let’s choose love…

Valentine’s Day, also called Saint Valentine’s Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine,[1] is an annual holiday celebrated on February 14. It originated as a Western Christian liturgical feast day honoring one or more early saints namedValentinus, and is recognized as a significant cultural and commercial celebration in many regions around the world, although it is not a public holiday in any country.

The fact that I had to google “the meaning of Valentine’s Day” got me thinking about all of the holidays we celebrate throughout the year and why this specific one is often hated upon.

If we look at Easter we see a bunny who apparently owns a chocolate factory and then hides it’s product for little kids to find. For Christmas we are met with a magical man in red who has the power to squeeze his fairly large self down chimneys or mysteriously walk through walls to deliver presents and Thanksgiving over the years has turned into a holiday where we gorge ourselves with food to ensure we are fueled up to spend the night shopping for “amazing deals”.

When it comes to all these truths I will not lie, I do and have participated in them. I loved receiving my chocolate Easter bunny, Santa was the coolest and who doesn’t like a good deal? I however never had these things define the true meaning of the holiday. I was taught first and foremost that Jesus was born, we celebrate his birth. It wasn’t about the chocolate, it is about the cross and the blood shed for my sins. Finally, being a fairly new “alien resident” to the United States I can honestly say that Thanksgiving (the American one) is starting to hold more meaning to me now that I have my boys since both them and I are learning about the real meaning of the holiday and why we celebrate it.

Then we come to Valentine’s Day and people either love it or hate it. I personally love it. I love that it is a holiday that celebrates love and does not purposely throw chocolate into the mix to provide an alternative route of celebration. By this I mean simple, anyone can celebrate Christmas and Easter because we as a culture have turned it into a giant bunny and Santa thing. Society has made it into a commercialized “what can I get out of it” holiday.  It honestly boogles my mind how someone who does not believe in God can celebrate Christmas. To them it’s just a stat holiday where they are still being paid but instead of showing up for work they are able to be at home with their families eating, drinking and giving/receiving gifts. I see this as a slap in the face of Jesus, the one who was born to save all of humanity by being the perfect spotless sacrifice. The same thing goes for Easter. A whole weekend where we are reminded of the Crucifixion, burial and then resurrection of our Savior should not be taken lightly or made into just yet another opportunity for someone to cook a delicious ham and gather family together to eat it with a side of chocolate Easter eggs.

Again, I will say it. I do enjoy adding the “extras” if you can call them that, into the seasons of celebration.  My boys do wake up to gifts under the tree, they participate in a mini Easter egg hunt and they benefit  from the “deals” we sometimes pick up after eating thanksgiving turkey. However, they know the real reasons why we pause on those days to celebrate.

Today we celebrate love. Today is a day that we can choose to participate in or not. I do not think that this holiday should be looked down upon nor do I think we should put so much effort into it that we end up stressed out. It’s not about material things. Sure it’s nice to receive a gift (chocolate etc.), it’s fun for kids to make their valentines cards and give them to the people they care about but there’s no reason why those things can’t be done any other time of the year. Today is simply a day that we can pause and look around at those we are choosing to love.

Love is often described as a feeling but in reality isn’t is just a choice? We, as humans, were given the gift of free will. This means that at any time we can change our mind on who we are with, who we plan to be with and who we love. You do not have to be married or with someone to have love in your life, today could be about simply calling a friend or parent and telling them that they are loved. It is not about the gifts, no holiday is, but lets not brush off this day as a “commercial holiday”. Instead let’s view it as a day to remember, to reflect on who we choose. Let’s make it known to them that we will always continue to do so and maybe reach out to those around who may not feel loved but are… by you.

Valentine’s Day is meaningful if you make it that way. Love is a powerful thing. Without it, the world would be filled with only hate. As it stands now it seems like most days it is. Anyone who says that they do not need love is not being honest to you or themselves, everyone needs love and compassion.

Today and everyday I choose to love. It’s as simple as that!

bringing home baby…



Friday morning, while in the middle of a language lesson with Ethan, my phone rang. I always keep my phone away from where we are working on school and usually have the ringer off so we can eliminate distractions. That morning; however, I forgot to silence my phone. Ethan immediately ran to grab it for me. I looked but didn’t recognize the number, because of this I let it go to voicemail. Then the same number flashed up on my screen again so I answered it. The voice on the other end was one that I had been waiting to hear but at the same time wished I’d never have to. The funeral director was calling to inform me that Nathaniel’s ashes were ready to be picked up.

