Be Mine


Be mine. To have and to hold. To love and to cherish.

Be mine. Six little letters that speak a books’ worth of life and love.

I mean, we were only breaths away from this Valentine’s Day being a graveside visit. Instead, I got to throw down six dollars (SIX!) on a thin piece of cardboard that captures my heart in six letters.

BE. Because it’s not a given –  it is a gift.

And MINE. Holy wow, that word. Also not a given. Also a gift, one we get to choose every single day – to have a “mine”, and to be one.

Happy Valentine’s Day, friends. May you celebrate both the BE-ing and the MINE-ing in your world today.


2017: Let there be LIGHT


This is my anthem for 2017. My fight song. Let there be LIGHT. I’m really struck by the word let. Because I wonder how often I just … don’t.

And let here is not about us somehow giving God permission to be God, to be Light, because He already is. No, this song isn’t about that. It’s about letting that Light be true in us. And through us. And me thinks I probably stand in the way of that more times than I know.

One thing I definitely know to be true about light, about life, about good, is that sometimes we have to first face the dark, the loss, the ungood. That’s why I wrote Friday’s Rain – because grief is the way we work out what has found it’s way in.

While Jason and I worked hard together on writing and releasing Friday’s Rain last year – with a chapter in process about Martha and Lazarus when Jason had his heart attack – yes, for reals … sorry, I digress. Anyways, THIS YEAR, we are opening it with new eyes and new hearts and, honestly, new griefs too. Actually, I haven’t yet met someone who isn’t carrying something pretty major from 2016 …

So if you’re like us, and realizing that 2016 brought some stuff IN that you’d like to work OUT, well, I want to invite you to join us.

Grab your spouse, your friend, your best. Every order placed this week for Friday’s Rain will come with a FREE second copy. Because let there be light. And let us find it TOGETHER.


His name is Hank.


There’s a new threat in town. His name is Hank. We don’t know much about him yet, except that he’s most unwelcome and potentially the culprit behind Jason’s mysterious clotting. Maybe even behind the heart attack itself.

Hank is a mass snuggled up against Jason’s kidney and abdomen. He was discovered yesterday when, on a loooooooong shot, one of our amazing ‘ologists ordered CT scans to rule out a rare syndrome where tumors can be associated with clotting. He didn’t expect the scans to find anything. They did. They found Hank.


Hank is between the size of a golf ball and a baseball. He is not jagged, but appears to have a rim, and hard to say yet whether he is solid or liquid. So the next step is an MRI, and then a meeting with an Oncological Surgeon. Yep, all those words strike fear to my heart, even though at the moment we are in the limbo land of “maybe it’s this, maybe it’s that”, and at least some of the maybes are not dire. But some are. And sympathy is a terrifying thing to see on a Doctor’s face.

And miracles are allowed to be scared.

So we want to ring the bell without sounding the alarm. Because fear is not the boss of us. We’ve seen the power of prayer and know the greatest Physician of all, the ultimate Head of Household who can evict Hank with a single vote (that one’s for you, Jared!). I’d love it if we showed up next week and they couldn’t even find Hank.

In the meantime, we are amen-ing the heck out of the long road.

Med Bracelet


Also, someone stole Jason’s computer. So there’s that. And without further proof, I’m blaming Hank.


On Being MARVEL-us


Yesterday I got some of the final Christmas things stashed in their proper place in the garage beams. I figured it was a proper way to welcome June. And also, by I, I mean friends who are stronger than me, but I pointed and supervised like a champ.

This is what recovery looks like. Coming back online, back to life. Surging ahead and then slowing down. Working but resting. Inhaling but also exhaling. It’s tricky business, catching up on things that have had a four-month pause. Making new choices about how to use new time. Paying attention without being a hypochondriac. I mean, seriously, if I read the side-effects-call-your-doctor-if list long enough, I start feeling all the side effects of Jason’s medications.

