10 April, 2016

Wallis Vey

 I don't recall crying when the other bambinos entered this world.  But I remember crying on your birthday.

It starts out so simple.  We woke up after a restless night.  (I mean, who can really sleep when they know they're going to meet THEIR BABY the next day?  It's like waiting for Christmas morning.)  We stopped at Muncher's to buy donuts.  We went through the emergency room where a woman was standing there inquiring about her husband who was brought in in an ambulance.  I gave her a donut because her day was starting out so terribly and mine was only going to get exponentially better.

The room was freezing.  My nurse held me tight while they numbed my legs because I could not deal.  She hummed quietly to the song playing in the background.  The whole room began placing wages on whether I was about to have a girl or a boy.  It was evenly split.  Your dad came in and squeezed my hand twice.  It was familiar; he had done the same exact motion two times before.  It was his code for "Let's do this."


None of this was supposed to happen.  We had talked about another baby but, because we're planners, we wouldn't bother with any of that until at LEAST October of 2014.  Because that would give us a child in the late summer and we would be back in Omaha by then and life would be inexpensive enough that I could stay home again and...(see, I told you there was a plan.)  

And then that July the world blew up and I remember thinking that night as I cried myself to sleep that THAT was out the window.  Not that I was really in the mood to even speak with Justin, let alone let him impregnate me.  I just had add it to the list of future plans shattered.  Then one week later the ominous second line of the pregnancy test openly mocked me with my own words.  Never, you say?  Well here you go.  That's one doodle that can't be undid.   

I laughed; I sat down on the edge of the tub and just laughed.  Really, God?  This is how we're going to play?  My life is literally crumbling in front of me and you want to throw another child my way?


The doctor said, "Justin, you ready to call it?"  He peered over the curtain, and said, "Oh..." And then the world's longest delay as the whole room, who already knew what I didn't, was waiting for him to spit it out.  Finally he said with a sheepish smile on his face, "Well, you got it your way, it's a girl!"  The room exploded in cheers.

I was a pile of smiles, listening to you screaming, getting pats on the shoulder from the anesthesiologists behind me, telling me I did great.  Uh, ok.  All I did was lay here but sure!  I was still staring at the ceiling when your dad said, "Hey honey, look over here."  And there you were.  Getting a good rub down from a team of nurses who were talking in baby voices.  "She's got hair!"  Of all the things to say, that's what I said first.  What can I say, I'm not always great at first impressions.  I remember just staring at this baby.  My baby Ziggy, who only minutes earlier was nestled in my abdomen, was here.  You were small, but loud.  And I loved you.

Then, my eye caught your dad, who was strategically off to the side between you and me so that my view was unobstructed, beaming.  My focus shifted back and forth between the two of you.  The talking and scuttling of the surgical team faded into white noise.  It was Elysian.  And that's when it the tears began to FLOW.  I was full on sobbing.  The doctor behind me was wiping my tears that were steadily pooling in my eyes. 

Suddenly it was just us three in that room.  He was here.  He wasn't supposed to be.  We were supposed to be ruined, torn apart by the weight and magnitude of all that happened.  You were here.  This baby that wasn't in the plan.  None of this was in the plan.  These two people, who a short nine months earlier I never expected to be spending the day with, were here.  With me.

Us three.
Two miracles.
My marriage, my best friend.
And this child.  YOU, Wallis Vey.

I make no claims that you saved us.  I don't think that's the case at all.  You are just a divine reminder of the redemption at play.

You are my springtime.  I am absolutely crazy about you.

Happy birthday, Wally-Babe.  

18 December, 2015

Yuletide Greetings and Stuff Like That

To be perfectly honest, 2015 can sit on it.

This year is one for the record books.  Most notably as the year where everything went differently than expected.  We were thinking it would go left, it went right.  We bobbed, it weaved.  Looking back I feel slightly foolish for feeling like I was ever in control.  Just how the water slide isn't nearly as fun if you spend the whole time gripping the sides, trying to slow down and do it your way, neither is life.  In reality, trying to control it usually ends up with a bunch of water up your coot-coot and you come out the slide looking like this:

At least he crashed in style.
So I suppose I held on a little tight this year and got that metaphorical water up my metaphorical coot-coot.  I'm really I keep saying that word in my Christmas greeting.  I'm working on it: both letting go and not saying coot-coot (DANG IT I DID IT AGAIN).

