Standing Outside the Fire

It is amazing how one song can bring you back to a place and time…

Twirling Photo

I was leaving for work this morning and I heard the legendary Garth Brooks was coming back to Minneapolis to perform this November.  When Mike got sick, I found a few of his songs brought me great comfort; specifically “Standing Outside the Fire“. I must tell you; until today I had never seen the video though I just imagined a kid trying to make it beyond all the odds because that is how I felt when I heard the song (I guess I was right)! I would listen to it cranked up in the car when I was feeling my most sad about Mike’s illness and my life in general. It’s upbeat tempo helped get me into a better mood and the words…they spoke to me like I am sure a song has spoken to you at some point in your life.

“Life is not tried, it is merely survived
If you’re standing outside the fire”

After the announcement today the radio station played “Standing Outside the Fire” and I again cranked up the radio in the car and belted out the song…thank goodness no one could hear me sing as I am sure I sounded terribly off-key, but it felt so refreshing and rejuvenating.   The song brought me back to the time of life when Mike was sick, though it now brought new meaning too…I might be a fool to some when it comes to falling in love again or really living my life fully in general, but I know the REWARD is worth the risk. I have lived both in and out of the fire per say, and I would much rather dance with the flame than miss this life by letting is pass me by.

I added the song back to my playlist so tomorrow morning I can again belt out the very song that helped me find slivers of hope during my darkest days and now I know that I am NOT “standing outside the fire” of life.

What song brings you back to a time and place and how does it make you feel? Good or bad?

Are you dancing with the flame of life or are you “standing outside the fire“?


P.S. I want to always be truly authentic so I will tell you that after they played “Standing Outside the Fire“, they played “The Dance” and I broke down into sobs; I even had to pull over to regain my composure before I continued to drive. That was the last song that Mike & I ever danced too at my brother & sister-in-laws wedding about 3 months before he died…how hauntingly true are the lyrics. I wouldn’t change a thing though if I could go back – never in a million years.

And now I’m glad I didn’t know

The way it all would end, the way it all would go

Our lives are better left to chance

I could have missed the pain, but I’d have had to miss the dance”

Sparkling Bauble

Tonight I lost my diamond tennis bracelet that Mike gave me about 6 months before he died. It was the last piece of jewelry that he ever gave me and it was a replacement bracelet from the one he gave me when Brooklyn was born that was lost when she was about 2 months old. After I hunted through the closet, through the car and through my purse I sat down and cried for a material possession that was lost and for what that possession meant to me. Through my tears I saw my amazing husband Jeff coming back after searching himself in all of the places that I had just searched.  He wrapped me up in love and through the sobs I told him how this piece isn’t replaceable and that I can still hear Mike saying

“Brooklyn, don’t you think mommy needs a little something sparkly to go on our date today?”

He had just given her some sparkly costume jewelry that he purchased for her since we were going to see Disney on Ice and she was all dressed up as a princess. Jeff then reminded me that I will always feel that bracelet on my wrist and I will forever hold those memories in my heart even if the bracelet is gone.


What things do you have that hold memories for you? Are you holding onto the things that are important or just holding onto things?

Still hoping the bracelet shows up, but if not I know that I will forever hear Mike’s voice in my head and I know he is forever with me.


Update: My bracelet has been found…a kind and caring soul turned it in. I was checking each place I was at yesterday and honestly it was a crazy day so I fully expected that I would never find it again, but I did at Target of all places. Thankful to have it returned, but now I know that I carry Mike within me and even if I lose possessions I will never lose the memories that I have of him.


“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.


People have told me that I have a gift for writing and that I should write a book. Well after years of thinking about it I finally took the leap of faith and took time off from work to just write! It is still a work in progress though many of my stories, emotions and memories are now down on paper and I can stop reliving that part of my life. I can say that this year was the first time that I didn’t relive each and ever last day and moment of Mike’s life; like I had in the past few years. Maybe this is something that comes with time, though I like to think that writing all of those memories and emotions down helped too. It helped me heal and to see losing Mike for all of the beauty that it was and is now.

Until you have lost someone you love so much that your soul hurts you can never understand how amazing it also feels to see life bloom again like a flower and be eternally gratefully for the “new” blessed life that you have been given.

I watched a video just yesterday of a presentation by Christina Rasmussen the author who wrote “Second Firsts” and it really spoke to me. A tragedy did happen in my life but you don’t need to have a tragedy to reclaim your life.  When Mike died I never thought it was possible to be happy and see the beauty in life again, but as I have told many widows it is possible!  I am so grateful and thankful for everything that I have been given. Now before you start judging or thinking that I am thankful that my husband died that is not it at all. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone at all, but it is all about perspective. I am thankful for the journey and path that God gave me and that I am living.  As much as I would have loved to have the typical life: get married, have children and grow old together that was not the path that God gave to me or wanted me to have. I have been given a gift and many people will never understand this, but when you are in the “waiting room” as Christina would say you are comfy and not really stretching yourself beyond your bounds and I was in the waiting room long before Mike died. I was just comfy and not stretching to be me fully and after he died, he gave me the gift of the 2nd chance. You don’t have to have a tragedy occur to step out of the “waiting room” and live the life that God intended. There are still days that I just want to crawl back into my “waiting room” and cry and be sad for the cards my life got dealt, but then I remember that if Mike hadn’t died I wouldn’t have other amazing things in my life. Again – no hate mail needed – I love Mike and always will, but again it is all about perspective. I choose to thank God for all that he has given me instead of the negative and what was taken away from me. If you are feeling stuck; I highly recommend you watch Christina’s 15 minute video (link below) and visit her FB page for additional uplifting messages. Christina’s book changed my perspective and meeting her changed me and how I look at my life!

Today marks the 3rd anniversary of Mike’s home-going. My heart hurts today and especially miss his face.

The kids are thriving, amazing and happy. They miss their dad, though I have taught them it is okay to miss him and we can honor his memory and how he lived his life by truly living ours! If I had 1 request for my children, I would ask if you knew Mike when he was a child/teenager could you please take a little time out of your day and email me a story or two? The boys especially are always asking questions about what their dad was like as a kid or when he played basketball, how he played and more. I can share so much with them, though these are the stories I don’t have.

Today in church Pastor John’s message felt like it was just for me and it was about how each person receives a God-given gift and for many years as I was in my “waiting room” I didn’t know what my God-given gift was. I know now that my gift is to share my story and to help others. I do so by being the chapter leader for the Modern Widows Club Minneapolis West Chapter, running an on-line cancer care-giver support group and volunteering at church. I have a purpose!



In memory of Mike, our family will smile, laugh and honor him by loving this amazing life that we have been given!

Have a blessed day!



I whisper your name in the darkness of night and during the craziness of the day, but you never answer. I know you are there and that you are with us always; for I carry you within my heart.