Letting Love Call the Shots


Two years ago I wrote these words as a Facebook status:

“The fragility of life should cause us to love bigger, give bigger and dream bigger, not to cave under the pressure of fear or succumb to a futile spirit.

This life is a gift.

Live it well and leave your imprint on history.

This is your story.”

Mattie’s life was “fragile” by human expression. The term “medically fragile” was even used to describe him by some. But as fragile as his life was, we never lived in a state of treating him as fragile. We never let fear boss us around. We let Love call the shots.

Shortly after Mattie’s death, I wrote to one of his medical providers and said, “Did everyone else know he would die? Were we foolish to think he could live longer than he did?”

She replied, “Not at all, Tracie. Mattie kept showing us what was possible. He kept showing us Life, not death. There was no expectations at all, except what Mattie chose.”

We believed in his Life, and we lived like we believed. In some ways, I feel like this is why Mattie overcame as many obstacles as he did. We loved him like every day mattered, we dreamed big dreams for him, and we gave all we had because he was so worth it.

I can’t even imagine holding back love because of the risk.

The day we buried Mattie’s body, my friend Susan stood at my side and reminded me of words that I had written just weeks before Mattie’s birth. Words I spoke in anticipation of his arrival and all of the unknowns.

I could hold back love until it feels safe, but that’s not the way it works. He loved us before we loved Him, with no guarantee of love returned Choosing to walk out the gospel through adoption. I will love now, no strings attached.”

And that is how we lived our lives. There was no holding back, no strings attached.

Love led the way. Always.

And it still does. Mattie exuded Love more than any human being I know.

And that kind of Love is what propels me now, what pushes me into that place of finding the rest of my story; and resting in gratitude for the story that I have lived so far, even when the words I’ve penned to tell the tale are not the words I would have chosen.

We all have a story to live. We get to chose whether to walk into it and embrace the beautiful mess of it all, or whether to let fear push us into a place where we can’t see the beauty at all.

My plan is to live my story well.

To leave in imprint – one called Love.

My plan is to let Love call the shots.


Capture Your Grief- Week One

I decided to participate in a photography challenge called Capture Your Grief, you can read about it HERE. I’ll be sharing my posts for the week, at the end of each week. 


Day 1 “Sunrise”

My morning coffee and the warmth of the sun’s rays on my face reminding me that mercy and hope come each morning with fresh beauty.

If I allow my heart to listen and see and feel, my son is present in moments like these. So I sit, absorbing his joy into my spirit, finding his smile in these radiant beams.

#captureyourgrief #whathealsyou #findinghappiness#griefisajourney #childloss


Day 2 “Intention”

Dear Son,
I will forever ache because of the absence of your beautiful and perfect body in my arms, but I promised you I would keep on living.

Choosing to live, choosing to discover you in the beautiful and perfect moments of life. This is my intention.

I choose to allow my life to be the container that carries your spirit. I choose to see your beauty in every stroke of my paintbrush, I choose to see your smile in every beaming sunrise, I choose to feel your peace and grace in my moments of solitude. I choose to feel your strength in every personal struggle that I face. I choose to love others with unabashed love and acceptance. I choose to become one whose very nature brings peace to others.

It is my Intention to rise out of the ashes more beautiful, more loving, more kind, more at peace.

This is my Intention.

#captureyourgrief #intention #childloss#findinghappiness #griefisajourney


Day 3 “In Honour”

On October 20, 2010 Matthias Samuel Loux entered this world. For the next 3 years, 10 months and 1 day, he filled the world with love and joy and peace.

Mattie loved music, books, and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. But most of all he loved people. He loved people well. His mission was clearly to come and dump massive amounts of love on everyone he would meet.

This chair sits in our living room in honour of him. It appears empty to the untrained eye, but this little chair is full. Full of life and love and joy and beauty.

This chair reminds me daily to carry on Mattie’s life mission. This chair reminds me to sit in stillness and absorb love so that I can be a true carrier of love and dump it out on others just like my son did so well.

#captureyourgrief #whathealsyou #mattiesmom#childloss #griefisajourney


Day 4 “Dark + Light”

This photo was taken a year ago today. Mattie had died 6 weeks before. I remember asking my son to take a shot of us on this old boat at a salvage barn where we were exploring. I also remember being frustrated that the lighting was bad, knowing our faces would be in shadow. I remember saying, “Take it anyway, I like this boat.”

