What Stitch Fix did for our family

Last month, I opened the front door to find a large package with a return address from Stitch Fix, but I hadn’t scheduled a new order. I opened the box to discover all kinds of skin care supplies for Brenna and a couple of small, wrapped gifts for both Connor and Brenna.

“Your stylist shared with us what your family has been going through with Brenna’s recent hospitalization, and we wanted to send you a few things to let you know that we were thinking of you,” the hand-written card said. The amazing people of Stitch Fix – who I have never spoken with before – actually took the time to go to my blog and see what items we use for Brenna’s skin on a regular basis, and then purchased some of those items and had them sent to us. Not only that, but they picked out a Lego set for Connor and a cuddly green blanket for Brenna.

We have had incredible outpouring from so many people, but I am still completely blown away when people and companies go above and beyond like this. BLOWN AWAY. How amazingly thoughtful is that???

I’ve become a huge, huge fan of Stitch Fix since starting last year, but I am a forever grateful customer now. I was so moved by their gesture. Stitch Fix: you ROCK.

So then, of course I had to order a new Fix ūüėČ I didn’t keep everything this time around like I did last time, but I am loving what I got!

The Market & Spruce Margerie Stripe & Dot Open Cardigan is casual, looks really nice, is super comfortable and is Aquaphor-friendly! Keeper for sure!

Next, the Papermoon Minton Crew Neck Blouse. LOVE THIS. Maybe my favorite top¬†I’ve received! I already wore it to the Storyline Conference I attended a few weeks ago. Donald Miller liked it. (Well, he didn’t say he did, but I could tell.)¬†cIMG_3931

On to the Papermoon Kasi Swing Knit Top. Really cute and comfortable, but I was disappointed¬†when I saw the front. The solid gray would be absolutely terrible with Brenna’s Aquaphor. Gray is just the worst. And for such a casual top that I’d want to wear around all day, I don’t want to have to worry about stains constantly. I’ll be returning this top.cIMG_3934

Next, the Pixley Millie Textured Dress. I asked for a winter dress, and I think this is really cute, but I have some hang-ups. I don’t like that it’s sleeveless because I get cold and would have to wear something over it. I probably need a dress with sleeves. And second hang-up: the color scheme of navy and forest green immediately reminded me of my elementary school uniform. I know. I can’t get past that. Sending this one back too.stitchfix1

Lastly, the Pixley Martina Slub Knit Open Cardigan. I requested a long open cardigan in black and am absolutely thrilled with this piece. It’s SO comfortable and will be perfect to throw over just about anything this season. I love that it’s a knit and not a sweater, and it feels really high quality. I’ve worn this 7 million times already.cIMG_3943

So, moral of the story is: Thank you, Stitch Fix, for thinking of my family during the rough month of August, and thank you for continuing to help improve my wardrobe. Or, probably more accurate, for ensuring that I have something at all to wear. I’m grateful for both of those things! :)

If you haven’t tried Stitch Fix yet, you can sign up at¬†stitchfix.com¬†(this is my referral code!) You order a “fix” and get sent 5 items, and you have 3 days to decide what you want to keep or send back. This service has saved me SO much time and stress of shopping.¬†And you can¬†also get a Stitch Fix Gift Card¬†now¬†– what a¬†perfect holiday present!

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Even when you don’t feel thankful, you can still praise

It is certainly easy to say thank you when we get what we want.

When all is going well in life, it’s not hard to thank everyone around us, to thank God. Thank you for this job, for this food, for this bonus, for our kids’ health, for our big, beautiful home. Of course, we can exude gratitude in these good times.

But gratitude in suffering, in despair, in defeat and in hardship naturally comes a lot less easily. Being thankful¬†during the difficult days feels pointless. Because we don’t understand why and we feel angry, hurt, even betrayed – not at all grateful.

from Rachel Wojo

Last August, when Brenna was hospitalized for 8 days, we had several occurrences where she had to have a new IV put into her arm. This kind of effort is extremely hard, as her veins are difficult to locate and obviously, IV needles don’t feel super awesome anyway.

Holding my sweet girl on my lap, pinning her legs down while she screams out in pain as the nurse sticks her arm, once, twice, and again, is such a horrible feeling as a mother. In my head, I kept crying out to God to make it stop.

No, I don’t understand why she has to go through things like this. Every time, I wish they would stick me instead of her. Every time she gets a skin infection, I wish it was my skin that hurt and not hers. Every time she scratches all night, I wish it was me that couldn’t get comfortable enough to sleep and not her.

But what I am grateful for? First and foremost, Brenna’s life. That she is a very loved and valued part of our family. And secondly, for modern medicine and medical advances in the way of treating Harlequin ichthyosis. I have talked to and seen photos of other children with her condition all over the world to struggle to care for this condition with their limited resources, and we are extremely grateful for the medical community we have access to.

God never promised a fair and easy life, to any of us. What he did promise is everlasting love. He promised to redeem us, and to give us life with Jesus in heaven. And that alone is worthy of unending praise.

Gratitude comes easily in the moments of joy and of laughter. But in hardships, gratitude is often a very intentional choice that we must consistently seek out, again and again.

Even when we aren’t feeling thankful, we can still praise. Even when we don’t understand or agree, we can still praise.

Faith doesn’t necessarily come from answered prayer or miracles or met expectations. Rather, I have been finding is that faith comes from trust in God’s will and God’s greatness, and sometimes we must fight, every day, to maintain that trust, as the world pushes against it.

What true gratitude offers us is the opportunity to view¬†obstacles, hardships and disappointments in a new way, unfolding and opening the raw and sometimes complex beauty of a situation that we¬†might not have ever been able to see before, through the lens of Jesus’ love for us.


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Sharing my “Mud Story” – a podcast with Jacque Watkins

When¬†I started following Jacque Watkins on Instagram, she then emailed me to say I had won Susie Larson’s newest book by following her (she was running a giveaway)‚Ķand by the way, she had taken a look at¬†my blog and did I want to possibly record a podcast interview with her for her podcast Mud Stories?

It was my first podcast interview invitation, and I was elated and nervous. And then I received another from Bringing Up Betty, and I recorded them both on the same week Рwhich happened to be right in the middle of our house being completely put back together after our water damage (I had to go sit in our dark, unfinished basement to speak with Jacque because she could hear contractors banging in the background!)

Jacque was so warm and helpful and encouraging. I’m something of an open book in this episode, not very polished but very real.


The episode is called “Finding Beauty in our Differences and God in our Unexpected Adversity.”

Life changed for Courtney and Evan the day their daughter Brenna was born, leading them through the grieving of normal, and into a life of surrender and change. It would be a time where their faith would grow, God would be near, and they would learn to give thanks even in the hardest circumstance they’d ever faced.

Courtney’s perseverance through adversity is inspiring, and her love and care for her daughter is an example of choosing thanks and getting joy, as the hardship of Brenna’s life has become one of their greatest blessings.

Go here to listen to the podcast episode on Jacque’s blog, and you can also listen on¬†iTunes and on¬†Stitcher. Thanks for listening!

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