Love Walking

You would never have known I had purchased the plain black, somewhat saggy umbrella at a dollar store had you seen the radiant smiles emitted from beneath its cover.  My four-year-old and I giggled as I wrapped my arms around her like a mother pretzel and made our way into school all snuggled up, holding hands.

So sweet.

Abby tilted her head to the side and leaned into me, smiling, smitten by the beauty of the moment.  We sauntered slowly across the lot, savoring each step, making a memory.  As we approached the security guard, Abby glanced up at him.   She’d never before uttered a word in his presence, but today, she could not contain herself.

“We’re love walking.”

He had grinned at our approach, but when he heard her explanation, he nodded straight-faced.

“Love walking, yes.  Yes, you are.”

He and I exchanges smiles.  I floated to class with my Abby Mae, not wanting the moment to end.  When we reached her room, she pulled my head down and kissed me fast and firm.

“I love you, Mudder!”

I walked back to my car alone, remembering the countess times I’d crossed a parking a lot just to be with her.  That particular lot never saw rain.

It stood beneath The Children’s Hospital of Philadeplia.

Over the course of several months, this massive gloomy dungeon of a garage bore little light, happiness, or hope.  I will never forget the oppressive, smothering feeling that would overtake me as my SUV lumbered through the entrance, sinking lower and lower into the quagmire of emotion and unknown below.  The dim lighting, bland concrete walls, and blunt yellow lines provided no comfort, serving only to highlight my heartbreaking reality.

Parents from all over the world walked this very lot, not knowing whether their child would live or die.  The unwelcome enemy loomed around every corner, waiting to send families home with empty carseats and devasting loss.  We all prayed that today would not be our turn.

Some have loved and lost.  Some have experienced joyful discharge celebrations and have whisked their child away, never to return again.  Some are still there.

All of my family is finally home, praise God, but I still remember.   Every day I pray for the families going through hospital crisis, praying that one day they would finally cross the horrible yellow parking lot lines and carry their children home.

Yellow is Abby’s favorite color.  She loves yellow parking lot lines and relishes the opportunity to balance beam her way across them.  I find it ironic how her sunniness often defies all logic, the amazing way she brings quiet out of the corner, giggles to the lips of lonely, and joyous song out of sorrow.

Adversity has made her shine.  I checked my watch and sighed.  Only 8:32 am.  It would be a full three hours and five minutes until I picked her up.

May it be raining when I return.



by Beth Ann Morgan

Have you ever found yourself stuck needing a doctor over the holidays? Me, too. The only option was the overcrowded ER. One of the best Christmas gifts I received three years ago was a visit from Dr. David Perry of East Penn House calls in Emmaus, PA.

My son, John, had had a high fever for two days, and on the third day, I felt he ought to be checked. He’d had a nasty bout with ear infections and was one appointment away from getting ear tubes. If he needed an antibiotic, I knew it was imperative for him to get one ASAP.

It was Christmas Eve.

I mentally prepared to pack up and head to the ER, one that I knew would be bursting to capacity, when I remembered an email I’d read about a physician house call service. A local ER doctor had started a business on the side, and his website listed simple infections as something he would be able to diagnose and treat. In my home!

I gave him a call.

Sure enough, he came by the house within a couple of hours. With a smile! I apologized for calling him away from his family, and he assured me he was happy to come and that the timing was perfect.

He examined John. No ear infection, thankfully, just a nasty virus that would need further attention if it didn’t let up within 24 hours. He left specific instructions with numbers to call if it got worse and only charged me an office co-pay. On Christmas Eve!

I will never forget the relief I felt. No ear infection. No ER. No crazy bill. I couldn’t have asked for a better gift that year, and it’s one of my favorite stories to tell when asked about favorite presents.

I hope that you never have to call on Christmas Eve, but if you find yourself needing a doctor at home, maybe a physician will be standing by, ready to answer your call.

