Rest that Endures


“Come out of sadness, from wherever you’ve been, come brokenhearted let rescue begin. Come find your mercy, Oh sinner, come kneel. Earth has no sorrow that heaven can’t heal. So lay down your burdens, lay down your shame, all who are broken lift up your face. Oh, wanderer come home, you’re not too far, so lay down your hurt, lay down your heart, come as you are. There’s hope for the hopeless and all those who’ve strayed. Come sit at his table, come taste of His grace. There’s rest for the weary, rest that endures. Earth has no sorry that Heaven can’t cure. So come as you are. Fall in His arms. There’s joy for the morning, oh sinner, be still. Earth has no sorrow that heaven can’t heal.”

(David Crowder)


Today I’m resting in the presence of God. Trusting that He is who He says He is. Remembering, that even when life is hard and painful I serve a God that desires to bind  my broken-heart and mend my wounds. My Savior beckons me when I am “weary and  heavy burdened, to come to Him and find rest.” (Matthew 11:28) My Sweet, Sweet Lord, who promises me “my tears may last for the night, but rejoicing will come in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5) He shows me that in the midst of danger and distress, He will quite my mind and show me His faithfulness. I do not have to bow down under the source of my sorrow because “He is the lifter of my head,” (Psalm 3:3) ready and willing to restore my dignity and honor for His glory. He summons me to come home and to be still, as he “prepares a table for me, in the wilderness. He invites me to sit and taste of His great goodness and love.” (Psalm 34:8) I come, just as I am, into His presence, wrapped in His arms, without any fear or dread of what tomorrow holds. “Yes, my soul finds rest in my God; my hope comes from Him.” (Psalm 62:5)



“Do not gloat over me my enemy. Though I have fallen, I WILL RISE.” (Micah 7:8)This poster of Tommy has been hanging in his room since his knee surgery in October 2014. This year we thought it would serve as a reminder of how far he has come. Little did we know that in less than a year he would not be playing in his first varsity football game, but instead be facing the same surgery. So the picture…

It reminds us that not only in football, but in life, we go to battle over and over again. Each time rising back up with more bruises and scars, sometimes feeling as if we can’t go another round. It hurts too much. It would be easier to give up and not get back up and fight, but we know through all the ups and downs God’s power can draw us closer to Him and He can use our wounds for His glory. The enemy can not gloat over us because, “The Lord will fight for us and we need only to be still.” (Exodus 14:14) We have no reason to worry when we know the One who holds the Victor’s Crown.

Finally Home

At around midnight on June 1st, 2013 my Aunt took her last breath and flew away to Heaven.

“Just think of stepping on shore – And finding it Heaven!

Of touching a hand – And finding it God’s!

Of breathing new air- And finding it celestial!

Of waking up in glory- And finding it Home!”

It’s hard to find the words to express what it feels like to sit with someone who is dying. During the days of May 25th-June 2nd my Aunt’s family tried to have someone with Aunt Marge around the clock. We all took turns spending time with her, sitting with her, just being with her.

It was an odd feeling. We were not sitting with her helping her fight for her life. We were not holding her hand and hoping that she would recover and go on living. We didn’t have the hope that she would get better.  Instead, we were sitting by her bedside knowing that the end was drawing near.  How do we sit by the side of a loved one that has no hope to get better. No hope to pull through. No hope to improve. No Hope for this life. But Hope. HOPE. Miraculous Hope. Hope in Salvation. Hope in Eternity. Hope in a new Home. Hope in a new life. Hope in Jesus Christ.  Hope that “one day in His courts is better than thousand’s elsewhere” (Psalm 84:10). Hope that “precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death of one of his saints”(Psalm 116:15). Hope that “He prepares a place for us and when it is ready He will call us home,”  (John 14) And although we mourned this last week and will mourn in the weeks to come, we mourn with hope!

Underlined in Aunt Marge's Bible

Underlined in Aunt Marge’s Bible

When I think back to the last several days with Aunt Marge and wonder how her husband, her daughter, her sister, and brother-in-law, her nieces and nephews were able to endure her approaching death, I will remember that it was because of our hope and faith in Jesus Christ and eternity. When we took our turns to be with Marge, she was unable to communicate, so we simply held her hand, told her we loved her, prayed for her, cried for her, read scripture to her, played hymns for her.  We sat in the presence of our Savior, her Savior. Sometimes, we wondered why He wasn’t calling her home when, to us, it looked obvious that she needed to go. Doctors and nurses would tell us what they thought, maybe days, maybe hours, 72 hours, 48 hours, maybe weeks. And we would wonder. And we would tell her “to go home.” But then,  we would realize no one knows! Only God. And her life is in His hands, and only when each and every detail is in place and her job on earth is done He would take her home. And while her job on earth ended last night and God called her home, her testimony, her hope, her faith, her love for Jesus Christ will go on. Her legacy of faith will continue to reach generation after generation.

