Shining Sunrise


Still Shining

June 18, 2021

Notice anything new around here?  Don’t worry it’s still me.  Just gave myself that approaching-middle-age facelift.  To the blog that is! 

               A few months back, I was giving a chat to a local Moms Group and they asked for my website/blog.  It was totally embarrassing seeing that I, on a whim, created my little space on the Internet in about 10 minutes with a copy and paste of a few images….almost 10 YEARS AGO.  Turns out, a lot has changed in the world of technology since then.  I made the decision to spruce things up a little bit for whatever may lay down this wild and winding road that I’ve been on since the creation of our CaringBridge so very long ago.

               It never ceases to amaze me the healing and hope and opportunity for connection that Our Shining Light has presented since its existence.  I wrote many of these posts in very raw, pain-filled places, but each one has been like a step forward in my healing following Elena’s devastating injury.  It’s been an outlet of emotion for me, a witness to my grief, one that has created connection with you and for others who have found themselves feeling alone and hurting.  And I will be forever amazed and humbled whenever my journey and Elena’s tragic injury can be used to make someone else’s struggle seen and validated. 

               Connection, like so many other unexpected blessings along the way, has become a passion of mine.  It is my reason for this current ‘yes’ phase of life.  For many years, this blog was the only emotionally safe place for me to share my story.  As my healing has continued and my grief has changed, I have found myself in a position to say ‘yes’.  My writing has been a source of connection and expression for so long, but over the last couple years I have experienced how much speaking about my grief, my experience, can create even more connection among us.  This seemingly new phase of my life is constantly encouraging me to say ‘yes’ to things that scare me, that I feel unqualified for, that I don’t feel polished enough for, that make me second guess myself all the time.  But, I also feel a push to extend outside of the boundaries of what make me comfortable, for the sake that I felt encouraged, validated, comforted by people along the way who probably stepped outside their comfort zones to help people like me. 

               I share Elena’s story and my own, because it continues to provide purpose for the pain, keeping my focus on the goodness that has come in the wake of devastation, not on the incredible loss.  What good is the work that I have done, what good is the work that God has done in me to get to this place, if I don’t use it to help others who need it?  This world lacks encouragers.  We, too often, can be in it only for ourselves, to tear others down based upon our own hurt, our own fears and our own insecurities.  I decided a long time ago that the challenges I face in this life were not meant to be shouldered only by me.  I believe we were created for community, to share with one another, to offer a hand, a hug, an understanding look with each other.  It has been those moments where I’ve felt alone and isolated that the darkness becomes too much.  Elena has been my inspiration to constantly seek the light, to find where God is working, to trust His faithfulness, His infinite goodness.  And it’s always been my intention to share her, to share her joy and innocence with the world, because there can never be too much light, too much perspective. 

               Therefore, this new home for us may look fancy.  It may feature one too many pictures of me trying so very, very hard not to be awkward, and you know, super casual.  There may be lofty goals for myself (i.e. ready for my TED Talk, TED Talk people and dreams of a book outside its current Word Document home) but sharing my girl with the world is my purpose and saying ‘yes’ is part of that.  So come along, friends, hang with me on this continuing journey and see where it takes us! And don’t worry, I’ll still bring the awkward.

  1. Sandi says:

    You are a shining everyday! Bless you and your family.

  2. Rebecca Miller says:

    You have and will continue to be an inspiration to so many. Love reading your new blog and we look forward to seeing all your sweet family in July!

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This is Elena. Our Light. You can see all the goodness and joy that shines from those deep blue eyes. She loves sneezes, yawns, industrial toilet flushes, automatic paper towel dispensers and The Star Spangled Banner. Music is her everything, specifically Moana, Frozen (really all Disney), Queen & Taylor Swift. Nothing makes her squeal quite like swimming, fast boat rides and her two brothers in trouble. In addition to her megawatt smile, Elena reminds us to cherish the smallest of victories, to live in the present, and to daily dwell in a posture of gratitude for every breath and every blessing.  

More About Our Story

I’m Emmalee, an ordinary gal born and raised in the Heartland. Wife to Chad, and Mom to Elena, Calvin & Turner, I spend most my days ridin’ dirty (literally so much trash) in my minivan carting kids to and fro. When I’m not being a Momager, I excel at self-care, cooking gourmet meals my kids won’t eat and deep-diving all the feelings. Most days, my attitude is gratitude, just taking life one step at a time.

Emmalee & Elena

Meet The Gals