Our Story

Daniel and I both grew up in the same town and we met in the 6th grade!!  Daniel fell in love with me right away but I however did not ;) I was Mrs. Claus in the Christmas play that year at school, and he went home and told his Mom he was in love with Mrs. Claus.  I, of course played hard to get and we ended up just becoming really great friends.  Both of our families attended First Baptist Hurst and that is where I was saved at a youth retreat when I was 15.  I had been through confirmation class when I was younger but never truly understand what it meant to give my life to Christ until that day.  

Fast forward about 7 years...It's 2005, I'm 22 and have just graduated from college.  Daniel has finished fire academy and is working for the City of Brownwood.  It is Christmas night and I get a call from Daniel and some other high school friends to go see a movie.  Well the rest is history because from then on Daniel and I were inseparable.  I remember thinking I guess I really did love him way back when ;)  We were engaged on November 4th, 2006 and married on April 14, 2007.  I love how God brought us together when we were so young but continued to shape our hearts for each other so many years later...
Our 1st year of marriage I started teaching and Daniel was now working as a fireman for the City of Lancaster.  In October of 2008 we were THRILLED to go to the doctor and see this...
 9 months later we welcomed our beautiful 1st born into the world!!  
Briley Ann
June 15, 2009
8 lbs 9 ounces and 20.5 inches long
She is the 1st grandchild on both sides so you know what that means...she is very spoiled loved.  Briley's arrival was such a wonderful blessing for our family and we are so thankful to God for her.

In December of 2009, Briley was 6 months old and we were just getting excited to celebrate her first Christmas with family.  The month before Daniel's Mom had come down with an awful cough and congestion that would not go away and had gone to several doctors trying to figure out if this was the flu, pneumonia, or even mono.  On December 15, we finally received the news of what was making her so sick.  Cancer.  Ugh I hate to even have to type that word.  Tammie had cancer tumors in her lungs, liver, and we would later find out her colon as well.  It had originated in her colon and was diagnosed as colon cancer.  She was only 49.  This was devastating news to our family.  She immediately started intense chemotherapy and continued treatment through the following year.  She had a lot of ups and down along the way but her faith in the Lord never faltered.  She was never angry (boy we were though) and she never questioned why.  She had amazing strength and we looked to her for courage during this difficult time. 
{Briley and Nonnie, Christmas Day 2009, the day she came home from the hospital after being diagnosed}

Throughout the next year we enjoyed every holiday and birthday that came.  We were treasuring every moment with Tammie...
 {Bald is Beautiful!!!)
{Easter 2010}
 {Tammie's 50th!}
  {Daniel's 27th}

In October of 2010, Daniel and I had some very exciting news to share with our family...
We were pregnant with our 2nd baby and so excited!!  It was such a wonderful blessing and really gave our family (especially Tammie) a sense of hope for the future.

Around Christmas of 2010, a year after Tammie had been diagnosed, her health really started to suffer.  We were so thankful to celebrate Christmas with her, but in the back of our minds felt uneasy about how much she was struggling.
{Christmas Day 2010}
{January 2011}
We kept focusing on God's plan and just kept praying he would heal Tammie/Nonnie.  In late January, Tammie went in for a procedure to get her lungs drained to relieve some of the pressure, like she had done many times.  After the procedure was over, Tammie was having a hard time waking up and it was that night that we were told by her oncologist that this is the body's way of showing it can't fight anymore.  That night in the hospital room we told Tammie, along with Daniel's Dad and sister, that we were having another girl.  We were naming her Hadley D'Layne.  Her middle name was after her Nonnie.  5 days later Tammie went home to be with Jesus.  We were DEVASTATED.  We did have a small sense of relief that her pain was over but we were still angry, sad, hurt, and wanted her to be with us.  We all wore yellow to her funeral because it was her favorite color...

By this time I was around 17 weeks pregnant and even with all of the stress of losing Daniel's Mom, everything with Hadley was progressing along perfectly.  Over the next few weeks we clung to each other and just tried to find a new kind of normal without Tammie.  On February 12th I woke early in the morning and realized that my water had broke.  I was only 19 weeks...