This week, I had the privilege of seeing a living example of 1 Corinthians 13:13, “now faith, hope, and love remain – these three things.”  Our faith in Jesus, our hope in eternity, and our love in Jesus Christ and for our family. These things remain.

Underlined in Aunt Marge's Bible

Underlined in Aunt Marge’s Bible – Her Favorite Verse

Beautiful Chaos

This picture can serve as a good representation of my life as a mother. Chaos!


I’m not even sure who took the picture. Maybe the store manager to warn his employees not to let us back into the store.

My oldest child, Tommy, is obviously mad at something. Rachael is out of control flying her cart into who knows what and in the process taking out whatever is in her path. Leah looks like she’s trying to be on her best behavior, and then Steven is MIA. Chaos. Not at all what I pictured our quick stop at the grocery store to look like!

When we walked into the store the girls asked if they could have a cart. In my head I had the image of a nice, calm, shopping adventure in which they wanted to help out. How cute! In the end I’m very surprised we didn’t hear an announcement on the loud speaker asking us to leave the store.

This photograph can also help to sum up my days of Motherhood.

broken table

My kids and I were sitting down enjoying a wonderful breakfast together, when all of a sudden, out of the blue, the table collapsed, fell apart, and that was the end of breakfast.

I’ve made plans. I’ve had dreams. I’ve had visions of how my life as a mother would play out. Only to realize that sometimes, no matter how hard I try, life can get very chaotic, and the best of schedules can give way, crumble, and leave me wondering if I’m really doing things right!

I’ve missed appointments, even though I have them written down on the calendar AND in my phone. I’ve forgotten about early dismissal days at school. I’ve locked my keys in the car way too many times to count. In fact, the last time I did that, the guy arrived to help me out and I realized it was the same guy from the time before. After a few minutes he did a double take and said, “Hey! Didn’t I help you out about two weeks ago on the opposite side of the street?” I was hoping he wouldn’t remember me!

I’ve closed the door to the house only to realize I just locked everybody out. I’ve sent my oldest to school with a brown paper bag full of onions instead of a brown paper bag full of lunch (I’ll explain that in another post!) I’ve run over bicycles left in the driveway. I’ve gotten lost on my way to gymnastic meets and basketball games more times then I’d like to admit. The list could go on and on. But, needless to say, I don’t have it all together! I’m always rushing from one place to the next wondering how I’m going to get it all done. I’m constantly trying to make sure Tommy, Steven, Leah, and Rachael have what they need and get to where they need to go. My house is always loud with children talking, yelling, laughing, fighting. And if that isn’t enough there’s always friends, nieces, nephews, and babies that need care.

babies crying

Chaos! But, I’m learning to love it. Because one day I know the Chaos will turn to quiet . There won’t be clothes on the floor, hand prints on the walls, dishes piled in the sink, homework to finish, and lunches to be made. The house will be too quiet and too clean and I’ll be left wondering, “how did they grow up so fast?”

So in the time being, in the chaos, I smile, I embrace it, I thank God for it. I look for the magnificent in the mess and the splendor in the silliness.

And it’s in the morning, when I walk into my child’s room to wake her up, that I find her artwork,

photo (6)

And for the moment, the mistakes I’ve made and will make as a mother vanish, and I get that small glimmer of hope that I just might be doing things right. And I thank Christ for the privilege of being a mother and I realize that He truly can “make the chaos a chorus.”

“A few of our Favorite Things”

chris6Working and working and working some more,
Going on business trips and to meetings galore.
Coaching my boys in my free time,
Paying for gymnastics with my very last dime.
Loving a home where children’s laughter rings,
These are a few of Chris’ favorite things.

familyWondering how many miles to run in a day,
Driving the family taxi without any pay.
Spending the day with four kids and their friends,
Enjoying this time for soon it will end.
Never knowing what the new day brings
These are a few of Suzanne’s favorite things.

tomWearing shorts all year without feeling a draft,
Filming Lego movies and living on Minecraft.
Playing football my opponents beware,
Getting ready for school with little time to spare.
Reminding Mom “don’t clip my wings”
These are a few of Tommy’s favorite things.

steve 4Playing basketball and baseball and football non-stop,
Hanging with Tommy, my sisters, and Pop.
Talking and talking no detail left out,
Reading and writing, subjects I could do without.
Trading my lunch for snacks my friends bring,
These are a few of Steven’s favorite things.

leahLoving the summer and days at the pool,
Being the fastest kid at the school.
Getting challenged to races during recess,
Wearing cute clothes but never a dress.
Being able to flip like my legs contain springs,
These are a few of Leah’s favorite things.

raeBeing a gymnast, an actress, and dancer,
Ask me a question, I’ll give the right answer.
Bendalina’s my name I can stretch in weird ways,
Wearing Dad out, I can truly amaze.
Living like a princess for the King of all kings,
These are a few of Rachael’s favorite things.

