Bedtime list

Sep 07

Tonight I tucked Maren in.  (Oh, how I miss tucking my girls in every night!)  She’s been having nightmares, anxiety, and fear at night, so I was reassuring her, praying with her, and encouraging her.  One of the strategies that we use for her to self-soothe is for her to lie in bed and count off ten happy things on her fingers.  To teach her this practice, I start:

“Reading books.”

“Ice cream.”  She continues.

“Playing with friends.”  We alternate.


“Slumber parties.”


“Blue-eyed girls.”  I grin as I look into hers.


I admit.  I freeze.  Cancer is a lot of things, but happy does not make my list of descriptors.  I am about to correct, to edit, to challenge her.  But, then.  I stop.  I realize that to her, cancer might be a happy thing.  It has brought changes in her life: the addition of Phenom, SuperGramma coming for an extended visit, more time with her little friends.  There are more people loving on this child than there are hours in the day.  I stop and let her statement, her testimony, stand as she spoke it.  She, at five, stares cancer in the face and calls it happy.  She is not defeated.  She is strong, and joyful.

I blink back tears to continue our game, “Time with my Maren.”

She grins at me, “Time with my Mommy.”

Oh, sweet Jesus.  Out of the mouthes of babes.  Out of the mouthes of babes.


  1. Tears. Praise God for her ability to speak His truth – that He makes everything beautiful! It is a testimony to the way you have led her in this journey. May both of you sleep in the comforting arms of Jesus tonight. You are both so very dearly loved by Him.

  2. You are a truly remarkable person. It really is such an honor to have the ability to be a part (a small, small part) of your journey. My family continues to pray for yours. Thank you for allowing me to share in your journey …

  3. what a great share! thank you~

  4. Tear to my eyes also…our sweet little Maren. She is one special girl …just like her mama 🙂 What a wonderful “game” to ease her little soul!

  5. Blinking back tears myself. You did yesterday well, for sure. Love that – and stealing the game for my seven year old, too – same issues at bedtime (my mom was just diagnosed with cancer a few weeks back and my girls’ anxiety level has increased subtly since… not always so subtly at bedtime). There are definitely days when I will need to use this technique just to push back tears at work. Thanks for the difference you’ve made in my life – just in Doing Today Well, and in Not Googling you’ve had a positive impact on me! Finding your blog back in April, four months before I’d start walking this journey with my mom, was all part of The Plan. Thanks for allowing yourself to be used!! I’d send hugs but it’s too soon, so it’s just Love and high fives and hand squeezes from Michigan…

  6. Sometimes all we need is…a new perspective. Precious Maren provides such a loving one. And my tears are because I am feeling blessed just to hear it.

  7. Bonniebj /

    Tears and choked up… I think bedtime chats were my favorite and still are – with grand little ones this time around. The Lord processes things so differently in us all – Maren has a perspective that she gained from seeing it modeled ; not only in you but through Nana Roz. And that is the Grace of shining through. Have a wonderful day Jen.
    For I am confident of this that He who has begun a good work in you will continue it to the end. Philippian 1:6


  8. Kristen /

    Oh so so beautiful! You amaze me. Prayers and many blessings to you!

  9. I’m with everyone else. Those tears are coming on strong. What a wonderful memory! :o)

  10. Michelle /

    You and your beautiful family amaze me. God bless you all, and that you for sharing your story with us.

  11. Marsha Vonderwish /

    Instant tears and praise for God’s love!

  12. Oh, wow.
    …freeze.. re-read… tears…
    And Praise!

  13. WOW! That was powerful! You’re right though, from Maren’s perspective cancer has been a happy thing and that’s because you and Brad have handled it well! Your selfless focus has always been concern and love of how to manage the girls so they feel the lest amount of the negative impact cancer has had on your lives. Jen and Brad, may you continue to DO WELL TODAY! Love, Aunt Annie

  14. SandraA /

    Amazed. Our little ones are such a short distance from God. They are His little angels indeed. His blessings to your entire family. And totally borrowing the idea for that game for a bedtime routine, or any other time actually. Thanks!

  15. Wow, this brought tears to my eyes instantly. Maren is taking after her mother’s beautiful soul.

  16. Never EVER under estimate the power of prayer … I know I never will again! (And I saw Roz’s pixie cut -it is awesome, but she could sport a mohawk and look beautiful!)

  17. Incredible blog entry…I’ll sleep well tonight thinking of your sweet family…you’re all “doing today well”. A.M.A.Z.I.N.G ♥

  18. I stumbled upon your blog earlier this week and just finished reading every single post. You are an inspiration. Thank you for sharing your heart and soul with us.

  19. dang Jen. What a beautiful moment. Love you.

  20. What a wonderful post… Just picturing you and smiling Maren brought tears to my eyes. Out of the mouths of babes…. xox Lauri

  21. Sharon Hajek /

    Another generation of strong, faith-filled Mathie women to bless the world, think that’s how I’m going to fall asleep tonight and you will be on my first finger, Maren on my next, Greta on the next, Roz next, then Brad’s mom completing a handful of love in my heart.