What I didn’t see until today was how significant this image is and how clearly this captures our journey.

Our voyage on this vessel called “Grief” has taken us many places. We have visited the deep Dark islands of Sadness, Anger, Despair, and Hopelessness. We’ve cowered in the Cove of Anxiety.

But Light, it was there all along, it surround us and followed us. It chased us down. Because, after all, there is no Darkness without Light.

And now as the darkest of Dark makes way for Light, and brings with it Hope, and Peace, and Joy, we sail on. We continue the journey. Yes, we still grief, but the Dark gives way to Light, allowing Light to lead the way.

#captureyourgrief #whathealsyou #griefisajourney#childloss #findinghappiness

What Color are Your Genes?

Loux Family 039

Meet Aiden.  A free-spirited young man with a charming smile and an ornery streak a mile long.  Aiden loves Legos, blocks, and way too much TV. He loves to help in the kitchen- cleaning and baking are his favorite past times. He is kind to those who are hurt or sad.  He is very opinionated and can be as stubborn as a mule sometimes.

His eyes are hazel and his hair is blonde. He loves noodles of every kind. He is a huge fan of eggs with cheese. As a matter of fact, he often raids the refrigerator for cheese and recently tried to pin it on “Pinky Pie” from My Little Pony by leaving her on the shelf of the refrigerator next to the opened bag of shredded cheese. He dislikes rice and mashed potatoes (This still baffles me- who doesn’t like mashed potatoes?). He prefers ground beef over steak and bananas over apples. He adores all things pumpkin!!

Just like you and just like me,  Aiden is a product of his DNA- the building blocks of his inheritance. All of the things that make him who he is, that shape his likes and dislikes, the way he looks, even the shape of his smile and the sparkle in his eyes are part of a beautiful genetic pattern that is uniquely his.

DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) is a biomolecule that holds the blueprint for how living organisms are built.  DNA is made out of two long, twisted strands that contain complementary genetic information (like a picture and its negative). A gene is a segment of DNA that is passed down from parents to children and confers a trait to the offspring. Genes are organized and packaged in units called “chromosomes.”  Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes. One set of chromosomes for each pair comes from a person’s mother, and the other set of chromosomes comes from the father.

-GeneEd “DNA, Genes and Chromosomes”

22 of Aiden’s 23 chromosomes are neatly and uniquely paired copies of two.

One of his chromosomes, the 21st to be precise, has three copies.

Most cases of Down syndrome result from trisomy 21, which means each cell in the body has three copies of chromosome 21 instead of the usual two copies.

Genetics Home Reference “Down Syndrome”

We call this Down syndrome. It is a name attributed to this unique chromosomal difference. That is all it is. Down syndrome does not define or describe my son. It is not a label to throw in front of his name. As a matter of fact, if you do the math, it is a very small fraction of the entire “blueprint” that makes up who my son is.

It would be easy for me to sit and list some of the “issues” that are often part of a Down syndrome diagnosis.  I could rattle of the common delays, potential medical issues, and so forth, but really is that how you would want to be defined?

As a mother of two sons who happen to have an extra chromosome, I really want to ask you to consider looking at my son for who he is, not what he lacks. I want you to define him by his amazing abilities, not by his perceived disabilities.

After all, who wants to be “labeled” by their struggles or challenges?

Let me ask you, “What Color are Your Genes?” What is it about you that makes you wonderfully unique?”  Is it your fiery red hair or your crazy obsession with math? Is it your athletic prowess or your joyful laugh? Maybe it’s the gift of creativity or the way you can whip up magic in the kitchen?

My son’s DNA was woven together in the most beautiful pattern that is his life.

So is yours.

Let’s just marvel at that for a minute!!

Let’s marvel at our differences and celebrate them!

Dear Self, Be Kind

Words. They are my love language.


This was created for my birthday one year, a string of love notes written by my family and friends.

I love giving them and I love receiving them.

Words fill my tank.

Words also empty me in a heart beat when they are handed out carelessly.  It takes a very long time to erase painful, carelessly spoken words that make their way into my heart.

But what about when I am the careless speaker, uttering hurtful, painful lies over my own soul? What if I am the one that thoughtlessly aims and fires those daggers? How many times I am the one that hurls insult at my already broken heart?

