bought because these are prettier than my other ones and I will use them more. As I think about the things I get all because other people do, it really just seems crazy how easily I am influenced.
Now I want you to think about something. Influencers talk about billions of different things and products everyday and people immediately go and buy those things or read those things or whatever it is they bring attention to. Can you imagine if that thing people were influencing was Jesus? What if when you get on social media, all you hear about is the Bible and the wonderful things Jesus has done? What if you went to Target and instead of seeing Stanley Cups flying off the shelves it was The Bible. What if people set their alarms for Devotionals to read instead of restocks to try to buy another cup. Do you see where I’m going with this?
Why are we not as easily influenced to do the things Jesus tells us to do but we will do whatever the strangers on the other side of the phone tells us to do or get. I’m talking to myself just as much as I am anyone else reading this. Can you imagine though if the tables turned and Jesus was the one being talked about all over social media? If Jesus was the one people told other people to Follow? The world needs Jesus more than another cup added to our cabinets.
So the next time you open up social media or walk around a store or see an influencer pushing another product just imagine if that thing was Jesus. Maybe even make that the thing you try to influence people to. We were called to go and make disciples and we need to do that. You don’t need thousands of followers to Follow Jesus and share His love. When people think about you, wouldn’t you want it to be, “there’s the girl/guy who loves Jesus”, not “there’s the girl/guy who sells blah blah blah”? You never know who looks to you as an “Influencer”.


The Roller Coaster of Faith

The thing about faith is it doesn’t come easy. If it was easy everyone would have it. Faith takes work. It is work to gain faith and to also keep faith. Life in general doesn’t make keeping your faith any easier. All the ups and downs life throws at you makes it very easy to throw in the towel and give up.
My faith has felt like a roller coaster ride through out my entire life. Specifically speaking though, during the last couple of years with my Mom. I feel like when my mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer it was actually the time I was closest to God. My relationship with God grew stronger than it has ever been. Although I knew my mom was dying and I was extremely sad, I still had the most peace I’ve ever had about a situation. I felt peace knowing where she would be going when she passed and peace knowing she would be made new again.
After she died, my faith was tested immediately. It honestly has been tested everyday since like never before and it’s like I’m at a war everyday battling all of my emotions, not only with grief of losing my mom, but also feelings of anger, hatred, disgust, pity. The list goes on, but it’s nothing but more terrible adjectives towards someone. I just keep thinking, “Okay God, I’m really trying here. But you’ve got a lot thrown on my plate now and I’d love for you to take some of it off for me before I start to spiral”. Some days I dig myself out and manage to remember God is in control. Although it is very hard to remember in times when all of that anger hits me and I want to act in a way a Christian is not supposed to just out of impulse that any person with emotions would do. I have to fight hard for my faith and remember, “What Would Jesus Do?!” (I really should have just gotten W.W.J.D. tattooed on my wrist when I was 18 instead of something on my ribs because I need that as a permanent bracelet on me to remember every second of every day).
Sorry, getting back on track again.
Yesterday was supposed to be a good day. It was supposed to be like the light at the end of an awfully dark tunnel of a year. My sister and I were supposed to finally be able to go into our moms house after more than a year and list her home for sale. I couldn’t sleep the night before because I was thinking about everything fixing to happen. Knowing I’d probably be upset walking into the house again after so long and she not be in it. Sad to be soon closing a chapter in a place where she, for a short period of time after we moved, raised us before we were off to college and getting married. Knowing I’d be hit with her “smells like moms house smell” when I walked into the door (you know that distinct smell everyone has that just smells like them). And also hopeful to be closing the door on a relationship we’ve been waiting so long to end. It was just a lot of emotions and thoughts going through my brain, but also had this gut feeling of what ifs. What if things don’t go as planned like their supposed to.
Turns out my gut was right. The current occupant had other plans and thought they were above what the judge ordered. Why can’t things just be easy, for once? When we thought we might finally be able to break ties that we’ve been waiting a whole year to do and finally be able to grieve like we’re supposed to we are still caught up in this exhausting situation.
Yesterday was one of those days where my faith was really being tested. It feels like I’ve had the Angel on one shoulder and the Devil on the other. I’ve drove by her house about 10 times. Each time struggling with just wanting to pull in and letting all my built up emotions out. Then try to remind myself to let it go and let things work out the way God wants them to. My husband sent me a picture of my coffee mug that says “Let Go & Let God” around the same time I was passing back and forth because he knew I was struggling. I have to be the better person. I know my mom would want me to be the bigger person and would be so disappointed that we’re even having to deal with all of this after she’s gone.
I have to tell you, the stress and acne I’ve given myself just in a day is unreal. I even woke up with a stye in my eye that seems to be getting bigger as the day goes on. I need a 90 minute massage, a bottle of acne cream and an eye patch.
I have to say though, after all I’ve been thrown this year on top of just grief of losing my mom, which is enough in itself, I know that if I’m still managing to trust God even in the absolute hardest of times, my faith has to be strong. Even if I have to try extremely hard sometimes to remind myself what the best thing to do is. I don’t want anyone to think having strong faith is easy though. It’s a job in itself and to know at the end of my life this full time job of trying to keep my faith in God will pay off when I make it to Heaven one day makes it all worth it. It’s just sometimes hard to take a step back and remember that in the moment of trial. Good things take time to get perfect, with a lot of trial and error. Once you’ve gotten something almost perfected, you also have to keep up the work or else you will fall right back to where you started. That’s with anything in life. A new recipe, a sport, a hobby. You have to constantly keep practicing to make it great and be good at it. Faith is no different.
The devil works hard but good news is, Jesus works harder.
Revenge may feel nice at the moment when things don’t seem to be going the way you would like but making it to Heaven one day will feel so much better!

“Trust the Lord completely, and don’t depend on your own knowledge. With every step you take, think about what he wants, and he will help you go the right way.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭3‬:‭5‬-‭6‬ ‭

Celebrating Mother’s Day In Heaven.

My Mama becoming my Mama🤍

This Mother’s Day is my first without my Mom. Maybe it’s yours too. Maybe it’s the 5th, 10th, or even 40th Mother’s Day you are trying to celebrate while your mom is in Heaven watching. The holidays are always hard since she’s been gone and every one of them hits differently, but this one hits the hardest. It’s the one real day meant to celebrate her and she’s not here to celebrate with.

It’s such a bittersweet day because I am a Mom myself and get to be celebrated. But I also have a Mom who I no longer get the chance to buy a gift for, go eat lunch with, or get our nails done together. As blessed as I am to be able to do these things with my own kids, it also serves as another reminder that she’s no longer here.

The card aisle at the stores seem so intimidating. I’ve caught myself trying to not even look in that direction because it makes me so emotional. The advertising I see on the stores website’s for Mother’s Day Gift Ideas make me remember I’m no longer able to buy her a gift anymore to celebrate this holiday.

This Mother’s Day will look a lot differently than it has in years past. There will be more celebrating with my own children and lots of soaking in the moments knowing one day it could all be gone. I will be reminiscing on all that we have done together over the years to celebrate my mom. I will spend time looking through old pictures with her from my Facebook memories, knowing we won’t have one to post for this year.

This Mother’s Day will be difficult as most of the “first” holidays without her have been, but I also hope to make it a special day to honor her. Even though she’s not here, she can still be celebrated. She can be talked about with old stories about how great of a mom she was to us. She can still get flowers, only now they will be delivered to her grave. We can still talk, but now it will be through prayer.

I hope the years to come will get easier and maybe the card aisle will be less intimidating to walk passed.

Thankfully I’m blessed to have other mom figures in my life to also celebrate Mother’s Day with and to buy gifts for. It may not feel the same but it’s a blessing to have them.

If you’re going into Mother’s Day feeling a big weight over you, know you’re not the only one dreading this holiday. It may be hard but there are ways to make it more enjoyable and your mom would want that for you!

Mamas, soak in the hugs and snuggles with your babies as much as you can. They are only little for so long. Daughters and Sons, make the phone call to your Mama, stop by and bring her flowers, pick the most meaningful card you can find in the card aisle and write everything you love most about her at the bottom instead of just signing your name. Make her feel the most celebrated and loved she’s ever felt because one day, you may not be able to celebrate her on Earth anymore.

Love you Mama! -Katelyn

I’m Broken.

📷: Kristen Paige Photography

I’ve tried to put off this “Good Christian Girl” vibe, but that’s honestly not the complete truth of me as a person. Don’t get me wrong. Having that title and nothing but it would be really cool and great but it’s not the truth. The real me does want to be a “Good Christian Girl” but I have flaws. I have good days but I have a lot of bad days too. Here lately, it’s been a lot more of the bad than good kind of days and I’ve felt like dirt because of it.

