I wish I could truly explain where our nickname llama came from. I can tell you it came from the Emperors New Groove but why we called each other llama and why it stuck….i just can’t remember.  However seven years later, if I call her by her real name, Charles asks me who I am talking about it.  So Llama it is. 

We met in college and just loved each other.  She is like this bundle of  mystery and an open book all at the same time. She is one of those people who you can just basically say anything you want to…anything…and she can handle it. She understands. It’s this uncanny ability to just understand…and then help. God did something pretty spectacular when He brought her into this world.

So why am I writing about her…because life didn’t hand her the glass of lemonade she was expecting.  And it’s not one of those she is this victim of horrible things, she made choices and decisions and they didn’t turn out as sweet as she would have prefered.  Once she figured out the lemonade wasn’t as sweet, she didn’t throw the glass against the wall and blame it.  She looked into the glass and said I added this and this and it isn’t what I want, so I am going to change it out for another glass. 

And it wasn’t easy. She walked away from relationships, changed jobs, moved across a little ocean…began again.  And she could have been angry….at the glass…the lemons…the sugar or lack there of.  She just could have but she didn’t go there. Instead she embraced it.  She embraced putting the glass down and looking for another glass.  She embraced the sadness, the fear, the unknown, the rejection, the hurt, the responsibility…she embraced it all and walked on.

I see her now…Facebook stalking really because it is as close as I can get. I see her traveling, skydiving, eating all kinds of crazy food….living life.

And I couldn’t be more prouder of her.

We all have things that happen or don’t happen. Things that encourage us to stop living. Things that tempt us to be angry or bitter or depressed.  The greatest thing I think we can do…is to live.  Is to say okay…that was not the lemonade I was expecting but it’s not the end of the world. She didn’t lose her passion for life or what it brings because her lemonade wasn’t what she was expecting.  Instead, she has created her own lemonade.  This mixture of life, experience, love, friendships, chocolate covered bacon, and beaches. 

She is my example for how to find the passion again.

How to not give up.

How to make my own lemonade when life hands me lemonade I wasn’t expecting.

“You don’t love…

“You don’t love someone because they’re perfect, you love them in spite of the fact that they’re not.”
― Jodi Picoult, My Sister’s Keeper


It was busy in the ER that night.  There was a long wait in the waiting room, people were walking around with masks covering their face to protect others around them from their coughs. Katie Grace laid lethargically in Charles arms as we waited for our turn to go back.  I knew we were looking at a flight down to Sacramento so I was silently prepping myself as I heard our name called.  Weight check, height check, oxygen stats check, medicine check and her long story later, we find ourselves in the curtain created make shift room….waiting. Waiting for nurses to take blood work, for techs to takes x-rays…just waiting.

“Oh, it’s you guys,” was the first thing I heard as Pascale walked into our pretend room.  Pascale is an amazing nurse and to boot a great person. She is one of those people you wish you met outside of places like the ER but you are also SO glad she works at the ER.

“Hi Pascale.” I smiled back, happy to see her amidst what was going on.  

Then as if almost out of nowhere, I hear Pascale say “You guys made it.  Good for you.!”

It took me a minute to register what she was talking about but then I remembered.  I remembered a year ago when Katie Grace had her first round of pneumonia, Pascale and I had a conversation.  Where she told me, the saddest thing for her was to see families torn apart by unexpected tragedy.  To see and treat precious babies such as our Katie Grace and then see their parents just fall apart under the weight of what they have to do and the pain of what has happened.    And I remembered her encouragement to hang in there and to not get lost. And to remember that she (Katie Grace) needs us together and not apart.

Today, I am proud to say that Katie Grace has pulled us closer together.  It has stirred up stuff…..our differences….our bruises from life. And we have stuck it out. We have looked at each other and just fought the fight and we are closer today then we have ever been.

I don’t know that I would want to have children with anybody else.  Or do life with anybody else.  And it’s not because he is perfect or he always handles me perfect.  Charles loves freedom, he doesn’t need a plan or particularly want a plan for anything.  Me, I need a plan…like plants need water, I need a plan. It can be general but there has to be a plan.  And you bet we butt heads about that.  My plans can stifle him and his lack of plans can be chaos for me. And we work at that…at finding the medium. The middle ground. 

I don’t handle Charles perfectly or love him perfectly.  There are days when my demand on him is greater then could ever be acomplished.  Days when the hurts of the past build up into this big ball of expectation, and I throw it at him expecting him to know exactly how to handle it and to do it perfectly. He is learning how to duck and say, that hurts babe.  And I am learning to how to break down the big ball before I throw. 

We don’t love each other because we are perfect, we love each other because we are not.  And amazingly it has been our daughter so called imperfection that has drawn us even closer. It has been her physical brokenness that has pulled him and I deeper.

So don’t search for the ones that are perfect….search instead for the ones who will be there with you, in the darkest of times.  Ones who can stand in the pain and say it does not scare me, it hurts but it does not scare me.  Those are the ones to hold onto. Those are the ones who love.



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