I would do the traditional year in review, but I think we can all agree that the invent of social media has made such attempts a bit antiquated. Everything you need to know about our year is fully documented in bits and pieces found here and there across the webz. (I want to add that if you have sent me your family newsletter, I have GENUINELY enjoyed reading about your year. I noticed that I wasn't mentioned in any of them, so maybe next year let's find a way to tie me in, mkay?)

What I do want to share is a moment and a wish for you.

One night while camping at Sequoia National Park, J and I walked away from the campsite out to where there was nothing but darkness. So dark. If I didn't know J was out there with me, I would not have noticed him ever-so-slightly silhouetted against the mountains and trees behind us. I genuinely cannot remember another time I have seen so many stars. It was ethereal. I'm sure I gave at least one big sigh. This was the stuff.

The other day I told Justin I want that sort of peace again. Every day. I want to breathe in deep, and feel known and loved, and for that feeling to radiate through me.

And I wish it for you. 
 I hope this season and the year to come are full of peace. 


Kingdoms come and kingdoms fade 
But always You remain 
Ages pass and seasons change 
But always You remain the same

Merry Christmas, friends.

04 November, 2015

Shake it Out

You know how you have music on your iPod that rarely gets touched?  Like, you were super into [insert embarrassing band name here] years ago and then you forget they're there until they weirdly show up at the right time?  (Or, more often than not, the wrong time.  Like when you're trying to be romantic and play "our song" and No Diggity comes on?  Okay, fine, No Diggity is actually our song, but you get the point.)

Well, wasn't I lucky enough to have such an experience today.  I rarely listen to my music anymore.  With a longer commute to work, I've really gotten into podcasts.  And if I'm out of episodes, then I click on the radio.  But today the 60s on 6 were just NOT doing it for me, so the iPod it was.  I was nearly home, and then it came on.

Regrets collect like old friends

Here to relive your darkest moments
I can see no way, I can see no way
And all of the ghouls come out to play

Oh boy.  I haven't heard this one since...well, probably since we lived at Offutt.  That's 3 years ago; back when life was relatively easy and I was too naive to see what was going on.

And I've been a fool and I've been blind
I can never leave the past behind
I can see no way, I can see no way
I'm always dragging that horse around

I never considered this song relative. I just remember some of my best long-distance runs were accompanied by this song.  But now, today, as I sang along I caught myself saying, "Woah."  I turned it up and stopped singing.  It was like hearing for the first time all over again.

All of his questions, such a mournful sound
Tonight I'm gonna bury that horse in the ground
So I like to keep my issues drawn
But it's always darkest before the dawn

For over a year, I've been carrying this burden, this heavy heart. And, for those of you who have done the same, you know the toll it can take on a person.  Physically: I have foggy brain; I am retaining weight; my hair is falling out faster than ever.  Emotionally: I cry a lot; I'm distrusting; I've built up pretty spectacularly high walls from people; I can't connect like I used to; I second guess myself.

But truthfully, I'm so tired of all of that.  I'm ready to be Bridget again.

And I am done with my graceless heart
So tonight I'm gonna cut it out and then restart
'Cause I like to keep my issues drawn
It's always darkest before the dawn

And it's hard to dance with a devil on your back
And given half the chance would I take any of it back
It's a fine romance but it's left me so undone
It's always darkest before the dawn
Now, I understand that you can't go back again. I know that the person I am shaping up to be is a direct product of my experiences.  James wasn't fooling around when he said that trials produce perseverance.  I certainly wish there was another way around it to learn the things I have, but that's beside the point.  

