Baby Compassion Family Motherhood Parenting


February 5, 2018

My Baby,

As I write this letter, you are just seven months old. I feel like you were born just yesterday. Everything people told me is true – the time goes by so fast! I can’t believe you are already seven months old and crawling everywhere! You sure have kept us busy in these seven months. We are very tired but oh so happy to have you in our life. Right now, your dad and I both work at the same company in IT full time. Mama also started blogging to make some extra income to put in your savings account. We work hard for you and we want you to have the best life.

Your dad and I are very different. He is a bit more introverted and likes his quiet and alone time. He is extremely smart and can fix just about anything. He was scared when you were born. He didn’t tell me that, but I could see it in his eyes. Everything he knows how to do comes with a manual, but babies don’t. He was worried about knowing what to do when we brought you home from the hospital. He did a great job adjusting and he loves playing with you so much. His favorite thing to do after work or on the weekends is crawling around with you and making you laugh. He is so good at that. You just started saying your first word which is “Dada!” I was really hoping you would give me the honor of your first word. I even say “Mama” to you all the time but nope, you said “Dada” first!

I am more outgoing and love being social. I love to meet new people and talk a lot. I have been told I can be a bit dramatic and have lots of feelings. Your dad thinks you are going to be more like me. You seem to love daycare. You love playing with your friends and adore your teachers. You even have a few cute girlfriends. When Maria is in the room I don’t exist because you just stare at her. She is pretty cute though so I can’t be too sad about it. My hope for you is that you will be a little bit like both of us. I hope you inherit our best qualities and learn from our mistakes. One thing your dad and I both agree on is that we hope that you are hard-working, kind and considerate to others.

When I was pregnant with you, I imagined what it would be like meeting you and seeing your face for the first time. When that finally happened, you literally took my breath away. I couldn’t hardly breath or talk because I just couldn’t believe that I was finally holding you in my arms and you were so perfect. My life changed that day, June 18th, 2017. It was one of the best days of my life and you are such a gift. I am so lucky to be your mom and I hope your dad and I have showed you an abundance of patience and love over these last 18 years. I am sure I will remind you how much I love you quite often – you may even get annoyed by it 😊 Your dad isn’t as mushy as I am, so just know that he has loved you with all of his heart since Day 1.

I am so eager to see what hobbies and talents you have. You are so observant and aware of your surroundings. You love to explore and try new things. You are also quick to learn and almost always smiling. It’s exciting for me to think of the person you will become. If you ever feel like we are smothering you or being too nosey, it’s only because we care so much, and we want you to be safe and do the right thing. I know that sometimes I will have to let you make your own mistakes as that is the best way to learn.

Go out into the world and do wonderful things. Be kind and courteous to others and put others first before yourself. You may have heard the phrase, “work smarter, not harder”. Well forget that, Mama is telling you to work smarter AND harder. That’s what your dad and I have always done and we have been rewarded for that. There is always a smarter more efficient way of doing things but don’t cut corners and always be honest. Whatever job you have, work at it as if you were the business owner. Don’t settle for ANYTHING. We want the best for you in all aspects of your life. If you are unhappy at your job – then go find something else that you love. Set your goals and expectations high because I know you can reach them. If I don’t like they way something is – I fix it or change it. Don’t ever tell yourself, “oh, I will be happy when I can make this much money” – be happy always, in every moment. Life is too short. Enjoy each day, each milestone, each year. Love your life every day. I love you so much my baby Axel. Happy Graduation Day.

Baby Compassion Family Health & Wellness Motherhood


December 17, 2017

I wanted to write this post while I was at my lowest point and feeling all the weight of symptoms of postpartum depression weighing heavy on my heart. I simply couldn’t bring myself to do it at that time because I didn’t want to do anything. Not even the things I loved.

I am not writing this post as a cry for help. I am now taking the steps to get myself help. I am writing this post for two reasons:

  1. To remind myself to not be stubborn and know when to seek help.
  2. To show others that it is okay if you need help. You are not weak and you are not alone. If I can help even one mom be brave and admit they need help then I’ve done my job.

