It Is What It Is








We live in a world
Where the truth will not set you free
In fact it’s quite skewed
For you, me, and we

And for those like my son
Who can’t talk, walk or run
Disabled from birth
And told he was done

Told there would be no life
For him or for me
But we hung on to hope
Of what we prayed we might see

My boy grew & he grew
With a burden to bear
He surpassed every odd
But he needs total care

We’ve walked hand in hand
As I’ve been his guide
Through every choice
I’ve been by his side

And now he’s 18
An adult so they say
He gets to choose!
What he wants day by day!

He’s competent now!
There are those who will preach
Some even say
Stop being a leach!

Self determination! They yell
For all he will be!
But how does this work
With a lack of ability?

It is what it is
A major defect
Caused prior to birth
His lot had been set

That he would need care
For all of his days
And require a voice
To direct all his ways

And so says the court
When it quickly picked me
And appointed me boss
To carefully oversee

Yes, we all want to self govern
But some simply can not
In America’s melting pot

My son is unable
To care for himself
So that’s why I do it
In sickness & health.

Our world has a problem
With facing reality
We simply cannot say
What I want, shall it be!

It’s a form of absurdity
To think it be so
To ignore limitations
And cultivate woe

We must speak the truth
For our disabled loved one
And enable a future
As bright as the sun

Yes, speaking the truth
Might be a great dare
But a small price to pay
To ensure continuous care.

Image of me becoming Luke’s forever caregiver & guardian over zoom.

Imaginary Problems

I’m really good at anticipating problems and then creating solutions for my imaginary problems. I think a lot of women are particularly skilled in this area, and maybe some men too, although I haven’t met many.

A plan for a plan for a plan is my motto (along with “just keep livin” which some unknown actor recently claimed as his own). 

For example, when Luke was diagnosed with a stroke in utero, I got to work. I researched all of the potential problems that could arise from hydrocephalus, all of the worst-case scenarios, and then once I had a firm grasp on what that scenario might look like, I researched the therapies, treatments, and options to mitigate the possibility of the worst case scenarios and instead ensure that he (and I) would live healthy, normal lives.

That was my one and only plan.  

I poured oodles of time into anticipating every problematic scenario imaginable and then the appropriate solution to the imaginary problem in case it occurred.  I did this for months, and then the Lord said nope. That’s not MY plan for your life or his. 

I did not avoid one single issue I had planned for; instead, I received the equivalent of the worst-case scenario which I had learned about during my months of pre-planning.  The worst case scenario in the eyes of the world, but the best case scenario, in the eyes of my Savior who above all else wanted to use the experience of being Lucas’s mom to make me more Christlike and bring glory to his name.  

I acted the same way after my late husband was diagnosed with brain cancer and then again when I became a mom to 7 children and again as Ryan and I confronted a lifelong addiction, and again, most recently, as we’ve walked through a difficult period with one of our children. 

Each time I become a little less obsessive and throw up my hands in surrender a little bit earlier than the last time and declare, “You are God and I am not, blessed be the name of the Lord” as the Lord convicts, yet again, of making my imaginary problems a form of idolatry.  Yes, anticipating problems can very easily turn into an idol.  As I worship at the altar of “Jessica’s grasp for control” rather than submitting and surrendering to his ultimate will, it is exactly that – an idol.  When my faith in Google replaces my faith in God, that’s a problem.  

A BIG problem. 

I’ve been convicted time and time again about certain idols in my life, and this issue of control seems to top them. These are hard and holy lessons I’m constantly learning as I become more like Christ, which is the goal, right? As believers, we long for others to see our Savior’s love through us and around us, and in order for this to occur, we must become less and he must become more because only then, will the light of true surrender lead to peace. Only then are we able to release our imaginary problems to the one who is truly able to control any situation.  

Just keep livin. 

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7



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Find Your Tribe

If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Ecclesiastes 4:10 

Ryan traveled out of town over the weekend to help my mom move from Florida to Michigan. This out-of-town traveling became a regular occurrence when we lived in Tennessee as he went to Michigan to prep our land for a house build or worked on a flip house he had purchased in another city. Since our move to Michigan two years ago, he has not had to go out of town, and it’s been really nice.  When we lived in Tennessee, my anxiety would rise days before he had to leave, and in true coping style, after he left, I cleaned the house, made trips to Goodwill, played games with the kids, and worked late into the night.  Productivity is a trauma response (and my go-to for sure!), and this response was in full bloom whenever I was solo parenting.  

There is something about being the only one responsible for all 8 children and a son who was profoundly disabled that feels like a massive load to carry alone, and when we lived in TN we had very few people to rely on.  We were strangers, and we lived in a rural town.  I was a blunt midwesterner, and often people weren’t really sure what to make of me and my funny accent.  When Ryan left, I felt alone and like the whole world (or at least my little world) was on my shoulders.  

This was a big reason we moved back to my home state.  We were desperate for community and traded in the sunshine, sweet tea, and isolation for snow shovels, breweries, and our tribe.  

It was a good move.  

This past weekend was extremely busy, personally, as a single mom, and professionally.  I was the keynote speaker for an event and scheduled to share information about The Lucas Project at church on Sunday – both services – with the kids in tow – and Luke. A couple of my close friends knew I was feeling overwhelmed and offered to help in any way. In the past, I probably would have resorted to my pat answer, “I’m fine” but not this time. As the anxiety continued to rise, I accepted the help. I let people enter into the chaos with me, and it was a gift to feel loved by my community. 

We made the right move by trading in our sunshine experience for a tribal one – even a tribal one that resides in snow most of the time 😉 I feel seen and cared for here, and there is no amount of sunshine that can rival the feeling of true community.   

I know many special needs families find their communities online and yes, it’s a form of community, but nothing can replace real-life people stepping in and helping out when necessary.  If you don’t currently have this in your life (even if you’re not part of a special needs family!) you need to search for it as your life depends on it.  You might even have to move, but find it, please.  It might just be the thing that saves you.  

Just keep livin.



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True Gold








Today was one of those days where I spun my wheels & didn’t accomplish much “work” but then I stopped & reflected.

I woke Luke up, got him ready & put him on the bus.

I did a load of laundry & put it away.

I prayed with my husband.

I reordered Luke’s meds.

I washed two big pots.

I had a phone review with Luke’s caseworker.

I made a deposit at the bank.

I showered!

And walked two miles.

And did 30 pushups.

(Before my shower)

And registered my teen for school next year.

I sent my husband a text asking about his day.

And helped Annabelle wash 24 eggs.

And made a batch of banana bread.

And ran home just in time to get Luke off the bus when his caregiver canceled at the last minute.

And filled out paperwork from his folder.

And set out another package of briefs for the following day.

And brought the kids to after school activities.

And helped Annabelle practice her violin.

And coordinated a playdate for my daughter.

And ordered a birthday present for a party for my son’s friend.

And made dinner (leftovers, but still…)

And ordered groceries.

And paid a bill.

And went on a date with my husband.

And kissed my youngest goodnight.

Upon reflection, I did not accomplish much official work, but I did accomplish a lot in my true ministry, the ministry of family & that’s where the true gold lies.

I accomplished the ministry of motherhood.

Just keep livin.



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Lovin' With Grit and Grace Book Cover

Lovin' with Grit and Grace