Mary and Joseph and the Christ Child,
A Savior awaited for quite a long while.
How divine, a beautiful night,
the darkness now filled with a Holy Light.
A gift of Salvation only Jesus brings,
These are a few of our family’s favorite things.

Merry Christmas!

Chicago, thanks for letting me use you for better things to come…

When I signed up for Chicago it never crossed my mind that I might run it as a training run. First of all, it’s hard for me to run any race, no matter the distance, as JUST a training run. If I’m scheduled to run a race, I want to race! Second of all, when it comes to the marathon the longest training run I’ve done has been 24 miles and I often wondered if that was too long! I’ve never considered running a marathon inside of marathon training.

However, two weeks ago the thought did occur to me so I decided to bring it up to my coach, Carla Hastert. My email to her went something like this, “Would it be a good or bad idea to actually run chicago w/no expectations but just as a training run for CIM? I feel like chicago is my nemisis. But, maybe its not smart to run it even as a part of training. Just a thought though.”

After a couple of days she decided it would be okay. Our only concern was that I had to stick to our “race plan.” If I ended up pushing too hard and trying to “race,” I would blow it for CIM and not be able to recover in time.

This is how she wanted me to run; miles 1-3 were to be at a 7 minute pace, 4-20  she wanted me to run a 6:45 pace, and then the last 10k I would ease back down to 7-7:05 pace. Carla, told me if I ran the marathon according to plan I’d finish in 3 hours or just under.

This was one of the most relaxed marathons I have ever run. In fact, I didn’t feel any of the normal race jitters or anxiety I usually have before a big race. In my mind, Chicago was just my weekend long run. The other nice thing was not having the Olympic Trial time of 2:46 breathing down my back. My goal was simply to run the paces I had been told to run and cross the finish line. And that’s just what I did. I crossed the finish line in 2:58:21. I think my first 1/2 and second 1/2 would have been pretty equal. However, around mile 3, I started to have some stomach issues and by mile 15 I decided to stop. I felt pretty good from 16-19, but then at mile 20 I had to stop again. This would have been devastating if it was my goal race but since it wasn’t, the fact that I had to make 2 stops in the 2nd half wasn’t that big of a deal.

All in all I felt like I ran relaxed, didn’t “push” myself, and stuck the workout. 2 weeks before Chicago I was at 94 miles, the week before Chicago I ran 100 miles (including a long run of 22 miles the Sunday before the marathon). So, being able to run on semi-tired legs and hit the paces I needed to do has helped to build my confidence for CIM when I intend to RACE the marathon.

My Dad’s advice after hearing I ran such high mileage and didn’t taper for the marathon…”Now Suzanne, you should really back off two weeks before CIM, don’t run that much. It wouldn’t be smart and you don’t want your legs to be tired.” Thanks Dad! Planning on doing just that.

My friend’s comment (you know who you are) “I thought you were done with marathons and sticking with 5 and 10ks?!”

My Mom’s comment, “Now Suzanne, is it really that smart to run a marathon in October and then run another one in December. In fact, I thought you said you were done running the marathon?” Mom, once a mileage junkie…always a mileage junkie!Image


Good News concerning Lydia

Last night I was able to see Lydia for the first time. She is a trooper, that’s for sure! She is hooked up to so many machines and is on a lot of medication for only being 4 days old! It was heart-breaking to see her cry. Her little body would tense and tears rolled down her face, but because of the breathing tube, no sound came out. It has to be so frustrating for Andrew and Jena to not be able to pick her up and comfort her.

At 6:30 the Doctor came in to check on her and said that, “She was forcing his hand,” to remove the ventilator and take out the breathing tube. She was at the point where she was doing most of her breathing on her own and keeping the ventilator in would be (almost) over-protecting her. He said he was going to come back in an hour and make a decision then.

It wasn’t until 11pm, last night, that I got a text from Jena saying that the ventilator was turned off and they were going to remove the breathing tube. At midnight, she sent another text saying that everything went great.  Lydia was sleeping and the next hour would be a good indicator of her progress.

