I am FREE because of Him.

How many times a year… a month… a week… do you wonder if God really forgives you? If He really can take all of the things that you’ve done… and take the blame? And love you anyway?

This video touched me. The love of the Heavenly Father is real. The story is audacious. It’s crazy. It’s incredible.

8 minutes long… Take a look. You might be glad you did.

“The greatest challenge is not your discipline, your devotion, or your focus.

Your greatest challenge is believing the gospel. Could it be, that there is a God with a love so scandalous, wide, deep, vast, deep, high, expansive, welcoming, and inclusive (that it provides) open spaces for forgiveness and complete acceptance?

Where do we get off, thinking that we are going to set ourselves free? It’s still Jesus. It will always be Jesus. It will never stop being the power of Jesus.

Jesus. Is. Enough.”

Don’t ever forget it. You are an amazing creation. And, you are FREE! WE. ARE. OH-SO-LOVED. And, oh-so FREE!


My Child, Be Well…

Austyn woke this morning with a fever. Her body hot. Her heart beats fast.

She looks at me through wet eyelashes, her blue eyes swollen and sad. Her hands are freezing cold and this fever seems to be caught up… all near her heart and her head.

This cough of hers hasn’t gone away. It will. I believe it. I know it. But, the reality of it stings and sears in the feverish wheezing of right now.

The doctors say asthma and allergies, but the fever is new and …. Now…. they don’t know. “An infection? Walking pneumonia? On top of the asthma? Or aside?” They wonder aloud. So, I ask more questions. I challenge and jockey for solid information. But, in the end, this is always a guessing game. I’ve had too much experience with medical trial and error. I drive to the pharmacy and on the way, I call and ask of essential oil solutions we might have missed.

I pull into the Target parking lot and glance in the rearview mirror at her sweet little face. She says “Momma” thick and slurred and her blonde hair sticks to her forehead. My heart swells and bursts. A prayer rises and speaks strong. It echoes in my very soul. I pray it and I will it. It becomes me, in that moment. “My sweet, dear child…. Be well.” I want so very much for her to be well.

Once home, she eats as much as she can handle and we’ve started our new “hopeful helps” of peppermint oil and antibiotics. I lay her sweet soft self down for a nap and creep down the stairs.

Now, I sit listening to the monitor as she naps in fits and starts. Bright sunlight streams in the window where we are staying. It’s a glorious home in the mountains of our very best friends’ and they so generously share. Friends are just one gift nestled among so many others that God has blessed me with. The other gifts start their march and I’m filled with thankfulness. Hope floats in on remembered graces and rays of sunshine. I hear Austyn cough and squirm. Then, her blankets quiet and that sliver of hope begins to form a thought…

I pick up the Bible…. and turn thin pages. And, there it is. I place my finger next to it. I drink it in so that the hope-thought grows.

Be strong. Take courage. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t give it a second thought because God, your God, is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; He won’t leave you. Deuteronomy 31:6

The light changes and I shift my gaze. Evergreen trees and new budding greens lay just outside as grey clouds pass across the sun. I’m back in Seattle and those clouds have always seemed like a worn blanket that used to make me feel cozy and right at home. But, now, after having been through much, I know the truth. That any city, any home can feel just right when I rest in Him.

Be strong.

Take courage.

He won’t let you down. Does this mean Austyn will get better immediately? Not necessarily. But, it does mean He won’t let me go down. He will fight for me. He will fight for my daughter. Just as I am doing all that I can, which isn’t enough. He will do all He can. And, Jesus IS always enough. And I can place it ALL; her, this, me, us… in His strong and capable hands.

AustynWhen my precious daughter is sick or hurting, my very being centers around a prayer that forms without thought… I live and breathe and become: “My child… Be well.” And, if these are my thoughts about my sweet little girl… Then, these and more are surely God’s intentions toward me and my beloved (and YOU). “My child. Be well.”

If the God of the Universe is on our side and only wants what is best in the end, will He not surely deliver? I am certain that He will. And because He wills it: We. Will. Be. Well.

She should wake up soon. Maybe her fever will have vanished during her nap. Maybe the prayers will have helped. Either way, I can be certain of one thing: He is willing her, and me, and all of us… well. His eye is ever on us. His heart is always with us.

So, you there, you too…. Will you see that He wills you well? Be strong, you. Take courage. “Be well, my beloved child.” Even on the tough days, the ones full of dark and light, heavy and heaping, heaving and pulling…. Look to the light. Look to the hope. And, believe you will be well because of Him.