I was admitted to the hospital and stayed there for the next 19 days.  Getting numerous sonograms, shots to stop labor from occuring, medicine to keep me healthy and free of infection, you name it I was getting it.  I was on strict bed rest and though my water was still slowly leaking, Hadley was still doing ok with very little fluid.  On February 27, I started to have severe contractions that couldn't be stopped.  The doctor was about to start me on magnesium to help stop labor and when he checked me he realized that Hadley was already coming down the birth canal.  She was breech so I went it for an emergency c-section at only 22 weeks 6 days.  I asked the doctor to please put me completely to sleep because I could not handle being awake.  In my heart I already knew that Hadley was not going to make it and I couldn't stand the thought of hearing no cry come out.  

On February 28, 2011 our 2nd daughter was born.  Hadley D'Layne weighed exactly 1 lb and was 11 and 3/4 inches long.  She was so tiny but absolutely perfect.  The doctors did everything they could but her living body was never meant for earth.  She was meant to live in me for 4 months and then spend eternity in Heaven.  Daniel brought her to me and I sang Jesus Loves Me to her just like I did every night for her big sister.  This was the most precious moment of my life.  Holding my daughter and at the same time knowing she was being held by Jesus in Heaven.  I have never felt closer to God in my life.  I can't explain to you what this moment was like.  I can only tell you it was absolutely beautiful.  

Where did we go from here?  We had only said goodbye to Tammie 6 weeks ago and now we were burying our premature daughter?  We had two funerals in our family in 1 months time.  Again, we were ANGRY, HURT, BROKEN...we hadn't even begun to grieve Daniel's Mom and now we had to grieve the daughter we were never going to get to see grow up??  This is the plan God had for us??  Really?!?!  I was angry...actually I was pissed.  Lucky for me God could handle everything I threw at Him and He started leading me towards this blog to get my grief out.  It helped tremendously.  Literally the 1st 6 months after losing Tammie and Hadley I blogged at least once a week.  It was extremely therapeutic for me and I shared it with family and friends.  The response I got was amazing and was so healing for my heart.  People I had never met began to reach out to us and explain how much our story had meant to them and made them look at their own faith in a different light.  

WOW.  A sweet precious 1 lb little girl was doing BIG things in people lives.  My anger slowly started to subside and it just became extreme pain.  The song we played at Tammie and Hadley's funeral helped get me through many hard days that first year and it still does...

Mercy Me 
Bring the Rain

I can count a million times
People asking me how I
Can praise You with all that I've gone through
The question just amazes me
Can circumstances possibly
Change who I forever am in You
Maybe since my life was changed
Long before these rainy days
It's never really ever crossed my mind
To turn my back on you, oh Lord
My only shelter from the storm
But instead I draw closer through these times
So I pray

Bring me joy, bring me peace
Bring the chance to be free
Bring me anything that brings You glory
And I know there'll be days
When this life brings me pain
But if that's what it takes to praise You
Jesus, bring the rain

I am Yours regardless of
The dark clouds that may loom above
Because You are much greater than my pain
You who made a way for me
By suffering Your destiny
So tell me what's a little rain
So I pray

Holy, holy, holy
Is the Lord God Almighty

Over the next year, I needed to do everything I could to keep Hadley's presence in my heart and in our family's...

In January and February of 2012 we celebrated 1 year of Tammie and Hadley being in Heaven.  It was the hardest year of our life but we made it.  God literally carried us that entire year.  He was no longer my friend I prayed to and would occasionally have a quiet time with...He was my best friend that I couldn't go a day without.  

In May of 2012, Daniel and I found out we were pregnant with our 3rd child.  We were excited but mostly scared.  I prayed so hard for this baby to be our Hope for the future.  Sadly, our sweet Baby Hope never developed and I had an early miscarriage at 7 weeks.  You can read more on Baby Hope's story here.

God really has put so many amazing blessings in mine and Daniel's life.  Has he put hard times?  Yes.  Has it been easy?  No.  Do we still ask why? YES!  

Daniel and I know that our story isn't an easy one, but...
we love our family
we love our children
we love each other

I know he is not done with our story...we pray everyday another baby is in our future.

I know deep in my heart he will never be done with our story.  Our story never ends...it will continue for eternity in Heaven with Tammie, Hadley, Baby Hope, our Heavenly Father and His Son.

Thank you for taking the time to read our story...I hope it blesses you like it has us!!  
"God gives, God takes, God's name be EVER blessed." -Job 1:21