Bitter or Better

I wrote this post about a week ago. I’ve held onto it struggling to post it. I’m not sure why I’ve hesitated but now here it is…

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard theese questions.

How do you do it?
How do you face each day?
How do you get out of bed?
How have you not lost it?
Why haven’t you fallen apart?

Say it how you want but everyone wants to know is why haven’t I locked myself in a closet screaming in the midst of a total mental breakdown…

Honestly, most days I ask myself how I do it as well. But I think the biggest reason I do it is because I am still a MOM. My job is to be a loving mother first. It was my God given role in life. I have 3 children who all need me to keep putting one foot in front of the other. They come before all else. I have a brilliant 7 year old that needs me to show him love. Drew wakes up every morning eager to start the day. He needs me to show him strength. He needs his mommy and daddy there for him to get him ready for school, take him to play baseball, and teach him how to grow into a stunning young man. I have a beautiful 21 month old daughter who is not yet independent enough to take care of herself. She’s ready to greet the world every morning but needs our help to make her breakfast, change her diaper, and tame that hair in order to start her day! Kaylee needs her mommy and daddy to teach her about life. She needs us to hug her, hold her, and teach her to love. And because they both need us to one day find joy and teach them the joy that Nate had too. I have a husband that I love dearly. He is my very best friend. We will do this together as a family. I have Nate. And I will always have Nate. I want to live like Nate did. A life full of love and each day full of life. We will take one day at a time and each day we will wake up and make a choice to be bitter or to be better. Each day we wake up we choose to be better. We will be better for Nate. We will teach and show GREATness for Nate.

Is life fair? No.
Do I have answers? No.
Am I sad? Yes.
Do I miss Nate beyond words? Yes.
Do I trust in hope? Yes.
Do I trust in my faith? Yes.
Do I long for the day I can hold Nate again? Absolutely, in fact, I wait for that day.

I wait for the day that Nate greets me in heaven and we go running into the arms of Jesus together. We have sad days but we hold to the hope of our faith that Nate is with Jesus dancing and smiling in heaven. I long for the day we all go home with the Lord so we feel no pain or sorrow and I can have my baby again. But until that day my life on earth has a purpose. I may not fully understand it and may never comprehend Nates death this side of heaven but I know we have a purpose. I know that there may be more purpose to my life than I can see right now. But in this moment my purpose involves 2 children and a husband that need me.

Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. (Isaiah 40:28, 29 NIV)

This has been a week of ups and downs. We had nice visits from family and friends. We had amazing generosity and support for last weekends bake sale. We had another great fundraiser Monday night at McDonalds. The last 3 days raised
just over $4,000 from the bake sale, Stacy Hart Photography, and the McDonalds fundraiser. I’m jumping with excitement for a giving community that has restored my faith in giving hearts. I’m feeling blessed with family and friends that have sacrificed so much to support us and help us.

But there is still a piece of me missing. I’ve struggled with what most may view as little things in their daily life but to me they have been big things. Sorting laundry, stripping bed linens, prepping the shoe bin for winter and cleaning out the summer shoes. I walk into the playroom and its oddly clean and for a moment I feel relief because there’s a clean room then I realize it was Nate’s mess we were always stepping over. I look in the pantry at uneaten cereal boxes and realize they were Nate’s favorites. So when I’m asked if there is pain. Yes, there is. But each day I will continue to be better and to be Great. I will continue to seek God and I know he will continue to give us the strength we need to move forward.

All my love,


The schools fun run fundraiser was a success and they had a banner made Go Out Be Great!  Love it.


Bake Sale was a huge sucess!!!  Thanks for everyone who donated baked goods and volunteered.  We couldn’t have done it without you!



18 thoughts on “Bitter or Better

  1. Elizabeth Hammond

    Thank you for sharing your pain and your choice to triumph over it by the grace of God. Every day we make choices. We choose to live as He has called us to or to surrender to the pressures of this world. Your strength comes from the only One who can make you strong and you are blessed to know Him. When someone asks you how you get through the day, there is only one answer. By the grace of God, we live and breathe. The impact of your life on others and the faith that you demonstrate in the midst of this tragedy is great. Go out and be great.

  2. marcie

    Katie, you are so precious! I know our Heavenly Father and Nate are sooooo proud of you. I can just hear Nate saying “Yup, thats MY mommy!” and “Wait til you see it here mom. It’s amazing!” Katie, you are truly, truly an inspiration to me.
    Continuing to pray for you all and so grateful and honored to know you guys. Love, Marcie xoxo

  3. Jackie

    I love this post Katie. This is testament to how you and Justin live your lives. You do everything for your family. Like you said, you could choose to fall down in grief and forget the rest of the world, and no one could blame you, but you and Justin choose every day to make things the best for each other, Drew and Kaylee. Your choice to live like Nathan would have wanted is courageous. I know Nathan is very proud of how you are encouraging people to be GREAT examples for their children and communities. I know it must have been hard to write this post and send it out on the blog, but let me tell you, it was worth it. Love and hugs your way.

