Shot of HOPE

First Dose ✅

I went this morning to get the first dose of the Pfizer Covid Vaccine. It was quick and painless but immediately afterwards I cried in my car for ten minutes straight. Covid has taken so much from us this last year. It stole our “normal life” and our peace, but more than that it stole the precious time we had left with my Mom. The outcome may have ended up being the same but we lost those last few weeks with her because of this virus. My last conversation with her was over FaceTime while a nurse held up an Ipad in the ICU. That last convo haunts me to this day and I wish it had been more…longer…in person…different. We’ve then lived with the trauma of losing her on a ventilator and knowing that was a possibility if we got Covid, which of course, is anxiety ridden. I know we aren’t the only ones who have experienced extreme loss this last year, the majority of of the world has experienced loss in one way or the other. But today… Today I got a little shot of HOPE and I’m looking forward to when Walter and I are both fully vaccinated and glimmers of regular life start creeping back in. ❤️

Grandma Visit

So I’m sitting in the living room the other day working on a few things and I hear Jaz on the PlayStation and she’s chatting away. She narrates Everything in life so I don’t think much of it. I assume she’s talking to the characters she’s playing with on the video game. She isn’t hooked up online so she can’t talk to any other actual people but sometimes she gives the players voices and she likes to narrate what they are doing. I hear her say “I’m thankful for you too” and “I love you too” and a few other things and I’m only half paying attention to her. Then she stops me dead in my tracks when she says. “Mom, Grandma said she’s thankful for you, she misses you, and she loves you”.
Of course I immediately ask her to repeat herself. She tells me again, the exact same words. “Grandma says she’s thankful for you, she misses you, and she loves you”.
Now I’m like “oh wow did she tell you that before she went to Heaven Jaz?” And her response is
“No she told me that right now”.
So now I’m internally kind of freaking out but also want more info so I ask her a million questions.

Where is Grandma-she was right next to me but she’s back in Heaven now

What did she look like-she looked like Grandma Mom 🙄

If she was here why couldn’t I see her-because you’re an adult, I could see her because I’m a kid 😱 (This one really got me because we haven’t discussed these types of things with Jaz ever so it wasn’t a topic she would understand or have overheard somehow)

Do you see her a lot? Have you seen her before- yes, sometimes when I’m sleeping.

Then I made her repeat everything like 25 times until she was 100% OVER the conversation and just wanted to play her video game. 😂

Now look, am I completely convinced my Mom was here talking to Jaz? I don’t know. But what I do know is that something put those thoughts in Jasmine’s head, whether it was an actual visit from Mom or just God sending her some warm thoughts I choose to believe it was a hello from my Mom with just the right words for me.

The one about the Turkey Sandwich

Walter and I had a little spat over a Turkey sandwich yesterday. We are laughing about it now but in the moment we were ready to die on our prospective hills. Let me set the scene: we were working hard around the house trying to finish some DIY projects and decorate for Christmas and we missed lunch. Walter asked if Jaz and I had eaten, I said No but I would make us all something from our Thanksgiving leftovers as soon as I finished hanging some decorations. He told me not to worry about it. I took this response to mean “I’m hungry but I don’t need you to stop what you are doing to feed me”. BUT I finished up my job quickly because Jaz was also hungry and starting to get whiny and I made us all Turkey sandwiches for lunch. I was feeling like Betty Homemaker and I called him in from outside when lunch was ready. He sat down, said Thank You and then proceeded to not eat his turkey sandwich. To which, of course, I replied “YOU AREN’T eating your sandwich??” (how Dare he I even toasted that bread!) And he let me know he did not eat Turkey sandwiches (NEWS TO ME) and that he only eats Turkey on Thanksgiving and that’s it. Which ok I get-I’m not a huge turkey fan either BUT we have all these leftovers that will go to waste AND your wife just spent time toasting this sandwich to perfection for you so JUST SHUT UP AND EAT IT! My bubble was instantly burst and now I was mad. So following lunch (of just chips for Walter) we had a huge fight over the damn turkey sandwich 🤣🤣🤣🤣. Spoiler Alert it wasn’t about the sandwhich, it was about lack of communication BUT the sandwhich took the brunt of the blame. 🤣 🦃