As I write this post now, I am back to my happy, normal self. Thinking back to the days I was struggling still makes me cringe. I didn’t know what was wrong with me at the time. I felt out of control. The best way I can describe it is…I didn’t feel like me. For those that know me well, I am a very positive and happy person. I am quick to make friends and get along with all types of personalities. For me to think I may have been struggling with postpartum depression was hard to swallow. I still haven’t said it out loud to anyone and it even feels hard to type the words.

“…I didn’t feel like me.”

Once I started looking up the symptoms I was feeling and it pointed to postpartum depression I felt ashamed. I felt like a weak person and a weak mom. I had so much to be happy about and thankful for so why am I feeling like this? I started to pray to God for help because I didn’t know who to talk to or who would understand. My first thoughts were my husband or my mom but I couldn’t bring myself to have the conversation. I will have that conversation before I post this. It’s not that they wouldn’t support me or try to help me because they definitely would. It’s more that I felt embarrassed and scared about it.

As I continued to research, I found that this can be caused by a hormone imbalance. There were streaks were I was getting little to no sleep caring for sick baby Axel. I was worried about his health and I wasn’t taking care of myself in a lot of ways. I think the combination of that and other factors is what caused me to not feel like me.

I have learned there is postpartum depression and baby blues. The two get confused quite often. I wanted to make sure I knew what I was dealing so I could figure out how to help myself. I found this helpful chart from a maternal mental health specialist, Rachel Rabinor. After reading the article and reviewing the symptoms from the chart, I realized I had experienced every single symptom on the postpartum depression side.

The worst symptoms are the insomnia and excessive worrying. I have thoughts throughout the day and bad dreams at night about baby Axel’s safety and well-being. My heart hurts in my chest as I separate from him when I go to work. I want to enjoy these milestones and moments with Axel not waste them with constant worry! I try to re-focus my thoughts and train my brain but I keep reverting back to the worry and anxiousness.

So You Think You Have PPD, Now What?

The breaking point where I knew something was wrong was when I was feeling very thin and decided to weigh myself. I thought maybe I was thin from being sick and power pumping to get a good milky stockpile for Axel. When I saw the scale I felt scared. I had lost 13 pounds from my already pre-pregnancy weight. I realized I weighed less than I did in high school. Again, I didn’t tell anyone (except my mom) because nobody wants to hear a skinny girl’s problems. I was also so exhausted to the point where I couldn’t think straight or sleep which sounds silly. I couldn’t sleep because I was so anxious and worried about Axel. He had been to the doctor three times in a week for a number of things such as ear infection, thrush, pink eye, etc. How could I sleep when my baby is miserable?

I vaguely remember calling my mom with a shaky voice and trying to talk through tears. I just felt out of control and like I couldn’t even make a decision for myself. I have never felt like that before. Part of the problem may be related to comparing myself to the amazing moms in my life. My own mom raised four kids and just – did it all. My younger sister has two kids and always seems calm and together. I have one sweet, easy baby so why do I feel like I am falling apart at times?! Comparing yourself to others is never a good thing because what you may perceive might not be reality. I mean, yes, these moms are awesome but they had their struggles too! After the pep talk with my mom, I finally got some much needed sleep and by the next day I was feeling well rested and like myself again.

My mom said: “take advice from someone who was tired for 30 years. I wish someone would have told me it was okay to take time for myself.” 

The days following that I had ups and downs. Some days I feel on top of the world. I feel like super mom like I can conquer anything and so happy. Other days I begin to feel down and overwhelmed. Axel’s smile gets me through the hard times. Luckily, the good days outweigh the bad. I have only had a small handful of bad days.

The moment I realized I may need some professional help was when the girls at work told me I looked very thin and my pants were baggy. My response probably sounded flustered and defensive because I didn’t want to admit there might be anything wrong. These girls know me too well and finally flat out asked if I was okay. I admitted I was struggling and they encouraged me to make an appointment with my doctor and I did. Sometimes it just takes talking out loud with someone who cares about you for you to realize you need some help.

I have my appointment coming up tomorrow and I feel comfortable telling my doctor everything. She was with me throughout my whole pregnancy and delivery so she knows me well. One of my friends at work also told me our employer provides free counseling sessions for dealing with stuff like this which I plan on taking advantage of.