This was the last physical “piece of the puzzle” to the journey we have been on over the last month and we desperately wanted our sweet angel home.


From a young age I have learned that our bodies are merely vessels which hold who we are. Every one of us has a soul that lives forever. I fully and completely understand that once our hearts stop and we take our last breath, who we truly are takes its eternal journey to either heaven or hell. Our little blessing took that journey a little over a month ago. The evening of January 6th we held in our hands a lifeless body, our son. We were never able to hear him cry or see him move any part of his body but we know that shortly before we had him in our hands he was living in me. His heart was beating, his arms and legs were moving. We heard and saw this on the ultrasound just weeks before.
Our son was alive and our son has a soul. His body was in the middle of being formed with a purpose to carry that soul. We still question why he needed to be taken so early. We will never understand the reason but we know that we will see him again.

Attachment-1 (1)His earthly body, that vessel, was a physical reminder of his soul. We had two choices to make after his birth. The first was to give his body to the hospital and they would “store it” until they had enough fetuses, then they would cremate them all together and bury them in an unmarked plot at a catholic cemetery. The second option was to have him cremated and either bury him or bring him home. We decided without hesitation that we would bring our baby home.
We made the arrangements with the funeral home and were given the option of an angel urn or just a plain wood box. As we were filling out the paperwork, Justin noticed a heart shaped urn on a table by where we were sitting. We asked for the pricing of other options, specifically that one. The director told us that he would get that for us free of charge instead of the original two options. We chose to have the heart be white and we were able to have it inscribed. Both Ethan and Konnor have a favorite color, orange and green respectively. Justin, from the moment he saw Nathaniel has said that he sees him as white. White because he went from being pure, in the womb to being in the bright light of Jesus in heaven. It only made sense that we would have his ashes surrounded by this color as a constant reminder of that.

DSC_0151After each of our babies were born, Justin went to the gift shop at the hospital and picked out a stuffed animal for them. For Ethan he picked out “puppy”, for Konnor it was “bear” and for Nathaniel he chose “lamb”. His little stuffed lamb came with a small blanket. We decided that we would have him cremated with his blankey, we kept the lamb with us. I have been looking around at everything the boys own, scattered in every room of our house and I look at the one box and blanket that we have for Nathaniel and it makes me both happy and sad. Happy because we have those items which brings us memories of seeing him, but sad because that is everything and will always be everything we will physically have of him. The day before we went to the hospital to have Nathaniel, I went to target and picked out a big cozy blanket for him so I could hold him in it. The blanket still has the smell of him on it and I have it storeDSC_0169d away in a place that the boys can’t reach it. I have found comfort in holding it at times when memories of him fill my mind. It is the only material thing that I picked out for him that his body touched.

Back to that Friday….After the call came in, we received an email from the funeral director relaying the same information. Justin received that email while at work and started to tear up. Our moments of sorrow has become further apart but like any loss there will always be reminders that will bring the raw pain back to the surface again. I knew this call was coming and was bracing myself for it.

The boys and I finished school and near the end of the day we loaded into the vehicle and drove to the funeral home. Ethan was excited to finally be bringing his little brother home but Konnor had a complete meltdown when it finally hit him that  “baby brother” wasn’t going to come home in the form of a baby. He started to sob when I explained to him that what we were picking up was a heart shaped “container” that held Nathaniel’s ashes, there would be no “real baby” coming home.

We walked in and someone met us at the door, I told them who I was and why I was there. The man brought the boys and I into a tiny room. He then passed me a cardboard box which had a sticker on it that read “deceased : Nathaniel Craig Miller”. It was at that moment that I started to tear up. I signed the paperwork, held the box tightly under my arm and walked back to the car holding onto the hands of my other two boys. We loaded back into the car and I buckled in. I looked in the rear view mirror and saw Ethan on the right, Konnor on the left and an empty spot in the middle which I could envision a backwards facing car seat. Turning my head to the passenger seat I saw the box which held my third son. This was not how we were supposed to bring him home. He was not supposed to be placed in a small box that looked as if the UPS truck driver could have delivered to my front door. That was the moment the tears started to flow. Ethan asked me quietly “mom why are you crying?” to which I replied “I’m sad”. It’s as simple as that, I was sad.