Now look, was I right (OF COURSE) 🤣 BUT somewhere along the line I think both of us realized how ridiculous this fight was and we squashed it. Agreeing we needed to talk things through and communicate better. I made assumptions and he didn’t communicate effectively and the whole thing became an unnecessary jumble of feelings and ridiculousness.
Today we’ve made the vow to never have Turkey sandwiches for as long as we both shall live and to try to stay sane through this pandemic. Covid is testing our patience to the max. 🤣

So now, What’s the most ridiculous thing you’ve ever fought with your spouse about?? I can’t wait to read these 🤣🤣#PandemicMarriage #TheChandlerCrew

I am the first person in the room to say…Guest Blogger Kelsey Kortebein

After a summer of racial reckoning in response to the death of George Floyd, Kelsey was moved to share her own family’s experiences with racial profiling and racism. As a white woman with a Black partner and children, she aims to use her storytelling and personal journey to provide an inside look into what multiracial families experience. It is her hope to enlighten, inspire and spur readers into action in the fight against racial injustice.

Kelsey and her Ghanaian partner have two children together and currently live in West Lafayette, Indiana. She is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and loves to write, play the piano, travel and spend time outdoors with her family in her spare time. Read below as she shares her thoughts.

I am the first person in the room to say…

As a white woman who loves a Black man and biracial children,that I have my own racist ideas to confront and actively unlearn every day.

Yes, you read that right.

Loving Black family members, friends and the Black community is not a token of immunity from holding prejudice and racism in our hearts.

I am the first person to say I didn’t know that confederate memorabilia are racist and painful reminders to the African American community.

I am the first person to say I didn’t understand that Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling was a signal of distress from Black Americans who are not granted the freedoms described in our National anthem.


I am the first person to say I didn’t know the KKK is deeply active and lynchings still occur.

I am the first person to say I didn’t know the policing system was not designed to protect Black people; in fact, it was designed to do just the opposite.

These devastating truths slapped me across the face, year after year during my relationship with a Black man, while my eyes slowly opened up to his world that I had no idea existed.

And if you are white like me, you probably didn’t know or don’t believe it either.

It’s easier to hold onto ignorance when we receive nothing but respect and protection when we call 911.

It’s too painful to accept the reality of police brutality when our loved ones are police officers.

No matter how many times I see racial injustice affect my family, I will never grasp the magnitude of trauma andchallenges that Black people face in America.

And you know what inexplicably painful thing twists the knife even deeper?

When your screams of pain are ignored.

When you’re heard, but no one believes.

When your babies are bleeding out in the streets, and people complain about buildings.

When your grief bothers and scares people.

When there isn’t a single thing you can do to invoke concern for your family the way other families are cared for.


When those who condemn you sing about unconditional love in church every Sunday.

When their representation of the Good Samaritan only applies to people who look like them.

When they flip tables over babies being murdered in the womb, but not for the babies that came out of your womb.

When it’s surprising once the screams, marching and fires echo and burn brighter than ever before.

And ultimately, when everyone is relieved as the world slips back into silence, and your pain can be ignored again.

Or until another George Floyd cries out for his mama underneath the knee of a white man, and your unending grief is condemned… once again.


I’m white.


I’ll never have the personal experience. I will always have a lot to un-learn and relearn. 

But if the truth breaks through to just one person, I will continue sharing what I’m learning through my own journey.

I’ll continue because I believe when we know better, we can do better.

And I’ll be damned if I knew better, and I still refused to do better.

-Kelsey Kortebein

You can find more about Kelsey at her blog https://kelseylkort.wixsite.com/blog

Finding The Silver Lining This Holiday Season

Look I get it. This year sucks! Covid SUCKS, Holidays with no Family-SUCKS. It’s extra difficult for us this year because it’s the first year we will be celebrating A holiday since my mother passed in May. We are, in general, just BUMMED and not looking forward to any of it. BUT I HATE feeling like this. So I had a Come to Jesus moment this week and decided we NEEDED to find some silver linings for this Holiday Season. So like I always do I made a list of all the things that are GREAT this year during the Pandemic.

