white space holds the beautiful cull 3

Mike was in the hospital a full week after his heart surgery. At first, when he was in the ICU I could only stand by his bedside for a few minutes at a time. He had an awesome nurse, an army reservist named Marcus who ran a tight ship on a huge panel of electronic equipment that read all Mike could not yet tell us. It was a small room like the cockpit of a jet engine with gauges, lights, screens, buttons and switches.

I went back and forth between home and sitting with him and home again to see the kids and take care of Luke the lab.

As life goes, Luke was recovering from a shattered toe amputation the week before and so he wore the cone of shame and a bootie with duct tape! to keep all of his stitches safe while I was away. On top of that, he was moping around without Mike, his beloved favorite.

Here is an Instagram post to lighten the seriousness of the days before us.

I mith my Dad! Can you believe I have to wear both the bootie and the cone of shame? What's my world coming to? When my mama gets home, she's gonna give me peanut butter and rub my ears. She does love me no matter what anyone says.

lukethelab #chillinasaconehead


During Mike's two month recovery from heart surgery, at first he was home all day everyday and I drove him everywhere he needed or wanted to go. He likes to drive so he was frustrated and wanted to drive way before he was officially cleared by other doctors. When you have your chest cracked wide open, that breast bone needs careful healing for many long and tender weeks. Mike's chest is wired together in thick links right down the center.

Here is my only other Instagram post about a month after the surgery.

Our world turned upside down when we made this tram trip about a month ago to find out Mike needed heart bypass surgery. Lots of his bravery and your prayers brought us to today. We are grateful for a happy check-up and one-day-at-a-time recovery. #1000gifts #hearts&trams #mike&terri

If you're wondering what changed around our home because of the beautiful cull, a better question might be, what didn't change?

Mike went from working full time, upwards of 70-80 hours a week, to working half time. Really. Down to 25ish.

Before we did so much apart and came together to tell each other about it if we could stay awake. Now we get to do so much together, run along the river, take the dog on long walks, plan our next project, listen to music and ride together to events. What a radical idea!

A few days a week, we actually eat breakfast, lunch and dinner together. I swear, I did not know people did this. If they did, I didn't know them.

You can ask our kids, but nowadays they may just as likely hear from Mike as me. During the day, during the week. Or have Mike meet them for lunch at their workplace. Or buy them tires or watch the baby.

There's a lot less meat, butter, eggs and cheese in our fridge.

There is more mindfulness, movement and music floating through our floorboards.

That's the thing about the Beautiful Cull, it is both a gathering and a cutting. In my experience, it is a painful choosing of choice things; husband, family and a slower lifestyle.

I have told Mike that I LOVE his scar. I think it is beautiful. Mike's permanent scar represents being scared to death, gathering all your bravery, more than you knew you had, resting in your savior and so much sweet time together.

Mike may have realized he loved his job a little too much, but what about me? I felt the surgeon's knife sharp as steel in my own heart cutting between soul and spirit. I had treasured my time to pursue projects and make my mark in the world while he did his.

In our own ways, we were both re-evaluating our outside commitments; everything was laid bare on the cutting table. We were taking it slow and easy and with even deeper intent. We were weighing, considering and evaluating without rushing to any conclusions.

Now I will tell you, I thought we were already doing this, prayerfully considering where we were called. But the truth is, our egos get in the way. We assume we are called all sorts of places that perhaps we are not at all.

My Daddy loves pithy saying and every once in awhile they ring in my ears as so true. He always said, "Don't assume. It makes an ass of u + me."

That right there is w i s d o m.

Maybe I can share a bit of mine with you, hard-earned though it is.