Even the happiest of moms can struggle with postpartum depression. I consider myself a positive and happy person. I have great, supportive people in my life and so much to be thankful for. Despite that, I am feeling these symptoms and now I know I need some help. I now understand that I’m not a weak person and I’m not a bad mom. I’m going to get the help I need so I can be the best mom I can be. I finally had the conversation with my husband and it went much better than I thought. I showed him the chart and let him read my symptoms. He is glad I am going to talk to my doctor and get the help I need. He also stepped up tremendously and helped me out with some of my chores which makes me feel less overwhelmed. I should have told him how I felt sooner! I just didn’t want him to think I felt this way because of him because that’s not the case at all.

One good thing this has taught me is that I am never going to pretend like I have it all together. When I first became a mom I wanted to maintain a spotless house, homemade dinner every night and always be positive and on top of everything. This may be reality for some, but it definitely is not my reality and I have come to terms with that. I take each day at a time and try not to get frustrated with my to-do list that I can never seem to tackle. My family comes first and my chores and need for achievement can wait.

Depression was an unknown territory to me. Sadly, I have had people I know end their lives because of this and it was something I could never fathom. I have never had suicidal thoughts but I feel I understand this at a level I never did before. If you feel you are struggling with baby blues, postpartum depression or any form of depression please talk to someone. Don’t feel ashamed or embarrassed like I did. Seek the help you need. You are not a weak person for seeking help.

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Career Compassion Faith


November 19, 2017

My Faith Background:

I decided I believed in God around age 15 with some influence from my parents. It seemed like a good thing at the time and it felt right. When I went to college, I started to feel overwhelmed when I learned about many other beliefs. It made me doubt my own. I left my small town with population of around 4k and continued to move to bigger and bigger cities throughout my twenties. During that time I met many different types of people when many different beliefs. Who is right?

Later in life I decided it’s not about who is right or wrong. It’s about accepting all and loving them for who they are. I shared these thoughts this week with one of my non-Christian friends and she shouted, “ can I get an Amen!” I thought that was cute. 😊 It’s nice when I can share my faith with others without them getting defensive or aggressive. I think it helps that I genuinely listen to their beliefs and ask questions. It’s about mutual respect.

During college and after college I was a part of small bible studies and organizations with fellow believers. I kept hearing people say things like, “I listened to God” or “God called me to this”. I remember being frustrated and thinking, what does that mean?! Can you actually hear God saying something to you? How do you know what he wants!? I felt like these people were crazy or maybe I was crazy. Or maybe I wasn’t praying right?

I finally figured it out when I went to a career fair my senior year of college. My plan was to get a job and move back to my hometown to be close to my family. I didn’t desire to move to any big cities or be all on my own. As I began talking with recruiters and applying for jobs, I found that I was getting multiple interviews and offers from the Minneapolis area and nothing from my hometown. I didn’t want to move to a big city! It sounded so intimidating at the time. There were a few different instances during this time were I realized this is God speaking to me. This is God opening doors and clearly He wants me to live in this big city. Yikes, okay. So I did.

I have lived in this area since 2012 and absolutely feel like I was meant to be here. Since then I have:

  • Learned SO MANY life lessons and gained experiences
  • Met extraordinary people who have changed my life
  • Got married
  • Bought my first home
  • Had two Great Danes (one of them SAVED MY LIFE)
  • Had a baby boy

So what does it really mean to take a leap of faith? My main intention with writing this post is to share Lisa’s story. Lisa is my beautiful co-worker and friend. The only thing more lovely than her long, curly hair is her faith and her heart. I just learned that she:

  • Sold her house and belongings
  • Re-homed her dog (at her parents’ house)
  • Quit her secure and comfortable corporate job
  • Is Moving to New Zealand

Here is Lisa’s leap of faith story:

Since I was a young girl, I thought the only path to take was going after the American dream. So, I went to college and pursued just that. By age 24, I had an amazing career, my own house and a goofy dog! It was everything I dreamed of (besides a family). Yet, something was missing. There was a hole deep inside my heart that I thought could only be filled with a marriage and children. But every relationship became less fulfilling. Each year, the hole grew deeper and wider.

