Thursday, December 15

finding the right thread

Evening my dears. I feel like it's been a while since I've just sat and started writing without a direction in mind or a topic to go on, but this morning Richard encouraged/pushed me down to the office before he headed out, where I sat down and turned on my computer. Looking up from the screen out the window I could see white everywhere from the first big snowfall, which often helps me feel comforted and at peace. I feel a ramble of sorts coming on, and might do a lot of these types of posts for a while if you can handle them alright:)

There's just so much that I want to share in this space. Ever since I can remember I've loved to write. My earliest journals would turn into fantasy tales with Animorphs and elves, or how my sister and I climbed to the top of mount Everest and jumped off onto the clouds. That turned into begging to set up one of my dad's old windows '95 dell desktops in my bedroom when I was in middle school. I'd stay up late writing pages and pages, and I'd save my poems and stories on floppy discs! Remember those? haha I just loved the feeling of the keys under my fingertips, and the soft rhythmic clicking as I opened up the floodgates in my head and let everything rush out onto the paper or the screen. I would often picture it as pulling a loose thread in a sweater and watching it unravel.

There was so much pleasure and relief when I was able to type for hours. I could feel the pressure in my head lessening. I could feel peace settling over my mind like a soft blanket. The challenge was turning every thought into something understandable, doing the feelings justice with my limited vocabulary. English is really restricting sometimes, isn't it?

I had many pen-pals all growing up from all over that I kept in regular touch with, and then, of course I wrote to Richard for several years which help nurture that love of expression through writing. After he and I stopped keeping in touch and I got married, I didn't write much until I was nearly ready to deliver Ellie. I discovered my first blog ever randomly, and after following and exploring, I decided to start sharing my own day-to-day life in journal format online privately. It was a journey into an unknown world, an experiment, but overall an outlet. I was still typing as I had for so many years, but this time it felt like I was doing something special with it, even though nobody could read it at that point. :) Hitting publish just felt so much more official, and extremely scary too. I finally started sharing publicly here nearly five years ago now(some of you remember those days!). It was a great way to share the goings on with my family with any friends and relatives interested, while at the same time giving me a place to share my interests and struggles, adventures in photography and cooking, and things I loved or was learning.

Over the years as more people have come here to visit and stay a while, they(you) joined in my mental picture of friends and family that I was writing to. Tens of thousands of you were coming every day. You would comment on things that affected you or excited you, or even just to give encouragement and support. Always support:) You knew/know more about me than most in some ways, simply because you cared to visit and read, over and over for so long. I started asking for feedback and sharing specific things that you guys were interested in learning more about me and my family, recommendations I could give, and answering your questions about things like my favorite curling irons and shoe brands, etc.

My aim has always been and will always be to uplift and inspire with this blog, while simply trying to be a better me than I was yesterday. I just thought that if I could make even one person's day a little bit better by visiting here, that all the effort would be worth it. All the late late nights of code and emails and cropping, etc. To hear that someone had made my soup for their family, or used one of my hair tutorials on their wedding day was and is, so so incredibly rewarding. Starting to earn money from my blog for my own growing family while typing late at night in my basement (making quilts for my Etsy shop during nap time, remember that?!) and taking pictures of our activities together became such an additional blessing from this blog, one I wouldn't fully appreciate until much later. These days the impact is much greater, as is the pressure.

Had I known as a 19-year-old wife and mother what my life would look like today, I might not have decided to share so much, to open up so much. To be in a position so quickly of affecting so many people positively and sometimes negatively has been such a mix of blessing and burden (much more blessing though I promise:)), but I never planned for my blog to end up here, and I certainly never planned for my life to go this way.

I never planned for my sweetheart to be diagnosed with terminal cancer, or to become the bread winner while taking care of him and our five little ones, day in and day out while he slowly faded for nearly year and a half. I never planned to hand off my babies to friends over and over, and to push Marty in a wheelchair at 9 months pregnant through airport terminals and tarmacs, or to try and explain to our kids why he yelled in pain so much, or why he couldn't walk or play with them. I never planned on him forgetting my name, or to have to put on the best smile I could and tell him with every ounce of hope I could muster that it was absolutely all going to be alright, when I was completely broken inside. I never planned to cling to him while he struggled to breathe, or to beg him to please eat just one more bite.

I never planned to hold tightly to his beautiful soft hand as it turned cold, or to pick out his casket.

I never planned to become a widow at 25, or to try and take care of all the needs of those five kids while being absolutely shattered myself. Trying to play the role of two full parents at once while not even being one whole person. Trying not to collapse with gratitude onto every visitor who came to offer help. I never planned for the isolation of grief, or the waves of depression and anxiety that overtake and bury me so often. I never planned for my 5-year-old to rub my hair and comfort me as I cried against a shelf at the grocery store, surrounded by exhausted and hungry little ones.

I never planned that someone I had cared so deeply for from my past would come along as an answer to so many thousands of prayers on our behalf. That he would ask the kids for their favorite stories of our dear father and husband and happily look through pictures with them. That he would make them grilled cheese, jump on the trampoline with them, zip up their coats, and hold them on his shoulders. I never planned that that man would literally pick me up and carry me when I couldn't stand or function with grief. That he would crouch with us all at Martin's grave every week to lay flowers. That he would love all 6 of us so selflessly and unconditionally. That he would give up so much to help heal my heart, to be a wonderful father figure to the children, and to help us all have some hope and happiness again.

