My Midlife Moments is a new blog started in June by wife and mom to three, Heather – but I predict it will be on the first tier of many Blogline lists very soon.
From the first moment I landed on her page, I knew I had found a friend. You know those blogs where you just want to read every post, where you know that you are going to learn and be inspired? My Midlife Moments is one of those!
Reading Heather’s honest, fresh entries makes me wish she lived down the street and I could just hop over for a cup of tea and chat all afternoon.
And let’s not forget her gorgeous look. Heather’s design uses one of my favorite colour schemes and is clean and uncluttered. Like her writing, her blogs design reveals her unique and beautiful spirit.
Heather has had more than her share of grief and struggle in her life as she and her pastor husband raise their three children, the youngest living with a critical medical condition which has left her severely disabled. But this suffering has not destroyed Heather’s faith.
You will be inspired as you read and get to know Heather.
I am such a fan of Heather that I asked her if she would let me interview her for 5 Minutes for Mom and let you get to know a bit about her blog My Midlife Moments and about her experience as a mom of a special needs child.
“My Midlife Moments”
Janice: Heather, thank you so much for doing this interview with me. I am so excited to chat with you today. May I ask first do you have a background in writing and design? Have you been reading blogs for a blog time? Your blog is so new but it has a rich depth to it as if you were a seasoned blogger.
Heather: I am a graphic designer (although I did not design my current layout!) I am in the process of writing a book entitled “Still Standing” regarding our journey with Emma Grace.
I have been blogging for quite sometime actually, but recently after Emmas last illness I wanted a place to really share my heart and soul. My other blog was mainly about my daughter’s daily life, a personal website of sorts. Midlife Moments is more about me and my journey through her disease.
Janice: You are a designer, a writer and a veteran blogger! – Now that makes so much sense why your blog is so great. Why did you start blogging?
Heather: My best friend Laura (www.swankmom.com) first introduced me to blogging. My first blog was in 2002 and was quite a sad attempt at journaling! Since then I have matured quite a bit in my writing style and in my faith. I started blogging as a way to share my journey with my daughters illness, but to also give my creative nature an outlet. It’s also cheap therapy!
Janice: Blogging threatens to completely take over my life some days, so I am always curious about how many hours other bloggers spend in front of their computers. With three children and a very busy life, how do you fit blogging in? How many hours do you spend a day in front of your machine reading other blogs or working on your own?
Heather: I tend to write my blog entries in the evening, after everyone is in bed. It gives me the ability to really think about what I want to write about, and also reflect on the day’s events. I spend maybe 2 hours a day on Midlife Moments and other blogs.
I really enjoy ministering to others in my comments, and spend most of my online time reading thru my blogroll. It’s hard to balance personal time with family time, but my family is always my top priority. I find when I get things out of whack, my family is the first to push me right back to where I am suppose to be. (Gotta love it when your kids hold you accountable!)
Janice: On your blog, you provide a detailed and inspiring post about your daughter’s illness and your agonizing search to find her medical help, but could you briefly tell us here what is your daughter’s medical condition and how has it affected her physically?
Heather: Emma has a disease known as “Mitochondrial Myopathy“. Your mitochondria are your energy producing cells, and carry the energy to your organs. In Emma’s case, hers are all damaged, therefore her organs do not get the energy they are required to have in order to function properly.
The easiest way to explain this is imagine a city with all the electricity running smoothly, then imagine a black out where all the electricity is down. Emma is in a constant brown out, her body is constantly shifting energy to her organs because there is not enough to go to everyone at once.
Emma is a 5 year old angel, but is neurologically around 2 years old. She is very underweight and is fed thru a g-tube. She burnes energy at a very high rate, and tires out very quickly. You can read more about her disease at www.umdf.org.
Janice: I can’t imagine what torture it has been to watch your daughter suffer so much in her short life and yet what a blessing it has been to have her for these years when so many doctors predicted her early death. What is her prognosis now?