I also understand that me saying I'm just going to shake it out is simple.  But, true story, I've literally been told to get over it.  May I take a moment to say that you should never, under any circumstances, say that to a grieving person?  It just makes you look like a dick.  (Is that mean?  I say with love, people.)  Anyhow, it's not simple.  It's complicated and messy.  It involves getting to the bottom of it with yourself and, sometimes, with the people who have hurt you.  It's being done with your graceless heart and learning what forgiveness really looks like.  It never feels complete.  And, from my perspective only, I'm not sure it will ever be complete.  Healing, to me, is about making progress.  When you check your incision after surgery and notice that the skin is beginning to mend...progress.  When you realize that you just expressed frustration, fear, or confusion about something when before you would have stayed quiet and it would have festered and grown and you would have begun to harbor resentment and hate...progress.  

So I guess I've rambled on this far to say...I'm going to keep at it.  I want to shake the fears, self-pity, self-doubt, anger, and indignation (along with a thousand other feels).  I want to be a strong mother and friend.  I want to show you what healing looks like.

Progress is the name of the game.  Trying to fix it all in one day ain't going to happen.  I tried that last August.  I tried to fix Justin, me, anything I could get my hands on.  And it didn't work.  It just left me broken and exhausted and unable to cope when shit really hit the fan in October.  Instead of being present in the moment and the feelings and laying it down, I made it my life's goal to make it better and collect my medal for Best & Fastest Fixer.  Turns out, there is no medal for that.  But thankfully God used people around me to say, "Hey.  Quiet down.  Let's just let him deal with this.  He's got it and He's got you so just chilllllllllll."

And I'm damned if I do and I'm damned if I don't
So here's to drinks in the dark at the end of my road
And I'm ready to suffer and I'm ready to hope
It's a shot in the dark aimed right at my throat
'Cause looking for heaven, found the devil in me
Looking for heaven, found the devil in me
Well what the hell I'm gonna let it happen to me, yeah

Letting go is a risk. I don't know where it's headed, but I'm going to trust the process. And I'm going to trust God. He got me this far so I don't see Him abandoning me now; that would just seem completely out of character.  And I'm going to try and do what Florence and her machine tells me too: shake it out.  Because it's hard to dance with the devil on your back.  And I'm not a great dancer to begin with, so it just makes it even weirder.

We'll talk soon. B

14 July, 2015

A Word From Justin

Justin took a few minutes (or perhaps a few days) to put together some thoughts.  While I like to think I'm the voice of this family, I suppose I can share the mic for a minute.


I always thought myself a humble person, and I’m pretty sure my friends and family shared that opinion. Yet I harbored a certain type of pride in my heart, a pride that was particularly hard to get rid of because I was convinced that it didn’t exist.

Pride and self-deception go hand-in-hand. I needed an incredible amount of self-deception to tell myself that verses like Gal 6:7 and Prov 16:18 didn’t apply to me. I used to love quoting Prov 16:18 at people in my life … there’s probably some self-righteousness in there too.

Self-deception allowed me to think that for whatever reason the rules were different for me. Pride helped me buy into thinking that I could get away with my rebellion. There was a healthy helping of selfish arrogance included as I chose to do what I thought was best, regardless of what God said was best or what was best for my family.

Gen 3:1. Satan’s first recorded words in the Bible are “Did God actually say … ?”. Centuries later, I’m still finding myself accepting that line of questioning, and talking myself into choices based on pride, arrogance, and self-deception.

I was the fool talked about in Psalm 14:1. I was and am a Christian, but by my actions I lived out a life that was based on believing in my way more than believing in God’s way. I would have never said “there is no God”, but I certainly lived like it.

Along with humility, I also always thought I didn’t have a problem with selfishness. I was wrong about that too. On the surface level I was fairly selfless, but the decision to break my wedding vows was a destructively selfish choice, made all the worse by the fact that there really is no “victimless” sin. My sin destroyed relationships and damaged those I love.

I’ve heard people talk about how they were slaves to sin, but I had never really empathized with them until I finally started being honest and discovered that I was just like every other sinner in the world and I too had walked myself straight into slavery.