I am so beyond grateful for this place where all our people (that includes you:)) can come to get updates. I'm grateful for all those that could take part in the special and messy and beautiful and hard parts of our lives that couldn't be here in person. Distant family and friends who couldn't meet our new babies in person or manage to come to Martin's funeral, that could still feel included because of the photos and stories I've shared here.


This is my safe place. My family's place. It's not an open platform for negativity or judgment, selfish opinions, and blind assumptions. It's not a place to vent aggression or jealousy after a bad day of work, and that behavior has not and will never be allowed here. So many of you that may have clicked over out of curiosity or word of mouth, but have stayed with tenderness or love in your heart and supported silently or through comments, etc, you're part of that family. It's about trust and love and mutual understanding. Growing and learning and loving and sharing together the real, raw, beautiful, inspiring parts of everyday life.

This is still the same blog that I started years ago. I'm still the same Emily that just wanted to help someone/anyone smile a little more or hope a little more, it's just that now there are more of us in here, and there's more potential. It's not just about new recipes or date ideas or weekend wrap-ups. Martin's warrior story, our family's journey, it's helping to save lives. The fight that we were in and continue in every day, Martin's pain and courage... his faith. People he'll never meet or know about in this life are seeking treatment now and/or are cancer free completely because of the pieces of our story shared here. So many people have come forward to tell me about their journey that started here. That they've saved their marriage, or decided to go forward with starting their family, or that they simply have hope and strength in life and love again. Not because of my typing, but because of our story together. Because of Martin's love and strength, because of my babies' smiles, because of our pain and heartache, because of second chances at love, because of my weakness and frailty. Our humanity, this community:)

So no, I didn't plan any of this to happen when I started blogging, and these feelings of vulnerability, grief, heartache, and fear that have been so heightened since those doctors gave him a few weeks left are stronger than ever now, and honestly they've kept me from typing like this and sharing online over and over again. But it doesn't go away, the need to share. It only builds, and builds, like the growing pressure of a river against a dam. So I'm going to try harder to type more as I've promised so many times in the past. I'm going to try to take more pictures, to share more favorites, to cook more. I'm also going to hope more, and to simply be brave. Not because I expect to make any great difference moving forward or because you need me or my writings at all, but because I need you... now more than ever. I just need to find the right thread, and I think I see it now:)

Thank you so much for reading if you've made it this far, and again, please excuse the rambly posts from here on out:) I hope they make some sense to you kind hearted friends. ♥♥♥


So much love, 

138 comments:

  1. Sending you love and strength. Keep your head up. No one plans for any of what you went through, just glad to see you smiling and thriving after it all. One step at a time and one day at a time. All my best. Xoxo

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  2. Beautifully said Emily. Love you!

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  3. Dear Emily, thank you for sharing all this. Your kindness flow into your words. Eventhough I know you have such hard days you still are very empowering to others.

    I'm glad I started to follow you and I hope that my little prayer once in a while for you and your family matters.

    You are loved, by your 5 little ones, by Richard and by a lot of people who never met you but feels like we know you.

    Love,
    Raymonde

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  4. I'm, literally, holding a moment of silence for you and your family and all you've been through, even though I want to say so much. *Sigh!

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  5. Dear Emily, we love reading your "ramblings" andwe wish you and your Family all the best! Agnes (from Germany)

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  6. Emily, you are such a beautiful soul. You deserve all of the happiness in the world. Being infinitely happy doesn't mean you can't feel infinitely sad at the same time. Your story makes me so sad and sorry for the cruelty life can serve yet fills me with hope and inspiration as you are living proof of how resilient and insightful the human spirit can be. I can only hope that if I ever find myself in circumstances so dire that I would be able to hold myself as you have. I can only imagine the amount of courage it would take to love again, to open your heart enough to let someone else in. I'm not usually a poster but I wanted you to know that your supporters, even the quiet ones, speak louder than those who come to criticise. I hope you feel showered in love and not judgement. Thank you for sharing this post xx

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  7. Thank you for sharing. Love reading everything you write. Especially the rambly ones.

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  8. Dear Emily. I’ve only been following your blog for about a year, but I very much enjoy your way with words and your willingness to be open about your life; to share the good as well as the bad. Your family’s journey really hit home for me. My father is battling cancer and while we remain hopeful about the time we have left together, we know it’s a battle he will lose. I think that’s why I feel so deeply for you, Martin and your babies. I’m sorry for the negativity and cruel comments that still seems to haunt you. Nobody plans for heartbreak and grief and you just don’t know what life has in store for you in order to help you breathe again. I’m happy that you’ve managed to stand your ground where it comes to your writing. This is your place, after all.

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  9. It takes a very strong and brave individual such as yourself emily to share your story in such a beautiful and selfless way. You are helping so many people including myself to continue to have faith and know that even through tough situations it will all be okay at the end of the day. Thank you for these encouraging post they help so many people in many different ways. I wish you and your family many blessings and happiness. -Jazmine

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  10. Sending love and hugs, sweet online friend. We are still here with you!

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  11. You are right when you say writing is about arranging your thoughts in an understandable way. And you do it so well, Emily. You say you want to do your feelings justice. I cannot know if you do, but you definitely do the English language justice.

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  12. I hope 2017 is filled with joy, peace, love, new memories, and happiness for you and your sweet, beautiful family. Merry Christmas.

    -Carrie

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  13. Emily,

    You are such a beautiful soul with a graceful and gentle spirit. God bless you and your sweet family. Keep on keepin on- you're doing an amazing job.

    xxoo- Courtney

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  14. "Before you start to judge me, step into my shoes, walk the life I am living and if you get as far as I have, then maybe you will see how strong I really am."