It’s living in the middle of the both-and as life returns to normal, but an entirely new normal. A good normal, don’t get me wrong. Just a new one. Instead of dancing in the driveway, which he still doesn’t remember, we take an occasional spin around the living room. And we’ve instituted a new personal holiday that precedes Memorial Day by one week: We call it life-vest-no-more-day, basically a celebration of bra removal everywhere. Wait, that sounds awkward. Oh yes, that’s because life vests ARE awkward, and watching Jason take his off after three months of having it strapped to his chest was like watching him embrace the freedom that us ladies taste when we get to remove THE thing that truly lets us know our day is done and we can let our hair – and, umm, other things – down. Also, NO ARITHMEAS in the past three months. Cue happy dance.

Jason’s been back at his McSmarty-ness, logging hours at the library and hitting the books with a new love and fierceness – when he started this PhD program, we both knew he was tapping into a deeper, truer version of himself. He’s a teacher at heart, always has been, and soon he’ll have the degree that confirms it. In fact, as he was waking up from sedation and taking it all in, one of the first things he talked about was getting back into the classroom -that having received his breath back, he wanted to spend them in developing the next generation.

At the same time, we are still meeting new ‘ologists as explorations and tests continue. Jason has officially been deemed a ‘medical marvel’ as doctors review his charts and we review their eyebrows as they inch up into a state of surprise. There is great comfort in hearing things like “your test results are extraordinarily boring”, but also some confusion surrounding my guy’s body and heart and why it stopped fifteen Fridays ago.

So some days the road feels like this


And other days like this


It’s not the first time we’ve heard how MARVEL-us we are … in fact, in some ways you could say we’ve been pre-conditioned to live without answers to everything.
But since science can’t answer why he woke up, I won’t be surprised if it also can’t answer why it first happened. Because we’re only the boss of little bits. So again with the being tricky …

And so we put away the Christmas decorations in June. We open and sort the mail that came in three months ago. We call doctors with questions and we remember who the Great Physician is. We work and make choices again. We pay the medical bills with a deep sigh of thanks … both to the doctors and to the givers that have made check-writing a thing of celebration. We have movie marathon days. We live in the knowledge that we’re not the boss of it all. And we embrace this most holy of truths:


– J.R.R. Tolkien as Bilbo Baggins

Also, Bilbo said that on his 111th birthday. Amen to the long MARVEL-us road.


Hope Heals: Redefine healing. Manifest hope. Live your miracle.


Jay and Katherine Wolf are living a miracle and telling their story of ‘Hope Heals’. In mid-February I signed up to read their book as part of a launch team and help share their story. Just days later, we were living it. In fact, I emailed them from our ICU room before Jason woke up, asking for the book to be delivered STAT.

It arrived the day after we got home from the hospital. Complete with a personal note from Jay and Katherine.

We read it as sleep healed, and quiet healed, and yes hope healed.

Written from the proximity of loss, reading this book felt like kneeling beside Katherine and Jay inside the holy of holies, daring to voice both lament and praise. We’ve practiced this voice before. In fact, just before picking up this book, my J said: “I’m thankful; but damn, this hurts.” We know we’re ‘allowed’ to think that way, but it’s still a hard line of truth for a miracle to speak. And then it was echoed when we read this from Katherine’s pen: “I can give God the glory, and it can still hurt.” (p.16) It was like meeting friends who spoke the same language to the same God: the God who can take it. And the God who meets us in it.

And true to Katherine’s words, this book brought both glory and hurt. Glory in hearing another story redeemed by our amazing God in the midst of loss; hurt in facing the exquisite ways that Jay Wolf describes his time in the ER, the hospital room, and their amen to the long road. There were many days that my Jason would ask me to stop reading, sometimes even just a paragraph or two in for the day, because it was just too painful to hear what “the awake spouse” experienced.

I would pause, close the book, and silently agree that Jay and I had walked a parallel heart-path as we said goodbye to our spouses and hello to our fears, wondering if we would “no longer be a casual observer of the pain but the recipient.” He speaks of the sound of silence being broken by the sound of his own wailing (p. 26), and I too remembered how hearing my own wail was at once foreign and familiar. Something that was coming from inside me, yet as if from a distance too.

Jay speaks of his rush to the ER desk and the nurse there using a tone reminding him that it was his crisis, not everyone else’s. And I could see in my minds’ eye the nurses that wouldn’t make eye contact with me when I arrived to the ER and was ushered into a private waiting room. They didn’t need my break-down to interrupt everyone else’s waiting.