Not sure you’ll get well? Not sure how to find hope, peace… How to find Him? Have questions for me? Comment below or email me at Alyssa (dot) magnotti (at) gmail (dot) com.

The Light You’ve Been Searching For

My Baby Girl

I never thought I would be lying awake again, in the middle of the night, worried about the health of the one held dearest to me. No, Austyn is not “extremely” ill. But, she has been sick. And, this momma is having a hard time with it. And “hard” is most certainly an understatement.

She’s suffered from quite a few respiratory infections since she was little, with coughs seeming to hold on longer than they should. Over the course of the last few months, she has been sleeping with a cough on and off almost continuously. I’ve taken her to the doctors and done all that I could think of. They suspected childhood asthma and now, it’s all but been confirmed.

She also has some pretty nasty allergies. Tree pollen, grass, weeds, animal dander and yellow food dye 4 and 5. Her asthma seems to be induced by her allergies. When the pollen counts are high, her cough is much worse. I’ve been in the process of planning a move back to the Seattle area, and it seems that it couldn’t be coming at a better time (allergens are much less prevalent in the Pacific Northwest).

She will grow out of it, more than likely, the doctor suspects. She seems and acts fine during the day, smiley and cute as ever (albeit a bit overtired). But, some nights… the bad ones… like tonight… She coughs incessantly, no matter what I do. It feels as if I’ve stepped over the edge of a cliff and that the fall will never, ever stop.

I’ve been doing everything I can think of, everything I can find, I’ve taken her to the typical Western medicine doctors and to a Naturopath. I’m doing showers immediately after being outdoors, essential oils, cough medicines, chest rubs, and even a low dose of steroids (with extreme caution and after much internal debate). What less would I do for one that I love? No less than give anything and everything I own to make her well. Unfortunately, I’ve learned that, even everything you’ve got isn’t always enough.

Austyn Elizabeth


People used to tell me when Nick was sick that I was, “So brave.” They said the same thing at his funeral. And again when I moved from Washington to Florida with my little girl. They tell me I’m brave now that I’m moving back. I don’t mean to be argumentative, but I normally respond with a “It’s not me.” Or, a “Not really.”

Because…. in all honesty…. there are days, and especially nights, that I just don’t feel brave at all. Or, any version of the word. I’m scared. I’m trembling. I’ve felt a few monumental losses so I know there is probably some overreaction here… but even my baby’s painful coughs rip right through my heart. Each one reminds me of what I’ve lost… Reminds me of what I could lose again.

So, how do I do it? How do I smile? How do I make it through the years of seemingly endless nights? Here’s the thing… The thing that brings me through. When I feel like I can’t do this. When I feel like I just can’t live this life filled with pain, suffering, loss and darkness. I look to the Light. 


It is in our deepest and darkest nights, that our Light can be brightest. We must only remember to look. 

The journey I’ve been on these last few (almost) five years has been nothing short of staggering. I’ve experienced things that I wouldn’t wish on the devil himself. But, I’ve also been blessed beyond my wildest dreams by coming to know the One that my soul lives for.

I’m still on this journey to figure out exactly who He is, because I don’t believe that journey ever ends… But, I’m working towards really knowing my Creator, my God, my Jesus. And, I can tell you one thing.

He is here. 

In the broken, bitter dark.

In the endless nights of tear stained pillowcases.

In the scraped knees and wheezing breaths of our babies.

Even in the horrendous massacres of our fellow brothers and sisters across the oceans.

He is here.

And, he is there… with you. Too. Right next to you… Right now.

Sometimes, He can feel like He’s a million miles away. (Believe me, I experience this, too.) But, most every time, I have found, especially as we’ve grown closer that… when I call on Him, when I tell Him that I need His bravery, His wisdom, His courage tonight… He ALWAYS answers me.

AND… When He speaks, His answers don’t echo from millions of miles away. They are soft words, breathed so near to my ear, that I’m sure I am wrapped in His embrace. 

So much of this world is hard. So much of it is broken. So much of it doesn’t make a damned bit of sense (I’m sorry for the language, but I mean, really!).

But, there is so much in this world in the way of Lightness, too. So much Bravery in His Glory. So much Honor in His Love. So much to Cherish in His Creation. Find the Light. Find Him…

Remember that it’s okay to ask for the Light. It’s okay to open your eyes and look. And, it’s okay if you are finally WILLING to SEE.