    From one mama to another (divorced mama of 2 dating a widower with 1 child for almost 5 years), keep on keeping on. As long as YOUR CHILDREN are happy and thriving and YOU are happy and thriving that is truly all that matters in this one life we have been blessed with. Who are we to judge what we don't know? Merry Christmas to you and your beautiful family :)

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  15. Oh dear Emily. Have I ever told you how inspiring and beautiful you are? My goodness, you continue to take my breath away with your grace. Thank you so much for sharing all that you have. Your story is so beautiful, and sad, and hopeful. Every time I come to your blog, I find myself finishing your posts with tears in my eyes. Sometimes tears of happiness as I see great things unfold for you, and sometimes tears of sadness and heartache as I find myself saying out loud, 'why did this have to happen to them?'. I love you and your family Emily. I really, and truly do. I wish my arms could reach across the miles and hug each and every single one of you so tightly. Thinking of you and your beautiful family always <3

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  16. I love your posts and hearing your story. It's hard, beautiful and redemptive. Thank you for sharing it.

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  17. Great post. Very honest, thoughtul - i think your family is amazing, and what you've lived through, unbelievable, and just hope you guys are happy! I've cried more over your blog in the past year, i swear ... ! :)

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  18. Emily this is a beautiful post. I felt so connected to you while reading it. And these photos of you are just GORGEOUS. I can just see the hope and courage in your expression and in your writing.

    I, too, found myself a writer. I've always been really good at keyboarding pretty fast. I have personally blogged for about 7 years and it was my escape. It took away the fear, the pain all while being able to express gratitude and exciting things in life. It really is so helpful to have such a loving community who reads, listens, and stays a little while.

    I haven't been following your blog for too long, but from what I can tell, your story matters and is serving more people than any negative comments could ever be posted. I'm really excited to continue reading your blog. I think about you often. Cheering you on!

    xoxo, ashley

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  19. as always, your posts genuinely touch me. This one brought me to tears, as many of your most recent ones have, because it's so personal and genuine. Thank you for sharing your story.

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  20. You write so well and I feel you. Please continue. Merry Christmas!

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  21. Thank you for sharing. It's always good to be reminded we are truly all family. If we could only sit down at a dinner table and have a cup of hot chocolate... but from behind our computer screens we are

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  22. Emily this post is so beautiful...thank you for sharing. I am here for the long haul and respect this is your space, please just keep being you :) sending lots of love your way!

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  23. Oh Emily, your words lay heavy on my heart. When I read the opening lines via Bloglovin' I had no idea what awaited in your post. I will be praying for you and your precious children, especially during this season. ((Hugs))from South Carolina.

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  24. This is so, so beautiful! No matter the amount of vocabulary we know, I think language still can't truly capturing emotions, vulnerability, the workings of our hearts and souls. Thank you for being you and sharing so openly and honestly.

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  25. I love reading your messages - they often bring tears to my eyes. I encourage you to write a book - when your heart, soul and mind are ready...

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  26. Oh Emily. You are so strong and brave and beautiful, inside and out. Love and hugs and prayers, from my family to you and yours.

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  27. I'm turning 25 in January and I can't imagine going through everything you have in the past few years. People often tell me I am mature for my age but I can't imagine the years of wisdom you have gained through all of the triumphs and heartache you have faced. I don't comment often but I've read your story since I started blogging four years ago. I've truly felt for you and your family the past months and have had you in my thoughts and prayers. It is only natural that your blog has evolved as your life has evolved. Not everyone will understand all of your life choices and as much as those petty mean comments can sting it is important to remember not everyone has to approve. Oh and I loved what you said at the beginning about writing as a release. I've loved journaling and writing since I was a kid as well which of course naturally fed into blogging as an adult. I think writing is such a great form of self expression and it's wonderful you have been able to turn to writing for support (:

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  28. I've been a reader for a while, but never felt the need to comment until now. Just wanted to say that your blog has meant something to me and how much I enjoy your writing and reading your story as you tell it. Much love to you and your family!

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  29. Thank you for your post Emily. My first comment on your blog but I've been watching your story for about 8 months now... many of your feelings are so on point with mine as I also lost my husband. I was 24 with 3 little girls and its been 2 years since he passed. Definitely so much happens that we don't plan on in our lives but as long as we cling on to what is truly important, we will get through with more strength and humility through the difficult road. Blessings to you and your family. Thinking and praying for you all!

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  30. You are a beautiful person, inside and out. You're an inspiration to me. I'm so happy that you found Richard, and have someone to take care of you. Prayers and hugs for you.

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  31. Share whatever and whenever you want or need, Emily. We'll all be here for you. Happy holidays to you and yours. xo

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  32. Thank you for continuing to come back and share your heart with us. You are an amazing lady.

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  33. Wow. ♡♡ This post made me tear up with bittersweet tears!!! I just want to give you a big hug! :) God is amazing! Your story, already so beautifully woven, encouraging, and beautiful, is not finished, and I can't wait to continue reading the journey. Merry Christmas! I'm praying for you guys! ♡��

    May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. {Romans 15:13}

    ~Jenna

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  34. your writing is sooo wonderful .
    at the beginning I was pretty anxious because it sounded like you'll end this blog .. so I'm pretty happy that I was wrong and that you'll continue sharing your life with us .. I know it really hasn't been easy for you in the past but I hope that all the positive comments and writing from us readers will give you something back . because your posts give us so so much .!!

    I wish you all the best sweet emily .!
    (sry for my bad englisch :D)
    lots of love
    sarah

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  35. I just love when you update, there's just something so beautiful in the way you write... so honest and raw. Thank you for accepting and embracing this tribe of people that love you but most that haven't met you. I found you as your husband was at the end and was so touched... I can't even put it into words, you just moved me.