I lay down at night and pray to God about how sorry I am for just being a (what I feel like) terrible person lately and how I hope He can help me be better tomorrow than I was today. I will wake up feeling great. Some days I wake up and will read a day from my devotional and be ready to start the day, feeling hopeful like this is gonna be a great one. Then other days I grab my phone and look at Facebook first and flood my brain with news that causes me fear and worry. Some days I get every word from a sermon and feel like a friend of mine said recently “got pinched by the Spirit Bug and am ready to run and tell everyone” and then other days I sit in church and think about what I’m gonna do later instead of really paying attention. Some days I have a fun filled day planned with my kids and think I’m being such a good mom because they tell me I am. Other days I scream and yell at them and send them to their rooms 15 Billion times and put them in front of the tv to go hide out in the bathroom because being around them with their attitudes makes me feel like I have no control over them and don’t know what I did wrong as a mom. Some days I share a Bible Verse or a Quote from a Christian author and feel every word of it to my core and think, “okay, these words were made for me to read right now and feel so much hope”. Other days I see someone post something on Facebook and try to debate with God like, “okay God you saw that, are you sure this isn’t a time where you can look past this and forgive me and let this slide so I can say whatever I want to. Surely you would think it’s okay if I just say this “one” little thing about it, right?!”.

See the thing is, walking a Christian Walk through life isn’t easy. It’s HARD. Like the hardest thing I’ve ever done, even more than being a mom kind of hard. One day you feel like you’ve got it all figured out and like nothing can stop you and then other days you get brought down just by one thing one person did and your brain is spiraling on if you say something or try your best to keep biting your tongue(mine feels like it’s bleeding some days). One day you feel like every single word you sing on Way FM is lighting your tail end on fire with the Word and then other days you struggle to even sing a word. One day every thing in life is perfect. You have a beautiful family and friends and amazing church and preacher you get so much spiritual knowledge from and then the next day you lose a parent and grief hits you and it feels like it tried to take a punch at every single body part you have until you almost can’t even get your self up in the morning. One day you feel hope for a brighter future and strength to start trying to get on with your life. Other days you get brought back down by a person from the past that you thought you had finally forgiven and had moved on from. Then those hateful feelings come back when they do something again and your right back where you were and try to think about what you can do to make them hurt the way you do right now. One day your mom is here and the next day she’s not. One day everyone grieved her with you and the next day they all moved on but you haven’t. One day everything can be in front of you and the next day everything can be gone.

My one day, today, has been a hard one. The devil keeps pushing and God keeps trying to keep me on the path I’m supposed to be on. It’s like a constant tug of war battle. One day you feel perfectly pieced together and other days you feel broken beyond repair. But that’s okay, because even though you don’t think God can handle you at your worst and only wants you at your best, your wrong. He’s ready to help you put your broken pieces back together and wants you to trust Him every step of the way. He loves you at your worst and at your best. He hears your laughs and your joy and He also hears you when you cry yourself to sleep. He’s ready to answer your questions when you feel like there are way too many to be answered. God Is Good, All The Time. He will never leave even when you feel like your too broken to come back to Him. You can try all you want to save yourself but the hard truth is, you never will. Only Jesus can. And He will.


Behind The Smile

📷 Kristen Paige Photography

Hey there, it’s been a while I know since I’ve last posted one of my blogs. I guess you could say I’ve been going through the whole grieving process and honestly don’t know what to say anymore. I’ve wrote about ten blogs in the time frame since I last posted one but none of them I felt were something I should post. They’ve all sounded so depressing. Probably because up until the last few weeks I’d write them as I was usually crying myself to sleep every night. That is when my mind could actually think and the house was quiet and all the feelings started to hit me all at once when I had a second to be still. I’d wake up in the morning and would look back and decide that I shouldn’t share a lot of what I wrote in them because who wants to keep hearing about my mom dying again, or at least that’s what I thought. Who really cares now, they probably are like “here’s Katelyn, talking about her mom again like no one knows she died. Is she ever gonna get over it?”. Well after many deleted blogs I decided I don’t really care what anyone thinks if I post another blog about my mom and to do it for myself because this is how I get through all my feelings especially in a time such as the time I’m going through now. I’m sure many people wouldn’t say those things anyways but that’s what my mind was thinking every time I would reread them and then delete them.

Grief is such a sucky thing to go through. I wish there was a better word to sugar coat it but there’s not. It just sucks. One day your loved one is here and the next day they aren’t. The mind games I’ve went through over the last few months are quite literally the worst thing I’ve dealt with through the whole grieving process. I know my moms gone but for some crazy reason my brain still gets hope that she’s not really gone. Everyday is a new day and I think about her ALL day long. Which also means everyday I get reminded that she is gone. I think about the memories we’ve shared with her throughout the day and while they are happy it usually ends with sadness knowing there won’t be anymore shared with her in my lifetime. I can be having a great day and feel like things are starting to look up from here and then at the most random times be hit with sadness and it all comes creeping back in.

There were days where I wish I could have stayed in bed all day and do absolutely nothing, but that’s not really possible when you have kids to care for. The stage of depression I feel like comes in waves and I don’t consider myself a depressed person but the amount of sadness that weighs on you all at once can definitely make you feel like you are depressed. I’ve found that the best thing for me is to be on the move and busy. If I’m sitting still with nothing to do all those feelings come back and it takes me down again. I find myself playing back the final days in my head, the way she looked, what I said to her, what she said to me, wondering if there’s anything else I could’ve said while I still had the chance. The truth is I don’t think I ever will be happy with the last things I said to her because I never wanted anything to be “the last” thing I said to her. I think back to those final days wondering if she would’ve wanted me to see her like that. Would she have wanted me to remember her in a better way before she died. Those flashbacks get me everytime. I can’t quit thinking about the pain she went through over and over in my head. That’s the kind of thing I wonder about. My sisters last visit with her she has to remember her talking, alert, as healthy as she could be for her diagnosis and doesn’t have these horrible memories in her head. But then again I wonder if I would’ve regretted not being there and wishing I was up until the end. You just never know what the right thing to do is in a situation like that.

The strangest thing about grief is the things that you think will make you sad sometimes surprise you and actually don’t affect you at all. But then again some of the most random things like watching a tv show and you don’t know anything about these people where someone’s parent dies can tear me up more than anything. I get to the point that I can’t stop crying unless I turn the whole show off and try to think about anything else but my mom but it just is constantly on my mind.

I feel like the more months that go by actually make it harder because it makes it even more real that she’s not coming back. It’s not like she’s on a long vacation that she’ll be back from soon. It’s forever and my brain is starting to finally catch up with the thought of that. The first few months I think I was just numb from everything and emotionally drained. Basically like a zombie going through the motions of life but not really there. I feel like I actually had days where I was emotionless if that makes sense. Nothing made me smile but nothing made me cry either. I don’t know how to explain it and that’s why it’s so hard to explain the way grief happens. I also feel like it’s different for everyone so anyone going through it may be completely different from another person grieving.

I used to be so scared to talk to people who had lost someone recently in their life because I wouldn’t know what to say and I still don’t. Going through it myself I actually don’t even have any advice on the right thing to say because no one takes things the same. I don’t think there is a “right” thing to say,honestly. I used to not want anyone to actually come up and talk to me about it because I would turn into a mess of tears. People texting me was the best thing because I could express the way I felt without worrying about being a bucket of tears in the persons arms and not be able to make any clear words out of my mouth. It’s gotten a little easier to talk about her but some days just saying something about my mom like “my mom used to do this” makes me want to cry and then I wish I didn’t bring it up at all. Then I feel like if I do bring her up the people around me look at me, waiting to see if I’m going to be upset or okay and it’s just an awkward feeling.

The worst thing I’ve found myself coming back to is the thought that “I don’t have a mom anymore”. I do but not physically here with me. I can’t call her up to talk about the most random things my kids did or tell her how my doctors appointments went or get takes on things with my kids based off how I was when I was younger. I don’t think that thought will ever go away that I don’t have a mom anymore. I just can’t wrap my head around her actually being gone, forever. I don’t think that gets easier for anyone even if you were lucky to have months to prepare for it like we did. Whether it be 6 months ago or 16 years ago I just don’t see it ever fully going away. I’m fortunate to have many mom figures in my life to help try to fill her role and of course my dad. I’m grateful for having so many people who have stepped in to help me through this time. That’s helped a ton even if it’s just to say “your mom would be so proud” or has offered some motherly advice, has tried to help out even though I don’t like to ask for help when I need it or tried to give me cooking tips even though my mom wasn’t very good at cooking tips when she was here because that’s where I learned how to cook and if you know me, it hasn’t gotten me very far. Lol But with all that help and people stepping in trying to make this a little less difficult losing her I just don’t think it’ll ever be the same not having her here. I don’t think that I will ever be the same without her either. I also don’t want to forget about her and make it seem like it’s so easy to live without her because it’s not. She played a huge part in my life and it’s like I don’t know what to do now with that empty gap.

Grief is such a real thing and not an easy thing to explain or even understand until you go through it and maybe your reading this and are lucky to have not gone through the stages of grief yet. This is just an insight to what I’ve been going through the last few months of life since I have been pretty quiet on here lately on the blog. Maybe it’ll help someone going through the same stages right now too, know your not alone in it.