(*Sidenote: I fully understand that MANY parents have to deal with sicknesses, allergies, and asthma with their children… Or far worse. It breaks my heart. And I am so sorry if you are in that place with a child, or a loved one. May the Light guide you to peace.)

Believe in Sundays

Having a hard day? A hard week? A hard year? BELIEVE that your hard days will end. Your Friday WILL. END. And… Sunday WILL. COME! Believe with me, will you? The light IS coming!

0 A.D. – Calvary

Only when she breathed again did she realize that she’d been holding her breath for far too long. The moment of shock finally passed. The clouds rolled in. And, she realized that it wasn’t all just a nightmare after all. That this was real life. That the very worst had just happened. He was gone. And, there was nothing in the world she could do about it.

That Friday was the worst day of her life. He had died. The man she had come to love and know as her beloved friend. The man whose every word brought relief and light; whose very presence made the world a better place. His smile had been bright, his hugs had been sincere, his laughter was contagious. She chastised herself for believing in the first place. He couldn’t have been more than any other man she had met. How could she have fallen for that? He couldn’t have loved her *that* much. How could he save her if he couldn’t even save himself?

The tears came as her dreams crashed all around her. She saw her future implode. Everything a shade of grey, everything a shade of ash. That Friday brought a cold darkness that threatened to crush her very soul. How long would this grief last? Would she ever be the same?

After seemingly endless days of a broken and bitter dark, Sunday came. Oh, sweet Sunday came…. And, that Sunday brought a joy and a light unlike that that she had ever seen. It brought a miracle she had already given up on.

Her hope had been lost, but He was back… He had conquered the impossible! He had risen! No, his death wasn’t a dream. The torture she’d witnessed wasn’t an illusion… But, NEITHER. WAS. HE.

He was REAL. He really WAS who He said He was. He was the best friend she could ever hope to have, the realest man she had ever known… And, He came back for her. Just like He said He would. He was here and He would never leave her side again.

“It is me.” She saw His hands, looked into His eyes… And He held her. That very embrace gave her strength enough for the rest of her days…

He might have moved on, but He never actually left. He was with her. He was alive and He was with her. And, it would always, always be so.

We never know how long our Fridays will last… But Sunday WILL ALWAYS come.

“He saw and believed.” John 20:8
“I am always with you.” Matthew 28:20

#HeIsRisen #Believe


Us again

Austyn & Alyssa

It’s Not Always Up to You

God said to Jonah, ‘ Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?’

‘It is,’ Jonah replied. ‘And I am so angry I wish I were dead.’

But the Lord said, ‘You have been concerned about this plant, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight.’ 

Jonah 4:9-10

Here Just Yesterday

These last few weeks have been… interesting. A struggle to be sure. If I thought I was getting over my grief before, I was painfully mistaken. If I thought that the bulk of my hurt and anger had dissipated before, I was horribly wrong.

There’s something about the finality of planning a second birthday for Austyn without her daddy. There’s part of my heart that asks what happened to my first love as I begin to know what it is to really love another. There’s a lingering question of disbelief – ‘Was that really it? Are you really gone?’

Learn This

I love learning. Like, L.O.V.E.  learning. I’m one of those nerds that wishes I could go to school indefinitely. I’m one of those bookworms that wants to curl up in a library for days on end. I try to treat every day as an adventure and every minute as a teaching moment. Yeah… love learning. (I even asked learning to be my valentine this year. Smooch! JK. Oh, that was corny…)

So, like I said… I love learning. But…

Some of these recent lessons are heart lessons and all these lessons are hard lessons.

Let me do it

Just as much as I love learning, I love control. Some might call it “picky” but I call it “organized.” (It just sounds nicer, doesn’t it?) I like every thing to have a place and every thing to be in its place. I like schedules and planners and spreadsheets. I like matching my tissue box to the decor in the room. I like being able to look at where we’ve been and where we are going. I want to map it all out. I want to know every turn before I leave the driveway. (I know what you are thinking… Control freak!)

Over the years, I’ve learned (a lesson that I didn’t enjoy – not so much) that I/we don’t always have control. Maybe you’ve come to this conclusion as well? I mean, we have choices. We can decide which curtains we want for the Master bedroom. We can decide whether we make it to the gym today or not. We can choose to show love to our spouses and children for another hard day. We can decide whether to reach out to people. We can choose to follow Jesus.

But, as many of you probably already know, we simply cannot control everything.

Many things are simply not up to me. Many things are simply not up to you.