I’m not even going to list them- those lies.  I won’t give them one more moment of air.  And I’m guessing you don’t need any help in thinking up verbal daggers for yourself anyway.

Over and over I’ve told other people,  “Don’t speak about yourself that way!” I’ve said, “You would never speak that way about your child, (your best friend, your spouse, etc.) so don’t talk to yourself that way either.” I’ve even told my husband, “Hey, I have incredibly good taste, don’t insult me by talking about the man I love like that!”

You get the point! It’s easy to call it out in other people.

It’s time to start with me. And let me tell you, it’s hard to write the words that are about to flow from my fingers, but I’m going to let them out and then work on believing them- because deep down I do.

Dear Self,

Be kind. You are full of love and compassion. You walk in strength. You are faithful and steadfast in the love that you extend every day to your family. You are beautiful and you are brave and you are strong. Go easy on yourself, extend grace, learn to rest- you deserve it.

Success is not measured by speed or numbers. You succeed every day because you get up and walk in love. Success is not measured by perfection, in fact, the failures and obstacles have far more to teach you than the moments of creative perfection ever will. Watch, Listen, Learn.

You matter. There is no one who can touch the world with a finger print that is just like yours. No one can replace the love that you were intended to deposit on your journey. You are not a commodity, you are an irreplaceable gift.

You are loved.

The part of me that has listened to and spoken lies over myself, cringes a little bit to write what I know is really true.  But it’s been written. It’s been spoken. And words have the power to heal and transform.

Consider doing two things today.

  1. Speak truth to yourself. Write yourself a love letter.
  2. Speak truth to someone else. Write someone else a love letter.

And remember YOU ARE LOVED!

Finding Happiness

One year came and went on August 21st.

I was asked twice this week what it felt like- the one year mark.

I wrote a little about it before it happened. It was fear and dread to be honest, the days leading up to it.

But I did it. I lived a year. I woke up, breathed in, and loved my family even in my utter weakness. I promised him I would and I did it. I kept living.

And somehow, I will do it again for another year.

Oh God, help me be brave.

From “Crawling Out of My Skin”

We honored the day with our children in a very private way. There were deeply emotional moments, tears and silence; and there was also story telling and laughter. There were flowers and pinwheels, food I didn’t have to cook, and wine. Yes, there was wine for sure.

And we woke up the next day.

There is nothing magical about one year, not button to push, or page to turn, or switch to flip; but things did begin to shift.

There is an awkward tension in the grief journey when you begin to find yourself looking at photos and videos with a smile instead of tears, when you can recount fun stories with laughter, when you are able to accomplish tasks without feeling quite as disabled, when you feel joy in new experiences. It feels good and it feels wrong. It’s not wrong, it’s just different and new. It’s like riding a bike without the training wheels, a little sloppy and awkward, and also a little terrifying.

I’m slowly stepping into a place of experiencing the joy of Mattie in my life. Not so much a remembrance, but a reality. A human soul doesn’t cease to exist. Only the body leaves us. The soul, the human spirit is eternal. Still very much real and present. As the deepest days of grief subside and the steady flow of my journey with grief continues, I’m beginning to enter a place of feeling Mattie’s spirit here with me, as very much a part of who I am.

Mattie in me can only be JOY, DELIGHT, WONDER, LAUGHTER, and yes, HAPPINESS. I want to be a Momma who reflects the beautiful life of my son.


Today was a day I will remember for many years to come.

It was like any ordinary day. Getting up before my body wanted to, packing lunches, turning down collars, making sure faces were clean, helping shoes find their way to the correct feet, and waiting for the bus.

It was a very late night, so I took my grumpy, tired self back to bed for an hour so I wouldn’t ruin everyone else’s day by being a grump all day long.

I got up, had my lovely coffee and my slow scroll through Facebook answering messages and questions. I got a shower and opened my drawer to find a t-shirt. The laundry was done and folded (no thanks to me), but there wasn’t much in my drawer, except for the few shirts that are normally way on the bottom.

I was greeted by the smiling face of Santa, a t-shirt I bought last Christmas because it made me happy, and happy moments were hard to come by last Christmas. Today when I opened the drawer, this shirt made me feel happy. It made me smile. So you know what, I put it on. I put my Santa t-shirt on my body on September 22, 2015 simply because it made me feel happy.

A friend we haven’t seen face to face in over a year came for a visit. I’m not going to spend a lot of time sharing about our visit because to be honest, it was deeply personal and something I’d like to hold close as a sacred moment for John and I.

