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Updated: Jan 14, 2022



Everyone grieves differently, and not everyone heals the same. There is no right way and no set time. There are only pieces - some will shatter life apart with shards of glass ripping flesh away, while others swirl like specks of sand unsure where the storm will toss them. I remember the moment - when I forgot how to breathe - when lungs don't fill and the chest no longer rises or falls. It's a tragic scene, one I don't hold dear. Death Day Anniversaries are lessons I prefer to forget.

Losing him, cut deep, and surviving survival depleted the very marrow in my bones. For a long time my tattered body chased the swirling pieces, clinging tight to preserve and protect each precious memory - each hope for existence in a world that had fallen apart. Just as time marched on, I learned to walk again, to breathe again. I no longer held onto the memory of the day I lost him, or, one could say, that day no longer held on to me. I'm often asked each year if the anniversary of that day brings forth grief, but oddly it does not. I think the body remembers, but the mind wills to forget. That memory is one I choose not to focus on. There are so many others I prefer to hold close - the safety of his embrace, the wit behind his laughter, the youthful side of his heart.

Grief Comes Like


In Unexpected Weather

For me, grief comes like waves in unexpected weather. It shows up at Christmas and reminds me of four minus one. I feel its presence when facing a wall I know he would gladly storm. It swallows my heart in the expressions of our daughter, who happens to have his eyes. It lingers and stings when new memories are created that I wish he were here to see.

I Lift My Eyes to the Hills

But in those moments I no longer try to catch my swirling pieces. "I lift my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth."

Psalm 121: 1-2

It is through His love that I experience the beauty of life, even in the ashes. It is through His grace that I can have hope. It is His strength that carries me through. It is His promise of eternity that brings me peace.

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Updated: Feb 8, 2023

On That's The #TRUTH podcast : Premiere Season 1 - Episode 1

Amy was born in Vietnam and immigrated to the United States in 1980. The fall of Saigon propelled her family to embark on a treacherous journey to America. She lived in Seattle most of her life and worked for large corporations like Microsoft and T-Mobile. In 2017, when Amy’s mother passed, Amy quit her corporate career to write her mother’s story. Amy’s debut novel, Snow in Vietnam, was published in 2019 and kick started her writing career.

"We were one of the lucky ones. We were one of the boat people. Refugees... In 1979, my mother decided to flee Vietnam after the fall of Saigon. With a five year old daughter and a sixteen year old nephew in tow, she embarked on a treacherous escape into the unknown of the South China Sea." Amy M. Le

Beauty is Everywhere

It rests in victory after the battle. It floats on wings of hope in the midst of tragedy, and it shines through the kindness of the gentle souls who long to share the legacy of a beautiful life lived.

Join us in this heartfelt interview with author, Amy M. Le. I suspect her words will leave you moved, as they have certainly left their impact on me.

From our Interview with Amy

That’s the #truth: Your mom passes away, and clearly any time we lose someone in this life it is a magnificent impact, and it impacted you in a way that you decided to take your mom’s story, write a book, and share it with the world. Amy: Growing up, it has always been just my mom and me and we formed a very special bond together. When she passed away, a part of me was gone. She was also a link to my heritage and my past. It was so devastating that I quit my job and took time to mourn, to just be, and to figure out what to do with my life. God gave me the idea to write her story. My husband was very supportive and we moved to Oklahoma to be able to afford to live on one income. It didn’t take long for me to realize I really liked writing and didn’t want to go back to corporate America.

That’s the #truth: Did you find that as you were going through the journey and doing the research to complete your book that you were able to learn about your mom?

Amy: Absolutely. There were stories about our journey and our escape that I didn’t know. I did learn that my mom was a lot more fierce than I gave her credit for - that fire inside of her - as a woman with a little kid on her hip. I can’t even imagine what kind of courage that took and to make it and survive on her own in America.

That’s the #truth: Fierce is a good word. She was so brave. How in the world did she pick up and do the things that she did. Even getting to the boat that might lead her to America was one battle after the next. She just kept going and going and it looks like one of the main driving forces that kept her going was you.

Amy: Yes, the love of a mother right? A parent will do anything for their child. I think we are all inherently strong people who are driven to survive and live to our core. When there is a challenge we have to rise to it or perish. You do what you have to do. Luckily, for us, we had a happy ending. There were so many that perished at sea and the numbers we will never know.

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I was a prodigal once myself

This reflection is based on my own personal experience and is a message to those who have experienced a desire to over-distance themselves from their family. This does not apply to situations where violence/safety are an issue. If you find yourself in an unsafe situation please contact authorities/support personnel in your area.

It’s likely you’ve heard the parable of The Prodigal Son - a stubborn boy leaves his family, taking only his inheritance. Before long he spends his riches away leaving himself with nothing. In a moment of rock bottom, he humbly returns to his father’s land and requests to be a servant in hopes to stay. He finds himself welcomed into his father’s arms who instead celebrates his return in grandiose fashion.

This story is often shared from the pulpit in a manner that focuses on God’s love for us, prompting us to return to His arms, reminding us of His unconditional love. It is also used to encourage parents who have experienced a prodigal themselves, indicating their child will return, and it will indeed be a glorious event when they do. While it is true that this is a great example of God’s love for us, the latter use of this passage is not always the case. Life itself may not always present the same opportunity or happy ending.

I was a bit of a prodigal myself once. I was 23, angry, and had my own ideas about freedom and independence. I left “home” in a way I regret - packed my bags, headed for a new state, and until the moment of departure, told no one I was leaving. It can be dangerously easy to get trapped by pride. Erroneous assumptions and angry mental musings become routine beliefs that guide our behavior and set us on an unconscious path of potential destruction. In those moments, I didn’t think of the regrets I would have or the people I would hurt, I had only my own desires in mind, justified by the belief system I had structured.

Sadly, this is not an uncommon reaction of adolescence or young adulthood. Those affected prefer to remain optimistic that the season will soon be over and was just a phase. As an offer of comfort, the story of the prodigal is often declared matter-of-factly to grieving parents that their runaway child will soon return home. However, the truth is that there is no guarantee this will be the case.

Sometimes it IS too late

I recently read a story of a prodigal who did not make it back home. He was a young man with his sights set on freedom and the thrill of an adventure. He sold all he owned, even changed his name, loaded up his car, and vanished from the lives of those around him. His loved ones never saw him alive again. I suspect he did not foresee his journey ending in death, his later found journals, were in fact, focused on surviving in the wilderness on an ultimate adventure. Such is life - endings we don’t see coming.

We all Have our Reasons

I am sure he had his. They probably even made sense to him in the moment. But here is the thing. We all have our reasons. The truth is, that doesn’t make them right!

As I read the story of this man’s life captured in a book -Into the Wild, I found myself in deep heartache for the pain and uncertainties left behind for his sister and parents -how they thought about him, had nightmares of him calling for help, how they had no way to contact him, no way of knowing if he was okay, how they had to watch their ultimate fear become reality - receiving the news he had died alone in the woods.

Not all prodigals come home. Sometimes it is too late and time does run out. I am so thankful that was not the case for me, but wish desperately that it not be the case for anyone else.

It is uncomfortable to think about the choices of my youth. People don’t really want to dive into their shortcomings, but it is necessary if we want to grow, and better yet, if we hope to use our experiences to prevent someone else from making the same mistakes.

#Truth - Life is fleeting

In life, no matter what we do, good or bad, we will leave behind a legacy. Every encounter we have will leave us remembered somehow. That memory is important. How do you wish to be remembered? The truth is, life is fleeting and second chances aren’t guaranteed. The ball is in your court, what are you going to do with it?

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