“For When I am Weak, Then I Am Strong” 2 Corinthians 12:9-11

One of life’s lessons that I’ve learned recently is to not look at all the negative things that have gone wrong in it but instead, look at the way those negative things have made your life better in a positive way.
I haven’t always thought this way. So don’t think I’m tooting my own horn saying it’s easy. It’s not easy and it’s taken time for me to find the good in things. Sure, there have been bad things in my life and during those times I don’t immediately think about how it’s going to shape me, but thinking back on my life, if it had went any differently I don’t think my relationship with God would be where it is today.
Rewind quite a few years to the years I remember in my childhood. I have always grown up in church. Since I was a baby, actually. I went to church every Sunday and Sunday school, VBS, did all the things you’re supposed to do, but it really was just a checklist. I didn’t have a relationship with God. It just was a thing I did, and a place I went to weekly, but I didn’t get anything out of it. Honestly, I don’t think my relationship with God really clicked until I met Dillan. In high school I never wanted to date to date, I wanted to date to marry, so I didn’t date many people. Actually, if you don’t count the two day relationships I had in elementary school, Dillan is the only real relationship I have ever had. I knew I wanted a Godly husband and I didn’t want to settle, so I never really felt the need to date anyone before him and when I first met him I knew I didn’t want to be another girlfriend of his. If we dated I wanted it to be the real deal, so I was actually pretty scared to date him. I was always worried it’d be one of those relationships in high school that lasted a few weeks, maybe a month or two tops, then it’d be over. I always had in my mind that maybe high school is too early to date him. Maybe I should just stay friends with him and if things work out I’ll date him when I’m going to college when life can feel more serious. Never did I think starting a relationship with him would last from tenth grade up until now. We dated 7 years to the day when we got married. If you had told me that would happen when I was fifteen I would’ve never believed it. I would’ve wanted that to happen, but I wouldn’t have ever really thought things would fall into place that way. Especially with him being my first real boyfriend and being so young. That’s when I knew God had something special planned for me. He allowed me to do the one thing I had wanted to do and that was to date to marry but not only that, date a Godly man that would one day become my husband.
My relationship with God grew more and more throughout mine and Dillan’s dating relationship because of Dillan being such a Godly man and he grew me closer to God and I wanted to know God more because of him.
Then, we got married and things were going good. I started to put God on the back burner. Almost as if I didn’t need Him anymore because I got what I wanted. I started to not read my Bible everyday and only read it when it was convenient for me. Basically saying, “Sorry God, not today, I’m busy with being a newly wed and don’t have any problems today to talk to you about”. It wasn’t long after we got married though that my mom was diagnosed the first time with breast cancer. Then I went running back to God. Reading my Bible everyday. Praying every chance I could get and trying to do everything right that I could, hoping He would listen and heal her.
We got pregnant with Hunter soon after we got married and my mom finished her treatments the day Hunter was born. She was for the most part better and started to get better from that point. As time went on, it all happened again. “Not today God, my moms healthy again and now I have a new baby and can’t find time to read my Bible right now. Maybe tomorrow, if I can find time between the feedings and nap times”. Those days as a mom of a baby who also had colic were long and hard though. For some reason it took months before I thought anything about praying to God to make my son stop crying all the time. Until one day I finally broke down and had enough and just needed something to change because I was going absolutely crazy. I talked to God about it all and felt so much better and a quick sense of relief. Things started getting better with the colic and he almost seemed happier instantly. But then because things were better I did it again. “Nope God, not today. We’re busy doing stuff and my sons better so I don’t need to talk to you today”.
This all went on non stop like a constant battle of when things are bad I need you but when things are fine I pushed God away. All the things that life threw at me I feel like was God trying to bring me back to Him. It worked too, because I did always come back to Him, but only for a short time and didn’t keep the close relationship as close when things were good again. When we got pregnant between Hunter and Maddie with our twins was probably the closest I’ve felt with God and, in hindsight, I needed that time with Him more than anything. When we knew we would be miscarrying them both, I had no other option but to pray. God didn’t answer my prayers and we did end up losing them both. He didn’t make things the way I asked for them to be in my prayers but things went the way He had planned. Was I extremely upset, obviously. But the wildest thing happened to me during this time. This is the first time I felt God really bring peace to my life. I wanted to bring those babies into the world more than anything, but I immediately knew it was not His plan. I knew He was doing it for my good and wouldn’t give me anything I couldn’t handle. The way I looked at it is maybe He knew I couldn’t handle two babies at one time, especially after already having a baby who had colic. Or maybe they had something wrong with them and if they were born I wouldn’t be able to handle them then or might lose them after they were born and that could’ve been even harder on me and He was trying to save me that pain. I knew God had big plans for me and those babies were apart of it in a way. I needed to lose them to find myself and my relationship with Him. That sounds terrible in a way, but it’s the truth. If we hadn’t lost them, I don’t know that I would’ve had a much more solid relationship with God if I was able to bring them into this world. That’s the first time I had felt Gods presence over me and His comfort when I needed it the most. That’s when it all started to sink in more and more. Reading the Bible really was just a check list before now, just because I thought if I read it all the time like I’m supposed to maybe God will answer my prayers when I need Him to. I was so wrong. The miscarriage of our twins changed me in so many ways looking back on it. When I read the Bible, I actually got a message from it. I thought about things more and didn’t just read it and not retain anything I had just read like I used to. I needed God more than ever during that season of life and leaned on Him more than I ever had. He built me up when I was at my lowest.
I think going through that loss actually prepared me for when my mom would get her diagnosis of the second round of cancer coming back that would be terminal. I had built my relationship with God up so much stronger than it had been before and doing so I came to Him for everything now and especially through my moms cancer journey. He gave me the peace I needed through our miscarriage and that peace carried me through knowing I’d be losing my mom also.
I think about life and how God has worked in it. I see how He’s used different situations to bring me closer to Him. I was reading an article somewhere about how someone wrote a letter about how the year had gone for them and it was just negative thing after negative thing. It was so depressing and someone rewrote it and turned every negative thing into a positive. It gave me this new outlook on how to look at the trials I’ve been dealt in my life.
It’s time to rewrite my life into a more positive story.
God made me a husband that I would one day meet when I was in high school who would soon become the dad to my children. My mom was later diagnosed with breast cancer and was able to grow her relationship with God through her journey that she may not have had the chance to grow closer to Him if she hadn’t went through it. We were blessed to celebrate the birth of our son in 2015. We grew closer to each other and grew closer to God when we later had a miscarriage of twins and realized God was using that situation to make us stronger for the future. We were blessed to celebrate another birth of our daughter in 2019. My Mom was later diagnosed for the second time with breast cancer that soon turned terminal and was able to bring more people to God through her last months of life that she had been prepared for because of the closeness she had already grew with God from her first cancer diagnosis. When we lost my mom, I was blessed to know she was no longer in pain and was rejoicing with Jesus. I had peace about the whole situation because of my relationship growing so much with God through our miscarriage and other trials that I went through in the past few years. He is using my trials now to help me write blogs that are helping other people renew their relationship with God and even bring some to Jesus who never knew Him.
See, your story doesn’t have to always be bad and changing the negative things to a positive can make a world of difference. It’s all about how you make it and seeing the good in life. Everything in my life has been apart of Gods master plan for me and seeing it unfold and realizing the way he’s done things is pretty amazing. Even when I thought I didn’t really need Him at times, He was always still there waiting for me to come back to Him.
I honestly haven’t known what to write about for a blog now that my moms gone because she was my main subject of inspiration. Lately though, I’ve been feeling like God has been wanting me to write again and I’ve had these things on my mind and wanted to get it all down to hopefully help others. I think that’s what He’s using me for with these blogs and I hope by doing so it’s helping at least one person and their relationship with Him.
I have prayed and prayed about what to talk about for weeks and I really feel like He is wanting me to tell people about my relationship with Him and how He hasn’t always been number one in my life and maybe that can be more relatable to other people who feel like they aren’t worthy of His love because they don’t read their Bible everyday. Or maybe you don’t pray like you should. Or you turn to the world first before coming to Him. I used to only come to Him when I needed something. Now after seeing the good He has done for me even through the toughest times in my life, I wish I had turned to Him first sooner. Through the good times when I just needed to be thankful and the bad times when I needed Him the most. It’s never too late to grow your relationship with God. As badly as I don’t like to be pushy or overstep and offend someone, the worst kind of fear I have isn’t of this world. It’s the thought of not seeing my friends and family in Heaven with me. Sometimes I just want to grab someone’s face and shake them and tell them to “WAKE UP”. Because we don’t know how long we have until Jesus’s return. Could be today, tomorrow, ten years from now. It’s time to always be ready and always have your heart right with Jesus. It’s never too late to come back to Him. It’s never too late to come to Him for the first time. All I know is Jesus is coming soon. Rev. 22:20 The time is now to change your life.