April 19, 2016, a call from the doctor informed me I had an abnormal tumor on my ovary – borderline cancer. My first thought was, what does borderline mean? Isn’t it an all of nothing thing? Fast forward to today – I’ve had two surgeries to remove tumors and an ovary, and will be having a third after Thanksgiving due to the tumors returning. There is a high risk my other ovary will be taken and I will not be able to have children.

This story begins my journey to go into ministry. How is it connected? My whole life I’ve dreamed of being pregnant and having a family with LOTS of beautiful babies. The longing for it tore into the empty hole in my soul. When I was told I may never have children, I experienced Philippians 4:6-7: Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. I experienced an unexplained peace. People close to me asked how I was so calm. My only explanation was God’s promise in Philippians 4:6-7.

Before this experience, my faith was like smoldering red coals – warms up close, but nothing that would make too much of a difference. The peace I felt was a strong wind that swept over my heart, fanning the coals to flame. At that moment, God began to work powerfully in my heart, creating in me a vision for my calling. The fire was growing and I couldn’t stop it.

I continued moving forward though, despite the ache that was YELLING at me to stop and be still for a moment. When I was finally still, I felt the fire – a searing pain I realized I was working against. Depending on the context, fire can be detrimental or lifesaving. It was no different in my soul. The fire was there, but in the wrong context because I wasn’t willing to see the fire for what it was. Once I stopped to feel it, I realized the fire was HIM. It was a calling in my soul that went from painful to peaceful. The voice in my heart I had felt for so long could be filled with one thing…Jesus.

So here I am now. I’ve sold my house and many of my favorite possessions to pay off student debt. My resignation is submitted at work, my surgery is scheduled. On January 11, 2018, I will board a plane, taking a leap of faith with God to go on a five-month journey devoted to being like David – a woman after God’s own heart. I’m diving into an uncomfortable situation that will challenge me and allow me to grow into the person God is calling me to be.

You may wonder about my plans for after YWAM. I have a dream God has planted in my heart. To read more about what I believe my calling to be, check out my website (navigate to The Journey > Phase 2). To learn more about YWAM as well as follow my journey while I’m in New Zealand, you can follow my blog, YWAM Adventures, on my website here

When you choose to support me (through prayer and donations), you will be a key building block for this journey. Your involvement is JUST AS important in sharing God’s message, because I couldn’t do it without you. There are several ways you can become involved.

Thank you & blessings to you!”

Here are two ways you can support Lisa in her journey:

  1. Pray for her! There is a list of prayers needed here.
  2. Provide an online donation here through three different options.

Lisa’s story inspired me and made me emotional. It brought tears to my eyes to think of all she has been through and how brave she is for what she is about to do. I am looking forward to following her blog updates and hearing more about the work she is doing in New Zealand!

What was your leap of faith moment?

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Compassion Family


November 7, 2017


I was a daddy’s girl growing up. My dad was always super fun and was always coming up with new games to play. He encouraged me to read and always be creative. At a young age, I remember saying only boring people get bored. My dad had a way of making everything so fun and I couldn’t understand when I would hear other kids say they were bored. I remember thinking there is never a reason to be bored and you can always find ways to have fun. He taught me that.

I felt like I could tell him anything. I asked him about God and I even asked him in 7th grade when I could start kissing boys. He went out and bought me a promise ring that week. On my wedding day, I kept it together the whole ceremony. I was relieved to make it to the reception without needing to touch up my makeup from crying. During the father daughter dance – I lost it. I was crying like a big baby. I lost it while we were dancing when he said, “You don’t need me anymore.” I cried because at the time I didn’t have an answer for him and part of me was wondering if he was right. Three years into marriage I can say with confidence that I don’t need him in the same ways that I used to but I will always need him in my life.

In everything I do I try to make him and my mom proud. The things he taught me growing up, I still use in my everyday life. He used to tell us not to use the words impossible or I can’t. I focused on that while I was in labor with my first child this year. I was so scared and feeling discouraged after hours of pushing. I finally started to focus my mind and told myself I can do this. And I did. Yes, it is true I now have another hero in my life – my husband. But a husband never replaces a dad.  I have room for two heroes.


My dad enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1987. He was 18 years old and a newlywed. He had his first of four children two years after enlisting – me. My mother was a teenager, a newlywed, and a new mother, in a foreign country (Germany). She was all on her own while my dad was deployed. His assignments have taken him to Bosnia, Croatia, Germany, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Serbia. He remained on active duty until the late 90s and then transitioned into the National Guard and the US Army Reserves.

