Over the Rainbow……Thoughts from a Sister and A Bride

This week’s blog posting is from my oldest daughter Jennifer.  When you read this blog, she, her fiancee, and several family members are on their way to Maui to get married!  This blog is her thoughts about this day, and experiencing this day without Lizz and the boys.

I created the video to the song “Over the Rainbow” by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole.  This is an important song for us because Elizabeth chose this song to walk down the aisle with her Dad when she got married.  I created this video to capture some sweet memories of our families celebrating our daughter’s weddings!  Jeff, I hope these pictures of you dancing with our daughters bring back some tender memories.

Jennifer:  Know that John and I will be lifting you and Keith up in prayer, as you make a covenant with God.  And I don’t know if there are golden binoculars, but I know Jesus hears your prayer, and I believe you will receive “godwinks” of Lizz and the boys.  Look for them.  They may be in the song of a bird, a butterfly, the sound of the ocean, the sunset, or maybe even a rainbow!

Remember, always, your momma loves you to the moon and back!



Scan_Pic0126Wedding week is upon us!  Many of you know that I am getting married really soon.  May 21st actually.  I must say that I am very excited to be married to a person that is OK with me being me.  But I also must admit that in all the joy of that day, there will be a bittersweet sting to it also.

A few months before Lizz and the boys went to be with Jesus, Lizz and I were all over the internet looking for the best little Tommy Bahama outfit for my ring-bearers.  I think she was more excited about their outfits than I was!  So much of the planning of that day included her and those little tornadoes (Fischer and Benjamin).

Lizz was a hair/make-up artist outside of being a stay at home mom.  She perfected her craft, and was able to charge hefty fees for her services.  And I must say, I was ECSTATIC to get her services for free on my special day! 🙂  As the wedding nears, and I find myself searching for hair and make-up artists, I am slapped back to reality that it won’t be her brushes applying make-up to my face.  I had special plans for this day with her and my sister Lauren.  It was going to be a great sister day…..me, Lauren and Lizz.  Just like it had always been.  I was hoping for a day of quality sister time, laughing at things that other people would think are crazy…..or just laugh at each other.  That is just what we did throughout our lives.  Through all the jokes and the laughter, it still would have been a great day with her there.

But Jesus had other plans and wanted her sooner and on this day I can’t have what I want.  I know it’s a selfish request, but I’m supposed to be honest here right?!? 🙂

I heard a story once of a person that has claimed to have visited heaven several times.  I do believe that God can give us glimpses into heaven – so indulge a big sister here for just a moment…..

She said that in one of her visits to heaven, that there are magnificent gold tubes of some sort.  When a major life event happens in their loved ones’ lives, their loved ones’ face(s) appear on the front of these massive tubes.  This is a signal to those in heaven so they can go watch what is going on.  I’ve been thinking about heaven alot since my sister left us.  The Bible does not give us many descriptions on heaven – but I need to believe that Lizz will see me on my wedding day.  If you talk to various members of my family, you will get a different version of heaven every time.  I see gold tubes that are like heavenly binoculars, Ava sees rainbow slides for Fischer and Ben to play on.  My mom sees a Heaven Salon and Spa with services by Lizz.

So, since God had a different plan for Lizz and the boys, I’ve had to adjust mine for a day without her here with our family.   Lisa will keep me distracted in the morning with shopping and relaxation.  And then at 3 p.m. Hawaii time, my new make-up artist, Lori, will do what my sister Lizz was suppose to do and apply my make-up.  I felt she needed to know about my sister, Lizz – so I shared a little about Lizz’s story.  She promised she’d make Lizz proud!

At 6 p.m. Hawaii time, is the big show.  I get to marry my best friend on an absolutely gorgeous beach at sunset.  Dad will still walk me down the beach and Lauren will take the video of the ceremony.  Dinner at the Grand Waiilea, then back to the hotel for rest before a trash-the-dress session the next morning and then an awesome vacation with family both old and new.

Jesus, your Word says that where two or more are gathered, there You will be also.  I need to feel your presence on Tuesday.  My hope is that there really are those large golden binoculars so that Lizz and the boys can see Ninny get married.  Thank you for blessing me with a man that loves You.  Thank you for a man that has seen me go from a place of hurt and sadness to a place of Great Hope!  Thank you for blessing my life in the way that you have. – AMEN!

This is my prayer as I really have struggled to get through this week.  The realization that Lizz won’t be there with the rest of the family is very hard for me.  She was just such a huge part of all of our lives.  Getting used to a “new normal” is one of the hardest – if not the hardest things for me to do.

Nonetheless, I am hopeful.  I am really excited.  If you are a Christ follower – I would request that you pray for me, pray for my family on Tuesday, May 21st at about 11 p.m. (wedding time in Hawaii).  When we get back, you will have an update on how the day went and pictures of course!

Mahalo for your prayers and Aloha!