Spending Less Money

We are spending FAR less money. Who doesn’t love that? We are staying home for the holidays just the 3 of us so that means no need to buy hostess gifts, have travel $, presents for my cousins kids, holiday outfits, etc. No need to buy all the food for multiple parties or carry ins, no need to bake dozens of cookies to pass out to family and friends. We are cutting wayyyyyyy back by not going anywhere or celebrating with people this year. This will save us a TON of $ because these things all add up to be A LOT each year. The $ we are saving can go to paying off some debt or to treat ourselves with something extra fun this year. Don’t worry, we will still have fun gifts and holiday foods and cookies a plenty for the 3 of us but no need to be cooking and baking non stop. And no need to over buy for everyone we know. We are super simplifying Christmas this year, focusing on only those in our immediate circle and sending small gifts, homemade treasures and cards to those who live further away. The list of “needs” has been cut in half and I’m here for it! It’s also allowed us to focus on what and who matter most. And let me tell you sharing the Holiday Spirit doesn’t mean buying a $10 candle, it means sharing our love, our memories, and our moments, with each other. Even if it’s just a family ZOOM session, everything means a bit more this year.

Less Stress…sort of.

I mean let’s be honest, worrying about COVID-19 adds plenty of stress BUT at home in our bubble we have very little of the Holiday stress that usually accompanies this season for us. No packing, cooking, planning, shopping times infinity, wrapping extending family presents, traveling, juggling schedules and boarding the dog. NONE of that has to happen this year-and I am THRILLED about this! If we cook it’s because we want to, when we wrap it’ll just be a few things, when we shop it’s all online in our PJs so this is a Big WIN for Covid Christmas Silver Linings. The holiday stress will be minimal and we won’t have to force smiles and deal with party meltdowns and the added stress of travel. This makes Holiday Life so MUCH EASIER this year! We get so much more time back AND we get to RELAX!

Quality Time…for real this time.

Every year we can’t wait for the Holiday break to spend some quality time together. My husband and I work opposite shifts so we RARELY get to be together just the 3 of us without obligations. Even during past holidays the majority of the time is spent traveling or socializing with our extended family. We love spending time with our families and the memories we make BUT this year it gets to be just the 3 of us, making our own memories, starting some new traditions just for us, and ACTUALLY spending quality time together just BEING TOGETHER. This may be my favorite part of the current pandemic. Would I wish COVID away immediately? OF COURSE! But while it’s here I am soaking up the unexpected extra time with my crew.

There are a million reasons I’m sad for the holidays this year but I’m trying to shift my focus. I have a very impressionable 4 year old who looks to me for every emotion so more than ever I’m finding reasons to celebrate the season and enjoy the time we have together. If we are lucky we have 14 more Holiday seasons with our girl at home and I plan to make the most of this one, even if it’s during a pandemic. I know this year is hard but if you can, shift your focus on all the moments we get and set your eyes on the silver linings this year is providing us all. Wishing you the best, most peaceful and HEALTHY Holiday Season yet!

Black Friday Deals: Amazon

It’s that time of year again! Black Friday is on the horizon. But for a lot of us Black Friday will look a little different this year. I would typically be mapping out what stores we were going to as soon as the Turkey was done BUT with the current Covid-19 situation we decided to forgo in person shopping this Black Friday and instead focus on what we could find online. And when I say online I primarily mean AMAZON. Like a lot of you we are Amazon obsessed in this household. It’s quick, it’s easy, as a prime member I get good deals and I usually get it delivered straight to my door in less than 2 days. Amazon is already rolling out their Black Friday ADs and the fun thing this year is it’s more than just one day, it’s ALL MONTH LONG!

Amazon Black Friday Deals on Slickdeals

This is AWESOME but can be overwhelming when you are trying to find the best deal. To make finding the best deals easy for you Slickdeals has all the Black Friday Amazon deals organized by category and you can quickly reference what you want to buy or peruse their list at your leisure. It gave me some good ideas for those hard to buy people in my life. If you want to check out their deals and exclusive Promo Code offers here’s an easy to navigate link. https://slickdeals.net/coupons/amazon/black-friday-deals/

Here’s some of my favorites that have made their way to my Shopping list this year thanks to Slickdeals!