He has 25 years of service with the U.S. Army as a soldier and Army civilian. His other assignments have included:

  • Nuclear weapons guard
  • Police Officer
  • Sniper
  • SWAT Commander
  • Hostage Negotiator
  • Interrogator
  • Intelligence
  • Physical Security Inspector
  • Surveillance Specialist
  • Police Captain
  • Antiterrorism Officer

Some of his career highlights include:

  • Serving in Germany during the fall of the Berlin wall
  • Hunting war criminals in former Yugoslavia
  • Providing antiterrorism training to over 30,000 soldiers
  • Earning Lean Six Sigma Black Belt
  • Earning master’s in Business Administration

Although this may seem like an “exciting” life, if you asked him what his greatest accomplishments are he would say the almost 30 years of marriage and his children and grandchildren.


Last year, my mom received a message from a young woman in Bosnia. She was asking if she knew my father. My mom found it odd at first and was hesitant to respond but did.

The young woman responded with this:

“Hi there, This may sound extremely strange to you but I was wondering if your ( I’m assuming) husband was deployed to Bosnia ( camp McGovern) in 1996/1997? I am from Bosnia and I grew up there during the war. When Americans came for the peacekeeping mission my family and I met this soldier who would come and visit us with his buddies and an interpreter once in a while. If that was your husband I just wanted to thank him for restoring our faith in humanity and for protecting the very fragile peace in my country. He has left such an impression on my family and myself back then ( I was 13 years old.) Because of him as well as the other American soldiers I was once again able to walk the streets of my hometown without running for cover from sniper fire or mortars landing around me. For some reason, whenever the soldiers would come to visit my family we felt protected. We haven’t felt safe or protected for years before that. I have no idea what kind of an impression my country made on him, I hope it wasn’t all bad. I really hope I am not coming off as strange or insulting. I just wanted to say thanks to a soldier who made a difference.”

– Irma

When I heard about this, it brought me to tears. To know that my dad, my hero, made such an impact in peoples’ lives. It made me think about everything he has gone through and the huge sacrifices he has made, not just for our family, but for our country. What an amazing thing that he brought some level of peace and comfort to innocent people who don’t feel safe in their own villages or countries. What an astounding thing that decades later, this woman is still thinking about the kind things the soldiers did for them. Incredible. I wish there were more of these stories on the news.

This message gives me goosebumps every time I read it. Just the words she uses about restoring our faith in humanity makes me emotional. With so much terror and hate in the world – those are big words to use. To think my dad, the silly and fun guy that raised me, left that kind of impression and this woman took the time to reach out so many years later is unbelievable. I’m sure this is one of many impacts he made.

I was old enough to remember the times he was deployed. I remember being very sad and missing him. My mom would help me write him letters. At one point, he was gone for a full year. That’s hard on a family. To me, this message from Bosnia makes it all worth it. I can share my hero.


When you thank the Veteran’s this week, please take a moment to try and comprehend how much they really do and how these sacrifices affect them. For 27 years, I didn’t really think too much into the details (I was scared to go there). But this letter from Bosnia made me think and gave me a deep appreciation. These are some of the things I thought about:

  • Being deployed and away from your spouse and children for MONTHS
  • Being in dangerous situations and risking your life
  • The added stress of everything
  • The physical toll on the body – many are permanently impacted
  • Mental impacts – PTSD and Depression
  • Career after the military? What does that look like?

This Veteran’s day, and every day, I would like to honor all of the men and women who make these sacrifices for our country. Thank you for all that you do.

And to my favorite Veteran, my dad, thank you for the sacrifices you have made for this country, for our family and for me. People like you make this country a great place to live and you will always be my hero.

This post may contain affiliate links meaning I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only promote products that I have personally used myself or believe in. Please see my Policies tab for more details.