What I can tell you, is that her visit was life-changing. It was affirming and encouraging. And it was in many ways a gentle nudge into giving ourselves permission to be happy, to paint a fresh canvas, to dream up the next story in our lives.

I don’t know where that story will take me or what the canvas will look like. What I do know is that I will write it, I will dream it, I will paint it. And it will be mine.

And Mattie will be there. He will be in it because he changed me; he turned me on. His very life flicked on a switch in my life, and death cannot take that away from me. My Mattie lived. He was very much a spiritual child. His physical body was hindered, and in many ways I believe that allowed his spirit to be more fully alive than I can ever grasp. He took his little light and it shined. It shined brightly.

I spent the rest of my day thinking about what it would look like to be happy, even without Mattie’s physical body in my arms.

I’m going to find my happiness.

What does happy look like for me? What will I paint? What will I dream? What words will become the story of me?


PS. After my Costco run today, I went to Hobby Lobby to find a “HAPPY” word art thing to put on the shelf in our gym and I am very disappointed that they have a gazillion word are things, but not a single one with the word “HAPPY”. 

PSS. If you’re newly grieving, this post might make you mad. It’s ok. I used to get a little mad at posts like this too, but deep down I wanted to believe they were possibly true. 

PSS. This is not me pretending that things are going to be perfect or that I won’t have to pick myself up off the floor from crying (possibly even tomorrow) or kidding myself that on October 20th, Mattie’s 5th birthday, I won’t be a hot mess. This is not me stuffing my feelings. This is me and my journey. 


I’ve shared openly about my journey through grief with you.

And many of you know about my journey to good health and fitness.  (HERE is a little back story if you don’t know that part of my journey.)

This picture was taken July 2014. It was the “prime” of my life in many ways. We were on our miracle vacation with Mattie, I was with my family who I hadn’t been able to see all together in 4 years. I was healthy, strong, and physically fit.


One month later disaster struck.

After Mattie’s death, I walked through the first 4 weeks in shock. Sometimes all I could do was get down a shake a couple times a day and take a few nibbles of something at dinner time.  I was grateful for a strong body and nutritional solutions that were already part of my routine. I still lost 5 pounds in spite of making myself eat even when I didn’t feel like it.

We made our way back to the gym about 3 or 4 weeks after Mattie’s death. The gym was good therapy for us. It was something we knew how to do without thinking. When everything else was changing and we had little reserve, this was something we could at least feel good about. And we knew we had to take care of ourselves.


I worked hard with my online trainer Carol Elizabeth coaching me, as well has having John by my side at every workout. We were a team. We were doing the best we could to take care of ourselves so that we could take care of our family. We knew how to do that. We had learned the hard way what happens when we neglect ourselves.

This was my prime. I was kind of proud of those abs!


I had promised Mattie that I would keep on living and breathing.

He had taught me so much. I wasn’t going to quit.


Right before our trip to Pennsylvania in July, I felt my shoulder start to act up during my workouts. It would catch funny. One day when I took off my sports bra (if you’ve worn one, you know what a pain it can be to get one OFF when your muscles are fatigued and your body is sweaty), my shoulder pulled and the pain was intense.

I took a couple of weeks off to let it heal. BIG mistake there was “taking a few weeks off” of EVERYTHING. I was discouraged. We were approaching the 1 year mark of Mattie’s death and I was dealing with massive anxiety.

We went to Pennsylvania in July. I celebrated my 47th birthday and was so grateful that even with all that we were walking through in our grief journey, my physical body was carrying me through it (unlike in that before picture taken shortly after our Ukrainian adoptions when I was completely burnt out and overweight).

This is my baby brother with me.


We got home from Pennsylvania and my shoulder pain escalated. I went through a few weeks of massage, chiropractic and acupuncture. Weeks piled on top of weeks and I was discouraged. We hit the 1 year mark of our loss and it took me right out- August was just hard.

Along with not working out, a few bad habits started to creep in. Forgetting to eat (yes that’s a problem), eating too much in the evening, drinking wine every night.

This slow slide backwards caught up with me. Unwanted pounds crept back on; discouragement was huge. I had been stuck for about two months.

Let’s face it, I had QUIT in several areas of life.

But I had promised my son that I would not quit living. I kept hearing my own words, spoken out loud at his funeral, echo in my head.