Fun holiday books for Jaz for under $1! You can’t beat that!

https://slickdeals.net/f/14503538-children-s-books-clifford-s-halloween-paperback-book-1-more

A 6ft charge cable for $5 using slick deals Promo Code. I don’t know about you but we ALWAYS need another charger.

USB C to USB C Cable AUKEY 6.6ft Type C Cable TPE + Aramid Fiber 60W Fast Charging Cord Charger for Samsung Galaxy Note9 S10 S10+ S9 S8, Google Pixel 2XL 3XL, Nexus, MacBook Air, iPad Pro 2018 – White https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07VYRF3SD/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_fabc_RtbPFb3ND1CXM?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

A new ring light using slick deals 50% off promo code for only $10! You can’t beat that price and this is a crowd pleaser for those hard to buy for teens and twenty somethings.

Selfie Ring Light with Tripod Stand & Phone Holder for Live Streaming & YouTube Video, Dimmable Desk Makeup Ring Light for Photography, Shooting with 3 Light Modes & 10 Brightness Level https://www.amazon.com/dp/B089KH4FPQ/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_fabc_PvbPFbQ7TWASX

They also have toys toys and more toys. You can scroll through Amazon to find millions of toys but Slickdeals also has a nice layout of all the great deals happening for Black Friday on toys. We just ordered this awesome Hot Wheels Track for our nephew for only $15. It’s a bummer we won’t be able to spend the holidays with our family this year but we are making sure that everyone gets a little something from us delivered straight to their door.

Hot Wheels Track for 50% off

Hot Wheels Track Builder Unlimited Triple Loop Kit, Multi Color, Model:GLC96 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07RMCGP21/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_fabc_dlC_5AbPFbTCEEMG4

There are HUNDREDS of Black Friday deals that will be going on all month long so it’s worth shopping now! No need to wait until actual Black Friday! This is a hard year for everyone but I think the upside to our crazy world is the technology we have allows us all to connect with loved ones across the globe even when we can’t see them. If you can’t be with the people you love at least you can ship them the latest deals from Amazon with the click of a button. Christmas may look a little different this year for you, it will for us, but with just a little forethought it can still be Merry & Bright. And plus side-no waiting in LINES this Black Friday!

Let the Happy Holidays Begin!

-The Chandlers

It’s all Gravy Baby…

You might wonder why I’m posting a picture of Gravy but this is more than just Gravy. See my mom was the gravy maker in the family. She made expert level gravy-no lumps and it was always perfect with her pot roast. She also was head gravy maker at all holidays. No one else ever bothered to make it because she was the Gravy Queen 🤣. In my 39 years of life I’ve never once made gravy that I didn’t call and ask my mom “What do I do again?” And even though it was her 200th time telling me she always patiently walked me through the process. Well tonight I made a pork roast and for the first time ever I had to make gravy without calling my mom. So I reached for the phone, remembered, cried…and then put my big girl pants on, said a quick hello to her in heaven and made the damn gravy. And it was perfect. Just another reminder that she’s with me even when I can’t see her. #MemoriesPouringOutLikeGravy

Raising a daughter without my Mother.

Today is national daughters day and as I sit here and play with my daughter I’m hit by the gravity that I no longer have a mother. One of the hardest parts of losing my mom is realizing I have to raise a daughter without my own mother around. As women we go through so many stages with our mothers. Babies being fully dependent on them, childhood thinking they hang the moon, middle school and high school needing them still desperately but hating it, college forging out on our own trying to run as far away from them as possible, to our early twenties when we slowly start to understand them. Getting married having our own families, our own babies, that’s when we can fully appreciate our mothers. We can finally see and love them for all the wisdom and sacrifices they made for us. All the time they spent pouring in to us to raise us to be decent humans. For the first time I feel like I finally saw my mom and she saw me and we were a team. And she was taken away from me just as we hit our stride. Truly we have been a team since the beginning, but as kids often do, it took me time to appreciate all that she brought to the table. Now I find myself pinning away for her wisdom, her shoulder, her stories, her advice every day. As I look at my daughter I have so many questions. Did I act like this as a child? Did you cry when I went to Preschool? What did you tell me when Grandma died? So many situations pop up every day that I wish I could come to her for. So many things that only she would get. The shorthand that develops between a mother and a daughter over almost 4 decades is one that can’t be replicated. No one else knows all my stories without me telling them. No one else has been a witness to my life from the beginning. I miss having her here for many reasons but the biggest of all is I miss being her daughter.