This morning, Jena said, the dopamine, anitbiotics, and fentanyl would be given to Lydia as needed. She is being weaned off of the steriod she was on and they have discontinued all other drugs! They will take the artrial catheter out today and then hopefully, Jena and Andrew will be able to finally hold her! AND, Lydia is breathing 100% on her own without any problems. Please continue to pray that there will not be a set-back in progress!

The nurse said that Lydia has dumb-founded the staff at Children’s. She was transferred there because they were going to do a possible ECMO. In ECMO is basically a life-saving technique that mimics the natural function of the heart and lungs, allowing an infant to rest while healing takes place. The procedure involves channeling the patient’s blood into a roller pump that serves as the child’s heart throughout treatment. The pump sends the blood through an oxygenator, which serves an as artificial lung, infusing the blood with oxygen and removing carbon dioxide and returning it to the patient. However, within 30 minutes of being at Children’s, Lydia started to show improvement. So much improvement, in fact, that the ECMO did not have to be implemented. The progress and recovery has been incredible! Of course, while the Nurses say they are dumb-founded we know that credit must be given where credit belongs. How great it is to know the mercy-giving, healing-hand of God.

Thank you so much for your continued prayers for Jena, Andrew, and Lydia. Please continue to pray for the journey ahead. We do not know how long Lydia will remain at Children’s and we pray that she will continue to improve and stay healthy beyond anyone’s comprehension!

(This is the most recent picture of Lydia after all of the machines, etc have been removed.)


Results of the 38 mile FUN run!

Because I knew a couple of people who were running one of the Kettle Moraine Endurances races the challenge entered my mind, “Could I run more than a marathon?” Especially when, in the last couple of months,I haven’t been training specifically for the marathon and/or beyond. Why not try it? Originally I inquired about running the 100 mile run or the 100k, but than thankfully, somewhat of my sanity came back, and I figured that would be too much mileage without proper training and I could very well end up injured.

So, my thoughts turned to the 38 mile FUN run. Since, I just celebrated my 38th Birthday a few days ago I thought it would be interesting to see if I could get through a 38 mile run. When else would I get the opportunity to run my exact age in miles!? ( :

Yesterday afternoon, on a whim, I drove to La Grange, Wisconsin, thinking I was going to start the run at 8pm and hope to finish between 2-3 in the morning. Sleep a couple of hours in my car and then drive back home. However,  When I arrived I was told I could start before 8pm and opted to begin around 6:20 in the evening.

I was equipped with everything I needed. I had just had a full bottle of UR Driven (my all natural sports drink sponsor) about an hour before I started and a protien shot. I also was carrying a water bottle of UR Driven, endurlytes, my head lamp, and one tiny, tiny light on the top of my shoe. Since, I was carrying a bottle in one hand I opted to leave my hand held flash light in the car in order to leave my other hand free. (Dumb idea)

I started out at a nice controlled pace, running alone, although I was passing runner’s going in both directions, so not entirely alone on the course, but running by myself the first 16-17 miles. I felt great. I kept consuming the UR and taking my endurlytes and did not concentrate on the distance I had accomplished and the distance I had left to go.

I finally got to the check point on Highway 12 where my drop bag was located. I decided I felt great. I didn’t need to mess with my shoes, socks, or clothes, so all I did was mix up another bottle of UR and was about to go on my way when one of the crew manning the aid station asked if I had a light. “Sure do! My head lamps wrapped around my water bottle right now, but I plan on using it pretty soon.” In which he responded, “You’re defintely going to need it.” He told me the trail was going to become more technical, with lots of rocks and roots sticking out of the surface. He said, I needed to be sure to pick up my feet and watch my footing carefully! “Will do!” And I set off again.

At first the trail wasn’t that dark but I could feel the dark encroaching on my quickly and figured I better put my head lamp on and be ready for the blackness. The light immediatly came on and just as immediatly went out. What the heck!? This lamp was brand new with brand new batteries in it. It can’t possibly NOT work. I checked it at home and it worked. I checked it in the car and it worked. However, lesson learned, I needed to check it at the aid station before I went out into the dark, wooded path. At least then, if it didn’t work I could have put in my back up batteries.