Edited by: Morgan Marynissen

Sweet Signs of You

Here I am, writing this blog in the preschool parking lot after just visiting your grave. I’ve run errands all day and had nothing else to do before picking up the kids and felt this need to go visit you today. So that’s what I did. Grieving is so weird. One day I’m okay and feel like I’ll be okay. I keep myself busy enough to not allow myself time to sit and think, because when I have time to think then all I think about is you. Of course I want to always think about you, but when I do it just brings tears. I keep wondering when the time will come and I won’t get upset and have to bite my cheek to keep from crying when your name gets brought up or someone talks to me about you. I don’t know if there will ever be a time that it won’t make me sad that you’re gone, but I’m hoping one day I can replace my tears with smiles just thinking about all the happy times I can remember with you.
Since you have been gone, it’s felt like a roller coaster of emotions that I’ve gone through. People told me that’s the way it would feel and they weren’t lying. One day I’m fine and the things I think will make me upset that remind me of you don’t and the most off the wall things have me bawling my eyes out.
For instance, I’ve found myself wanting to pick up the phone and call you to tell u about things a lot. I had to take Maddie to the doctor the other day and found out she has kidney reflux like I had when I was little and you knew she possibly did before you passed. When I found out for sure, I wanted to call you and tell you all about it. As soon as the doctor said, “well she has kidney reflux”, I immediately thought of you and how I can’t tell you about it. Little things like this that I didn’t think I’d get upset about are what I’m finding to be so hard to get through.
I know you’re here with us. It’s crazy that after I asked God to show me signs that you were with me, now I can’t quit seeing them. I see you in the yellow butterflies that fly by the window in the field every single day in the same spot, or the ones that pop up out of no where when I’m driving around thinking about you. I feel you when I’m shopping and your song, “Play That Funky Music”, comes on that you made your exit song at your funeral and I know that means you’re there. And when I’m going to Hunters baseball games and the song, “There Are No Scars in Heaven” comes on. That’s been a special song to me since you’ve passed, so the times it comes on I can feel you all around and it’s always when I need to hear from you the most. I see you in the feathers I keep finding all over my house that I have no idea where they keep coming from. In the bathroom, in the living room, the most random little feathers that pop up right after I vacuum and mean so much to me like they’ve fallen off an angels wings. But the most special time was when I was laying in my bed on the morning of your birthday and had been crying but quit before the kids woke up. Hunter came in and snuggled up and randomly told Maddie, “MiMi can still see us and play with us, see she’s right there” and pointed right beside of me. Woah, that was crazy and definitely made me do the most cautious slow turn to look where he was pointing because it seemed like he could see you plain as day sitting right there in the bed.
Those special things you do to show you’re near mean so much to me and I know you’re not far away, even though it doesn’t always seem like that some days. Thank you for leaving those signs and please don’t stop sending them my way. I love you forever.
-XOXO, Katelyn

Edited by: Morgan Marynissen

I Forgive You

I found this picture of myself when I was scrolling through deleting the millions of pictures my kids take on my phone when I’m busy doing something and not watching them. When I saw this picture, I looked at it and was like wait, what was I doing? Also, whichever kid took this did a pretty good job. Then I remembered, and what I was doing carries a lot of weight with it.
Long story short (who am I kidding, this probably won’t be short). I was writing a forgiveness note. I’ve been carrying a lot of anger around with me since my mom passed away, and it’s really been eating at me. My sister and I had someone close to us be very disrespectful to us not even 24 hours after our mom passed away (people do crazy things when people die). They said a lot of terrible things about people we love and it’s just been a lot to deal with. I was in such a shock that I couldn’t stand up for myself, for my husband or anyone else they were talking about. They took advantage of me at the most vulnerable state of my life, but portrayed that they’ve done nothing wrong and I think that’s what I was the most angry about. I honestly feel like that has also been a big reason why I haven’t been able to be upset about my Mom passing, because I was still so angry at that person.
It had been a few weeks and I still could think about that person and not think anything nicely about them and yeah, maybe that’s not a big deal for some people, but for me it is. It was causing me to be hateful and say awful things about them and that wasn’t like me. I didn’t like the person I was becoming because of it. I am a pretty laid back person and really don’t like confrontation. I try to remove myself from situations that don’t do me any good and this definitely wasn’t doing me any good. Unfortunately, I couldn’t remove myself from the situation at the time. I was just kind of stuck there. I couldn’t figure out how to get over it and how to make the best out of the situation. I did what I do best and wrote a whole blog about that person. It wasn’t a nice blog at all and yeah it would have made me feel better to get it out there so everyone knew what this person did, but only for a second. After that though, I’d still feel miserable with anger and to most people I’d look like one of those people who post on Facebook about their drama and everyone would be rolling their eyes. Most importantly though, God would not approve of me doing this, so I deleted the whole blog. I just couldn’t get over it no matter what I did and didn’t know what else to do to put it past me.
I messaged a friend and opened up about it all and what she sent back honestly was what changed it all. She sent me a prayer of forgiveness. It read, “Father, in the name of Jesus, I choose to forgive as I have been forgiven. I now choose to forgive………..I release any right I have retained to bring revenge. I release them from my hands and place them into Your hands, Jesus my just Judge. I break every curse I have sent to them and call forth a blessings to them instead. Thank you for the grace to forgive and the power to live in freedom. Amen”. She said she went through a similar situation and this is what helped her. She said she wrote out each offense that person made and prayed over each one. Until finally, God took it once she was truly ready to stop holding onto it. Well she probably didn’t know what all that meant to me at that time but the next morning that’s exactly what I did. I wrote it all out, the forgiveness prayer and every single thing that person did to me. I can’t explain it, but it felt like a giant weight off of my shoulders after doing so. I felt like I could breathe normal again. I know it’s a lot easier said than done and it’s not something I can just say and it be over with. This is something I will have to work at. The best way to look at it is that those trials are the devil trying to mess with the forgiveness I have and I have to work to keep it.
I can’t change what that person did to me, but I can change how it makes me feel. I have control over that at least. God wouldn’t want me to let that person make me feel the way that I did. My mom wouldn’t either. So I have moved on and chosen to forgive. Forget, probably not and definitely not putting myself in a situation to be talked to like that again, but forgiven yes. That’s all between that person and God, and if God will forgive me for all the things I’ve done in my life, then I can forgive this person as well. After finding that picture of me writing everything out, it made me think about how many people might need to hear this story. I really wanted to help encourage others that might be going through something similar to this. It can be anything really though. No matter what someone has done to you even though it can be really hard to think of doing it at the time, forgiving them is going to do more good for you than you know. I hope this is encouraging to at least one person and maybe is helping push them into forgiving someone for something they’ve done to them.
There’s no guarantee for tomorrow and letting someone steal your day thinking about what they’ve done to you is only hurting you, not them.


Edited by: Morgan Marynissen

The other pictures I find on my phone to be deleted! 🙄👇🏻

Not the end, just the beginning….