About 2 weeks ago, I chose to say NO to those sneaky little bad eating habits. I did a two day nutritional cleanse to restart my body, and I got on top of the food problem. Easy, actually it really was once I decided! I know how to do that. I coach people every day for Pete’s sake. It was time to whip it into gear for me!

I also started a 45 Day Leadership Growth Challenge almost 2 weeks ago because in my head, well since my body was falling apart, I could at least get stronger in my business and leadership abilities. Little did I know, this course would challenge my fitness goals too. The nerve!! Ugh!

I had a light bulb moment this week, and I want to share it with you.

Here’s what had happened to me. My all or nothing personality had just caved to nothing when I couldn’t give 100% in the gym.  I’m an all in kind of girl, and when I couldn’t give all, I quit. 

That “give all or nothing” phrase should really be banned!

Here’s my light bulb moment: 100% of me today should not be compared to 100% of me prior to injury!

So here’s what I have decided. I will give 100% effort to workouts that my body is ABLE to do. I will do it with 100% attitude. It will be 100% of ME!

Sure I’ve had to consciously shut down negative self-talk multiple times this week. Sure I’ve had flashbacks of what 100% used to look like with a non-injured body, and if I let it, it makes me mad!

But today I gave 100%.


And tomorrow I will wake up and give 100% too.

Because I’m worth it!

Because 100% of me today is a WIN!

PS. You’re worth it too. And if you have any desire to make some lasting changes in your life by taking care of YOU, please send me a message on Facebook or email me at teamlouxwellness@gmail.com. I’d love to have you join me! 

PSS. To anyone worried about my shoulder. I’ve been to my physician and have an MRI scheduled. I promise I’m not using it in anyway that would cause further injury, and I’m doing light stretching daily.


The Beauty of Vulnerability

There’s a profile on Instagram called Sociality Barbie, she pokes fun at those Instagrammers who post highly stylized, artsy photos that are far from reality. She presents a sterotype that we see all over social media. One that we easily fall into. One that is full of surface, showing our best face at the best angle, showing only our truly beautiful, inspiring, and funny moments, all while hiding behind the mask we create to find acceptance. I’ve done it, and I’m pretty sure most of us have.

Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 6.43.18 PM

I chuckle at this one- “true community & authenticity.”

I know that it’s very unlikely that Facebook or Instagram will suddenly start showing a surge of people sharing the true faces of our not so perfect, messy lives.  No one wants to see a picture of me  all grumpy with my kids at 6AM because I really just need an hour or two of silence before I’m human. And let’s be honest, no one wants to see the dirty dishes in my kitchen sink at 10AM.  I’m quite certain that no want wants to see me with my make-up half smeared off from crying in the corner of the dining room at 3PM because I just couldn’t handle one more thing today.

I get that we share our best and finest moments. I understand.

But you do realize that behind every shiny moment of perfection or inspiration or humor, there are 100 moments that aren’t so pretty.

Life is messy like that.

So what if, we were just a little more honest. What if we dared to show our weakness, our messiness, our less than perfect moments, and our very real and ever-present struggles?

Even just a little.

What if we were VULNERABLE?


What if you were so strong and brave that you allowed yourself to show up and be seen? My daughter did this on the blog this week. If you haven’t read her posts, click on Part 1 and Part 2.

How courageous is that! How beautifully vulnerable!

And that is what this blog has been to me, a place of vulnerability.

It’s that “living out loud” thing I talk about a lot. I do it because it’s good for my heart to express the things I’m experiencing; and I do it because I feel like it’s a gift to others when I extend my hand in the way of words and say, “You are not alone. I’ve walked through hard things too.”

Vulnerability in social media can only go so deep, I realize that. Not everyone feels safe enough or secure enough to handle what might happen with public vulnerability. I’m not suggesting that let it all hang out to just anyone.

I believe that vulnerability with those you love and trust is one of the most beautiful gifts you can give to yourself and to others. Vulnerability allows us to draw close to others, and in doing so to draw closer to God. Because I truly believe that some of the greatest revelations of God’s Love come to us through the gift of relationships.

I challenge you today to find some space to practice vulnerability with someone you trust. Knowing you are not alone brings incredible strength to your journey and the journey of those you love. Offer a very simple “me too” as they communicate a personal struggle.