But slowly, day by day, we would read a little more. And then close the pages of their story and discuss the pages of our own. This book was like an elbow-to-the-side from a friend, saying “hey, talk about this partyes, that part too. Don’t skip it.”

There were moments in Katherine’s pages when I would see Jason nod, or sigh, or close his eyes in recognition of a moment of ICU despair. Of walking a sacred road that included being asleep for the most dramatic moments. (Confession: we did scan over some of the details of the physical healing, as that section got long, but this story is powerful enough that even scanning over it is impactful.)

Jay speaks of the day “I released Katherine from my feeble grip and into God’s. I knew that, though Katherine may well lose her life, she would never lose the indomitable goodness and inexplicable love of God. And neither would I.” THIS is the healing of which they speak. The healing this book offers goes far beyond the physical, and dares us all to think of how “we all walk through this life on the edge of a blade, and yet we rarely allow ourselves to feel the weight of our potential losses or the grace of our potential gains.” (p. 66)


*Released TODAY; go grab a copy and dare to meet Jay and Katherine in the pages of this book. Dare to go even further and feel the elbow-nudge as their story unlocks your own … 




All I asked for was a ride to the Hospital


It’s Friday number eight. I told you I’d be counting for awhile.

  And LIFE is here, you guys. We are in it. We have a new filter, a new way to make decisions and priorities but we are back in the zone where we need … well, filters and decisions and priorities. And sometimes it’s real tricky. And coming at us real fast.

Eight Fridays ago feels like a lifetime removed from our here and now, but also like a constant timer going off in the background. In the here and now, we are laughing and holding hands and rolling our eyes at the same drama and launching dreams like books and businesses (turns out the Entrepreneur-apple didn’t fall far from the tree) and turning our prayers to other emergencies and hurts.

But also, it’s only been eight Fridays since our emergency. Jason still wears a life vest. We have learned what a false alarm on that thing sounds like (hint: terror. It sounds like terror.) We own a sexy old-man-pill-box. And Cardiac Rehab is a part of our new rythym.

It’s still. So. Surreal.

Eight Fridays ago I called one of my best friends and in a tremor-filled-voice asked if she would drive me to the hospital.

That’s the last thing I asked for.

I didn’t ask anyone else to come to the hospital. They came.


I didn’t ask anyone to bring me food. They held apples up to my face and told me when to bite.

I didn’t ask anyone to smuggle cots into the waiting room. They found a way.

I didn’t ask anyone to replace my silly heels. They brought Uggs and it felt like stepping into a hug. That I wore for four days straight. So ummm, they didn’t want them back.

I didn’t ask anyone to start a dinner plan. But every night on the courtyard patio there was the breaking of bread and more being nourished than just our bodies.


 I carried around a box full of hotel toiletries like it was a prized baby doll, you guys.

Because love looked so PRACTICAL in that space. Love showed up in every single hug. And prayer. And song. And baby snuggle. And card. And candy bar. And yes, hotel toiletry.

It was a collision of selflessness that turned into a beautiful symphony. I’ll never be the same because of it. And it hasn’t stopped – people are still giving us LIFE in countless ways. Turns out meal trains are the bomb, by the way. And turns out we have some amazing cooks in our tribe.

I’ve always taken Jesus’ words to heart when He said it’s more blessed to give than receive. And I get what He was saying. But I gotta say the blessing of receiving over these last eight Fridays has blown my socks off too. It’s powerful to see what life together can look like. I’m starting to think that life together is one of the most sacred things we have.

Tonight we are sharing at Choose Joy – and yes, saying WE still makes me giddy, I’m guessing that will continue much longer than the counting of Fridays will. Choose Joy is a conference-that-feels-more-like-family and this is our third year here. It’s targeted to couples going through infertility and/or adoption, but you know what it’s really targeted at? Alone-ness. Fear. Lies that you’re the only one. See, some crises are far more private and invisible than a heart attack. And rarely does someone pick up the phone and ask for anything when their heart is being attacked in a way that can be hidden. It’s tricky learning how to share it. But dang am I amazed every year at the power of going from “1-in__________” to “1-of-a___________”.