The last days my mom had here on Earth were very hard to watch. I chose that I wanted to be there to see it all up until the last moment, if I was able to. That means the good, the bad and the ugly. My mom started in her bed on Sunday. That was the last time she got into it and she wouldn’t be getting back out of it. It was a long drawn out week. Sunday to Sunday to be exact. Sunday was the last day she ate, drank, and really did anything.
Monday came and we went to visit because I knew she wasn’t doing well. She was in a deep sleep, or so it seemed. She’d pop her eyes open every now and then but she looked really drowsy when she did, like it was hard for her to keep them open. She had what they refer to as “terminal restlessness”. That lasted a few days. She was doing some kind of movement every couple of minutes. Moving her arms, her legs, grabbing a hold of her head. She never stopped moving. When I went to visit her this day, I had the kids with me. When we left I told her we were leaving to go get groceries and I loved her and she responded to me and said something about us going shopping and told us she loved us too.
Tuesday she wasn’t verbal at all when I talked to her. She was still somewhat restless but getting more calm as the day went by. I still told her I loved her before I left but didn’t get anything back as a sign she’d heard me.
Wednesday the restlessness was still happening but not as bad as it was when it all first started. When I went to see her that day, as soon as I got there my grandmother told me she responded to her, so I went in and talked to her and got close to her ear. I told her “I love you”. She said, “I love you too”. I told her, “Morgan said she loves you too”. She responded, “I love her too”. I then asked, “Are you hurting?”. She said “Yes”. I said, “We don’t want to see you hurting, you don’t have to keep holding on for us”. She didn’t say anything after that. That’s when they decided to give her a different medicine to help with that restlessness so she could really get comfortable. She started to calm down more once they got that figured out.
Thursday she had gotten much more calm, almost not even moving really. With her eyes closed still, she was able to respond to me when I said, “I love you , sleep tight!”. She said, “I love you too.” This day she started to have some gurgling sounds. It sounded like what people had warned me about, which is called the “death rattle”. This usually means the person with it will only have about 4-72 hrs left.
Friday the gurgling sound was much, much worse. My grandmother had called me early in the morning asking if I wanted to come because they didn’t think it would be much longer. By the time I had gotten there, they had moved her around with the hospice nurse to a different position and it didn’t sound as bad. I knew though that the sound I heard the day before was the real deal and if the time they said was true, it wouldn’t be much longer. Her breaths got very spaced out. When I would go in to see her and listen to her chest, I’d stop and check to see if she would take another breath before I walked out. It was a longgggg day. When I left for the night, I told her I loved her and kissed her forehead and she moved her face like she was trying to make a kiss face but she didn’t say anything. She was still in there, I knew it, she just couldn’t tell us she was.
Saturday was rough. The gurgling sound was much worse and secretions had started coming out. This was a mucus-like substance that was just pooling in her throat. Just seeing all of this traumatized me. I felt so helpless and didn’t know what to do. I had wished she’d just passed already so she didn’t have to go through all of this, but the nurses assured us this wasn’t bothering her, it just bothered us seeing her and hearing her like this. At this point, I had to really step back on being here for all of this. I wanted to be here for it all, but this was the hardest part on me. I wanted to be helpful and help move her into a different position, but today when the secretions came out of her nose and mouth and I had to wipe them away. I lost it. She moaned “owww”, like it was all hurting her when we moved her around. This is the sight I won’t get out of my head. I knew that seeing my mom dying would be hard, but I didn’t really take into account what it might actually look like. It was killing me watching her like this. I decided after that that I couldn’t see that happen again, and I chose to wait those “moving” sessions out until someone else did it and I would go see her afterwards when she was calmer and cleaned up. My husband brought the kids before I left and they went in to see her. I was hesitant on if they should even see her the way she was, but they had seen her in the same position earlier in the week on Monday. We just told them she was sleeping really hard and to tell her they loved her. They both did but they were very curious, you could just tell they didn’t know what to think about what was going on with her. She was resting calmly and peacefully when we left that night.
Sunday, the day I just knew this whole week would be the last day if she made it this far. I just felt it in my bones. She really wanted to make it to see her husband’s birthday, and I don’t know if it was because she just wanted to be here to celebrate it, or to make sure he never forgot about her and wouldn’t every year to come. When I got there that morning, I went into her room and whispered in her ear, “Today’s his birthday. You did it. You made it to his birthday. You don’t have to keep hanging on anymore. I brought him a cake and donuts to celebrate him for you”. She didn’t say anything though. Her breathing was so spaced out and the gurgling was still there but the secretions weren’t as bad. That morning when the nurse came to get her vitals she said she couldn’t get her bp. She said it wouldn’t be much longer. We all just took it in and waited. Looking back on it, it all seemed like a blur. I remember when I heard from her room that she was gone, I took off down the hall and just rubbed her back and lost it. I really didn’t know what to do. The only way to explain seeing her in that moment was that she was just empty. I knew she was gone just by looking at her. She had it all planned out and her husband asked her parents and I to leave the room so he could do the things the way she wanted them. When I walked back to the kitchen to be with everyone else I heard the song “Scars in Heaven” play by Casting Crowns. I don’t really remember being able to hear the radio playing most of the day from her room, but in that moment it was so clear and loud that I could hear every word. The craziest part is that I hadn’t heard that song before until about a week before then on the radio. When I heard it, I sent it to my mom and told her I thought it was meant for her, so hearing it play in that moment was like she was speaking to me. That’s when I really lost it. It was such a God thing that I don’t think I’ve ever experienced another moment like it. It was like hearing her say, “I made it to heaven, I’m completely healed, don’t worry about me anymore, I’m better”. She had it all planned out that she wanted to be sitting up, dressed, bed made, room cleaned up and a candle lit. When my husband and I went into see her one last final time, I immediately hugged her. I knew it’d be my last time to ever do it. I just buried my face in her pillow and it’s like I knew she wasn’t there. I don’t know how to really explain it other than I think I just knew I was just hugging my moms body, her spirit was no longer there. Then the words played, “He is Good, Good, Ohhhhhhh”. The music that day was just so amazing, it seemed like the right song played at the right time. It was just what I needed to hear too. I wanted to cry but I also felt like I couldn’t because I somewhat felt relief. Not relief that she was gone but relief that she was somewhere far better than I could ever imagine. Because I knew where she was, peace fell over me. In that moment, I knew it was okay to let go. I obviously was upset, but the peace I had was just unexplainable.
Fast forward to the funeral days. The first day of visitation, the family was able to go in and see her first. When I saw her, she looked just like herself. You know how people say, “they look so good”, well she did. She was so pretty in her hot pink dress. She looked like the bubbly little fun spirited woman that she’s always been. I held it together when I saw her body somehow. I honestly didn’t cry until I watched the slideshow and looked at pictures of her with me as a baby and thought about not getting to have pictures made with her anymore. It was like I really thought about the memories we made together were gonna be over now. The rest of the night, I held it together way better than I expected. I feel like the best way to explain the way I was feeling is numb. I think I was in shock basically for those two days of the visitation and funeral. I only broke down a few times and expected to be a blubbery mess the whole day. I felt like I couldn’t make myself cry most of the day, the tears just wouldn’t come out. I think the feeling of shock may be somewhat to blame but I also feel like the biggest reason of all is I just had peace. I knew she was where she needed to be and I couldn’t be sad about that. I couldn’t be sad that she was living the life I hope to be able to live one day with our creator. I couldn’t be sad that she didn’t have cancer anymore. I couldn’t be sad that she was with all our passed loved ones now and they were all in Heaven. I just couldn’t be sad about any of that, and I say that’s what knowing God and having peace feels like. I haven’t felt that feeling ever before like I did those two days. It got me through two of the days I thought might be the hardest. I thought I’d be a mess and people wouldn’t be able to look at me without making me sob but I actually felt like I needed to console others more than myself and I was completely okay with that.
I feel like preparing for her death helped me grieve along the way. I know it wasn’t really grieving because she technically was still here, but it’s like I was slowly letting go day by day, especially the whole week of watching her lay in bed until she finally passed. I don’t regret being there for every moment that last week up until she finally made her way to heaven. I may have those images in my head, but I also don’t think I would have gotten the peace I needed if I didn’t see her go through all that she did that week. Everyone is different and some may want to remember her in the happier, not as sick state, and that’s completely okay. My sister had a talk with my mom before she passed about not wanting to see her get to this point and my mom was okay with it. Morgan knew what she could and couldn’t handle. She had her boundaries and knew she wouldn’t regret missing this part. I admitted already just seeing her the day the secretions started was too hard on me. I couldn’t imagine if she had seen that. I wish I could’ve taken that moment back and missed that but again, maybe I needed to, to have peace. I am completely behind her in her decision for staying away from that. She’s able to remember our mom in the happier state she was when they last talked and when she came to see her right before she got so sick. She will remember her in the best way now, and that is all that matters.
As much as we think this is the end of my Mom’s journey, it’s not. It’s just the beginning of eternity in Heaven and that is the story I can’t wait to listen to her tell me one day. She fought her fight and even though she didn’t win her battle on Earth with cancer, she won the real battle that I hope we all are striving to win at the end of our lives. I can only imagine…. I can hear Him now welcoming her with open arms, saying, “Well done, my good and faithful servant”. She deserves those words more than anyone I know and I hope I’m able to hear those same words from Him one day.
I love you Mama. Can’t wait to see you again. I hope you are one of the first ones greeting me at those gates of Heaven one day.
Until then.
XOXO- Your Kaydoodle

I wanted to say thank you to all the people who’ve been reading my blogs. So many of you told me how much you loved them and how much they meant to you at the visitation. I’m glad her story has touched and encouraged so many people. It’s been an honor to be able to tell thousands of people about her all across the world! This isn’t the end of my blogs, so keep following along with me if you’d like to. This has been the best way to have an outlet for all I’ve had going on in my life after finding out my mom’s diagnosis. Most of the time, I’m writing these while crying my eyes out in the bath tub, but it’s been a way of healing for me. I’m glad her story has touched so many hearts the way she’s touched mine.

