What Path Do You Choose?

Now that I’ve started to blog again, I’m always thinking about new topics to write about. Well, perhaps that isn’t true. I think about things to write about all the time, but now I’m putting those thoughts down on paper again. My mind tends to look at circumstances and the environment around me as if they are pages in a book.

I can be sitting on a fold up chair, listening to the live music of a local country band in Holland, while all around me life is happening. I look across the park and I see a sail boat gently gliding on Lake Macatawa, while coming from the opposite direction is a speedboat zipping across the water, pulling their children on water tubes. Over to my left are couples dancing together, swaying to the music. Over there to my right is a woman riding her three-wheel bike, heading to a destination known only to her.

Lake Michigan

I often say, I feel like I’m in an episode of Seinfeld. I watch all this living going on around me. Every single person has a story, and the woman sitting in the fold up chair is unaware of the journey and how they got there. But they all have a story. For me, time stands still.

What I have learned, is that who we are today, has been greatly influenced by who we were yesterday.

I reached out to my children earlier this morning asking if I could have their permission to write about them from time to time. I want to respect their privacy, and I don’t want to embarrass them (Although that was a pure joy when they were living at home).

So, with permission, I feel it’s time to write about one of my sons. Not my biological son, but Jillian’s husband, Steve who I consider my own. I am not going to talk about the past and all the details when Jillian was sick and Steve was by her side. We’ve been through all of that. I want to talk about how all of us are moving forward.

One of my greatest fears was that I would lose touch with Steve and his family. My best friend passed away many years ago, we were all so young. Debbie was 23, married with a wonderful husband, a fun couple who we spent a lot of time with. When Debbie died, I lost all touch with her husband. I know it was difficult for us to keep that relationship going. Too many memories, too many reminders. I lost touch with her family, too. It was a trying time for me, but as I grew older, I understood the need for breaking away, severing those ties.

That didn’t happen with Steve. In the almost seven years since Jillian has been gone, we have continued to see each other, and I still see his family. In fact, Steve’s mom and his sister came to watch me and Joshua in Kentucky for my first half marathon. SO BLESSED!

Me, Karen, Josh, Kelly

A couple of years ago, Steve brought the new woman in his life with him to one of our family get togethers. It was a birthday party for the twins and the whole family was planning to attend.  Oh, I remember that meeting well. I was nervous. I didn’t want to scare them away. I was uncertain how I would react to any of it.  Would she like me? Would I like her? Would I cry, would it hurt?

Family Get Together

Well, it went wonderfully. Leslie is a beautiful young woman, inside and out. She is perfect for Steve in so many ways. The two of them are planning to get married in August. In fact, my daughter Jenni’s fiancé’,Cody, is a groomsman in their wedding. Steve is also a groomsman in Jenni and Cody’s wedding. Those bonds we forged all those years ago? Still stronger than ever.

The bonds are tightly woven together with many interconnected cords. Steve’s fierce desire to honor family. His strong passion and his moral compass. His commitment.

Leslie and her love for Steve. Knowing full well, this was not going to be an easy thing for her to come into a family that tragically lost a daughter and sister. Honestly, I’m not sure I would have had the strength and grace that she did. I am so proud of you, Leslie, and so very grateful for your grace in a situation that can’t be easy to navigate. I understand and acknowledge this. Thank you.

Steve and Leslie

I have not met Leslie’s momma yet, but I am looking forward to giving her a hug at their wedding and to let her know that I am grateful to her for raising a beautiful, thoughtful, independent daughter with such strength and compassion. You played a huge part in who Leslie is today. Thank you.

Our story could have taken a different course.  We all could have gone our separate ways and it could have ended there. It didn’t. Our story is in the early chapters; we have so many pages yet to turn. I’m excited about the future.

We are who we are today because of where we were yesterday. Make each day a blessing. Our future generations are counting on it.

~Peace and love,


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