  4. Pam Rohrer

    As always Katie, I am humbeled by your Faithfullness and Encouraged by your honesty. Thank you for that. Love you all!

  5. Vickie Hanks

    Katie, what an amazing heartfelt writing, such a testimony of God’s Faithfulness working in your life as you walk through this hardest road in life anyone could imagine. But, only because you have CHOSEN to remain Faithful, even though you do not understand His plan in all this.
    You & Justin are Great and will become Greater I’m very sure – God has something even Greater in store for you both !!
    Much Love & Prayers to you both 🙂

  6. Patty McHugh

    You are an AMAZING PERSON, KATIE! You and Justin are true blessings to this world, holding such wonderful values, and priorities in your lives! God has definitely chosen the two of you, to show the rest of this world how to live their lives for Him! It is only through His strength that we are able to carry on, from day to day, especially when we are carrying such a heavy cross… like He did for us! Please know that we are all keeping each of you in our daily thoughts and prayers! We truly love you, and your family, more than words can express!
    Love always,
    The McHugh family

  7. Lois

    Katie, You are amazing.Nobody should ask you questions or say I know what you are going through because they don’t until they walk in your shoes. Everyone grieves in their own way and at their own time. Nathan had one of the best set of parents any child could have.Why he took this precious child from us there are no answers.
    Lil Nate will always be in our hearts gone but NEVER forgotten!!!!

    love you all.Mom Baker

  8. Anna

    Your family continues to impress and inspire so many people. You are made of GREAT stuff and are GREAT people, and I am honored to know you & your family.Even on your darkest days, you provide a light to those around you. Nate may not be here physically, but he is with you all every day. Lots of love and good thoughts, Anna (Tony’s sister)

  9. kelly quickel

    Katie, we have never met but I just wanted be a voice back to you how much your family is impacting others with your message of faith and trust in the Lord. God has his arms around your family. Each day I see Drew thru his window seat on the bus and I am feeling such tremendous love for him from our heavenly Father (I live further down the street) . You are serving others with your strength and the sharing of your journey more than you will ever know.
    Kelly Q.

  10. Karen Seay


    As always I see another blog has been posted and I stop and think,ok, can I read this and not feel a morsel of Katie’s pain? I know I won’t be able to read it without tears.I don’t know your pain….I don’t wish what you are going through upon any person. But I am compelled to read everything you write because it makes me look deeper inside myself and know that I can do a better job at so many things.I can make a difference every day in someones life. As I neared the end of your blog( with the tears streaming down my face and thinking of all the things I need to accomplish yet today)….. the phone rings as I read: Love, Katie…it’s Sierra asking me to meet her for lunch. All the things I need to accomplish take a hard fast fall and I immediately tell her yes. Your and Justin’s blogs make a difference…..because of Nate. My life is different…because of Nate. I am a better mother…because of Nate. I am a better wife and friend…because of Nate. I make eternity decisions now…because of Nate. Heaven will house many, many more souls…because of Nate……………..

  11. karen

    You both are amazing and a reflection of God’s strength. Nate has been a reminder to us to cherish the little things about our kids. Stepping over the toys, wiping up the mess, listening to them argue…as much as it stresses me out I’ve learned to step back and thank God that I am able to be their mom. You and your family have taught so many of us a lot in such a short amount of time. You are always on our minds and lifted up in our prayers.

  12. Jenelle Baker Cannon

    You inspire so many people daily katie, the strength you pull from God and each other is gonna pull you all through this, and carry drew and kaylee through too. So many people in your place pull from God instead of drawing strength from him, pull from each other instead of leaning on each other and seclude themselves in bitterness instead of reaching out and as a result many families have fallen apart. I can see you guys rising above,being better than those statistics and deciding to pull together, lean on God and be Great instead and its going to make all the difference for your family. I know you are making Nate so proud, I love you and Im so glad Justin has you as his wife and love, Drew and Kaylee have you as their mom and we have you as a sister.

  13. Janna


    You are so amazing. Your strength through such sadness and challenge is inspirational in a way that words cannot capture. My heart hurts for you and the family so much. Your faith is an inspiration and the purpose you feel is an embodiment and affirmation of that faith. God is good and your post and reflection of his love is our reminder of that. God bless. Our prayers and love continue to go to you and the family.


  14. Silvana Moreland

    What a beautiful post. Keeping your family in my prayers daily.
    “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18).”


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