Edited by: Morgan Marynissen

The Final Days

We all knew this time would come. I am honestly grateful we’ve made it this long with my mom still here. She is currently still here but it has come to the point that she is really getting limited on how many days she has left. We obviously aren’t God and can’t say for sure, but we are all trying to make sure she is as comfortable as she can be for when she takes her final breath.
She had a rough weekend and has been in her bed since Sunday. Starting Monday she has been non verbal, eyes closed just making noises when you ask her something, but not really alert. She’s been very restless over the last few days with what the nurses call “terminal restlessness”. It’s been hard to watch her just lay there knowing there’s not much I can do to help.
My mom is such a fighter and I think she’s still trying to fight now. She literally never stops fighting through all of this. The nurses said it was important to let her know that it was okay for her to go and that we would all be okay, because that may make it easier for her to stop fighting and get comfortable. I told her yesterday, “I love you so much mom. You have been the best mom to us. We will be okay, you can quit fighting now.” Honestly, that was so hard to say because I selfishly don’t want her to go, but at this point that’s what’s best for her. She didn’t respond to me any but they say she can still hear you. She was like that until today when we all went over and my Grandmama told me she responded to her and said “I love you too”, so I went in and talked to her again. I told her I loved her and with her eyes closed she said “I love you too”. I told her, “Morgan wants me to tell you she loves you too” she responded, “I love her too”. I told her, “It’s okay for you to quit fighting now, I know you’re tired. We will be okay”, and she didn’t respond verbally but just moved her eyes around while closed and mumbled something. I know she had to have heard me that time telling her it was okay, since she responded to the things I was saying. She responded a few more times when we’d ask her things the rest of the day. Not really much of anything though just mmhm, uh uh, and a few more words here and there. Before I left for the day I kissed her cheek and told her, “I’m leaving, I’ll see you later. I love you”. She responded again, “I love you too”. The medicine they have started her on now for the restlessness may keep her asleep, so her saying “I love you too” today may have been the last time I hear that again from her. Which is an absolute blessing because the day before I didn’t think I’d hear her say anything again.
The days will be long and hard from here on out on everyone in our family. Please keep her and everyone else in your prayers. The family doesn’t really want visitors at this time so please respect our wishes and know we are thankful for everyone who has been praying for her and us and checking in. She has an army behind her and I know everyone is wondering how she is, so I thought this would be the easiest way to update everyone and keep asking for the prayers.


Edited by: Morgan Marynissen

To My Mama:

I wish I could put into words how much you mean to me and how thankful I am to you for everything you have done for me growing up, and now. I wish I could verbally express all of those feelings, but I do better writing those feelings down because I will cry if I tried to talk through everything I need to say and you wouldn’t be able to understand what I’m saying. So here is my letter to you to tell you how much I love you.

God chose you to be my mother for so many reasons. I can’t be thankful enough to Him for that, because I have been so blessed by having you as my Mom. You have been the best mom to Morgan and I. I remember always having so much fun and you taking us on so many adventures, big and small. Everyday seemed like an adventure with you, even if it was just to go shopping or to an appointment with you because we would always be laughing and sharing funny stories the whole time. When we got older, I felt so lucky to tell people you were my mom when a lot of other people my age didn’t want to be around their parents. I’m pretty sure most of my friends would come over just to hangout with you because I’d find myself hanging out alone and they’d be in your room talking to you. I loved that my friends loved you as much as we did. It made our days even more fun having you with us.

You were the perfect balance of mom and friend. I always remember that and hope I’m the perfect balance for my kids, too. I could talk to you about anything but also knew I had to be respectful and listen to you or you’d wear my butt out. There were so many times I pushed it with you when you would be the “mom” and not my friend, and I would try so hard to make you laugh when you were yelling at me. When you did laugh, it made us all laugh because you wanted to be mad at us but couldn’t. I find myself in that situation a lot with my kids and know that I’m being punished for doing that to you, so I’m sorry for that.

You have taught me how to be a bargain shopper and look for the best deals and sometimes even be “cheap”, but I take pride in that and I’m thankful you raised me yard selling and shopping in consignment and thrift stores all the time. I find myself doing so many things like you would do and laugh because I know I’m starting to turn into you. Like randomly wanting to rearrange all the furniture in the house and doing it without any help just because I’m bored. Or wanting to paint a piece of furniture when I get a wild hair to. I see a lot of you in myself and I hope that means I will be as strong of a woman as you are.

You have been such a good role model to me and Morgan growing up and taught us the importance of being in Church (even though you caught us skipping Sunday school for two months sitting on top of the toilets in the restroom. Sorry I had to throw that in). After that you taught us how important it was to be in church and I’m thankful for that. It has made me the believer I am today. Your faith has made me believe in the hardest of situations, that things will always be okay. Maybe not the way I want them to be okay, but the way they are planned to be and that makes everything easier to handle. You couldn’t have done anything different in your life to make me change how much I love you. We may have butted heads as I’ve gotten older, but I have never stopped loving you any less. I feel like Morgan and I turned out to be pretty good kids and now adults. I know that is a huge accomplishment to be able to say as a Mom after becoming one myself and hope I can say the same about my kids one day.

I hope you know how much of an impact you have made on my life and how much I love you. You have been the best Mom to Morgan and I, and the greatest MiMi to your grandchildren. There’s not a single person you haven’t impacted that you’ve met. Especially now, with your strong faith through all of this. If I have to think of something good that’s come from this whole Cancer thing, it would be that. The lives that may not have gotten to know how good God is if it wasn’t for you. That may not have happened if you didn’t go through this, so maybe this is a blessing in disguise. Even though the end may not be what we want, it may be what He wants and I’m holding on to that.

Whenever the time comes, I am going to miss you so much! I know there won’t be a day that I won’t think about you. The only thing helping me cope with all of this is knowing you WILL be in Heaven, pain free, and in the most beautiful place I could ever imagine and that I will get to see you again.

Thank you for being my Mama!

I love you so much!


P.S. Can you give me a hint about what you might do when you come visit me so I won’t be freaked out if you knock a picture over or something? Lol, just kidding. But really, don’t be doing anything freaky at my house. Go to Morgan’s!

When Life Gives You Lemons…🍋

We’ve all heard the saying, “When life gives you lemons…make lemonade”. Well lately I’ve been trying to do that the best way that I can, but I’m not gonna lie, I have some days where my lemonade is super bitter.

I try to look at the bright side of things and make life as sweet as possible, and for the most part I can usually always find the good in every situation. Everything life has been handing me lately, I’ve been trying my best to find the good in it. Usually I first deal with the situation in the “bitter” way, but then after thinking about it and having my pity party, I try to look at it in the best “sweet” way that I can to make me feel better. Most of the time I can’t change the things thrown at me so I might as well make things as enjoyable as I can.

I’ve said this before and will say it again. When my mom first got diagnosed with leptomeningeal metastasis I was so upset, and then after I picked myself up from crying so much, those feelings turned to bitterness. Bitterness mainly directed at God, if I’m being honest. Feelings of anger and even jealousy, like why can’t this person get this cancer, they deserve it more than my mom does. I mean, no one deserves cancer and I know that, but in that moment I wished for anyone else but her to have gotten that news. After I got over my anger, I finally had to just figure out what to do. How was I going to handle this? If I couldn’t fix it and the doctors couldn’t fix it, I had to find the best way to cope with this and be able to enjoy this time with my mom and change my feelings into something more positive. I couldn’t control the situation, but I could control my attitude so that’s what I have started to do.

Most people don’t know the timeline they have left on their life. If we did, we might start living it a little more differently. Since my mom has an idea (they say 4-6 months roughly), then we know about how much more time we have to say the things we want to and do the things we want to with her. It’s almost a blessing this way, even though it’s very hard to see it as one at times, but really it is. Here’s why I feel that it is.

Knowing my mom might not be here tomorrow has helped me have those difficult talks with my kids. It’s helped me prepare them for death that I might not have done if she wasn’t going through this and I would’ve had to randomly explain it to them after the fact of someone they know and love dying. We have been able to buy books to read to them to help them get a little bit better of an idea about death and that’s helped a lot. They understand that everyone will die one day, and that it will be okay when they do because if they love Jesus with all their heart they will go to Heaven. I’m hoping this will make it not be as hard on them when someone they love dies.

We have even gotten them the recordable books that my mom has recorded her voice reading for them to have. I am so so thankful for those because I’m sure a lot of people wish they could have a recording of their loved ones after they have passed, but didn’t have the chance to do something like this with them. We have a few that my Memaw recorded before she passed and I love when my kids pick them up to read. It’s so bittersweet heading her voice come through those pages and they always say “That’s Memaw”. I am so glad she did those for us.

My sister and I, and also my mom and her husband, have gotten to make hand molds together to have later on to look at. I know they will be so special to us as time goes by.

We have gotten to go through pictures together and reminisce on her life and laugh about all kinds of memories.

She has gotten to plan her funeral to a T and has it exactly the way she wants it so she’s remembered the way she hopes to be remembered. As hard as it is to really do that and think about that day whenever it comes, it will be a huge relief off of her family’s back knowing she has gotten everything taken care of.

We have been able to spend a lot more time with her at home and have the grandkids around her more now that she’s not working, and that’s been a blessing getting to make more memories with her every time. My kids ask to go see her almost everyday to see if she’s feeling better and I always try to make it a point to go because one day I know I won’t be able to let them go see her.

When it comes to talking about feelings I’m a crier so I knew I couldn’t say everything I wanted to my mom and decided to write her a letter. I was able to write out everything I want my mom to know before she passes instead of reading it off at her funeral when she’s no longer here, so I truly know she knows the way I feel.

