Saying Goodbye to 2016

Tori was physically part of our lives for parts of four years: 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016.

2017 will be the first year we will experience her absence, the first year we will have to say that she passed away “last year” and not this year.

We cannot stop time, nor would we want to do so. Every day that passes is a day closer to seeing our girl again in Heaven. Yet, at the same time, my heart aches as we enter a year she will never know, a year we are forced to experience without her.

2016 was a bittersweet year filled with transitions for us. To name a few:

  • Bitter: Tori went to Heaven;
    Sweet: She was healed from Krabbe.
  • Bitter: We sold our first home, the home Tori knew as her own;
    Sweet: We paid off Brennan’s student loan.
  • Bitter: I was left without a “job” as a mom, a role I treasured;
    Sweet: Finding a new position where I see Brennan and other friends daily.

While it is difficult to say goodbye to 2016, we are hopeful about 2017 and all that is on the horizon.

In 2017, we hope to:

  • Buy a house in Hershey (March) – can’t wait to tell THAT story!
  • Pay off the rest of Lesa’s student loan and be DEBT FREE
  • Publish my book (will pitch to publishers in Spring)
  • Save/raise enough money to do a round of IVF
  • Begin the adoption process
  • Host an encouraging event for those who have lost children
  • See PA make Newborn Screening for Krabbe mandatory for ALL babies
  • Succeed in raising funds for Hunter’s Hope through a pilot program
  • Plus many other smaller goals

Brennan and I both feel encouraged and we feel hopeful for 2017. The Lord has already opened doors that excite us (ones that we couldn’t even have dreamed up) and we know that He has great things in store for us.

Years will continue to pass without Tori here with us, so while this first one is the hardest, we recognize that the heartache will never fully go away. Instead of dwelling on what we cannot change, we choose joy and hope. We choose to continue to fight for Newborn Screening so that others will never know the pain we have known. We continue to be grateful for all the Lord has done in and through us, knowing that He isn’t finished yet.

As we enter 2017, we pray that the Lord will continue to guide us and show us the path He wants us to take. And we pray that for all of you, as well.


Book Review: “Dangerous” by Caleb Bislow

Dangerous: Engaging the People and Places No One Else Will

Being a missionary overseas often means putting your life at risk in one way or another. It isn’t easy, and it definitely isn’t for the weak. But we often have pictures in our heads of missionaries living an idyllic life, far from harm, and having great success in their ministries all the time. While that might be true in some cases, this book focuses on the realities of ministering in the tough places.

Dangerous by Caleb Bislow is fascinating and filled with adventure. Caleb is no ordinary missionary – he travels to the most extreme places following the Lord’s leading, and his stories will keep you engaged!

God is using Caleb in extraordinary ways to reach people who might not be reached otherwise. I loved this quote:

“Jesus didn’t let locked doors keep him from being with his disciples, so let’s not let locked doors keep us from outsiders. Sometimes the best opportunities are just beyond the “locked doors” in front of us.”
(pg. 140)

This book definitely challenged me because, like most people, I like being comfortable and playing it safe. But there is also part of me that longs for adventure, that longs to go to distant lands to tell people about Jesus even if it is dangerous.

Read this book and allow God to use it to challenge you. This isn’t everyone’s calling, but we can all learn from Caleb’s mission and testimony and apply it to our lives.

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.