Photo courtesy LIFE Magazine via Pinterest



by Beth Ann Morgan

The holidays can prove stressful without the added dimension of crisis. When it comes to shopping for gifts, making sure your family has all the bases covered can overwhelm you to the point of creating an incredibly difficult situation.

I remember staying in the hospital with Hannah as an infant over Valentine’s Day, and my husband and I totally forgetting about the holiday. We weren’t in the mood to celebrate while our child lay in bed with an antibiotic-resistant strain of E-coli and a 105 degree fever.

But when more children entered the holiday picture, things changed. They had to.

Our culture starts priming no later than December first. Schools have assigned their book reports on the history of Saint Nicholas. Colorful light displays have popped up all around town, even in the neighbors’ yard, and Sunday schools have sent home all kinds of sticky candy cane decorations and manger scene ornaments. It’s everywhere. To say that kids are excited is an understatement, especially kids whose family is going through a tough time.

Even though presents do not erase the pain children feel, a small gift gives them something beautiful in the midst of tragedy, something to look forward to and give them hope. I saw evidence of this firsthand whenever a loving soul would hand my kids a toy or a coloring book, something to pass the time and distract their hearts from hurting.

The Christmas John had to stay in the hospital, I confided in one of the nurses (I believe her name was Eloise) that I hadn’t started shopping yet, only three days before Christmas. Even though I knew extended family adults expected nothing from us and were extremely supportive, I didn’t want to let the children down, especially Hannah.

She had been through enough. I couldn’t stand the thought of her suffering another disappointment.

Nurse Eloise lit up like a Christmas tree. “I’ll do your shopping for you!”

We continued talking, and by the end, she had encouraged me so much that on my commute home, I stayed out until midnight finishing my shopping. Even though I never took her up on it, Nurse Eloise’s kind offer could have come in handy if I couldn’t have mustered the emotional, mental, and physical strength to complete the task myself.

Planning, shopping, and wrapping gifts are typically not jobs parents want to handoff to someone else, but from one parent to another, give yourself permission to let it go. It can be really hard. Over the years, I’ve gotten really good at delegating, but I’ve finally realized that some things didn’t get done because I wanted to be the one to do them.

Sometimes getting it done is more important than doing it yourself. Christmas shopping for little ones is one of those important tasks, and typically, if you ask in advance, it won’t be too hard to find someone willing to help you shop and/or wrap.

Be careful if you end up doing the shopping yourself. I overspent like crazy the first time I holiday shopped during crisis. Emotion drove me like Mario Andretti his racecar because our degree of suffering was great – my heart leapt on the opportunity to ease the blow.

I highly recommend coming up with a simple budget-friendly list and sticking to it in the store.

May God surround you with much love and richly bless you and yours as you make preparations to navigate the season.


office on the go

One of the things I wish I’d known a lot earlier in my hospital journey was the benefit of carrying basic office supplies with me. I can’t tell you how many times I wished I’d had a pen and paper. Even something simple like a small zippered pouch with pens, paperclips, sticky notes, and scissors would have saved me numerous trips to the unit clerk’s desk or down to the gift shop.

When my mother and sister were in a terrible car accident, I knew they’d stay in the hospital for quite some time. The impact had torn my sister’s right arm from the socket.   And when the surgeon went in to repair my mother’s broken ankle, he later told us the bones had been smashed into pebbles.

With such massive reconstructions and healing involved, many people from multiple disciplines assisted in my family’s care over a prolonged period of time. Physicians, nurses, therapists, social workers, pastors, neighbors, friends, insurance agents, homecare, outpatient treatment, medical supply companies, etc. Keeping everyone’s contact information and documentation straight could quickly have become a nightmare.

I scurried home and opened nearly every drawer, cupboard, and under-the-bed rubber bins. Finally, it stood ready, a large black accordion folder complete with hastily but lovingly assembled products for my family to use during their journey. Perhaps this simple collection of supply items will come in handy for yours as well.

