You Have to Grieve Normal








You have to grieve normal
I advised as she cried
You have to grieve normal
Or you’ll feel like you’ve died

He’s not what you wanted?
She’s broken, you say?
He’s medically fragile
She can’t learn to play?

Rage, wail and sob
Shake your fist at the sky
Wrestle with the Almighty
And beg for a why!

Cry in the shower
Breathe through the fear
Don’t abandon yourself
And keep your loves near

Let company in
Lest misery take a toll
Eat food and sip wine
It’s good for the soul

Smile if you can
If you can’t, no big deal
They’ll be brighter days
Brighter days when you heal

These children are God’s lessons
I don’t say this in vain
These children will teach us
Through all of the pain

That life is much more
than pride, looks, or wealth
Life is joy, peace, & love
Kindness and health

So take a deep breath
You’ve got this, I swear
For the Almighty appointed you
A fierce mama bear ❤️

A Tale of Two Men

I was able to twist my husband’s arm today, and he agreed to write a post on an idea he’s been contemplating.  He has these great thoughts and analogies on grief and more importantly, on an ability to make lemonade out of the lemons of life.  I hope you enjoy his story as much as I have!

 A story of 2 men, both loved to run. Each of them lost a leg in separate accidents but they chose very different paths after their loss.

First man was devastated by the loss and struggled with the realization that he must go on with just one functional leg. He mourned the fact that he may never run again. Every morning he woke up and had to face the fact that he couldn’t hop out of bed without the help of a crutch. His doctor tried to convince him that there were alternatives out there but it was too much to think about. How could he ever say goodbye to the leg he lost and replace it with a mere prosthetic. He knew it would never be the same and he could never run like he did before. Some of his friends encouraged him to give it a try but some of them completely understood why he chose not to. Weeks turned into months and months turned into years. He learned to cope with one leg and a crutch. He stopped running but life went on. He was able to take up new hobbies and find some joy in things he wouldn’t have before. He still woke up each morning but was reminded of his loss as he looked down and was forced to relive his tragedy every time he reached for that crutch. His crutch was a constant reminder that he couldn’t do it on his own and that he wasn’t the man he once was. Running was not an option and now, it was just too late to try something new. He knew he had accepted a mediocre life but he had wrapped his mind around it and that’s just the life he must live.

Second man was also distraught but his struggles quickly turned to determination. He chose to see past the setback and immediately began seeking out his options. Many of his friends thought he was in denial and tried to convince him to wait and wrap his mind around his problem before he jumped in to such a drastic step. He didn’t care what they thought and sought out the best prosthesis he could find. He was surprised to find out that there were numerous options and his toughest decision was choosing which kind. He never even considered not running again so that was his utmost deciding factor. He went with the near bionic prosthetic that almost looked robotic. It was beyond difficult to adjust to walking on this metal leg that his body seemed to reject at every turn. He felt like he was a baby learning to walk again. To say it was frustrating was an understatement but he wasn’t known for giving up easy. He fought with it for weeks and even months but he didn’t give up and knew he was being given a second chance. As he learned to walk again he was faced with pain he could have never imagined and days that his prosthetic was thrown across the room in aggravation. He pushed through despite the pain and regardless of the setbacks and just two years after his devastating loss, he ran his first mile without any help. He was adjusting to his new leg and could see the possibility of a marathon in his future even though he had never run one with his two God given legs. He chose not to accept mediocre and strived to embrace a better life.

His loss was the same as the first man but his life was different. He looked past his dilemma and saw hope.

Two men, two losses, two very different endings… which one are you?

Just keep livin’

Tate Turns Ten!

Last night we drove home from a rare dinner outing as an entire family and Jada turns to Tate and very innocently asks, “Tate, how do you like your new blue bike?”  

The whole family out for dinner

 Ryan and I looked at one another in horror.  We had taken Josh and Jada out that morning to pick out Tate’s birthday present.  Problem was, we hadn’t given it to him yet!  He was getting it the morning of his birthday.  Ryan tried to brush it off as something that she was saying in complete ignorance, and I flat out lied, with a whole elaborate story, down to the minuscule details…
“Oh…. She must be talking about when I took her to Walmart the other day and we looked at princess bikes” I explained, not batting an eye. My husband looked on mortified at my ability to achieve such a statement with utter sincerity. I justified it later with the example of a wife asking if she looks fat in a dress and the husband says no even though she really does look fat. EXACT same sort of scenario – in my opinion.   
Tate just smirked at my fib and replied, “Yeah, probably.”
This morning, bright and early, he was given his “surprise” birthday gift. He loved it. 
 Over the past few days there has been quite a bit of deliberation over what the birthday boy wanted for his birthday dinner. He finally decided that it would be crepes with strawberries and whipped cream along with scrambled eggs and bacon.  His wish was his mother’s command, voila’! 
brown sugar bacon (aka “crack” bacon) doesn’t last long in our house
 The feast was completely consumed by all. 
And mom even had a little bit of time and energy left over to make some chocolate banana bread for tomorrow morning. 
  Just Keep Livin!!