Reflections about this Mother’s Day and an open letter to my daughters……

As I reflect on this Mother’s Day, I wanted to use this blog post to share about God’s blessing of having three daughters. Jennifer Ann Herro was born on September 24, 1983 in Decatur Illinois.  Her middle name is after Jeff’s older sister … Continue reading

Race to Connect…..Methodist Children’s Home

As many of you following the blog will recall, my family supports the ministry of the Methodist Children’s Home in Waco, Texas (MCH).  (Please click on the MCH tab on the landing page of the blogsite for more information about this amazing organization.)  We first became involved with MCH when our family decided several years ago to stop gifting to each other and select a charity that represented their interests and passion.  Elizabeth chose the Methodist Children’s Home as her charity to acknowledge her family members during the holidays.  Her home church, Salado United Methodist and it’s pastor (Pastor Travis), believed very strongly in the work of MCH and actively supported it so for Lizz it was an extension of her home church commitment and her love of children.

After the home going of Lizz and the boys, Sam requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be sent to MCH.  We all agreed that is what Lizz would have wanted.  Several weeks/months later and as the acknowledgement cards continue to arrive from amazing people, co-workers and friends that donated to MCH in honor of our loved ones, we receive a phone call wanting us to visit the Waco campus.  Sam, my daughter Lauren and I went to Waco with Pastor Travis to meet Trey Oakley, the MCH Vice President for Development.  He took us on a tour of the beautiful campus that was started as an orphanage back in 1890.  During that tour as we drove across the grounds with the rolling hills and  beautiful oak trees hearing about their work I mentioned to Trey that this would be an amazing place to have a 5K to which Trey informed us that they were going to have their 1st 5K race in the spring of 2013!

Fast forward a few months to April 13, 2013 and MCH is indeed having their inaugural 5K race titled:  “Race to Connect”.  John and I immediately registered to support this amazing ministry, but also to walk/run in memory of Lizz, Fischer, Ben and Hayes.  The day before the race, I received a call from Allison Crawford who is their special events coordinator who asks if I would mind “starting” the race!  I told her I was extremely honored and would love to have the opportunity.  John is unable to attend the race due to a torn meniscus (OUCH!….yes, surgery is coming!) and Lizz’s dear friend Randi Bingham from Salado agrees to make the trip with me and take his place.  Randi helped coordinate the Dallas Marathon race that so many of Lizz’s friends and family ran in that was in memory of her and the boys.

April 13th arrives, Randi and I drive to the MCH campus and it is an absolutely perfect day for a race!   We pick up our bib numbers and await the start of the race.  Trey asks if I would share a few words about how I became involved with MCH and I began to tell the crowd the story of Lizz, her love of their ministry and their home going on July 30, 2012 and that Randi and I were in attendance that day to run/walk in honor of them.  There were so many of the residents, house parents and supporters who reached out to me afterward about hearing about Lizz and the boys and how their story touched their heart.  You see, that is my prayer, that God continue to let Lizz and the boys’ lives touch others to bring honor and glory to Him.

So, up first was the 1 mile race and I get to take the airhorn and start the race!  After the finish of the 1 mile,  the 5K kicks off!  And my compliments to MCH!  That was the most difficult 5K!  There were probably 15 hills……and what goes down (first half of the 5K) must come up (last half of the 5K)!  It was a beautiful morning, a beautiful course and as I walked/ran and listened to my playlist, my heart was so immensely full of Lizz and the boys spirit.  I kept thinking of the verse from Hebrews 12:1:  Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.  And this verse from Philippians 3:13:  I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize…

Crossing the finish line to honor the life and continued memory of my daughter and sweet grandsons was very emotional.   This race was not about my completion time (even though I continue to improve!) but was about the experience, living in the moment, hearing the birds, the cool breeze, the river, reminding me that Christ is the water of life and I will never thirst again………letting God continue the healing of my heart, letting the presence of my daughter and grandsons fill my heart to overflowing and to hear my heavenly Father tell me along the course:  “It is OK Julie…..I have them…..they are safe…..they are happy…….no more pain, no more sorrow…..ever, for any of them.”

I got to share the morning with the amazing staff and youth at MCH, blessed by my heavenly Father AND got 3 miles in :).  Even though I did not place in any RUNNING category, they honored me with one of the awards.  This award has a prominent place in my home to always bring back the tender memories of that day.  All the awards were hand made by the residents of MCH.  How AWESOME is that!


My special memory from the Race to Connect 5K!

As standard in my posts, I have created a video of the morning’s events.  The song is special to me because it was one of Lizz’s favorite running songs.  When I hear this song I always think of her :).  The title of the song is “The Rescue” by Adam Cappa.  Love the chorus and love that Lizz loved this song, it was if she was pointing us here for healing:

I need You right now,
Here in this moment,
I’m losing ground,
Can’t  keep going,
I’m calling out,
For You to rescue me.
Don’t want to drown  right now,
Here in this ocean,
I’m so far down,
Can’t keep  moving.
This time around,
I’m keeping my eyes on You.
You are the  rescue,

You are the rescue.

Heavenly Father, thank you for your presence that special morning, for this special song of Lizz’s and this time around, I’m keeping my eyes on You……because you are the rescue!

To my MCH family (and yes, I consider myself part of your extended family!), may God continue to pour his blessings out on you, your facilities, your residents, your staff and those that continue to support your mission!  You are the hands and feet of Christ in our broken world….and to Him ALL Glory and Honor!  AMEN!

I am looking forward to next year’s 5K and also working with MCH (Allison Crawford) on another event (hint….hint)!  More to come on that, because I will be looking for some additional help!  And FYI…..they are planning a “mudder” event in the future at the Boy’s Ranch!

Until next time,