    I look forward to reading for a long time to come. Xo

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  36. Beautifully written. I can understand why it was good that you were able to sit down and type all this out. I used to have the REALLY floppy disks and the harder smaller floppy disks and would type stories out on my parents' old word processor as well as my mom's typewriter from her high school typing class in the 1960s. So fun doing that.

    You made quilts? I have been making quilts for over two years now and love it. I post some on my blog even. Neat! I also used to have 64 penpals at one time because I didn't have friends in school. These days I only have one penpal who I've been writing to for eleven or twelve years now. Maybe even a couple years more, now that I think about it. I miss having more at once.

    Anyway, keep up the great work of encouraging others and I pray that no more hardship comes to you that are unplanned!
    +Victoria+
    justicepirate.com

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  37. Dear Emily!
    What beautiful words! It touched me deeply! I discovered your blog and Instagram about 6 months ago, and after knowing all your history I hoped that your heart could be in peace!
    I praise you and your family!
    Kisses from Brazil!
    Fabi
    www.fabianacorrea.com

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  38. You ramble as much as you want. And we'll all be hear listening and sending you virtual hugs and love. You're in my thoughts nearly every day, which I use to think was weird now I don't. It doesn't matter that we might never meet in person, just know that I'll always be listening.

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  39. Amazing. Beautiful. This was truly beautiful. I feel like you just verbalized feelings that are impossible to put on paper. Your family is beautiful and you are so brave. Thank you for sharing.

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  40. Xoxoxoxox for every word. ❤ I wish you and all your beautiful family a wonderful happy holiday season. May you be greeted by smiling faces and opened doors for the rest of your life Emily. ๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿน

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  41. You're such a beautiful person. I'm glad you've met someone and are rebuilding your life. Grief is a funny thing, it's always there, just a little easier everyday. You got this, so does Richard. You two will do amazing things, they'll be different to what you and Martin shared. But, that individuality makes things special, right? I know I'll keep checking for your updates. Lots of love from down in New Zealand x

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  42. You're such a beautiful person. I'm glad you've met someone and are rebuilding your life. Grief is a funny thing, it's always there, just a little easier everyday. You got this, so does Richard. You two will do amazing things, they'll be different to what you and Martin shared. But, that individuality makes things special, right? I know I'll keep checking for your updates. Lots of love from down in New Zealand x

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  43. you are a treasure and a beautiful soul. prayers for your dear family.

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  44. I feel the exact same way about writing. Glad there's somebody else crazy like me ;). Thanks for writing for us

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  45. Oh Emily.. I'm crying buckets. I, like many people have been moved by your story. I'm beginning to realize how vulnerable you are in you candidness and truth. Thank you for your bravery. You are truly an amazing woman. Thank you for sharing Martin's story. I look forward to see where the future takes you, Richard and the children.

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  46. You are amazing and inspiring. Keep on keeping on lovely.

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  47. You are amazing and inspiring. Keep on keeping on lovely soul.

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  48. Thanks so much for typing Emily. So grateful I found your blog a few years back. You inspire me. We have very different stories but our struggles are similar. Does that make sense? Anyway, thank you for sharing. Kristen

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  49. Brave and inspiring! Found you by accident looking for inspiration for a hairstyle to a Christmas party. Thankful I did. Praying for you and your beautiful family!

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  50. You are a beautiful inspiration. Keep writing it builds fire and faith in the people who's lives you touch ❤️

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  51. You have touched my heart in so many ways. Thoughts and prayers for your precious family.

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  52. You always make me tear up while simultaneously grinning. So much love to you. You're the example of strength

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  53. Thank you for every bit of this Emily. I first found you through Pinterest hairstyles, and continued to read and follow along on IG. I can't imagine the heavy load you've undertaken, and still carry, and I cannot imagine who in the world would project negativity onto you for that. It's so important for a writer to show with charity and loved the way you have, that he or she is still a person, not a screen. Too many people forget that part these days. xo, Carolyn.

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  54. Inspiring. Real. Beautiful. Those are three words are how I would describe you. I've been following you for years, but have never commented.

    I've not walked in your shoes or experienced grief such as you have, but someone that I know that has once told me the first year of "firsts without _____" or "last year at this time we were doing _____" is absolutely the hardest, most gut wrenching time my one dealing with grief goes through. The second year is "last year was the first year without ____". She said by the third year, while ____was still missed, there were new memories to look back on, not just the "firsts and lasts". Nothing I can say will probably help, but I wanted to share that.

    Write your heart out. <3

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  55. All I can say is keep going and that you are much loved!!

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  56. Without sorrow there is no joy,thank you for sharing your life with all of us.

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  57. Oh Emily, words simply cannot express the strength that you have. God has great plans for you and your children, he's working through you in your grief and your willingness to share your life and struggles with us all. Bless you, and the family you have fiercely loved, protected, and fought for.

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  58. I love to hear your thoughts. So well said, my friend.

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  59. Emily, your writing always inspire and encourage me! Although we are close to the same age, but in completely different phases of life, somehow your posts always help me see some good and hope in this world! I've never met you, but know that I pray for you and your beautiful family often! Sending much love! ❤️ -Alle :)

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  60. Emily,you have no idea how inspiring, special and so many incredible things you are. I literally sobbed as i was reading this and all i can say is thank you for being the person you are. May Jehovah God keep blessing you and your beautiful family. I can honestly say to me, you are one of the strongest people i know (and yes, i feel like i know you without even met you) xoxo.