Gettin’ Outa Dodge!

Word is getting out. I’m pretty sure the sign in our front yard has something to do with this occurring. Yes, we have put our house on the market, and we are moving; more specifically, we are moving to Tennessee. It’s crazy how it all came about but then again our life is some kind of crazy so what’s one more insane thing the Ronnes do? Right?


For years one of my favorite movies has been the Johnny Cash story portrayed beautifully in the movie Walk the Line. In the film, Mr. Cash resides at a sprawling ranch in the hills of Tennessee overlooking a wide river below. In one scene he serenely sits on his front porch and breathes in the view all around, content and peaceful. Every time I watched this movie I would think, “That would be my dream setting” but it always seemed a bit out of the realm of reality.

Last summer, one warm night while Ryan and I watched this movie together, I mentioned this very thought to him, and I was surprised to discover that he too had always dreamt of living in Tennessee; something he had also considered his “dream life,” with hunting, fishing, and other manly activities that could be accomplished in a state like this. As the conversation continued it quickly turned from an unrealistic idea that we could never pursue and progressed into a “Why not?” thought. That very night we got out the laptop and began searching for what we considered to be our perfect home. Incidentally, we landed upon it immediately.

Throughout the years I would scan this particular website that offered hundreds of remote homes around the country with lots of land. I always wanted to live out in the middle of nowhere with beauty and tranquility surrounding my every turn. I’m not much of a city girl, and I luckily married a man who is a bit of a hermit as well. Upon reaching the site we were after, we plugged in our search options; Tennessee, 20 + acres, five + bedrooms, and a wood burning fireplace. About three homes popped up. One we were both drawn to immediately, even remarking in that moment, “If that house is as good as it looks on paper, that’s the dream,” up in the hills of Tennessee, overlooking a river, sprawling, beautiful home with lots of land. We committed ourselves to praying about it over the next year, and we also continued to check on its progress often, watching it come down considerably in price over the next 365 days.

As people have heard of what seems to be our rash decision, they have openly asked, why would you want to move? First, we never felt like we were going to stay in Michigan forever. This was a good starting point, Luke was very established in the medical community and in his school here, and it was a bigger town so everyone didn’t necessarily know my story or our story and Ryan could remain somewhat incognito. We had an element of privacy in Michigan that we appreciated. That being said, there have been small issues that have been hard on him while living in my homeland. For instance, everywhere I go with him, I generally have a memory of that place with another man, my late husband. Ryan has been yearning for us to be able to explore and discover something completely new that only we as a couple will be a part of, and I completely understand and respect this issue. I am also ready to spread my wings a bit, get out of the familiar I’ve always known, meet new people, explore unknown lands, and just be a big girl and step out in faith to something I really feel excited about. Finally, I believe this will be a great adventure for us to accomplish together as a family. Until now, we’ve accomplished everything separately. I moved into the house with my four kids, Ryan moved to Michigan with his three kids, now we, the Ronne family, will be tackling this big, grand, scary, new adventure all together as one family unit. We will be forced to rely on each other and have each others backs like never before, and I believe it will only strengthen our bond and resolve as a family.

Back to how it came about….This January, we said to each other, if we can find a sitter to watch the kids over spring break and if the house is still on the market, we are going to drive down and check it out. We reached out to a few people about watching the kids but no one was able to commit. We viewed this as a closed door for the moment and decided to let it go until….

I received a text message from a dear friend about two weeks before spring break, “Hey Jess, do you still want a sitter?”

We accepted her up on the offer and made the 9 hour drive to what we hoped would be our forever home. We took about 2 steps onto the property and both gasped. It was stunningly beautiful, exactly what we had envisioned it would look like. The house was also everything I ever wanted, old, full of character and life, such peaceful tranquility as if we were the only souls around for miles. After a few phone calls that confirmed Luke’s options for care and school, we decided to put an offer on it and it was accepted. Our house went on the market yesterday. Now it’s in God’s good timing. Our kids are excited. There was one child that needed some time to wrap her mind around the idea of moving again but now she can’t wait. If you think of it, pray us through this summer, it’s going to be crazy. We don’t have a date in mind yet and we’d really like our house to sell before we officially move and that task in and of itself is going to be an adventure with 7 kids!


Just Keep Livin!!