It all started with the fire.

We had only been married a few months and we had plans. He was going to become a top commercial real estate appraiser and I was going to finish school. We were going to wait exactly 5 years to have kids. If we were even able to have kids, which I was convinced I was not able to(another post, maybe). We were going to go on vacations and have a savings account.

But then the fire happened. I had started back to school the day before. We went to bed early. We had only lived in the rental two weeks. A fire started in the wall behind the chimney. I woke up to the smoke alarm and the house alarm. I fell back asleep. I woke up again. And I couldn’t wake him up. The entire wall in our living room was on fire, as was the ceiling. I grabbed his feet and had to drag him out of the house. Finally, he woke up. We lost our couches. We lost so much. But we were able to save our wedding photos, and later found the crucifix from his grandfathers funeral in the rubble completely untouched. It was on the wall that burnt down. The week before the fire we had made an appointment to get rental insurance*. Our appointment was for the day AFTER the fire happened.

Instead, the day after the fire I woke up in a grubby hotel. My hair still smelled like smoke even though I’d just showered. I had a raspy cough and I drove back to the college I’d started the day before, dropped my classes, and sold back my books. We couldn’t afford for me to stay in school. I didn’t know if we’d ever get through it.

But we did.

I got a second job. He got a third one. We finally got into another apartment after staying with some friends. Someone from the church donated their old couches to us. We still had plans but suddenly everything was uncertain. We decided I’d go back to school after we got back on our feet. I got a horrible stomach bug that wouldn’t go away. A member of an aerobics class I was teaching said to me, after I ran out to throw up in a garbage can, “You aren’t pregnant are you?” Later I bought a pregnancy test, and saw two little pink lines. We’d wanted to wait five years. We’d been married five months. And I was already eight weeks along.

I was weeks away from giving birth to Jonah, as we watched the second plane hit the Twin Towers live on the television. We had just bought our first home. I was only working one job. And he was swamped at his job, which was a good thing because He was paid solely on commission. I saw our entire world shift, as we watched in sheer terror that day. Dyp felt God whispering something in his heart. He needed to do something different. He couldn’t be the person watching others run in to help. He needed to be one of the helpers. As the weeks passed, the economy started to plummet from the uncertainty people were feeling.

We had Jonah. My labor went wonky with a lot of complications for me. But Jonah was perfect, with curly blond hair and a little round face. He was the best thing that ever happened to us.

Dyp only got to take one day off work when Jonah was born. But then the work stopped coming. No one wanted appraisals. We stopped getting paid. We had this new baby. A new home. He started applying for other jobs**. Pushing a broom at night at the grocery store near our house. Being a security guard at a church a couple other nights a week. He got on the reserves with a small town near us. So much of that time was such a blessing because we had this little person neither of us could live without. But there was a lot of fear of what we were going to do. I didn’t know if we’d ever get through it.

But we did.

He got offered a job in Eugene, where we’d went to college. We transitioned our little family there. Our house sold. We bought a new one. We found out we were pregnant again a few months later with Daniel.

Danny came early, in a labor that took less than two hours, to be caught by my mom. Born on his Dad’s birthday. He was the best thing that had ever happened to our family.

At this point we’d stopped making plans. Whenever we had savings something would happen and they would disappear. There was always something.

We got pregnant again. I’d never been so sick in my life. Fainting weekly. Multiple Hospital trips for IV fluids. Vomiting constantly.

We lost Mary, our first daughter. I became a different person overnight. I stopped sleeping in my bed on nights when he was at work. I fell asleep every night on the couch to “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.” I had to know where my kids were every single moment. I hugged them longer. I couldn’t look at baby girls, and held my breath around pregnant women. I didn’t think we’d ever get through it***.

But we did.

Then we had Micah. He was the sweetest, most content baby. He was a miracle. He would watch my every move. I carried him everywhere. He was so joy filled that we all caught it. He was the best thing that had every happened to our family.