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  61. Emily,you have no idea how inspiring,special and so many incredible things you are. All i can say is thank you for being who you are. I can honestly say you are the strongest person i know (yes, i feel like i know you even though i have never met you). May Jehovah God keep blessing you and your beautiful family. XoXo.

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  62. You're an amazing women! We are here for you. Thank you so much for sharing what you're going thru. May God continue to comfort you!

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  63. I have followed you for quite some time and have always loved your openness and your sweet heart! I am so happy you found Richard again and know your sweet Marty is thankful for him as well. Lots and lots of love ❤️
    Sheridan

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  64. Dear Emily, you are a beautiful person! Thank you for being you :) <3

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  65. Thanks for sharing Emily. I remember those quilts you sold and remember how much I admired your abilities and focus back then. I admire you deeper now, you give so many courage to keep going! I love you dear friend.

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  66. I haven't been around here long but I appreciate this post. It gives an honest look into your soul and let's me know you a bit better. Thank you for sharing this!

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  67. Emily, thank you for sharing so much of your thoughts and feelings. Every time I read your posts, I realize how precious marriage is and you make me want to love my husband more and be a better person. I love you and you and your family are always in my heart, thoughts and prayers.

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  68. Love this! Good for you! My heart has cheered for you with your love and babies then my heart broke for you throughout Martin's journey. I am very happy that you and your kids have the love and support of an obviously loving and generous man. Keep blogging! :)

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  69. I too have enjoyed reading your blog for years. I was first drawn in by your hair tutorials, but have loved how raw and expressive you write about the path your family has been down.
    I love how your 5 year old comforted you in the grocery store. How in tune those little people can be, and what a blessing to have her (and all your children) to pick you up during the tough times.
    I will continue to pray for you, especially in this Christmas season, as it's the first since Martin's passing!
    <3<3<3

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  70. I love the rambly posts. They are fresh truth and a river of unharnessed feeling. A window into your world, free of any lens. There is nothing to excuse, only everything for us to take in with warmth and love for you and your loves. I love the rambly posts. xo <3

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  71. Emily, your words are beautiful and genuine. So much love to you and yours <3

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  72. Emily, It's so good to read this post. I love all your posts, but I've missed your "you" posts. I know that they can be tiring to write (even though it feels good at the same time) so I've just been rooting for you. Thank you. It's good to have you back, even for just one post.

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  73. Thank you. I began following you as Martin was going through his cancer. As another young cancer caregiver spouse I read and teared up as you so bravely kept going. I wish so many amazing things for you, your littles, and your awesome second chance at love. I think it is so hard to watch anyone go through what we did so young. However, it is hard for anyone. Your strength...even though you have the moments you feel you can't get up and breathe...makes many of us not feel so alone. Your writing is so true and honest. So, just thank you.

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  74. This is so beautiful! I've been a reader forever and it has been beautiful and hard to watch you walk through this journey. Know that the Lord is using your story to change lives. You are beautiful and your honesty is encouraging!

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  75. I imagine you never planned to touch so many other lives either. Your writing and strength has given me more than I can put into words. You've taught me over and over every time I read a post of yours that love and life is precious and should never be taken for granted. That even after such tragedy there is hope. Your words are mesmerizing and capture my heart every time. I can appreciate your fear of opening up, but know that your story has been life chaining. When I read your posts it's like I'm there crying with you. I hope one day the grief will get better or maybe you'll learn how to cope even more. You're so inspirational and since the moment I came across your blog I've been hooked. Obsessively checking for any updates. I came across your blog a few months ago and stayed up to an obscene early hour because I had to keep reading. I wish you nothing but the happiest memories for your family during this holiday season. After all that's what you've help teach me. Thank you! Much love to you and your beautiful family.

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  76. I truly wish for peace for you and your family, especially during the holidays. My sincere best wishes to you.

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  77. You're so inspiring. Many blessings! ❤️

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  78. ❤️❤️ Please keep sharing! You are an example of strength

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  79. Writing all the way from Jerusalem and have followed you for a few years...I'm only sending you love, hope and strength. I am one of those that finds tremendous value and hope in your blog, so please keep writing.
    Sending lots of love and prayers your way.

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  80. I've followed you for quite some time. For some reason you touched my heart before you went through all That you have. I love that you share your heart. I have shed many tears over your words. You will be a blessing to many. I pray for you and your sweet babies. Weeping may last for the night but joy comes in the morning.

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  81. ❤️Your vulnerability is beautiful and encouraging. I started following your story in the few short months before Martin's passing. I prayed for you, Martin, and your sweet children. It warms my heart to know God holds you close and is walking you through this painful journey. As you process your pain I pray the days become brighter. There is so much hope on the horizon ����

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  82. Thanks for sharing your journey! Hugs and prayers for your little family in the new year!

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  83. God bless you, Emily and your beautiful family! Thank you for sharing so much! It inspires to me to be a better wife, parent and friend every day. I hope that you find hope and peace in these dark moments of grief. {Bridget}

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  84. Emily, this was this first thing I read this morning when I opened my eyes. And i cried like a baby. I have followed you from the very beginnings, I've made your mushroom soup for my family, I've smiled at your optimism, I've laughed at your comical musings, I've been inspired by your creativity, I've been been motivated to be kind and the best mama I can be, I've rejoiced in each of your beautiful babies you have shared with us,i cheered as you and Martin entered the body building world, I cried heart broken in your struggles with Martin's illness, and been amazed at your resilience in mourning. Usually I am a quiet observer but today I want you to know I think you are truly amazing and your sharing all these years has helped me in ways I cannot give words to. You are a beautiful light in a world of struggles, thank you.
    Xoxoxo

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  85. Thank you for sharing!! You are so loved by your family and everyone in this community. I still can't believe you're only 25, and five kids deep. Here I am at {almost} 31 with one kid and I feel overwhelmed sometimes. I have to remind myself of your story often. I have no reason to complain about my one child and healthy husband. I appreciate your transparency. You are so strong. I would love to hear more about Richard and how y'all got together :) He seems super great!!