Heather: This is a tough question to answer. If I had answered it before January of 2006, my answer would have been that she is doing absolutely wonderfully and beating all of the odds. Sadly in January things changed drastically for her and for our family.
Emma spent the entire month in ICU in heart failure, and after many tests it was discovered that she had transplant related coronary artery disease. We have been told that the only treatment for her is another transplant in the future. We know the odds of this, and are at peace with that, but for now we want to get as much out of her current heart as possible before putting her thru another major surgery.
She wasnt expected to make it to birth, so we are thankful for every moment we have with her!
Janice: You said in a beautiful post about the Natalie Grant song “Held”:
“I don’t doubt that my savior loves my daughter even more than I do. I don’t doubt that her precious life has huge meaning, and that He is fully aware of what the future holds for her. It is hard for me to give up those reigns sometimes. It is hard to fully put her into His hands, but honestly, that is where she is safest… and when he decides to keep her there permanently, He will grant me the grace to deal with the heartache.”
This is a remarkable step of faith. As a worrier myself, I wonder do you often worry about what is to come for her or have been able to leave that with God and walk peacefully most days?
Heather: I smile as I write this. I rarely walk in peace when it comes to Emma. I spend alot of time mulling over the moment that he calls her home, how I will deal with that and if I will be able to cope after it is all said and done. I use to think that because of this, my faith was extremely weak. I now believe that because of those moments I am reminded of how dependent I am on my savior.
There are days that I am strong, but I don’t force myself to be strong anymore. I find myself watching her, etching scenes into my memory. I cry alot, and smile alot. Sometimes both at the same time! I am not the type of person who only sees the negative in a situation, I see the gift he has given me in my daughter. I see the good and the bad.
I want to share that message with those around me, that God is a good God, even when bad things happen. I want her life to have meaning, and to have touched everyone who comes in contact with it.
Janice: Can you tell us about how your faith in God has survived and perhaps even grown in this time? Have you been angry with God or questioned his loving, merciful nature? What words of hope or encouragement can you give other women struggling with the question of God’s role in pain and suffering?
Heather: I, silently, questioned everything about my faith. I asked those questions that are all too familiar with those of us that have faced a crisis. “Why is this happening to my family.” “What did I do to deserve this.” “Why is God putting us thru this.”
My faith never waivered, but my relationship with Christ took on a completely new meaning. It was real, raw, and completely open. I shared my feelings in ways I had never thought possible. I experienced emotions I never knew were in existance. I became “Real” with my Father. I shared my anger, I shared my disappointment, and I shared my desperation.
The bottom line was that I finally realized that this “thing” we call Christianity isn’t about what church you go to or what ministry you lead. A relationship with Christ is just that, a relationship. And any relationship can only thrive if it is bathed in honesty and openess. I have never been so open as I was during those most desperate times. I realized that, in fact, when I said “I can’t,” I was completely right. . . . I can’t. . . but God can.
Janice: In your post about the Natalie Grant song “Held” you said:
“I realize now that there doesn’t have to be a big miracle for this to have meaning. He doesn’t have to heal her to give her beautiful life meaning.”
Is your blog part of that meaning? How have you seen this meaning displayed so far in her life?
Heather: Absolutely! There have been so many people that have been touched by her story, and by our struggle. There have been children diagnosed with a disease just by searching for symptoms. Moms have contacted me in complete desperation and I have been able to get them connected with doctors, specialists and support teams.
This is a ministry to me. I know that God can heal my child, I know that he can move mountains with a single breath. I also know that we as humans think we have so much figured out, when in reality we are in such desperate need of Him.
We are always looking for that BIG miracle, and in the process we miss the little ones along the way. Emma’s entire life is a miracle, every precious moment of it. I know he will heal my daughter, it just might not be this side of heaven.
Janice: Thank you so much for joining us today. I hope everyone reading this today becomes a fan of My Midlife Moments and shares your blog with their friends as well. May God richly bless you and your family, both here and to come.
Heather: Thank you for taking the time to talk with me. I am so glad that her story has reached out and touched you and your readers the way that it has. It’s been an honor!