3 Tips for Throwing an Anniversary Party

Our friends are celebrating a milestone anniversary this year and I’ve been tasked with helping plan a small gathering for later this year. Whether celebrating a couple’s paper (first) anniversary or their gold (fiftieth) anniversary, finding that special someone is a blessing worth commemorating in an equally special way. Either you’re planning an event for your own wedding anniversary or a surprise for one of your closest friends; whatever the case, here are three essential tips I’ve found for making this party as special as it deserves to be.

Find the right location

Before you can throw any party, you have to figure out where you’re going to throw it. First, figure out if it’s going to be a big, lively event or a small, personal one. If it’s the latter, your own home might be a serviceable venue.

More than likely, though, you’ll be holding the event elsewhere. In that case, keep in mind that finding the right location is about more than just finding the most affordable one (although that definitely plays a role, too). You have to find one that accommodates your guest list, but also one that fits your needs (Do you need a stage? How about a dance floor? Is alcohol allowed on the premises? Etc.)

Last but not least there’s the “wow” factor. It isn’t always necessary or feasible, but when possible finding a location that adds to the atmosphere of the party is an excellent touch. Maybe it has a spectacular view or is itself an architectural wonder. It could even be something as small as the restaurant where the couple had their very first date. A little creativity goes a long way.

Don’t forget entertainment

It’s not a true party without some entertainment, and while it might be tempting to just hook your iPhone up to some speakers and put on a custom playlist, that really doesn’t make for a special party, does it?

You can never go wrong with a DJ or a live band, but don’t rule out more unique types of entertainers either: stand-up comics, magicians, shadow performers, aerialists, and even celebrity impersonators are all options that can make an anniversary party stand out and hammer home the rarity that finding true love really is.

That said, it’s also worth considering the preferences of both the couple and the guests. It’s not just a matter of what people do like, but what they don’t as well. For instance if there are going to be children at the event, Christian comedians and musicians tend to be appropriate for all audiences. Walter and I recently attended a Christian Comedian’s Stand Up Set on relationships and it would be the perfect entertainment for an anniversary party! Meanwhile, if you are looking for family friendly you’ll probably want to nix the all-nude chainsaw juggling-act. Use good judgement.

Planning the perfect anniversary party is like building a pyramid. It has to have three points. You’ve already picked the location and you’ve got the live entertainment figured out. The third and final essential you need to get right is the menu.

Cater to every taste

No matter how good a party you throw, if people don’t go home with a full stomach, they probably won’t go home happy. For smaller events, doing the cooking yourself or asking guests to bring dishes is perfectly acceptable. For larger events, though, you’re going to want to hire a caterer. But what kind? Do you want to serve your guests at their tables or buffet-style? Both have advantages and disadvantages: the former ensures good service but can also be a statistical nightmare for larger groups, while the latter allows guests to serve themselves to their heart’s content yet all but ensures long lines.

Then there’s the food itself. Once again, think about who you’re feeding and what they like. My family LOVES charcuterie and appetizers so those are crowd pleasers for my crew but always take your crowds likes in mind. Don’t forget about people with dietary restrictions and vegetarians, too. Ideally, your best bet is to provide multiple options. That way, everybody’s satisfied.

We are looking forward to when the world opens back up and we can start having parties on a full scale again. For now we still plan to keep living and celebrating our milestones as responsibly as we can with those closest to us. I hope these tips will help you with your next anniversary party or gathering and above all you enjoy the company you are with! I can’t wait to celebrate another milestone anniversary with Walter and have all our family and friends around us!

A letter to White Churches

When I say the word racism the first thing you want to say is, we love all God’s children. Then you refuse to shake my husband’s hand. When you stand on the pulpit and preach LOVE but laugh in the church basement breakfast line at a racist joke told by a Deacon, I don’t believe your words. When you tell me you welcome our family and then your wife misquotes the Bible by telling me I’m “unequally yoked” by being married to a black man, I do not feel welcomed. When you say you foster a community of faith but then uninvite my family to a small group when you find out my husband is black, I do not feel your faith in action. When you shake my hand on Sunday and tell me you love my family and then I see you share a racist meme on Facebook I do not feel that Christian embrace.