Becoming fully honest and confessing everything to Bridge was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, and as a mark of comparison I have been to jail. More about that later, maybe. Confessing everything to Bridge hurt on many levels; it hurt to see her hurt, and it hurt to know that she would never look at me the same way again. I don’t look at myself the same; I know she doesn’t. But … but, here’s what reminds me that it’s okay to not hate myself … no matter how Bridge looks at me these days, she’s looking at the truth.

Remember the Israelites in the book of Exodus? They were in slavery, and they cried out to God to save them. Once God sent Moses to save them, and they were good and saved, they promptly started grumbling and waxing nostalgic about slavery. I don’t know how Bridge and my story ends, but I know that God saved us, and no matter what desert we’re walking through, I’m not going to start wishing I was back in slavery. 


17 June, 2015


I just want to take a quick second to, once again, thank you for your kind words and support.  Every time I share my story, I worry about how I'm going to be received.  Usually I convince myself that backs will turn and I'll be left with my heart out there, vulnerable, completely exposed and ready to be trampled on.  But time and time again you have held me close and reminded me that my expectations were wrong.  I am so lucky to be surrounded by such genuine, loving people.  Thank you for being there.  Whether you were one of the unfortunate few who had to decipher what I was saying in between heavy sobs last summer or are hearing all of this for the first time.  
You are the best.


When my world went upside down, even in the thick of it, I knew that I didn't want this, our story, to be a dark, family secret.  For a few reasons (that we might discuss at a later time) it would be next to impossible.  I wasn't sure how or when, but there was a shared feeling between J and I that this was not something we would hide.

On the dark days, which was pretty much the last third of 2014, I spent a lot of time looking for ways to feel better.  For something to jump out and say, "IT'S GOING TO BE OKAY."  For something to help me try to see past what was front of me.  Which, I later learned, is a great way to have anxiety attacks.  You gotta just deal with what is staring you in the face.  There's plenty of time to deal with the rest as it comes at you.

Anywho, if you follow me on Pinterest you very well could have watched this all play out.  I'm sure it probably looked pretty quintessential emo.  (Nobody understands me, gah.) But rest assured, I'm back to pinning gifs from Arrested Development and recipes with names like "Better Than Sex Chex Mix".  SPOLIER ALERT: it's not.  It's good, but I think it may have set the bar a little too high.

Early in this season of Pinterest therapy (real therapy was also involved, can't leave everything to the internets!) I found this quote from one of my favorite people, Brene Brown.  I saw her on a TED Talk while living in Nebraska.  I liked what she had to say back then, but I had no idea how relevant her work would become to my life.  You can find here talks HERE and HERE.  If you don't watch those (which you really should), please please please watch THIS.  It's short and sweet and quietly, gently speaks what I've wanted to scream at people.

Brene said,

"Shame needs three things to grow exponentially in our lives: secrecy, silence, and judgement." 

So.  You won't see the shame monster 'round these parts.  Not saying there aren't bad days, because there are.  Days where it's easier to put your hands over your ears and pretend nothing happened, nothing changed.  But we move forward and we stand in our truth.  No secrecy, no silence.  Maybe some judgement, but as my best friend reminds me, haters gonna hate, potatoes gonna potate.  

Beyond that, I can't help but have the overwhelming feeling that God isn't wasting this. (You thought I wasn't going to take you to church?  Come on, you know me better than that.)  He's gonna use it.  I mean, he already is.  There's nothing like watching the foundation of your relationship and life together crumble before your eyes only to realize that it was rotting from the inside.  I hate to admit it, but I'm thankful this happened, in a way.  We could have gone awhile pretending that things were okay.  Justin would have his secrets and I would have my own issues eating away at us both.  And then we probably would have imploded; we would have been impossible to repair.  But now...now we have a chance.  You can bet your sweet bippy both of us realize that not everyone gets a second chance and we're going to do everything we can to not screw this up.  But we might, because we're human.  And that's where Jesus comes in.  We don't have to be perfect, because he was.  We can rest in that.  He's all like, "I got you, boo."  Grace, y'all.

I leave you with this.  My mantra for the now and beyond.