I’ve read the story of Jonah before… Probably, like, a billion times. (I’m really good at exaggerating. If you ever need an exaggerator, hire me. Pro-status!)

But, I never read that last bit of the story of Jonah the way I did today. Right before the end of the book. Right before we close on this story, this chapter. The Bible says something here that I didn’t think much of before. Something that was profound, for me, today.

As I read the end of Jonah 4, the words changed around on the page in front of me. It went from God speaking to Jonah to God saying something to me:

God: ‘Alyssa, do you have a right to be angry about losing Nick?’

Me: ‘I do! And, I am so freakin angry I wish I were dead!’

God: ‘You have been so upset over Nick, over his leaving you. Though, you did not create Nick… You did not make him grow. He was formed overnight and died overnight. His life was and always had been in my hands, before he was even born. His life was never in your hands.” 

Me: ‘Uhhhhhhh…”(Mouth open…Dumbfounded.)

Cycles of Grief

As I enter my second year without Nick, I am experiencing whole new levels of grief. New levels of confusion and anger as the finality and reality of my life sinks in.

I am overjoyed at the blessings God has given me, don’t get me wrong. I have such an amazing life and great family and wonderful friends. I’ve got the sweetest daughter (two next month!) and an absolutely-amazing boyfriend that showers me with love and affection to share my life with. I am surrounded by love.

But, love has slowly turned into something sinister. It’s become a new fear of sorts. I have been able to choose it everyday (so far) nonetheless, but after loss… Holy smokes. Love is a particularly scary thought. The thought that every person you love… you can lose. At any moment, they could vanish, any one of them. Not just to death, but to life. They could choose to leave you or choose to move away. Or, by no-one’s choice, they could leave this world for the next.

Do you know what I found myself doing these last few weeks? Subconsciously I found myself pulling away from those that I love. Telling myself that it might be smart to not love quite so much. Pulling away so that I could protect this little heart of mine. After all, I told myself…. if I don’t depend on anyone, if I don’t love, then it won’t really hurt if they disappear. Right?

Then God plopped a little quote down in front of me that had a pretty awesome impact. (I needed this, dude. Seriously perfect timing, as usual. Thanks, God.)

“The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love… is Hell.” – C.S. Lewis

Stop for a second. Read that again… Do you get it?

Whoa. I mean, I know “perturbations” is a big word. “Anxieties” is a synonym. Try it with that. “The only place… where you can be perfectly safe from the dangers and anxieties of love… is Hell.” And isn’t that just what this life becomes without love? A form of absolute Hell.

Dangerous Love

Loving another is some serious risky business (much riskier than Tom Cruise’s dance in a movie of the same name). It’s for-real serious. It can feel like life or death… and sometimes it is.

But, I do believe it’s what we are made for. We are made to live with one another and to love one another.

Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13 

Truly loving another more than you love yourself is exactly that. It is laying down your life, your soul, for your loved one. God poured His very life and love into us so that we can do the same for others.

Walk On

So, as I continue along in this 27 year (so far) long journey, I find myself fighting a new fear; the fear of feeling far too much. But, I am facing it now with determination, with a warrior’s heart. I’m gathering all my strength and I am hard bent to feel. For feeling is what makes up life. Not just the good stuff, but the sad stuff too. Feeling is what makes us human and I don’t want to shy away from my humanness. I want to embrace it.

Think the meaning of life is to be happy? Perhaps it is. But, I think the meaning of life is also to be sad. We are made to feel.

Let me challenge you (I’m speaking to myself here, too). When happiness arrives, be grateful for it! But, do not cling to it. When pain arrives, do the same. Be grateful  for it because it is just a part of this life experience! But do not cling to it. Do not become a martyr or a victim.

When you are sad: have a good cry.

When you are joyful: please, please(!!) dance. 

When you want to care for another: choose to love. 

Sometimes life can start to look like Facebook. We condition ourselves to think of our stories and others stories on certain terms. Polishing them and cutting out the tough spots so that our stories look controlled: pretty and perfect. But, we must remember that real, true life IS. NOT. about creating a perfect, polished reality. Life is hard. And, we shouldn’t be afraid to dive in and to share in even the hard parts. We shouldn’t be afraid to lean on and love each other through the hardest of days as well as celebrate with each other on the happiest ones.

This beautiful life

Life is one big grand surprise. One huge-mongous adventure! No matter how hard we try, we won’t be able to predict what is coming. We can’t sit in the driveway and map out every turn.