And a couple years later Grace Mary joined us. She was fussy and mad for her first few months. She was teeny and adorable, and salty about every single thing. But when she first smiled, we all melted. Huge dimples took up her entire little face. Once she started smiling, she never stopped. When she started talking, she never stopped. Then she started singing, and her voice became the background music to our lives. She was the best thing that ever happened to us.

There was a year when all our kids were constantly sick. They got the swine flu. They all got pneumonia. Dyp and I got strep throat SIX times over a summer until we found out Danny and Micah were carriers and kept infecting us. We had the stomach flu all at the same time. I got a blood clot in my leg(twice). Grace had kidney issues. I got influenza and fainted at the kids preschool during a Thanksgiving celebration. Dyp only had 6 hours of sick leave left. We were so scared of anyone else getting sick. I didn’t know how we’d ever get through it.

But we did.

There were more seasons and years like that. Grace’s constant kidney issues that plagued the first five years of her life. Jonah’s fifth grade year. Helping a sick sibling. Danny’s stomach issues. Micah having a growth removed that had to be biopsied. My Dad’s heart issues. My Papa John’s cancer. My Father in Law’s heart attack. Losing family members. Losing friends. One of my children’s anxiety after a traumatic event. My anxiety. Stress at Dyp’s work. Worrying about our families safety. Losing Robert. Losing my eyelashes and clumps of my hair and having to battle an invisible illness for years until I finally got a diagnosis. Friends losing children. Friends losing spouses. Big work stresses. Just so much stuff. And during those seasons I didn’t know how we’d ever get through it.

But we did.

And then 2019 came. I don’t even want to rehash this year. I feel like all I do is rehash it. By April I wrote that I felt like I’ve aged 10 years and it’s true. I look and feel older. So many people have shown up for our family, and yet my circle has become even smaller. I think because I’ve started second guessing everything this year. All of us have dealt with big stuff. A lot of loss. The kids have had many growing pains of growing up. Learning that even though you love someone you can’t always be together. That sometimes the person you thought would be your best friend forever won’t. Raising teenagers is so hard. Raising a daughter is so hard.

I told my older kids recently I’ve felt like a failure most of this year. Failing at parenting. Failing at housework. Failing at friendships. Failing at my job. Failing in my faith. Failing at conversations. Failing at showing up. Failing at exercise. Failing at our finances. Failing. Later one of my kids shared He had been feeling the same way.

I don’t really know if things will be different in 2020. I’m just sick of thinking about all the things that went wrong. Every facet of our life has suffered this year. Things I never thought I’d worry about. Issues I’d never thought we’d have to deal with. Many times I thought we’d never get through it.

But we have.


When my faith was shaken, God reminded me that He is bigger. He is bigger than a building. He is better than systems or rules that can do damage. He is bigger than sickness and despair. He is bigger. And He is real.


My husband is a rock. When I’m anxious, he’s calm. Even when our relationship has been uncertain, he has never doubted everything will be ok. He has still loved me when I’ve been unlovable.


There are really good people in the world. People that love you even though you cancel last minute, or don’t make you talk when you get choked up at coffee. Who just sit with you and let you be broken. Who you can ask for prayer from, and who still ask you to pray with them.


“Man’s rejection, is God’s protection.” My mom said that to me this year, when many things I really wanted to work out didn’t. At the time I didn’t understand, but now I do.


It’s never too late. Only a handful of people know I went back to school this fall. Yeah, I can’t believe it either. But here I am, back in college as my oldest prepares to start next year.

And Because…

We are all still here.

We still pray as a family at night.

We are raising beautiful, kind, imperfect humans who have bigger faith than we do.

We are still together.

We have found our hope again.

2019 may have broken us, but we are still blessed.


It all started with a fire.

It may have changed our big plans. But it also saved our lives. Because God had much bigger ones for us.

Love, K

*ps. Get rental insurance.

**My Husband has the best work ethic of anyone I’ve ever known. He has always worked so hard to provide for us. Bonus: because of that example- our kids are the same way.

***We got through it, but we never will be over it.