Photo courtesy of decorating via Pinterest

Pictured above: A dish drainer outfitted with cute files and assorted office supplies makes a great portable office. 

A New Birth


My son, John, turns five today. I can barely see the screen through my tears because John almost didn’t make it to his first birthday, let alone fifth. During the twentieth week of pregnancy, my husband (Christian) and I learned that John had gastroschisis, a birth defect in which his intestines formed outside his body.

Christian and I were stunned at first but later heartbroken and scared. The joy-filled visions of the coming baby flew out the window. A 20-minute appointment had changed our lives.


We cried a lot. We prayed a lot, as did our family and friends. Finally, as much as we dreaded facing the ordeal ahead, God in His amazing way ignited our passion and gave us the courage, hope, and strength to fight for the life of our son.

So, we took a big breath and moved forward.

Over the next seventeen weeks and then another four-and-a-half months in the hospital, John never gave up. By his sheer determination and the greatness of our God, he survived. He continued to thrive, growing and gaining weight at a normal rate. Within his first year, he no longer needed his feeding tube, and by four years of age, he came off all medication.

Thank You, God!

I cannot think of a more appropriate date on which to launch this blog. My husband wrote our family’s first post on John’s CarePage blog at my bedside minutes after his delivery.

Today, our family’s challenges have given birth to another blog, Drinking from the Well. By using everything we’ve learned over the past five years, we look forward to helping families not only survive difficult circumstances but also thrive, whether they find themselves in active crisis or beyond.

Happy Birthday, John. I love you!


Bird drinking water

Had I known the details of the past seven years of my life before they passed, I would never have dreamed that I would survive them. A disabling heart condition. Two children with life-threatening birth defects. A crumbling marriage. Two miscarriages, both eight weeks to the day.

Unfortunately, the list goes on.

I don’t know the specific details of your wounds, whether they’re fresh and raw or healed to the point of nearly invisible scars. Perhaps you’ve recently lost a loved one or have admitted your child to the hospital. Maybe you’ve recently moved, lost a job, or have separated with little chance of reconciliation.

But from where I stand today, I can assure you that there is hope.

When I was in the thick of the hardest moments and the scorching fear and searing pain threatened to completely discourage and overwhelm me, I desperately needed to find an oasis in the desert where I could drink deeply from the well of someone who understood, someone who’d been there and done that. Someone who owned a pair of well-worn sandals buried deep in the closet, someone willing to drag them out to walk a few dusty miles by my side.

So relax against the cool, smooth stones and rest your weary soul while I dust off my sandals.

I want to walk with you.


  • To share our story as a means of encouraging others
  • To provide helpful information to families in active crisis
  • To provide resources that promote healing post-crisis
  • To give ideas that will help strengthen family relationships
  • To share the love of Jesus, the Living Water that quenches every thirst

“Let anyone who is thirsty come to Me and drink. Whoever believes in Me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” John 7:37-38

Drinking from the Well fits perfectly with my life’s purpose, which is to comfort and encourage others who hurt with the generous love and comfort I have received. My three main passions are Jesus, writing/speaking, and people. Okay, maybe four. Horses. I love horses. My sub-passions are by no means limited to the following: reading, singing, decorating cakes, running, cooking, gardening, and crafting (i.e. scrapbooking, quilting, sewing, painting, etc.). I am also addicted to using my dandelion hook.

On a professional note, I am a former pediatric dietitian, forced to resign in 2000 due to a heart condition. I turned to freelance writing, completed The Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild’s Apprenticeship Program, and got busy writing articles and book proposals.

By the grace of God, our marriage and our relationships with our children are stronger than ever. Our dream as a couple is to own a farm through which our family can help hungry, hurting, and lonely people. By connecting them with resources to grow their own food and by sharing the love of Christ, we seek to offer hope, love, and a family that lasts forever.

Thanks for stopping in. I’ve got my sandals on and will keep you in my constant prayers. May God richly bless you and yours, both today – and beyond.

Much love,