This past Wednesday was my birthday, and I’ve had birthday parties before but this birthday was probably the best one. Just a low key eat at the Mexican restaurant with family, and having my mom there and her be the one who made my cake made it the best birthday I think I will ever have. Maybe it’s because I know it may be the last one she’s here for to celebrate with me, but I’m so thankful she was here for this one. It made me cherish every minute of it knowing that.

I could lay in bed and cry all day (and I do some days), but most days I try to do these things that others don’t get the opportunity to do with their loved ones and try to remember to be grateful for each moment I still get to have with her and I don’t want to miss one opportunity or have one regret about how I handled this whole situation.

If you have a loved one going through something like this, I will be praying for you. I pray your loved one has a miracle happen, but if not I pray they and also you are able to enjoy every second you have left with them.

I hope that you will take some of these things we have been doing with my mom and do it with your loved one. I don’t think it’s a bad thing to have any of your loved ones do a recording of their voice, especially if you have little kids that may not remember your loved one at the age they are now. You never know when your time might really be up, and I hope I’m taking every advantage of the time I have now with her.

XOXO- Katelyn

Edited by: Morgan Marynissen

The “D” Word

Death, dying, dead. It doesn’t matter how you say it, it’s never easy to explain to a child. I mean, it’s difficult for an adult to really understand but as a child it’s so much more confusing. When I found out my moms diagnosis had a timeline to it, I knew I had to start thinking of ways to explain it to my kids. I googled all the things to do and what to say and how to keep it as least confusing as possible, but honestly nothing really prepares you for what will come out of their mouth and how to respond on the spot to things. You really just have to do the best you can and hope you say the right things.

I’ve been praying that when we would talk about it, I would be able to do just that. So I’ve spent the past couple of months trying to slowly explain death to my kids. Hunter is four and Maddie is two. They are at that age that you have to make it very cut and dry and not use too many words that may confuse them.
The first time the kids saw my mom with a bald head was in a parking lot as we were all getting donuts. They pulled up beside us and rolled down the window and the first words out of Hunter’s mouth was “Mimi, why do you not have hair on your head like Papa”. I didn’t know what to say and didn’t know how that made my mom feel. I know she knows he’s just a kid and will say whatever comes to his mind, but I didn’t want it to hurt her feelings. I just came back with “Yeah, isn’t that so cool. Now she won’t get so hot outside. Maybe we need to shave your head too so you can be cool like MiMi.” Something else happened and he forgot all about her hair five seconds later, which is the best thing about kids because they don’t stay stuck on something for a long time. I was glad too because this was just the beginning of all of this cancer talk and I was struggling with what to say.
Around this same time is when my mom really was starting to get weak. She was hurting and couldn’t walk normal and would lay down a lot and sit a lot and couldn’t really play with the kids like they had been used to. I knew I had to start prepping the kids before we would see her so they wouldn’t be too rough on her or be too loud and wild. One day on the way to her house, I told the kids MiMi was really, really sick. All they knew sick meant was having a cold or belly ache and then you would get better. I tried to explain that the sickness she has was called Cancer and it doesn’t go away fast. She has to be on a medicine called Chemo. Hunter asked, “does chemo taste like blueberry or bubble gum like my medicine?”. I said, “Yeah I bet it taste like your medicine too”. Just like that the topic was over.
Time went by and we’d visit mom and the kids would play and never really say too much about how she was still sick, but they would hear me say things about her being in the hospital or doctors appointments she had when I was talking to other people about it. I tried not to really say much more about my mom being sick when we were going to visit her so they could just play and be kids. Instead, I would try to talk about things that happen normally like one of them smooshing a bug. I would explain, “now it’s dead (even though they know they aren’t supposed to purposely kill bugs) and if the bug loves Jesus with all its heart it will spend its life in Heaven”. I’d say things that didn’t really relate to people but still tie it in with the way dying works. One day we were talking about people who had died like my Memaw and PawPaw, and Hunter said, “I want them to come back to life”. I told him, “Me too but when you die you can’t come back to life. You die and get buried in the ground and then your soul that’s inside you goes to Heaven with Jesus to live with Him forever and ever”. I didn’t really get a response but I know he was really thinking about what I said. I just waited for things to happen on their own and see what I could say to still try to prepare him but not really say my mom might die soon. Until one day, I was just having a moment and was crying and Maddie came up and said, “What’s wrong Mama?”, and then Hunter realized I was crying and asked the same thing so I knew it was the best opportunity to tell them. I said, “MiMi is really sick. You remember when I told you she has the sickness called Cancer? Well the doctors are trying to fix her but nothing is helping. The medicine isn’t working to make her better and she feels really bad. If the doctors can’t fix her she may die soon. Do you know what that means?”. I could tell it really sunk in then. Hunter said, “I don’t want MiMi to die, I want her to stay here and play with me and Pat and Ryder all the time and go camping and go to their house and eat snacks”. I said, “I know, I don’t want her to either and I hope she doesn’t soon, but one day we will all die and sometimes it’s because we’re old or we’re sick or we had a bad accident happen. We never know when we might die, but when it happens it will be okay. We will get to go live with Jesus in Heaven, remember?”. That’s when it really was tough on me, He started crying and said, “but I don’t want to die. I want to be able to go to GiGi’s house and be with you and Dad and Maddie. I don’t want to go to Heaven yet”. Ughhhh. I lost it then too and somehow said, “Hunter you will be okay. I’m not saying you are going to die soon. You are not old and you aren’t sick. You are a healthy little boy. I am just trying to tell you it’s okay when people die.” We really ended it there with the conversation and he got distracted by a show that came on, but I felt terrible. Did I say too much? Should I have not said we all will die? Did he understand what I meant? I honestly just felt terrible about bringing it up and wondered if I should’ve just waited until it actually came to that point to tell him what it all really means. We really had no plans for the day and after I cleaned up around the house he said, “Can we go to MiMi’s house? I want to see her and see if she’s feeling better yet.” He has the sweetest little heart. I texted my mom immediately and asked if we could come over but she was having a hard day and needed rest so we didn’t go over and waited to see her the next day. They got to enjoy the Fourth of July with her and it was a special moment for her just to be there to sit and watch the fireworks with us.
We went to church that same Sunday morning and one of the friends Hunter usually talks about playing with in class wasn’t there. I asked where he was and he said that the little boys mom was in the hospital. I figured she was having a baby or something but honestly I don’t know this boys mom to really know why she could be in the hospital. He said “I hope the doctors fix her so she doesn’t die and go to Heaven yet”. Oh my goodness. I wanted to cry then because I knew all these talks were really getting to him and even if he wasn’t saying much about it he knew what was going on and tying everything together. I then was a little worried I had confused him and now he was going to think anytime someone went to the hospital or was sick he might think they were going to die. I just decided to tell him I didn’t know what was wrong with his friends mom, but I thought she would be okay and that the doctors would be able to help her get better.
This whole topic is just hard. Hard on adults, hard on kids. Hard on everyone. I hope I have done the best I can explaining death to him so whenever the time comes for my mom, or for anyone in that matter because we really never know when our time will come, I hope that they aren’t scared and will handle it okay. Hunter is at an age where I can somewhat explain things and he might be able to understand it, but Maddie acts like she has no idea what I’m talking about. I mean, at two I don’t expect her to, but I hope she will understand things a little better when the time comes. I wish this Blog wasn’t even something I had to feel the need to write about, but I’m just trying to do what’s best for my kids and keep them from hurting as much as I can. If anyone has been through this with little kids and has pointers, please send them my way. (You can leave a comment under this Blog). I have gotten books to read to them and hope they help them feel better about death and the goodness that comes after dying as well.

Mom is still here at this time and we hope she will be for a long time, but this is what has been going on lately in our house. Lots of talks and lots of discussions and lots of praying that “MiMi will feel better”.

Please keep praying for my mom and also our family. We’re all struggling with all of this. Her parents are watching their baby with a sickness they can’t fix, her husband is taking care of his wife (very well I might add) and loving her through her hardest days, her children are watching their mom decline rapidly and wish they could make it all better, and her grandchildren are all so young but love their MiMi and know she doesn’t feel good and want her to get better. We need prayers to help us all understand why this is happening and how to explain it all to our children as well.
Thank you! -Katelyn

She really is so lucky to have so many friends and family loving her and praying for her through everything she’s faced with. It’s amazing to see and hear about all the lives she’s touched.

Edited by: Morgan Marynissen

I’m Alive, But I’m Not Living

I’m alive, but I’m not living.

These are words spoken by my mom from our visit with her at the hospital. Words I immediately took and stored in my brain because I knew these words meant she’s tired, weak and she’s just over it.
She’s here but she can’t really use her legs. Her daily thoughts are, “where am I going to sit for the day?”. She is here, but she can’t really enjoy the things that are in front of her.