"She could never go back and make some of the details pretty.  All she could do was move forward and make the whole beautiful."  -Terri St. Cloud

08 June, 2015

A Lesson in Love

This is the last photo I remember taking before my heart was broken.  I say that so easily with my fingers on the keyboard, but there is a lump in my throat and everything I want to say is starting to hide in my mind, like it doesn't want to come out anymore.

You know how when something significant in your life happens, good or bad, your senses become hyper aware and things you normally couldn't remember suddenly are burned in your brain?  In the good instances it's fantastic.  When it's bad, well, it's freaking torture.  Pair that with a mind that has a thing for remembering dates, numbers, times and you've got yourself a nice little nightmare stewing around in your head.  

I remember the Friday this photo was taken and the next five days leading up to The Day.  Every detail came flooding back, like my mind was looking for clues that would have shown me what I was about to come up against.  It found a lot of them, but I was too oblivious to notice them as they were happening.  

I can remember that day like I'm still in it.  I remember the conversations I had with people at work.  We were working on a new exhibit and I had been enlisted for a sewing project.  I remember later being at Beverly's, picking out the fabric.  I can see which aisle I was in.  It was the second one, and if you looked directly to your left you can see the cutting station where the mean Eastern European woman worked.  I remember walking in the back door of our house.  You could always see your own reflection so well in the glass double-doors- I noted to myself how tan I was.  I remember Justin sitting in the rocking chair, home a good three hours earlier than he ever is.  

His eyes were red.
He was upset.   
He told me what happened.
My heart shattered.

I wasn't in my body at this point.  I was standing on the stairs, just a few feet away, watching this all play out.  I don't know why the stairs, but that's where I was.  This had never happened before, and it's hard to forget something so bizarre.  


This week is our anniversary.  I didn't really want to celebrate it.  It's been a hard year, and I am not sure what we were celebrating.  It wasn't like our first anniversary, where he called me from Basic Training and we talked for two minutes, and then I went to sleep alone in our bed.  It certainly wasn't the same as last year, where we went to Hawaii and dreamed about what forever was going to look like.

Loving Justin always was easy.  It was like breathing.  He was my best friend.  He IS my best friend.  I loved Justin like I love trans fats- full force and with everything I've got.  

Loving Justin now...can be heavy.  But I can't help myself.  I love him.  I really, deeply do.   But by continuing to love him, to see this marriage through, so much has been lost.  There has been so much pain.  It has never hurt this much to love someone.  

My friend put it this way, and I'm not sure I could do better:

"So it's one thing to say, 'Hey.  I still love you.'  
And it's another thing to long suffer through what that really means.  Because forgiveness is so costly.  It cost Jesus his life.  
And it will likely cost you what you though your life would look like as well."

I...WE...did lose a lot.  

We lost a stable home life.  Pay.  Health benefits.  Security.  Reputation.  Trust.  Oh, how we lost the trust.

But, somehow, we have made it through.  And I use that phrase loosely because there are some days when I would rather shoot myself in the face than hear about ONE MORE FREAKING THING that is not working in our favor.  (To anyone concerned about me actually shooting myself in the face, I'm hyperbolizing a bit there.)

Now to bring it full circle (maybe, but not really), we are entering our tenth year of marriage.  First off, ew.  There is no way I'm old enough to have been married for this long.  Secondly, I'd like to point out that it only took me nine years to really understand what it meant to love someone.  Not just the mushy ushy "I love you pookie-bear" love, but that gritty love.  The love that says, "You screwed up.  Big time.  You took my heart, and you crushed it.  Then you put it under the car and ran it over.  And then a wild animal dragged it into the woods and its whole family picked and chewed at it.  But I see you.  I see that you are more than this one thing.  And I'm going to love the s*** out of you, even when it hurts."

If there was any other way to learn this...oh boy how I wish it could have been any other way.  But apparently there wasn't.  So I am going to take this ginormous lesson on forgiveness and love, tuck it in my pocket AND NEVER FORGET IT.