So many White Christians deny that racism exists in their church and yet my husband and I have spent the last 6 years searching for a church where we felt at home, where we felt welcomed. We have finally found a church home that we can comfortably worship in, but imagine the agony of 6 years of searching before we found a place that we could truly feel at home. Our experiences as an interracial family have shown that some of the most racist interactions we’ve had have been with members of the church. Why is that? Well first, men are flawed. Humans have sin and humans harbor hate. Racism can sometimes be so ingrained in a person or even a church that they don’t even realize they harbor these bias. Thankfully, We do not base our faith or our walk with Christ on the flaws of other Christians and if anything these struggles have allowed us to dig deeper in our own personal Faith. BUT as a Christian I am so disheartened that it took us so long to find a church that allowed both my husband and I to worship alongside each other without feeling uncomfortable. The church as a whole has a responsibility to speak out against these sometimes antiquated and ingrained racisms. But where do you start if you don’t even realize you have them?

First, look at your membership, are you a primarily white church? If so, why? What can you do to diversify? Are you welcoming to all races? Are you making members feel “othered” or are you making them feel comfortable. Are you allowing biases and derogatory statements to go unchecked? Are there any people of color on your boards or sitting in places of power within your church? The biggest roadblock to progress is ignorance. We need to start learning about each other and you can’t learn if you don’t surround yourself with people to learn from. That means having people of color in positions of authority within the church so they can add a voice to the conversation. Representation matters.

The goal of the church should be to love and spread God’s word to all people but that can’t happen if members of your congregation feel marginalized. As an organization the church needs to be very vocally anti-racist. It’s not enough to just say “Love One Another” and then turn a blind eye to the prejudices of your members. As a church we can not stay silent when we see our brothers and sisters hurting. We can not just take the easy road and say “I don’t see color”. My husband will adamantly disagree with you on that point. He wants you to see color. Being black is a part of him, it’s part of who he is and it’s part of his story and it’s part of what has made him the man he is today. You can’t take that away. And let’s be real, everyone sees color. If one of you turned purple Sunday morning it’s not like we wouldn’t notice and wonder about the Violet girl in the front pew. Instead of saying “I don’t see color,” it would be better is to say, I see your color, I see all of you, and I love you, I welcome you, I embrace you, I do not judge you. And try to honor that and check yourself when those unknown biases start to show up. Check yourself and check others when you hear these biases. We all have them and we’ve all heard them. “You’re so articulate for a black man”, or my personal favorite “you’re so nice for a black man” which implies that black men are not particularly smart, well spoken or nice. All of these are false. And Sure that’s not what you meant but you’ve unearthed a hidden bias in yourself when you make a statement like that. It’s time to confront those in ourselves and in others. We need to Shine a light on what’s happening. As a Church we should leave NO ROOM for Racism within our walls. God has taught us over and over again that Light drives out the darkness. As Christians that should be our goal. Shining our light and our love of Jesus and driving away these sins that divide us. My hope is that we won’t fear away from talking about the hard topics. We can’t bury our heads in the sand and pretend like these things aren’t happening. If something happens to my brother it happens to me. There are no such things as other people’s problems. We are all God’s children and if my brothers or sisters are hurting as a Christian I am here to help them, I am commanded to help them.


So then the question becomes
How? Well a lot of people smarter than me have asked how we end this great divide, and the problem still isn’t solved but I know one thing for sure, we need to talk about it. We need to all share our experiences, we need to open up and really get to know each other’s struggles. Not blame, not yell, not be quick to anger, not drag politics in to it, just TALK to one another. Get to know your neighbors, get to know my husband, get to know the black man or woman of color in the pew a few rows up. Reach out. Human connection is a POWERFUL thing. It’s why God sent his son in human form to us, Human connection is everything. When you connect and you really get to know people you realize the fear of the unknown was just wasted energy. At the end of the day we are all the same in Christ. Jesus is the great Uniter, but Jesus works through men and it’s time for us to all start following his commands. And Of all of HIS commands the Greatest is Love.

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