All we can do is choose to put the car in drive. We can choose to work our way through our pain. We can choose to be kind. And we can choose to do our best to follow Jesus and His plan for us.

There is beauty in the unknown. And there is a peace in knowing that we are not in control of it all. Let your feelings come. Be grateful to be a part of all of this magic, this good and this bad, life. Be grateful that nothing is permanent. Be grateful for your ability to heal and help others.

Maybe like Jonah a few thousand years ago, we can all continue to walk through this life, trusting God with heart lessons and our hard lessons. Trusting Him to continue to gently lead us to trust Him with even our greatest loves.

Austyn Elizabeth Loves to Swing

Until next time, keep me in your prayers. And, I’ll do the same for you. Feel free to send me a private message (alyssa-dot-magnotti-at-gmail-dot-com) or comment below. What have you been struggling with? What do you feel? Are you overjoyed? Are you sad? A mix of both? Don’t worry. We can all share in this life together. Now, let’s be purposeful about it! 


Just Shut Up for a Second

I’ve got problems. Lots of em. Maybe not 99… But, who’s counting (other than Jay-Z, apparently)? I’m not going to address all of my problems with you now. No thanks. At least, buy me a cup of coffee first! ;]

Thoughts That Just Won’t Quit 

One of the “problems” I encounter daily is a mind full of words, of phrases, of lessons I should have learned or could have learned, of things I’ve done wrong, of things I think I’ve done right. (Confession: Another one of my problems is that I love coffee far too much. Currently, I am attempting a little break from this holy fuel of life. So, some of my obsessive thoughts might be revolving around a white chocolate Americano right now. Just maybe.)

Anyway, back to the main point. Constantly, I am thinking something. Always thinking. Guessing, comparing, reflecting, considering, pondering, day-dreaming (often about coffee… I mean, not really. But kinda.) Everyone has it; this commentary that constantly runs through your mind. But, I think that there is joy found in quieting those thoughts so you can hear from someone else, someone bigger than your problems.

Sometimes when you feel stuck because your mind is running a million laps all by itself, with or without your permission… you have to take your thoughts captive and slow them down so you can sort them out and find time to listen.

Every human being has something that calms their mind and cradles their spirit. For some, it might be sitting by the ocean, or cooking, or painting, or running, or surfing, or reading. For me, it’s definitely writing.

I do not have a problem with a lack of content. I do not struggle with writer’s block. Nope. I have an issue of the opposite nature. Just like all those thoughts would have it… I have far too much I want to share. I have too many topics to choose from.

What You Do Is What Counts 

There are so many days, where I wake up, completely determined to write. But so often before I can get my laptop opened, I convince myself that there is no way I will be able to get started. That there is no way to prioritize all. of. the. things. That my mind is moving too fast to get any of it out. How will I pick one topic over another?

So, I tried something new today. Instead of deciding in advance what I would write about, I gathered a little courage and took a little step. I picked up my laptop, grabbed a glass of water, and planted myself on my back porch (not to brag, but the weather out here is amazing). I opened a blank page, got Spotify running, and started typing to the beat.

The result might be something entirely short of amazing, but I have done something. I’ve quieted… my… thoughts. And, maybe I will have reminded you to please quiet yours. Or, if you want more authority; maybe I can dare to remind you to just shut up for a second. Having a hard time remembering the last time your thoughts were still? Are you feeling lost? Feeling stuck?

If so, take a stinkin’ break. Seek your calm place and ask God join you. Not sure you have the energy or motivation to run, or read, or do whatever it is you need to do? Then, just take the first step. Sometimes a little momentum is really all we need. Lace up those shoes or pick up a book. Whatever you do, just make a move.

Move It or Lose It 

I’m fully convinced that God moves when we move. I’m fully convinced that faith can and does move mountains. But, we must first decide to speak.

“I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen.” Mark 11:2

I’m making it a priority to quiet my mind daily. Even if only for a few minutes. To get a jump start on all this and gather that momentum, I’ve almost entirely cut out social media. I’m taking three weeks away from that horribly amazing time-suck called Facebook. ;]

I am more than ready to see what God can do for me in those quiet spaces and places that are opening up. How about you? Are you ready to face the quiet? Good. Let’s do this together then.

Let me know what helps YOU quiet your thoughts. Tell me what helps you connect to God. Are you struggling to do this each day? Are you willing to make it a priority? How do you think your life might mend?

Oh, and, last question you might want to address…. if you want to help me feel a little less insane. Do YOU ever daydream about coffee?