Sometimes you don’t realize who your tribe is until you need them. Jason was once told that he “counted by ones” – to be honest, it was said as a negative, though in taking that phrase home we decided we always wanted to count that way, and never give into the ministry-pressure to start counting success by any number higher than one. That decision felt costly at the time. But as I sat in that waiting room and looked around me, you know what I was doing? Counting by ones … all the ones had gathered in that room together. Our Pastor looked over at me at one point and said, “this is a good return on your investment.” He could not have been more right.

So you guys, count by ones. Invest in your people. Take the risk of showing up. Because all I asked for eight Fridays ago was a ride to the hospital. Our people carried us from there …


We are living a miracle: TeamJasonMiller LIVE!


brooke gif

Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous deeds among all peoples.

– Psalm 96:3 –

And when appropriate, do it in jig form.

Also, it’s probably always appropriate.

And without further ado, for all who have asked about the video from Easter Sunday, here’s my guy in his own words standing on his own two feet and (appropriately) avoiding the jig:


News that makes you RUN


Let’s be honest, I’ll never see Easter the same way again. The story that has been familiar to me since I was five is ALIVE in new ways.

As I sat in that waiting room five short Saturdays ago, my mind was churning on all the words that had been delivered to me. Like heart attack and life support and it’s time to say goodbye. My mind kept sticking like a scratch on an old record on the word “widow.”

When the doctors and both attending nurses walked into that waiting room, I stood, expecting to hear the pronouncement, the time of death, the confirmation of this new title I never wanted. I mean, I’ve watched Grey’s Anatomy, I know what happens when the attending physician comes in with backup.

Instead, the doctor’s eyes and mouth got wide at the same time as he said “I can’t explain it, but he’s awake, you should go see him!” One of the nurses then grabbed my hand and raced me down the hallway. She was practically skipping, proclaiming over and over again that she’d never seen anything like this, that it was a miracle. My steps were a little more stumbley and heavy, as my mind and heart tried to catch up.

And there he was. ALIVE! And mad – oh my gosh so blessedly mad at the tubes and so scared by the noises. His eyes were just as wide as before, but instead of blank orbs there was LIFE fighting to see and be seen. He was in way too much danger for anything more than a few minutes of sloppy kisses on his forehead and words to calm him and tell him he was so loved.

I went back to the waiting room to tell everyone it was true: He IS alive! A friend raced in moments later – I will never forget the sound of his flip-flops as they raced down the hall and into the waiting room, not pausing to round the corners, coming at full speed to my side, where both of our messy tears and words rambled through a series of “I heard he was gone? But that now he’s alive?” and “yes!” and “what!?” and “how can this be?” and “what does this mean?”

I imagine a very similar scene in “that other” sacred waiting room – the Upper Room where the disciples waited from Saturday to Sunday morning. Like me, Peter was trying to wrap his head and heart around watching his best friend as he was dying. Like me, they were preparing for a burial. I mean, you guys, the women went to the tomb to prepare the body for burial, not to check for resurrection.

And the women came and Peter probably stood. Or maybe he only half looked up. Because either way, he already knew what they were there to say. They came to pronounce that they had prepared the body.

Except they hadn’t.

Because his body wasn’t there.

Because he was IS alive.

And Peter ran. His feet flew to the tomb when he heard the words that Jesus was ALIVE … I don’t know whether he ran in confidence or confusion or with skipping feet or stumbling feet. But when I read of Saint Peter’s footsteps as he ran to the tomb, I will forever hear an echo of my own as I ran-stumbled down an ICU hallway. And I’ll hear those flip flops, too.

Because “He is alive!” is news that makes you run.

So I hope you run today. To the empty tomb. To life. To Jesus. Whether you have seen His new life with your own eyes or heard a report and are still figuring out what it means, whether you’re in ugg-boots or flip-flops, whether you’re running with confidence or stumbling along as someone else holds your hand. Run. Run to the news that HE IS ALIVE.

Because you guys, He is.



Lexi, ICWA, and the choice to love anyways


Raise your hand if you were traumatized by the video of Lexi being removed from her foster parent’s home.

Yeah. Me too.

I’ve read multiple articles expressing varied views, some in favor of the Choctaw Nation and seeing this as a victory for the tribe and a loss for the father, some in favor of ICWA in general, some in direct support of the Page family as they seek to get Lexi back, and perhaps most importantly the Court of Appeals Order.