Let me be very clear that “me too” doesn’t mean saying “I know exactly how you feel” because honestly we can’t ever know “exactly” how anyone feels. “Me too” can be communicated in many different ways that all allow for the person sharing their heart to know that they are seen and heard. The true value here is communicating to another,  “I see your pain. I have experienced pain. I’m sorry for your pain.”

Are you willing to show up and be seen for the sake of loving others and growing closer to God?

(I listened to Nadia Boltz-Weber this week talk about this very thing, it’s worth the listen- HERE)


“I Don’t Own You, But I Love You” by Isabelle Loux

Part two: I’m so grateful to watch my darling Isabelle come to life. As a mom I am so proud and overwhelmed by the way that she has allowed the things that have tried to bind her and keep her down, to truly be the things that also propel her to appreciate life. I’m blown away that she is willing to encourage others with her vulnerability. The words below are brave and beautiful.11990534_1125778077451653_6234852551163828045_n

I want to share my heart with you all because I believe that my pain has the opportunity to reach out and heal others. I’ve come really far in the past couple of months. I’ve been wildly determined to start feeling better. I’ve been tired of fighting a constant state of mental exhaustion. It’s scary to be vulnerable with so many people, but my heart is to help others heal. If my story reaches you, relates to you, or touches you in someway, then that is the biggest accomplishment to me.

I’ve fought depression and anxiety for the past few years. The word “fight” and “depression” don’t sound right together when you are in the middle of it. Depression takes away your strength and motivation. It is something that needs to be fought, but because of what it does to you, you don’t feel like you have the strength to do so.

I began to just accept depression and anxiety as a part of my life. I started looking at them as “my things” that I carried around, and I tried to somehow “manage life” in spite of them. That is such a painful thought. The thought that you “just cant.” You “just can’t” enjoy life the way that the people around you do. You, “just can’t” think clearly. You don’t have the motivation to do the things you absolutely love, and you struggle to interact with the people you care about. It is so painful to admit to yourself that you just don’t get to have the kind of life that you want so desperately, and you don’t have the strength to fight for. It was a strength I wanted to have, but I just couldn’t find it.

Finally I decided to started taking care of my body. I started eating right and exercising regularly. I fought through the days where I felt like I couldn’t move. I went on walks when I didn’t have the strength to workout. I gradually built up strength to the point where I could workout everyday and not have to fight so hard to overcome the depressive thoughts. I also started giving my body the nutrients it needed so my mind was stronger and the “just can’t” grew a bit smaller. Even on the days when I felt like I “just couldn’t,” my body and my mind were stronger and more capable of pushing through.

My mind finally felt like it was consistently clear for the first time in years. Not only did I feel like I could do the normal, everyday things with out having extreme anxiety/depression, but I felt like I could do the big exciting things I dreamed of. I could actually make goals and not think they were absolutely impossible. Finally, my world felt bigger, my boundaries were further apart, and I felt alive- like ACTUALLY alive.

There is not a thick fog over my brain anymore and on the days where that fog creeps back in, it doesn’t scare me because I know that I am strong and capable. I know what to do and when to do it. I understand my body and my mind more. I know what they need because I’ve actually been taking care of them. You don’t fully understand how what something needs until you have learned how to take care of it.

I can choose to look at anxiety and depression like my enemies. I can look at them with a bitter view as things that like to creep into my life and make things harder OR I can love them because without them, I would not be this strong.  I would not have learned SO MUCH about myself in such a short time, and most of all, I wouldn’t appreciate feeling alive. I am SO much more excited about life. I absolutely love every little beautiful moment. I can spend time with the people I love and feel present and capable of interacting and enjoying them. I can appreciate the little, funny things my siblings do, and they actually make me laugh.  It’s moments like those where I experience pieces of joy that fuel me. Before, those pieces of joy didn’t reach my mind. They couldn’t always get through that thick fog of anxiety and depression.

We have to learn to love the things that have hurt and caused pain. I can finally say to my depression, anxiety, trauma, pain and to the hurtful people in my life, “THANK YOU, you have made me strong, you have taught me so much about the value of loving and fighting for myself! In spite of the devastation and pain you have brought me, you have shown me the absolute beauty in the simplicity of being alive. I don’t own you, but I LOVE YOU.”