So, Justin, let's take lots of pictures this year.  Let's surround ourselves with memories that can help dilute the pain and hurt of the past, but let's not forget where we've come from.  Let's always remember how to love purely, deeply, honestly, with everything we've got. 

I love you. 

07 July, 2014

The Rock of Gilbraltar, or How Justin and I Find New & Exciting Ways to Embarrass Ourselves in Public

I can't swim.  I mean, I can manage okay with a sloppy stroke and I can doggy-paddle for days on end.  But if it came to it, and I seriously needed to save a life, perhaps my own, well... let's just say it probably wouldn't end well.  I remember my brother, Brandon, taking lessons at the downtown pool when we were kids.  I'm not sure if my parents were hoping to get a two-fer deal and have Brandon teach me on his own after his extensive two week course, or if they realized they might be over their heads kids-wise and wanted to weed out the weakling.  And should that happen via accidental drowning, then so be it.

Turns out the accident they always hoped for never happened, so here I am, all 26 years of me, with the skill level of child.  It's a bit unnerving to be out in open water, mainly because I may be able to get myself out there with haphazard strokes and spaghetti arms, but coming back in is another story.  And it's supes awkward to be like 'hey, can some one drag me back in?  I swear, I'm lighter in water, but I may have pooped myself from the stress of swimming, so there are some personal risks you're going to have to take.'

So here we are this weekend, at a beautiful campsite in Coloma, CA.  Our tent is just feet from the water, and when we arrive it's calm and cool and absolutely beautiful.  We waded out from the edge to the middle and never once did the water go higher than my stomach.  Okay, not so bad.

Enter Saturday.  That's odd, the river looks a touch higher today.  And where are those rocks we were on yesterday?  What the hockey sticks?!  It turns out, they have a dam up river, and they open it up for the white water rafters at 10 am, and by our best judgements the water level rose between 18-24 inches.

Thankfully no one had to save me.  Justin did get knocked over just trying to get in his tube.  If you ever need a good laugh, watch the face of a man who thinks he is about to go sailing down a rushing river, his butt about to be accosted by massive rocks, ready and willing to get the job done.  No means no, river.  No means no.

At that point Swanny and Amber had gone back to the campsite, and it was just me and J out on the water.  We were approaching the spot we wanted to land at, on the right, so naturally our tubes were keeping it nice and steady to the left of the river.  Right in the middle of the river was one this big stack of rocks, each the size of melons, which the boys dubbed the Rock of Gibraltar.

So Justin has this plan.  I swear, I am not making this up.

"Okay, babe.  When we go past the Rock of Gibraltar I'm going to grab on and it's going to sling shot us to the right."

"What'd you say?  I got river water in my mouth.  And I just peed in here like five minutes ago.  I essentially just peed in my own mouth."

"Alright babe, here it comes!"


The man grabs ahold of the rocks.  I hold on for dear life to his tube.

We slingshot; it worked!  I get flipped around and no longer have eyes on J.  But I know his plan has gone south when I hear the distinct sound of rocks, lots of them, tumbling.

The man knocked over the Rock of Gibraltar.

I peek over my shoulder to see the aftermath.  It's gone...all of it.  Even better, there are about 25 people wading on the shore who all got to witness Justin destroying someone's river art, mouths gaping.  Most likely they probably also heard me yelling about peeing in the water, so already we were on their list. Both of us are in near tears laughing.  Like, deep down belly laughs, all while trying to dismount the river.  (Do you dismount a river?  Someone look into that for me, because I'm not really into fact checking right now.)  Justin finally hopped off his tube and was dragged me and my limp-from-laughter body to the edge where we had to do the Walk of Shame.  Which, I might point out, is even more awkward when you're doing it in water moccasins.  No one can look cool in those things, but I find there is strength in numbers.

I gave the river-goers a shrug and an "our bad" hand gesture.  And then I realized that we just gave them like, one of the best river stories ever, and they should be thanking us.  With that in my mind, it made it a lot easier to march off in my water moccs and a slight wedgie.

You're welcome, river people.  You're welcome.

The river, when the dam was shut.  Dam near deceiving, if I say so myself.