I don’t really trust any of the stories I’m hearing in their entirety, but I do know the system. It is broken. But it’s also working with broken pieces. Some articles paint Lexi’s biological parents as villains, others as victims – they were probably somewhere in between. Her bio mom had already lost a battle to methamphetamine and with that had lost custody of at least six kids prior to Lexi. Bio Dad also lost custody of at least one other child, and is described as having an “extensive criminal history”. Lexi is 1/64th Indian, subjecting her to ICWA, and was described as a child who “bonded and thrived with her foster family.” The words and thrived stick in my throat. That said, the family she’s en route to, while demonized by many news outlets, first petitioned for her in 2011 and have been skyping with and visiting Lexi for years.

See, I bet some of that was new information to you. And that’s only a fraction of the details in play here.

As an Adoption Attorney and Orphan Care Advocate, I probably read some of these things with a different filter than many. ICWA isn’t new news to me – I think it’s the wrong solution to a problem. My brain does a few somersaults and sees the many conundrums and legal precedents that are butting up against each other.

As a human-being-with-a-heartbeat, I’m guessing we feel the same after we read these things. My heart twinges and breaks and aches as it seems like broken stories are only further broken. I hear so much being argued about competing rights, and a little girl named Lexi seems lost in the fray. Much like victims of frenzied stampedes in crowded places.

And I can’t help but think there could be another victim here too. More vulnerable only because it is easier to ignore, easier to overlook.

It’s the hearts of all those who stand on the edge of love. Wholehearted, fierce, unrelenting love. Especially those who stand on the verge of foster parenting and say “see, that’s why I could never do that.”

I won’t pretend I haven’t thought that as stories like this unfold.

Though to be honest, isn’t a story like this exactly why we need more and more foster families willing to risk wholehearted love? Shouldn’t every foster child “bond and thrive” with their foster families? Some of the tragic and untold stories are of foster homes where love isn’t offered at all. Science tells us that attachment is one of the most important things a child can experience at a young age. In that, the Pages offered Lexi – and whatever family she grows up with – a priceless and irreplaceable gift.

But I get it. Love is scary. Love is risky.

As a new bride, I was scared to be all-in on this love thing. Because that meant placing my heart in the most vulnerable position of all: potential utter devastation if anything ever disrupted this marriage. Like, say, a heart-attack that could take my husband’s life at age 39. About two years into our marriage, I realized I was about 99% in, holding this tiny fragment of myself as a means of self-protection, as if I could ensure I’d “be okay” if anything ever happened. I woke up one night and realized the bigger regret would be to have not loved wholly and fully and without self-preservation intact. And when that heart attack did strike on February 19, you better believe I was glad that none of my tears were ones of regret.

A lot of us try to live in the land of love and self-preservation at the same time. But they are different places with different currencies and different languages. Eventually you have to choose one.

And while we can inhale deep breaths of concern and exhale deep breaths of prayer for this situation, a lot of us are wondering if there’s anything more we can do. Well honestly, for Lexi, probably very little. For the Pages, maybe some money or some cards and meals. For the law, you can use your voice to call Congress, sign petitions, and lobby for either side you support.

But maybe the bigger thing you can do is dare to love. Fiercely and wholeheartedly. To not let a story like this kill the part of yourself that would dare to risk. That would dare to be broken. To hate the ICWA and love the Lexi in your life – in the situation that’s messy, that makes you vulnerable, and that guarantees you nothing beyond today. Maybe that’s an aging parent with dementia. Maybe that’s a spouse with a terminal illness. Maybe that’s a foster child, Indian or otherwise. Maybe it’s the drug addict that doesn’t show up for Thanksgiving. Maybe it’s the student that makes you question teaching.

Maybe it’s anyone we love. Because “[t]o love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.” ― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

While the Pages may come out of this with some things they’d change, I can bet on one thing they’ll never regret: loving Lexi.



The Day I was the Best Girlfriend Ever


And TODAY is the four-week anniversary of Jason WAKING UP against all odds.

Also, ALSO, it’s our twelve year engaged-a-versary … warranting a fun re-post …..