If you feel like life is too much and you’ve had thoughts about harming yourself or taking your life please reach out now. Don’t wait. Talk to someone who cares. Silence Hurts Us All

“There is Hope for You” by Isabelle Loux

This journey we have been on has been a family journey. I’m honored that my daughter Isabelle has chosen to share some of her feelings on the blog today that I hope will encourage you to believe that there is HOPE for your life. Please come back tomorrow for part 2.11947595_1126533064042821_7935977076854610690_n

To those who are ready to give up. Hold on a little longer, you are stronger than you believe. I’ve been in that place of complete hopelessness and weakness. It is terrifying to look at yourself in the mirror and only see a small trace of the person that is inside of you. The feeling of hanging on by a thread is a feeling that doesn’t seem like you could ever recover from. It feels like there isn’t a muscle left in your body and like your brain has grown into a weak machine that hardly operates.

I want to tell you something that you might not be able to believe right now but please, please try to take these words in.

YOU are strong. YOU are an amazing, beautiful creature. You may have forgotten who that person is, but I promise you can come to find them, they ARE in there. Do not seclude yourself, that is the place where the lies start to roll through your mind. Surround yourself with the people that love you. Go to those beautiful places that spark even the tiniest enjoyment in your heart. Make a list of all of the amazing, true things about yourself. Give yourself incredible amounts of grace; you don’t have to move mountains today. Just try to start with getting out of bed and going on a walk. Take care of your body and your brain will repay you. LOVE yourself more than you think necessary. You may have been through some messed up, broken things but YOU are not.

There is so much hope for you.


If you feel like life is too much and you’ve had thoughts about harming yourself or taking your life please reach out now. Don’t wait. Talk to someone who cares. Silence Hurts Us All

To My Children


I’ve told you this as you sat at the end of my bed late at night, during kitchen talks with you perched on the counter, and in casual moments hanging out in the Iiving room together; but I’m telling you again. I’m writing it down, because words matter.

I want you to read this when your heart fills with doubt and you allow yourself to be judged by the ridiculous standards the world imposes.

You are loved.

You don’t have to earn that. My love for you is not conditional. I will love you through your life journey and I will always be there. Nothing you can ever do would cause me to turn my love away from you.

You are valued and worthy.

I look at you and find myself moved by the gift your life is to this world. I know you’re still figuring it all out and I know that some days you don’t feel you have a clue. But guess what? I see it!

You are a beautiful creation.

You are exquisite. You are irreplaceable. Your life is a work of art. I look at you and it proves to me that God exsists and that He loves me.


Here’s what does not matter to me and should not matter to you either:

I don’t care if you get an A in Algebra or a C-. I don’t care if you choose to read a book or if you need to listen to it. I don’t care if you need to tell me what you feel or write what you feel.

I don’t care if you go to college or get your GED. I don’t care what letters may fall after your name or how many 0’s are in your bank account.

Here is what matters:

I want you to love well. I want you to be kind. I want you to change the world because you have discovered what makes you feel alive. Because, my darlings, the world needs you. The world needs your love, your kindness, your joy, your journey.

I want you to be brave. Not in the “tough it out” kind of way, or the “suck it up and deal” kind of way. I want you to be brave enough that you will try hard things, regardless of the outcome. Brave enough that you will believe that you are capable of magnificent things. Brave enough to not fear failing.

I want you to dream. I want you dream BIG dreams. I want you to believe that dreams can come true. I want you to grow up thinking that anything is possible. I want you to go for it and not be afraid.

I want you to look at what the world might call failure and see it as an opportunity to learn and grow and try it differently the next time.

I want you to learn because learning is fun. I want you to explore the world. I want you to shoot for the moon.


Oh and let me be clear on this, in case I haven’t been clear enough. I could NEVER be disappointed in you. (Unless of course you decided to become a mean, grouchy person who forgets to be kind and loving and in that case I might have to shake you up a bit.)

I will always be proud of you for pursing the things that make you feel alive. I will always be proud of a new work of art, the song you just wrote, an accomplishment at your job, a great business idea, learning a new skill- the things that come from the very heart of who you are.

I will be the first to celebrate your sucesses. I will celebrate the things that make you feel proud. And I will point out the successes that you may forget are the ones that really matter in life: when you encourage a friend, make someone laugh, see someone’s need and become the solution; when you reach out with kind words, try something new, or simply sit in silence and hold the hand of someone who’s broken and in pain.

My children, my greatest gifts, the truest reflection of Love in my life, oh how I love you.