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  86. Thank you so much for sharing your heart! ❤️ it takes a lot of courage! I have been following your blog for a long time and enjoy what you have to share. My heart hurts for you but I'm so happy you've found someone to help you thru life! We've been thru a lot ourselves and those answers to prayer are truly a blessing! I've never commented on your blog before and I don't know if you will even see this but I want you to know you are a brave and sweet person and an encouragement! Looking forward to more posts :)
    Kristy

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  87. I'm not sure how I found you but chances are through one of my "melanoma" searches. I can relate to you and a portion of what you have been through. My husband was diagnosed with stage 3 melanoma in October 2011... I found out I was pregnant 2 months later. The whole time I was pregnant was surgeries, treatments and constant doctor visits. Thankfully, my husband is now NED but I often wondered back then how I would make it if things had ended differently but you give people hope that they can make it through something as awful as cancer. Thank you for sharing your story, you could be giving someone hope without even realizing it.

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  88. I love coming to your blog because of your realness and I don't mind the randomness at all; I like it! Even though I have never met you in person, I feel a connection, as though we're friends. That's how I feel when I come here.

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  89. Vulnerability is always scary, but it's almost always the key to gaining closeness in any relationship. And because you've been so beautifully vulnerably with us all, we have all been strengthened and inspired and moved by you, and we wish you all the light and hope and healing that we possibly can hope for another. You are so lovely, inside and out. You're doing fabulous things, Emily!

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  90. More then you know your "writings" give me strenth. I feel your connection so deeply. As my life moved in a direction I never EVER expected. The deep sadness sometimes is difficult to understand, to accept, and very hard to sometimes get thru the day. Your story deeply moves me, and still does so today!!! Thank you for being real, for making us all know that we all have so much joy, and sometimes so much sadness! I always say to myself...you just got to tie up the bootstraps and keep moving...keep loving...and count your blessings! And like you always say...one day at a time! I'm so very thankful I stumbled across your blog early on. You move me with your strenth, faith, and love for your children, and life in general. God Bless you and your family this holiday season. I too know how very hard it all is! "one day at a time."

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  91. More then you know your "writings" give me strenth. I feel your connection so deeply. As my life moved in a direction I never EVER expected. The deep sadness sometimes is difficult to understand, to accept, and very hard to sometimes get thru the day. Your story deeply moves me, and still does so today!!! Thank you for being real, for making us all know that we all have so much joy, and sometimes so much sadness! I always say to myself...you just got to tie up the bootstraps and keep moving...keep loving...and count your blessings! And like you always say...one day at a time! I'm so very thankful I stumbled across your blog early on. You move me with your strenth, faith, and love for your children, and life in general. God Bless you and your family this holiday season. I too know how very hard it all is! "one day at a time."

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  92. Emily, you are so talented and wise beyond your years. It's amazing you can get me to shed a tear without even knowing you. Thank you for teaching me what's important in life and how to accept challenges with grace. Much love from Chicago.

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  93. I have loved reading your blog and being a part of your family's journey. I have cried for you, been confused and then been happy again. Grief is a slow, unpredictable process so I am happy that you found someone to guide you throug it and who is encouraging you to write and ramble. It will help heal you, give you a different kind of meanin and allow you to share your heart with others. I am rooting for you on this journey. I can't wait to see it continue.

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  94. It can be rough to put yourself out there, but you aren't alone. People will feel like they know you, and they will judge you, BUT they don't know. Keep being you. Chin up.

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  95. Emily, I hope you and your sweet family have a wonderful Christmas!

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  96. Emily, I'm sorry I commented too late I normally watch your blog like a hawk. I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas. This post was so beautiful, sad, and happy at the same time. I have read it about 6 times, it gives me strength. I feel your pain but your so blessed that Richard is there. I can't image what it's like to lose your sweetheart. I'm over here cheering you on from VA. Please know you make a difference in my life and I try harder each day to be a better person. You make me smile, you make me cry. Please don't push yourself if your not ready. I love you and your family. Keeping smiling and being happy as hard as you can nobody can take that away from you. ❤️ Your very pretty I love your hair. Talk to you soon Emily ๐Ÿ˜

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  97. Your family is a shining light in this world! And your blog is such an inspiration.
    I'm sure that with all you are going through it's often difficult to find the energy. But know that what you are doing is truely beautiful and significant work!
    Thank you so much for sharing more with us and for keeping your blog a safe and positive community!
    Hope you, Richard, and your adorable little ones have a very merry Christmas!

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  98. Emily, I'm nearly positive our lives will never physically cross and to be honest, I only discovered you by chance on instagram just over two years ago. But your words and pictures are more than an inspiration, they're perfect. I followed Martin's journey and hoped and prayed during those silent days with no updates. I cried for you and your love and beautiful babies. And hearing of your new found love is just a gracious reminder of how amazing life really can be; I know in my heart your Martin had something to do with it. I'm so excited to continue to read all your ramblings. Merry Christmas. ❤️

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  99. I really, really love you and your family even though I don't know you in person and I live half way around the world :) Sending you my family's deepest love and warm hugs xxx We'll be right here for you :)
    Happy holidays!