And now, all of a sudden,  I’m alone and I’m in the forest, and it’s going to be dark, and I’m ALONE. Ok, don’t panic, turn the tiny tiny light on my shoe, at least that’s something.  Even the smallest light can brighten the darkest night, right? Well, not so much. I told myself, just think of Katniss, from the Hunger Games, running through the forest, unafraid yet sometimes very afraid..and, oh, wait she’s equipped with a bow and arrows. I’m missing the bow and arrows and that’s just not good. I’m not as cool and calm, I’m more of a nerd so forget that image. : )

Anway,  it was frustrating because I definitely had to slow my pace and be very careful, making sure I was seeing the trail markings on the ground and hoping that I would soon come upon somebody with a light. And with about 2 miles to the aid station I did just that. He was running the 100 mile run so I did have to slow my pace quiet a bit, but that was okay. I’d rather take it slow, be able to see, and not get injured! When we came to the aid station he sat down for a well-deserved rest and I was anxious to get going again. That’s when I saw Alec (who was running the 100 mile run) and Brian (who also came out on a whim to help pace Alec and get in some mileage.) I hung back with these guys until the next big aid station and was very thankful when Alec gave me an extra head lamp. Alec told us we could both go ahead and he would be back to running shortly after we set out again.

The rest of the run Brian and I talked the entire time. In fact, I don’t think there was ever a lull in our converstation. And what was more amazing is that we kept feeling good. I figured as we drew closer to the end, mental and physical fatigue would eventually start to set in. But, it never did and when we saw that we only had 5 miles to go, then 3 miles, then 2, and finally 1 we wondered how on earth we could still be talking, smiling, and laughing. It was incredible. I certainly didn’t feel like I had just finished 38 miles. The only thing I can attest this too is that I went out at a very easy comfortable pace and never became depleted and I stayed properly hydrated and fueled the entire race.

I’m not sure if finishing with such a good feeling will be in my favor. Because of course, I’m already thinking that If I can do 38 miles and feel that good, why not try 50, and if I can make 50, then whose to say I can’t do 100! Hmmm…..I’m always up for a new challenge!

Here are the results from the 38 mile run. It kills me that I had problems with my head lamp b/c if I didn’t I might have been able to beat the first place male finisher. Well, I guess he just better watch out next year…( ;

Flowers and Jockstraps


What are Little Boys Made of?

What are little boys made of?
Snips and snails, and puppy dogs tails
That’s what little boys are made of !”
What are little girls made of?
“Sugar and spice and all things nice
That’s what little girls are made of!”

 After having two wonderful little boys, I became pregnant with my third child. Everywhere I went people would ask me, “Are you hoping for a girl?” My response, “Nope! Not really!” I like my boys! I’m a good mom for boys. I wasn’t so sure how I’d be with a little girl and I definitely didn’t want to find out. In fact, I once had one mom tell me that she would rather have 10 boys than 1 girl! Really!? Really? Are girls that different?

Well, after my third baby ended up being a girl, I immediately fell in love with her, and I was beyond thrilled that my fourth child was also a little girl.  And yes, obviously little boys and little girls are very different. And, this week I was reminded of just how different.

My girls have friends over and they play school or have tea parties. They sit and color quietly at the table and know how to have polite conversations.  They play dress up and do each other’s hair. They put on dances, shows, and elegant balls. It’s so fun to watch them spin and twirl as they smile with their laughing eyes.

Image  Image

ImageMy favorite thing about my  little girls are the masterpieces of art that I find all over the house. Usually among these miniature Picasso drawings or sculptures there can be found an inscription that says something like, “For Mom, Love Rachael. You’re the bestest Mom in the whole world. I love you so much.”

In fact, just a couple days ago the doorbell rang and when I went to answer there wasn’t anyone there.

However, on the doorstep there lay a mystery note that looked like this…

I love my little girls creativity, sensitivity and their overwhelming love for me!

ImageMy boys, on the other hand, have friends over and become the next Thomas Edison, trying to invent the best way to parachute from the upstairs balcony to the ground floor. They decide a ride down the laundry chute would be better (and cheaper) than any amusement park ride. When they jump on the trampoline their goal is to knock the other one down or off.  The word shower is not in their vocabulary. Their hair is usually messy and their fingernails dirty and they really don’t care if they’ve worn the same shirt for 4 days in a row.

ImageMy favorite thing about little boys is their thrill for adventure. They seek it, they find it, they overcome it. They are living life alive and they want more of it. They are on a quest to rescue the princess and triumph as the victor. Adventure after adventure and they can’t get enough. I love how they can include me on these spectacular journeys. I’ve found frogs hopping in the living room, a turtle with a cracked shell, saved from a car accident in the recycling bin. I’ve been called into their bedroom and asked in a very serious voice, “Mom, can I climb out the window onto the roof and jump onto the trampoline?”


And lastly, this week they decided it would be a great idea to rearrange the house, starting with the bathroom towel rack…


Yep! That’s a jockstrap in place of the towel! I love how my boys like to take me by surprise! I realize as a mother of boys my main job is keeping them alive so they can make it to manhood.