Ten  TWELVE years ago today, I was the Best Girlfriend Ever.

Really, it’s true.  I said so.  Out loud.  To my mom.

See, I’d just come out of a traumatic relationship.  Not a romantic one.  A work one.  On March 18, 2004, I walked away from my job.  Another thing to cross off of my Brave Things I’ve Done list.

So come March 19, 2004, I woke up feeling like a new woman, enjoying her first Day Off in a long time.  I was excited to do whatever I wanted and answer to absolutely nobody.

Then Boyfriend called.  Would I drive out to see him in Riverside?  To watch basketball – it being the middle of March Madness and all.  Could I, would I, be the one to drive to him for a change?  Sigh.  Yes.  Yes I will, because I love you and I’m your Girlfriend and I have a Day Off and blah blah blah.

So, being the Best Girlfriend Ever, I readjusted my day, told my To Do List to wait, turned off Daytime TV, and called my mom to tell her how amazing I was.  How I was so flexible and selfless and was earning girlfriend gold stars and what-not.  How she didn’t snicker at me, I’ll never know.  Mom-powers are amazing and mysterious.

When I got to Boyfriend’s house, he came out to greet me and suggested a brief walk around campus (where he worked, not went to school – no robbing the cradle here).  He then casually suggested we take a drive up to Big Bear, my hometown in the mountains, an hour-ish away.  We’ve never before nor never since “just decided to take a drive to Big Bear.”  It’s always a planned thing.  But I was turning over a new leaf.  Flexibility.  And also, think of my alternative:  watching basketball.  Sure, why not? I said, only briefly reminding him that it was the middle of March Madness.  More girlfriend-gold-stars after all.  If texting had been a thing back then, my mom would have been getting a play-by-play oh my awesome-ness.

With each mile we drove up the mountain, I repeatedly thought this is so weird that we’re just taking a random trip to Big Bear.  But instead of thinking – even ONCE – about it in a suspicious manner, it only furthered my own sense of girlfriend-greatness.

A handful of hours after I graciously swept my day aside in favor of time with my Beau, we pulled into a parking lot near the lake “to take a walk.”  Still not suspicious.  Seriously?  Seriously.

Until I saw the candles.  Forming a path to the lakeshore.

And heard Boyfriend’s breathing change.

I caught my own breath as I realized this was IT.

He led me down the candle-lit path pre-set by his little engagement elves, back down to the lakeshore where years before he had turned me away, making today the day he’d reclaim that territory and ask me to say yes to forever.

Years before, I had prayed just one prayer about the day I might be asked to marry someone.  Please God, just let me KNOW the answer, whether it’s yes or no, I want it to be clear.  No doubt, no hesitation.  I simply couldn’t fathom being stuck somewhere in the middle and answering with an Uhhhh, ummmm, welllll.

And there on that fateful day, a resounding Yes! came out of my mouth as naturally as the air I breathe.

Sometimes Jason will whisper in my ear, Thanks for saying yes, and I always answer back, Thanks for asking.  I’ve never lost sight of just how amazing it is to be asked.

Somewhere in the darkness a ring was slipped on my finger – the same one that rests there today.

A little known-fact is that Boyfriend and I didn’t kiss, not even when Boyfriend became Fiancée.  A fact that shocked even my mother.  I’m pretty sure she said something about owing a guy a kiss if he gives you a diamond ring.  But it’s just something we decided to save for our wedding day.  Not in any holier-than-thou way, but more because we knew our triggers and didn’t need to add another one.  So I got a diamond but Boyfriend-turned-Fiancee didn’t get a kiss.  Yet.

When it all caught up with me, I felt a teeny bit chagrined about the self-applause I’d given myself all day.  Way to go, Brooke, you are sooooo selfless.  You were willing to clear your schedule and be available for a proposal.  Bravo.

When we then made our way to my family’s house for a pre-orchestrated celebration party, my mom’s grin said it all.

Wow, did I really just brag to you all day about what an awesome girlfriend I am?  Yes.

And you knew the whole time that he’d be proposing and not watching basketball?  Yes.

It’s a good thing that I was the Best Girlfriend Ever that day, since it was my last day as a girlfriend.

Engagement Pic

(Also, we were just baaaabies!)