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  101. I've always been part of this family, this community. I dropped in to read a blog one night simply because I love redheads (my son is a redhead) and I was in awe of your darling little
    ones. I read that blog, though I can't remember which one it was, but i stayed. I stayed with the same love and tenderness in my heart that you speak of. I supported silently. I read your updates, looked at your pictures and followed your journey with Martin as if I had some kind of vested interest in the outcome. I realize now, after reading this post, that I do; I do have a vested interest. Listening and reading your story, seeing your strength and believing in the kind of courage you portray daily to your family and YOURSELF, gives me hope. It gives me strength and allows me to get through every day (or try to at least) with less stress on my shoulders and more love for my kiddos. It allows me to be the rockstar mama I know I can be while still keeping my sanity. It allows me to accept that although times are tough and life certainly isn't easy, it's damn well worth it. Because to my kids, my husband and my family, being me, a happy and content me, is all that's necessary. So thanks, Emily. Thank you for being the raw, the real, the awe-inspiring, super mama that you are. Your stories and writings are much needed revelations. xx

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  102. Thank you for being willing to share your life; both the beautiful and difficult aspects of it. Love you mija. God bless your sweet family.

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  103. Thank you for your raw honesty, Emily!! I love reading all your posts. You and your family haven't been far from my thoughts since Marty started his cancer journey. I've been praying for you all and am so happy that you have found love again and have such a strong supporter in Richard. God is good!!

    Hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas and a most blessed new year!

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  104. Your blog is the only one that I stalk. Haha. I love everything you or Richard write. The part about where you state that you are still the same Emily, I agree, but today's Emily is so much stronger and even bolder. A few years ago I don't think you would have written this post. I have enjoyed reading for the past few years and hope to years down the road. Your words are needed in my world, and I am sure in others. You are a true blessing and I hope that somehow we your readers can show you that. The ones that have been here through the long haul don't mind the sponsored posts. Or the emotional ones. Or the scattered ones. As long as they come from you, we will still be here.

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  105. Every time I read a post from you I am amazed! You are such an incredible writer and person and I'm so grateful you share so much of your life with all of us! Keep up the amazing work!!

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  106. So many feelings! I cried. Beautiful writing. Your story is amazing. I cannot believe how strong you are and how your path has unfolded. Above everything you are FIERCLY BRAVE to share it here and everywhere you are online. It must be just crazy to have shared so much and then gain this massive following and have so much happen in your life so fast. I just want to say do not ever feel ashamed for the depression and anxiety. Just because you have many blessings does not mean you are exempt from the very human responses to all the responsibilities and obstacles that befall us. I hope it is all gravy from here on out for you.

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  107. I would read posts like this everyday. How refreshing. You are an amazing woman,truly.

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  108. You're absolutely beautiful, inside and out! I love reading your posts, especially the rambling ones! Xx!

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  109. You are just lovely, inside and out. Thank you for sharing your story, for bringing so much hope to others, and for being such a light in this world. Much love to you and yours!

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  110. I clearly don't know you, but I love you and your family so dearly. You inspire me to love my family more fiercely. Thank you for your vulnerability and willingness to endure. ❤

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  111. Sweet presh Emily thank you for sharing so much๐Ÿ’Ÿ You are truly amazing & I pray you & your family all the time. Praise Jesus for people like Richard who give so selflessly & for second chances in life... your Martin is always on my mind & I think he is so grateful that you & the babies are not alone.. Continue to always keep his memory alive & may you continue to heal & find moments of happiness & love constantly!! Xoxo

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  112. I've not been much of a blog reader lately, as I barely have time for myself. But I find myself clicking to your blog from time to time over the past couple months. Today was not the best day to read while sitting at my desk at work as the tears just stream down my face. Goodness. What a wonderful path your life as taken you. The good and bad has made you the person you are today. Your children will understand that as well as how much they helped you in time of need as well. I hope only the best for you Emily and your family! Have a wonderful Christmas and an amazing New Year!!!

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  113. I'm just now sitting to catch up and read this, and as always- everything was so beautifully put. I'm so proud of you and I'm so honored to be able to see you in this journey and watch all that God has planned for you. Love you mama!!!

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  114. I've been reading your blog for years and find you so inspiring. Wishing you so much happiness. So glad that you and your sweet children have Richard in your lives. xoxo

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  115. You write beautifully! I found your blog "by accident" a while ago, and I have followed your journey, feeling for your family even though we have never met in person. Your little ones seem so sweet, and you are such a strong woman. Can't wait to see what God has in store for you and your family. xo

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  116. This is my first post which I have ever read from your blog. It is really inspiring and brings a lot of strength. So you have a new reader from abroad:)
    Greetings from Poland!

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  117. Emily I follow you on instagram and now I read ur blog! I think u are amazing!! Young Beautiful eloquent the list goes on . I wish you and your babies much happiness and I'm glad you all have Richard!! I thought I saw him wearing your ring and I thought I saw you wearing your ring holding the camera I thought oh did they get married I was happy for the 7 of you! No judgment here just pure joy that you and ur family are finding happiness and strength with each other and a sweet loving person! Much love and hugs!