Career Compassion


October 19, 2017

Our co-workers can quickly become close friends. After all, we are spending 40+ hours a week with them! I was nervous about my new job at first. The team was full of women! At my last company, I only had one other woman on my team of Business Analysts. The rest were men. It was great. The teams worked well together and there wasn’t much drama. I was most nervous that there could be more drama with that much estrogen. Fortunately, I was way wrong. This group of girls became my companions and it was easy. They are all a little older than me and have mentored me on a work and personal level in many ways. They made me feel like part of the group since day one. My very first day, one of the girls left me a little gift bag at my desk with a welcome note. How sweet! They have also surprised me with a grad party with cake and balloons, a beautiful plant when my Great Dane passed away, and my first baby shower! These girls are like family.

So when I got a text from one of my co-workers that her son had passed away, I was devastated. Just a few days prior we had been chatting at work about my baby boy, Axel. She was reminiscing about when her son was a baby. In a mother’s eyes, they are always our little babies right? I had to read her text several times because I couldn’t believe my eyes. It shattered my heart and made me feel numb. I didn’t really sleep that night – I hugged Axel and cried.

All I wanted to do in that moment was drive over to her house to hug her and be with her. But I also wanted to respect her and give her time and space to process. I started thinking of ways I could be there for her or help her through this tough time. How do you move on from that? She has two other children so I knew she would be so strong and she was – what a great mom.

So here are some of the ways myself and my other friends at work helped her through this tough time. These women got creative and it meant so much to her to feel the love and support!

  1. Donate PTO: What a brilliant idea! What a great way to give her extra time she needed to mourn. I am sure there will be mornings where she just doesn’t want to get out of bed. She now has extra PTO to take that time off and doesn’t have to worry about the financial aspect of taking off more time.
  2. Card & Money: This is always a kind gesture. Funeral costs are outrageous and even more overwhelming when it’s unexpected. Chipping in some money to take off some of that financial burden goes a long way.
  3. Attend the Funeral: The look on her face to see a group of her co-workers walk into the memorial service was something I will never forget. In that moment, I could feel how loved and supported she felt. It still makes me tear up to think about it.
  4. Prepare & Deliver Meals: She recently took on a vegan diet so some of the ladies looked up amazing vegan recipes and delivered them to her. She didn’t have much of an appetite at first but they were freezer friendly so now when she doesn’t feel like cooking, she can take out a homemade meal to heat up!
  5. Send Encouraging Words or Pictures: I sent her a few texts and a comforting quote from pinterest. I just wanted to remind her that we were all there for her whenever she needed. It’s hard to know what to say in these circumstances. I think just a simple text with a prayer or nice thought goes a long way.
  6. Make Them Laugh: When they finally return to work, they probably don’t want to cry and talk about everything. My assumption is she is trying to figure out how to move forward in her life and get back into some “normal” routine. Whatever that may look like. In her first weeks back, we joked around with her and tried to treat her as normal as possible and I think she appreciated that. Of course, if they do need to cry or talk about it – let them!
  7. Give a Plant: Flowers are lovely but they die and that might hurt them emotionally. Give them a nice plant to bring home or put at that their desk. Something alive and beautiful – something to take care of. My co-workers did this when my dog died and I look at my plant and smile every day.
  8. Be There to Listen: Try not to ask a lot of questions that may stir up emotions. Just be there to listen when they need to talk. Remind them that you are there to talk whenever they need it.
  9. Leave Gifts at Their Desk: When they do return to work, surprise them with little gifts to make them smile. Something like chocolate, their favorite coffee drink or a little encouraging note. When my friend returned to work she was very sick with a cold so I dropped off a box of Kleenex at her desk because she mentioned she didn’t have any.
  10. Take Over Their Projects: The very last thing they want to do is stress over work when they are trying to process the loss and plan a funeral. Take the initiative to take over any open tasks or projects they are working on and see them through.

So, if you are in the unfortunate situation where you need to lift up a co-worker, try one or several of these ideas. It is so hard to know what to say so a little gesture like this can say it all. Remember, everyone processes loss differently. Some need to talk through it and want lots of support and others may want to be left alone for a while. Your main goal is to make them feel loved and supported in their time of need.

Please comment if you have any other ideas or if you have tried one of these things. Or, if you yourself have been through a loss and your co-workers did something special for you. I would love to hear your stories. Thanks for reading.

This post may contain affiliate links meaning I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only promote products that I have personally used myself or believe in. Please see my Policies tab for more details.