I really can’t imagine what goes through her head everyday. It really breaks my heart seeing her struggle and not know what to do to help her. I see her hurting and in pain but don’t know what to say or what to do. You feel like you need to ask how she’s doing everyday but you know the answer. You know she feels terrible but when you ask, she says she’s doing great. I completely understand why she says that because if she came back with the true answer, “oh ya know, just sitting over here slowly dying from this cancer”. What would you say then? It would be awkward and make you feel really uncomfortable and bad for asking. All of these things go through my head every time I talk to her. I feel like it sometimes is meaningless words to even ask how she’s doing, because I know the answer. So instead, I pretend like she’s not even sick. I feel like if I treat her normal then she will feel normal. So, I call and tell her about how my kids doctors appointments went and how this happened today and blah blah blah. You know, just normal stuff that I’d call my mom and talk about because that just feels so much better than sitting around asking how she feels when I know 50 other people have asked her the same thing all day. Part of me hopes she knows why I don’t ask how she’s feeling everyday, but I also worry that if I don’t she will think I don’t care. I know she knows I do but you always wonder if you are doing enough. I don’t know what’s right and what’s wrong. No one does. None of us have really ever been through something like this and we don’t know how to approach it. It’s so hard to know what to do.

The days are long and hard on her and I know she has to just sit looking at the clock, waiting…waiting for something to happen. Waiting to see if a miracle will happen or she will have to go through more and more complications along the way, hoping that one of these “things” will fix her.
If I was her, I would’ve been ready to throw in the towel long ago. I know her fighting spirit has gotten her to where she is today. She’s got more strength than anyone I know but everyone has hard days. The days where you just say, “God take me. If you’re not gonna heal me, then take me now so I don’t have to go through this anymore”. We don’t know His plan. We never will until it happens, but it’s so hard to know if you’re pushing against what God wants by trying to hold on or maybe he’s telling you, “Just stop. You’re tired and weak for a reason. I’m trying to tell you to just let go and let me do what I’m trying to do”.
We had “this talk” in the hospital the other day. The one you don’t want to have but feel like you have to once it gets to this point. The “I don’t know what to do” point. Do I continue with treatment or stop everything and see what God is planning to do? Honestly this is the hardest conversation I’ve ever had to have because I want my mom here forever, but I don’t want to see her living a miserable life. I don’t want to be selfish and say, “Keep doing it. Try everything and put yourself through more pain just to see if something works”. I would be so selfish if I said that. The other alternative though isn’t easy to say either, but I couldn’t bring myself to say it to her in person. All I said was “whatever you want to do, we are behind you.” Surprisingly, we randomly heard gospel singing as we’re talking about this and don’t think it was coming from the movie Jumanji that was playing. I guess you can take that whatever way you want to take it, but I’m going to call it a God thing and maybe it was to bring Peace to the situation.
Later on when I got home, I really fought with myself for not telling her what I really wanted to say because I knew if I said it she wouldn’t be able to hear it through all of my tears pouring down. I decided to text her and tell her about all the things she’s gotten to see us do. “You’ve gotten to see us graduate, get married, have children and be an amazing grandmother to them. You have gotten to see so many things that some people don’t get to see their children do. You are so lucky to have seen all of these things, and we are so grateful we have had you here to see it all. All of this started right after I got married too and look how much you still have been able to see all while kicking cancers butt this whole time up until this point. You’re tired and no one will blame you for stopping treatment now. You have made everyone so proud by the strength you have shown but most importantly by your faith in God this whole time. You never gave up on Him and it has been inspirational to so many seeing you be such a faithful servant to Him. I know you have made Him so proud too. So mom, whatever you decide, we back you up on your decision.”


Edited by: Morgan Marynissen

My Sweet Mama

My first blog….here we go.

I’ve been back and forth on what to write about for days and today I decided the best first blog I can write is about my mom.

My mom, I can describe her in so many ways. Sweet, kind, caring, loving, strong, so so strong, the list can go on and on but the best way to describe her is the most amazing, God fearing woman you will ever meet.

My mom hasn’t been dealt the best cards over the years. Right after I got married (2015), she discovered she had breast cancer. She started that journey strong and determined. She knew she was going to beat it. She did everything she needed to do to beat it, and she did. She actually had her last radiation appt on the day Hunter was born(2016). She left her appointment and came straight to the hospital to wait for his arrival. That was a tough journey on her and did some damage both physically and emotionally, but once it was over she was ready for life. She knew she was given a second chance at life and took every advantage of it.

She hit some bumps throughout her remission that were caused by the cancer and her treatments, but she was still so fearless through it all and took on whatever was thrown her way.

Finally at her 5 year mark (the mark where you did it/you’re really cancer free) she found out it had come back. This time it was metastatic breast cancer. 2020 was a bad year but this was the cherry on top. She was informed by the doctors it was treatable but not curable. That’s a lot to take in. When she told me that, I felt sick. But even then she was so positive. She wasn’t scared, or she at least didn’t let me see that she was. She was so strong and was confident she was going to be one of the women that she followed in the Facebook groups that had been living with it for 20+ years. When I heard others stories from her, I felt a little more relieved. I mean, it wasn’t good news by any means but knowing how much time you really could have living with it made it a little easier to accept.

Fast forward a year, 2021. She was having a lot of pain, vision problems, deafness, pain in her neck, pain in her back, pain everywhere to the point any time she moved she felt like her head was literally going to explode. She kept going to the doctor, emergency room, more doctors, got many diagnoses of vertigo, bulged discs, but no matter what she was diagnosed with, the pain wasn’t going away and it was only getting worse. Finally, she had a spinal tap and they found what was wrong. The cancer had spread and was now in her spinal and brain fluid, also known as Leptomeningeal metastasis cancer.

She finally called me and my sister and had us both on the phone at the same time. She told us what the doctor said and where the cancer had spread and I just felt in my gut it was bad. She didn’t say how bad it was but she said something along the lines of (I pretty much was in shock and didn’t really listen so I may have left out some) “It’s okay, I’m okay and we know what it is now so now we can figure out how to beat it”. She also then threw in, “just don’t google it because it might freak you out and I don’t want you to do that”. Well what do you do when someone says that? There I went, immediately typed, “what is Leptomeningeal cancer?”, into Google search. Then I see the other search options below, “how long can someone live with Leptomeningeal cancer?”, “life expectancy of someone with Leptomeningeal cancer”, “is Leptomeningeal cancer treatable?”. All of these things popped up and my heart sank. I was just sitting there thinking “she was right, now I’m freaking out”. (Your mama is always right-she would want me to throw that in). I clicked all of those things and the first thing I see is numbers “3-6 months”. Okay, now I am about to throw up. How does something like this happen? She’s already had cancer once, beat it, then she got it again and was dealing with it but was given a good shot at it. Now this. Terminal cancer!

This is the moment I really struggled with. This is when you think, “what the heck God, why does she have to get this? Can’t that drug dealer or rapist or some other person who’s not a good person get this? Why is she being punished? Why am I being punished by having to lose my mom?”. All of those questions that later on you feel bad about because you lost your faith and realize how easy it was to blame God for something. I finally, after many hours and days of crying to the point where your just numb and no more tears will come out, got myself back together. My mom helped by basically being the most fearless person to live and by her talking so positively. She talked about what was going to happen and how she wasn’t scared. She explained how she hoped God was using her to help someone else who might not know Him and maybe to see how He is working through her and turn their life to Jesus. Now I feel terrible about all the things I said in my head and questioning God, when my own mom who actually is the one dealing with this life ending disease isn’t losing her mind and giving up her faith. If she can trust Him at a time like this, then I can. I can trust Him through anything life throws at me.

Her journey with this new diagnosis started with spinal taps, chemo, radiation, steroids, shots in her hip bone, all the things to help you live just a little bit longer. All the things you hope will keep her here until God decides to work one of His miracles that you’ve prayed every day, every night, every free moment that you can for. Just praying that maybe she will be that one that just wakes up with no pain, no cancer, and then you KNOW God had His hand in it. I’m still praying that prayer and really hoping He comes through, but as hard as it is to know what lies ahead, I know He is good. No matter what. All the time. He always will be.

If He chooses to use my mom as one of His miracles, I will be so unbelievably happy. If He doesn’t, and her time comes to an end on Earth and she makes her way to Heaven, I will still be okay. I will be very, very sad, but I will be okay because I know that she has touched so many lives. She has shown so many people who Jesus is and has been such a faithful servant to Him. She has turned people to Him already and I know, without a doubt, He is smiling down on her everyday seeing how beautiful of a soul she is and is walking the fearless walk He intended her to walk. She’s brave, she’s strong and the most God fearing, faithful woman you will ever meet. I hope she gets to stick around just so you can meet her if you haven’t met her yet! Her journey on Earth isn’t over yet but as I’m typing this she is in the hospital fighting hard for her life. She’s tired and she’s weak and things just don’t seem to be going the way they need to be to make her get better. She’s not giving up yet but really needs some help from her prayer warriors.

If you’re reading this, please stop what you’re doing right now and pray.

Pray for healing. Pray for a miracle. Pray for peace. Pray for pain to be taken away and for her to get to enjoy the life she’s been given for however long that might be.

I love you mama!


Edited by: Morgan Marynissen