The Best View

This morning we were afforded an unplanned day date that involved coffee, shopping small, and picking up pizza for lunch. This morning, that day date also included getting caught in the rain…just like we did on a Saturday eleven years ago.

We were young and although we hadn’t been dating long, we just knew we were meant to be together. Within six months of dating + two whirlwind moves to Pennsylvania, this single mama found herself marrying her knight in shining armor.

For nearly ten years, we loved so much. We laughed a lot. We welcomed three more babies, two houses, a few cars, a few brand new careers, and a timeshare into our lives.

It was like we were on a mountaintop.

…and then it was 2019.

2019 was the hardest year of our lives for many, many reasons. We were tested in so many ways – our faith, our marriage, my health.

It was very much Psalm 38 “in the pit” life. The mountain of things we had to climb through TOGETHER was steep and rough.

2019 was the hardest climb.

…and then it was 2020.

This morning while shopping a local boutique, I found a canvas that just spoke to me with such forcce. I knew it had to come home and find a place in our bedroom.

…because on this day, July 11, 2020, we celebrate eleven years of being married. And while I never want to climb that mountain again, I’m so glad we put God in the middle and climbed it together, Greg. Because it is so true.

The best views can only be seen after the hardest climb.

Happy 11th anniversary, Greg. I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always. xoxo


one-eight. 18. eighteen. Today, January 23, is my cousin Emily’s 18th birthday. She should be here, but she is not and our world is missing her.

My heart breaks for her parents (my cousins) and her siblings and her grandparents and all of our family. It has broken every day since we lost her on June 7, but oh does it hurt today.

I’d give so much to take you to Glen’s again with my girls!

No matter how many times I look back at the photos or watch videos of her singing, no matter how many times I remember saying goodbye at the funeral home, I just can’t fathom this is reality.

Today, on what is her 18th birthday, I refuse to forget her laugh, her songs, her eye rolls, her sass.

Today, I’m struggling with words so I went for a run and wore yellow – the color of the Suicide Prevention program which aims to “reduce stigma and help save lives”.

Today I want to remember the love she brought to our lives. Tonight we will be taking the kids to breakfast for dinner, wearing pajamas, in her memory. If you knew Emily or want to support her family, please consider doing the same. If we’re Facebook friends, please let me know and I’ll add you to a group where you can share photos and stories of the way you remembered her today. If you leave a comment on this post, I’ll be sure to share it with her family, too.

let’s break stigmas together

Today I am going to share another 2020 goal with you – a goal to raise funds for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention of Western PA. As part of my goal to run the 2020 Pittsburgh Half Marathon, I’m also running in memory of Emily (+ my Uncle Jim) with this team to raise funds to help fight their goal to reduce the suicide rate 20% by 2025.

If you are able, please consider donating to help provide funding for research, education, advocacy, and support for those affected by suicide. Click this link here: DONATE.

The Struggle: Finding Therapists

Portions of this post, “The Struggle: Finding Therapists” originally were featured on my family blog, ‘lil Burghers. Many of you are following my wellness journey here so I wanted to be sure to share with you as well.  To read the full original post, check out ‘lil Burghers

(TW: Suicide / Mental Health) 

Just Being Honest

Remember how 2019 is my year of courage. This one is really playing out as I eluded to when I told you that I was having some physical struggles back in June.  In that post, I also shared that there was a mental/emotional side to it, too.

At that point, I was personally struggling with the fact that I wasn’t able to exercise (due to my health) and I was turning to bad foods. It was a time where I was letting my physical issues pile onto me mentally. Also, my cousin Emily died by suicide at the beginning of June (we miss you and love you, baby girl).

But even more, at that time of that post, I had no clue how much more was coming my way that summer. What happened next hit me out of the blue but I’m still not ready to talk about it here. For now, know that I’m happy to say that the tides that were rising are starting to recede and I’m working on getting the help I need.


Needing help? That’s not what a strong person does, is it? To be honest, admitting help is needed is exactly what I didn’t want to do. It made me feel so weak and vulnerable, but this summer it became so clear that getting help was what was necessary.