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  118. You have tremendous courage and grace. I have never had the gift for knowing the right words to be able to share the grief of loosing first one son and then another. I answered curious questions but did not know how to share my shattered heart. People were afraid to be near me for fear that it might happen to them. They truly do not know what to say or how to be. I learned that the most important things in this world are people and how we treat them. You are a gift to this world. Please know that you are loved and prayed for. Hugs

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  119. THIS is one of the most beautiful pieces you have written and I have read! Emily, never stop filling this world with your beautiful heart, sharing humanity and life with your words- we ALL have felt the same in one way or another! You dare to say what we feel and what many of us are afraid to even admit! Thank you for your honesty and being simply YOU! Nothing else would make this virtual place as beautiful as it is.
    May your heart be forever this beautiful.
    Thank you- all the way from Germany

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  120. You are an amazing example of strength and resilience! Don't you worry about trying to cook more or put up tutorials or whatever. You have been through so much. Allow yourself to grieve. And if typing here helps, by all means, ramble all you want! Allow yourself to feel all the emotions as they come. And don't worry about us and what we may "need." Love your babies. Love your new husband. Let them help you heal. I'm going to share something that a friend told me when I lost my fifth child (and later my sixth and seventh) at 16 weeks gestation, that really helped me a lot in understanding and dealing with grief. She said that grief is like a book. A huge, gigantic book - like the big dictionaries you can find in big, fancy libraries. At first, this book sits open all the time, right in the middle of the main walkway where you have to trip over it and look at it all the time. Eventually, you are able to close the book, but it still sits there where you have to see it and walk around it all the time. And sometimes you walk past it only to find that it has fallen open when you thought it was closed and you have to work to get it closed again. After a while, it stays closed more than open and you have the strength to move it. Not up onto a shelf quite yet. Just somewhere where you aren't tripping over it all the time. And yet, sometimes, you find that it has moved back of its own accord. Fallen open all over again. And it takes you time to get it closed and moved out of the way again. Not as much time as when it first appeared. But it's not immediate either. Then someday you realize that the book has been closed and on a side table for a while without you realizing it. It can still fall open though and it does but not as often. Eventually the book makes it to a shelf. But it has a way of falling off that shelf and opening up when you least expect it. At first that happens a lot. It falls off the shelf, sometimes open, sometimes closed. Sometimes you can get it back up quickly and easily. Sometimes it creeps back to the walkway and stays open awhile. Some day, maybe in the very distant future, maybe in a much shorter time than you expected, that book will stay on the shelf most of the time. Don't expect it to stay there permanently. It has a mind of its own. But for the most part, it will stay on the shelf. And sometimes you will get the opportunity to get it down and look through it or your own choice and put it back when you are done. And sometimes it will take you by surprise and you'll find it on your pillow at night or at a special event for one of your children and you'll have to deal with it as best you can. It will always be there. It will never go away. But someday, you won't have to trip over it all the time. Someday, you will get to choose more and more often whether it stays on the shelf or whether you take it down. Grief like this doesn't go away ever. It stays with you. It just changes over time. And how long it takes isn't really something you can control. You can learn what you need to do when you find the book open. You can turn to our Heavenly Father to comfort you and sustain you while it's open and even to help you find a way to close it. But the process is one that has to be lived and experienced at its own pace. Don't worry about what anyone else thinks is an appropriate grieving time or process. There's no "right" way to experience it, only your way. And we are here and will always be here to support you even though we've not met in person, even if you write nothing for months or only journal your grief process for months or jump right back to the things you did before. We are here and we love you!

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  121. Ps I don't know if you've seen the new Mormon Channel series "Hope Works" but I think you'd especially like one titled "Seeing Green." https://www.mormonchannel.org/watch/series/hope-works/seeing-green-jill-thomas-hope-works

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  122. Emily,

    Thank you a million times over for sharing and for being so vulnerable. I'm in the middle of a divorce and I know it does not compare to losing Martin, but your message of hope, faith and love is needed.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    Much love,

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  123. This was such a raw, heartfelt post. I cried though most of it. I am only an occasional reader and only found you shortly before Martin passed (through some instagram collaboration or mention), but I have been so inspired by you. Not so much because of any heroic efforts or superhuman powers you are showing the world, but because of the real in you and the tragedy you have had and will continue to brave. You can do this. We are all cheering you on. You will not always feel as broken as you feel now. Sending all the love I possess.
    Your stranger friend,
    Janelle
    xoxoxo

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  124. This "rambly" post is so raw and beautiful. I feel so much happiness and grief and much more that is difficult to translate. For those feelings I love and all because you are so incredibly brave, stepping out and exposing so much of your personal life that so many of us are not even close to brave enough to do. Thank you (for a lack of better expression) for sharing your beautiful perfectly imperct life with us all! God bless you and your beautifully blessed family! And wow on your husband for being such a vital person for not only you buy those lovely children. Truly and incredible man for sitting there and (asking) for those memories they cherish to be shared with him. What a truly selfless man. So beautiful! Xoxo

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  125. I think I've read this post 10 times or more. You're braver than I could ever be. I hate that someone would say something unkind, when you're always come across as super, super kind. I look forward to reading more soup recipes and hair tutorials as time goes on. I also wish you and your family the absolute best.

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  126. *tears* ((hugs)) ❤ prayers for your heartache and beautiful family.

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  127. Such a beautiful post <3 I love those photos too. You are beautiful!

    www.upyourvlog.com

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  128. I came here because I've been wondering how you are lately. It's funny how the internet can connect us to people. I always feel more grounded in what truly matters when I've read your writing. You're so very inspiring. You have a beautiful family, and a beautiful soul!

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  129. I came across your Instagram account and was intrigued by your description of who you are so I read this post. It is an incredible thing to have such enormous support through such heartbreak and loss. My heart aches for what you have suffered and rejoices that you have helpers who love you dearly. All my best to you in this new year. ~ Virginia

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