The days have gone on. We have had lots of happy moments, lots of laughter in our home, but sometimes I can honestly say that I am sad. I’ve had some comments given to me that suggest that if I’m feeling good, then it must mean I’m “over it”. I know these remarks come from ignorance of the situation and I brush them off as such. I have dug deep in my faith over this last month and that has brought me so much peace and I’ve been able to see light in this dark time. Because of this I have been able to experience happiness throughout the pain, however I will never be “over the loss”. Nathaniel will never be replaced in my heart. He will never be forgotten. We as a family and I as a mother will be able to move on. I will continue to live my life and enjoy the two children I have been entrusted with here on earth. I will however always have a piece of my heart attached to Nathaniel; who is enjoying the splendor of heaven. He will never be “something that happened to us” he is a part of this family. He had life, he has a soul and we have a third son.

DSC_0138Welcome home my sweet Nathaniel.

why we do what we do….homeschool edition



Five years ago, if someone would have told me that when my oldest son started kindergarten I’d be his teacher I would have likely laughed so hard there would have been tears flowing from my eyes.

Fast forward to now and voila! I have a kindergartner who goes to school at “Chez Miller’s”…say what?! How on earth did our plans turn out so very different than what we had envisioned?

Both Justin and I grew up going to public school. Justin, here in Indiana and me in Northern Ontario. Neither one of us had bad experiences, we both graduated from our high-schools and went on to acquiring associates degrees. My all time “dream job” was to be a wife and mother, so I can literally saying I’m living MY dream. Justin runs an IT company here in Fort Wayne with his long time friend and we had every intention to put our boys in public school when the time came.

When Ethan turned three we enrolled him in preschool. The first day I dropped him off I had a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach that made me second guess everything. Many people told me it was “normal” to feel that way but the feeling never left.

Without going into details, we decided that we would find a private school for our boys rather than going through public school system. We are both firm believers in Christ and to send our kids off into an environment where everything seems acceptable EXCEPT God just didn’t sit well with us. We wanted an education with the Lord smack dab in the center of it. This left us with a couple options and we explored them.

Suddenly like a ton of bricks hurling from space, I was hit HARD with the thought of home-school. For weeks I tried to get the concept out of my head. I tried SO hard to ignore the thoughts that consumed almost every hour of my day and seeped well into the night. It kept me up and it stressed me out. Without ceasing I would tell God, “NO!, I will not be doing that!” Finally after a good couple of months I decided to stop fighting it; to set aside my stubbornness and to start opening my mind and heart to what God was trying to tell me.

It is so easy to go with the flow of how life “should” proceed. To do what everyone else is doing. Going to school at age five, being in a class of 15-30 kids and being taught by a different teacher each year is the way things have been done for years. Why couldn’t we just continue our family life like we had originally planned? The bottom line is, God did not want us to.


Soon thereafter we bought tickets for the state homeschool convention. We knew the Lord wanted us to put this form of education on our options list and we finally humbled ourselves to do so.  Justin and I headed to Indianapolis to hear more about the benefits of homeschooling. We wanted to educate ourselves as much as possible before making a decision that would affect the lives of our boys.  We both agreed before entering the convention that we would keep our hearts and minds as open as possible to what the Lord wanted us to hear.

When we left the convention we were both at peace with the whole “homeschool thing”. We didn’t know where to start, what curriculum to choose, what method of teaching was best for our family or how the outcome would be. We stepped out of there with nothing but peace in our hearts and faith in our Savior that this is the path we are meant to travel.

The last two years have been as a whole pretty great. This is the first year that we are following a curriculum. I researched for months on which one to choose and finally decided on Sonlight. I love having my boys education focused on the truths of the bible. I love that Ethan is learning about Adam, Moses, Noah, King David and every other history figure that is written in His word. I love that we were able to choose a math program that makes even us understand numbers better. We learn everyday, not just Ethan but ALL of us.


Homeschooling is not easy. It is challenging, some days frustrating, but on a whole it is extremely rewarding. We are beyond blessed to have found peace in this area of life. Education is very important to us. We do not in any way take this task lightly. It is TERRIFYING to stop and think about the responsibility placed in our hands on making sure our boys have a sound education. Whenever I get overwhelmed by it all, and believe me that happens often, all I need to do is pray and without missing a beat God brings me back to the basic truth that this is where we need to be and He is walking with us on this journey.

Like any road, this one may end. We may be called to enroll them in private school somewhere down the line, and even though I don’t see that now I know that anything is possible! We keep the lines of communication open about what the next year of school will be. Will we be walking this exact path next year? in two years? in five years? only God knows. I didn’t think we would be in this place to begin with! anything is possible and we have been richly blessed by following God. As much as I argued, pleaded and initially ignored His words regarding my children’s education I am glad that I finally put my fears and excuses aside and opened up my mind and heart.

Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers,
and blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord. Proverbs 16:20