So yes, you heard me right. I’ve been hiding that all is okay and it’s not really okay around here but I am working on that, we are working on that to be fair (it’s not just my battle).

Those of you close to me know that on June 7, 2019, my 17-year-old cousin Emily died by suicide. Emily’s struggle is not something unfamiliar to our family – my side and Greg’s – or to me. She was struggling with mental health, something I did not realize was so hard to get help for. Even though I majored in Psychology as an undergrad, I had no clue that there weren’t enough people in the profession able to fill all of the needs…until I found myself desperately needing it.

Getting Help/Finding a Therapist

Later in June, the need for a therapist for myself and Greg became a “this is something we should do because we know it is good” to a must do (unrelated to losing Emily, but all still so raw and real).

My world crashed greater than I thought it could (please respect that I’m going to keep details private for now – it is not for secrecy but for healing). With what I feel is really good insurance (and an out of pocket max met thanks to my health issues), we tried for ten weeks to get a counselor and finally last week were able to make it happen.

TEN weeks. Ten weeks is a lifetime when you feel like you’re walking on eggshells, when you feel alone and ugly, when you feel desperate for the pain to just go away. This part of my story is that ten week is far too freaking long for someone to get licensed help and it is no surprise to me that our mental health issues are climbing, suicide is far too familiar, and the divorce rate is so high.

But ten weeks is what it took us to find a therapist and even then actually going to my first appointment took all I had. This shakes me and breaks me and makes me so sad for my young cousin (who I know was trying to get help), her family, our extended family, myself, and our world as a whole. Mental health help should not be so hard to come by!

How Do I Find the Help I Need?

My original post on this topic has a resource to a company that can help, or you can do like we did and reach out to your Insurance, family counseling or Christian counseling in your area, or asks friends who’ve opened up for their suggestions. Bottom line, you need to find the therapist who is right for you. Finding therapists can be tough, but not impossible.

Crisis Resources

  • If you or someone you know is in an emergency, call 911 immediately.
  • If you are in crisis or are experiencing difficult or suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273 TALK (8255)
  • If you’re uncomfortable talking on the phone, you can also text NAMI to 741-741 to be connected to a free, trained crisis counselor on the Crisis Text Line.

Twinning with Mom

There is something I can’t help but love and that is when moms and daughters are twinning it up. I’m sure my three girls won’t always love to do this, but I think that we’re going to need to start collecting and sharing our twinning with mom moments. Let’s start today, shall we? (This post contains affiliate links. Any purchases made through these links are at no extra cost to you but they help keep this site running so thank you!)

Twinning with Mom

For real, there are so many adorable photos of moms and daughters who are super fashionable. With three daughters (two of which are twins), it is sure to happen. But for our family, I think every time it is on accident. That makes it even better, doesn’t it?

Really love having your daughter(s) be twinning with mom but don’t have any similar outfits? Then check out Amazon and Pinterest for inspiration! 

October 3, 2018 – Tropical Twinning

This one was a complete accident! I don’t think Greg saw what I wore to work but he matched my black skirt with gold pineapples pretty perfectly to the twins’ black shorts with gold palm trees. We don’t live at the beach but we don’t care, tropical twinning day can happen more often, right?

July 5, 2018 – Fast Pitch Twinning

Arianna’s softball team took the field one last time this summer in their playoff game. They ended up taking second but it was a great season. Cheering on my kiddos is one of my favorite things to do – especially when it means we get to twin!

May 5, 2018 – Running Family Twinning

This is the whole family, but it is too cute not to share, right? For so many reasons (especially yesterday’s post), I love this one. E.4.EVER.

Share #TwinningWithMom

This isn’t something this mom in a Pittsburgh suburb came up with, but I encourage you to share your twin moments using #TwinningWithMom on social media. Go ahead and tag my Instagram or Twitter (@mrsgregwillis on both) when you do and I’ll be sure to give you love.

As the girls and I twin more, we’ll share here and reshare this post. Let’s have fun with this, shall we?