20 July 2006


I'm wearing shorts.

"OK. So what," you think to yourself.

Let me explain. You see, I haven't worn or even owned a pair of shorts in three years. I'm serious. Further, although I've lived in both Denver and the San Fernando Valley, notorious for hot, HOT summers, I can count the number of times I've worn shorts in the last five years on both hands.

This is a breakthrough for me. It began a week ago.

15 July 2006


Earlier that evening, we all sat around the table. Eight friends celebrating nothing in particular. It was our last night. The kids were asleep - upstairs and down. The room was warm. It buzzed. The smell of grilled enchiladas still lingered in the air. We shared drinks. We swapped stories. We laughed a lot. It was beautiful.

Dominoes were on the table. The cards had been dealt. We had begun one game and started a second. Then came two simultaneous cries - from above and below us. Two more followed. A pause. A shift. We weren't to play games that night.

He moved. We followed.

She began to speak. Then he. Open. Willing. Seven. Then, Six. We talked. We walked. We listened. We prayed. We cried. He prophesied. Light. Truth. We traveled so far in just a few hours. Deeper. Further. We pressed in.

"I think we need to leave," he said. Four friends remained.


She asked a simple question, then the river came rushing in. It washed over us. Suddenly, I was drowning. Uncertainty. Inadequacy. Hurt. Pain. Vulnerability. Lies. Lies. Lies.

Again came truth. Quiet. Hope. A new beginning.

Yet beauty remains.

Four friends remain.

14 July 2006

remembering paris

I never had the opportunity to meet her, yet she has melted my heart and left a monumental imprint on my life. I think about her often. I think about her family. I think about that day.

"I have some horrible news about Deanna..." Roxanne began. I will never forget the message on my voicemail that Sunday afternoon. The unthinkable followed.

One year ago, Paris Lavone White died. Less than two weeks after her second birthday, she drowned in the family pool.

My daughter is two.

I still don't know all the details. I'm not sure that they matter so much. What matters is that a princess was lost. A family has lost... yet, they endure.

A year and a lifetime later, the pink band around my wrist reminds me of them. It reminds me of her. Through it, she speaks to me.
"Life is a gift," she says.

"Tomorrow is never a guarantee.
Treasure each moment. Treasure your family. Treasure your children. Live significantly. Live abundantly. Love abundantly. Take precautions. Never presume. Always hope. Always endure. Remember that we are all vulnerable. Remember that we are in this together. Remember that we must never forget. Remember my family. Remember my life," she implores.

"Remember me."


10 July 2006

judi's house

DEATH. We rarely say it. We're all affected by it, yet we don't really talk about it. Why is it so difficult to talk about it? Why is it so hard to think about mortality? Grief, Mourning, Loss... what's the difference? Is there a difference? We're not sure how to do it? We're not sure how to help others through it.

This weekend, I spent nearly 20 hours asking these questions and talking through these issues. I'm training to be a volunteer at this amazing, AMAZING non-profit organization called Judi's House. It was built upon these questions. Judi's House provides support groups for grieving children -- primarily children who have lost a significant person - a parent, a sibling, a primary caregiver, a friend -- and their families.

There are countless bereavement support groups for grieving parents or spouses, but until recently, children were the forgotten mourners. Children are the focus at Judi's House. That is why it is unique. That is why it is so important.

The peer support program is structured with hope and healing in mind. Quite different from many other support groups, however, recovery is not a goal. Reconciliation is. Unbelievable resources (free resources) - art, music, community, play, and most importantly, peer support - are available to children, teens and their families at Judi's house. They are
supported and empowered as they learn to live with, rather than get over, their grief. The process is of the utmost importance. As a volunteer, I get to walk alongside in this process. I'm honored.

I have to share this. I haven't even been to a group, yet the importance of this work is already evident. This is relevant to all of us. If you would like to support or find out more about Judi's House and other organization of its kind, please visit their website www.judishouse.org.

01 July 2006


I was already thirsty as I rolled out of bed this morning.

"EEEEEeeeeeeeeeeEEEEOOOOOOOWWWW," my hamstrings creaked.

I stretched tight muscles. Then,
with a visor on my head, sunglasses perched on my nose and 24 oz. of water in hand, I stepped out into the morning air.

"Tap... tap... tap... tap..." beat the slow, steady pace of my feet on the pavement. Electric guitar. Drums. "It's been years since they told her about it... the darkness her body posessed, " she began in a low, husky voice. Tap... tap... tap... tap... my steps came more quickly as Melissa Etheridge ascended through the verse to the explosive chorus in my ears. "I run for hope, I run to feel. I run for the truth, for all that is real..." I pounded my fist in the air, indifferent to anyone around me, and belted out the anthem with her, "... I run for your mother, your sister, your wife..." Tap... tap... tap. "I run for you and me my friend... I run for life."

Another long run begun.

Fifteen minutes into the run, I noticed my labored breathing, dry mouth and the dull aches in my knees.
I sipped from the water bottle, and my pace slowed. "Will it always feel like this?" I wondered as I climbed a small hill, feeling my age with every step. I emerged from the trail and crossed the street.

50 yards up the road was another trailhead. Tap... tap... tap. I ran through the dog park, up a hill, crossed a bridge, passed a tree and continued on the rocky trail. I was alone. "Lucy Liu... and my girl Drew... Cameron D and Destiny..." the independent women of Destiny's Child began. I turned off my Ipod. "Tap... tap... tap..." I heard my feet just below once again.

As I blazed along the rugged, dusty trail, I thought about my family. I began to pray.

Indignantly I interceded for my husband and children. I passionately dialogued with God as I ran, surrounded by silence except for my own voice and the steady rhythm of my steps. I barely noticed the lake I had finally reached and lapped as I beseeched, " I need to know that you are hearing me, Lord!" Now unaware of the time or my knees, I ascended a killer hill and headed back for the road. Six miles and 22 oz. of water gone. Still six miles to go.

"Father, please don't think I'm ungrateful," I paused. I'd spent 45 heated minutes imploring. I began to praise Him. "Thank you for my family. Thank you for a roof over my head, food to eat and clean water to drink. Thank you for my marriage. Thank you for my husband..." Tap... tap... tap... past the pond and the trees, back over the bridge, through the park and back to the street.

It was hot. I was parched. Just a few drops of warm water remained in my bottle, as I prepared to climb a slow steep hill. Tap..... tap..... tap...... Arduously I climbed.

I noticed a white truck perched at the top of the hill on the opposite side of the road. Its hazard lights pulsed. I wiped my brow and savored the last of my water. With my eyes focused on the road just ahead, I continued to climb. Tap......Tap.......Tap.

An arm extend from the driver's side window of that truck up ahead. "What if that was Paul?" a thought surfaced.

"No, my tail lights look different." I stuffed the thought and
tightened my grip on the empty bottle in my hand. Attention diverted from the truck, I continued to climb.

I looked up again after a few moments and this time realized what was in the hand that extended from the truck at the top of the hill. It was a bottle of water. That was my truck. That was my husband in my truck with a bottle of water... for me. Thank you, Lord!!

My heart beat wildly. I threw my arms up in the air once again - this time, in utter delight.
Tap... tap... tap... tap... I crossed the street, approached the truck and found my husband with the kids, still in their jammies, strapped in the back seat. Paul handed me the ice cold bottle.

"I love you," I panted.

I kissed him and kissed him and kissed him.

Cool. Clean. Crisp. I drank.
That may have been the most refreshing water I've ever had.

Tap... tap... tap... tap... I pressed on.