writing a memoir.

So it turns out that writing this book is not as easy as I thought.  I want the book to be good, so I’ve been doing a lot of research about how to write a memoir.  In the first few weeks after I decided to press on with writing it, I made efforts to remember all the things that have happened since Ian got sick.  Wow- do I have a lot of material!!!  I even started to ask close friends about dates and events, hoping that I could get my story straight.  However, the more I read about writing a memoir, which is what I’ve chosen to write, I’ve learned that it should be written from my own memories…  Things that only I experienced and remember.  This takes some of the pressure of getting every single detail in the story off my shoulders.  And for me, it makes it even more fun because I get to share things that I otherwise might not get to share.

I’ve been to the bookstore a lot, and my four books on writing memoir are proof of that.  I’ve found at least ten blogs with helpful information about memoir, too.  I feel like there is so much to learn and I can’t find enough hours in the day to read and soak it all in.  Sooooooo, I’ve concluded that this is going to take longer than I thought, too.  In one of the books I’m reading the author shares a story about two people at a dinner party.  One is a doctor and one is a writer.  When the doctor figures out that the other person is a writer he says, “Oh I’ve always wanted to write a book.  Maybe I’ll take six months off and write a book.”  The author goes on to describe how most people assume that writing is easy and don’t understand its complexity.  They would get a taste of it if they actually tried.

In the last month I’ve been blessed by compliments from people about my writing.  One person asked me to write a letter of recommendation since I am a “writer.” WOW!  She thinks I’m a writer, I thought to myself.  Another gentleman came up to me at church and asked me to keep writing.  He said that I have a unique perspective and likes hearing it.  Even my BFF told me she thought my writing was good.  Still, I’m not ready to call myself a “writer” yet.  I think that implies that you have to be good at it, and that you have to know what you’re doing.  I’m working on both.

I must share why I decided to write this memoir.  I’ve always thought that it would be a good idea to write for my kids, especially for my boys, who were too little to understand what was going on at the time.  I feel like I owe it to them to write about what happened to their daddy so that they can share it with their own kids someday, too.  After all, this story is part of their testimony now, too.  However, in addition to that, one morning while I was sitting in church something stood out to me.  God has called us to reach all the nations and share Him with the world.  He has not called us to be quiet about what He has done for us.  As I heard that, my heart felt like it was going to leap out of my chest and I felt tingly all over.  What was my role in that?  What could I do to reach the nations?  It was then that I felt like God was telling me that writing this story would be my (Denisse Warshak’s) way of sharing Him with the world.  By telling everyone about what He has done for my family, I would be showing His love, His grace, and giving an example of the salvation that can only come from Him.  So here I am now.  I’m learning all I can so that I can do a good job of sharing one of His stories with the world…  And I am really enjoying it!

Please feel free to share any (and I mean any) information or insight you may have with me.  This whole writing thing is very new to me and I’m sure there is a lot I can learn.  I am an extremely willing student.  🙂

What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear whispered in your ear, proclaim upon the housetops.  Matthew 10:27 NASB



Today was a beautiful day. One of my wildest dreams came true. Today, one year after having his legs amputated, Ian went to the beach!!! And he didn’t only walk along the sand, he got right in the water, fake legs and all!

I remember thinking that we would probably not go to the beach anymore after Ian had his legs amputated. If it meant that he would have to scoot around on his knees, that wouldn’t be much fun for him so we just wouldn’t do it anymore. I LOVE the beach, so it was a sad realization, but in the big scheme of life, not a big deal. I’ve always thought that his prosthetic legs should not get wet. I also know that sand and salt water are not good for the metal and other parts they are made of. Such a bummer! But… who cares if we can’t go to the beach? My kids have a daddy, right?? Right!

A couple of weeks ago, we clarified with our prosthetist and he said that Ian could get his legs wet! I couldn’t believe it! He said, “Sure, you can go to the beach. They will be ok. Just rinse them off really well with fresh water each time.” Woo hoo! It didn’t take me long to start looking into a little beach trip. Ian’s good buddy and his wife own a beach house, and they have been so gracious to let our family and close friends stay for a few days. Just two days ago Ian went in to see his prosthetist to have the screws in his legs replaced with stainless steel screws so that they won’t rust. They also drilled holes in his fake rubber feet so that water can drain out of them. I bought him some water shoes and we were ready to go!

And now here we are… The anniversary of the day that he had his legs amputated. I told him today that I thought that day last year was the worst day of his life, but he disagreed. Then I reminded him of the agony he was in and all the pain that he felt following the surgery and agreed just a little. 🙂

We spent the morning out on the beach watching our kids play in the sand and waves. Ian and I took the kids as far as they would go before they were too scared. We sat in the sand and played for hours. It was soooo nice! I couldn’t believe we were at the beach, standing in the water, together. After lunch and naps we went out on a boat ride for dolphin watching. It was really fun and we actually got to see dolphins! We ended the day with dinner at a seafood restaurant. We were able to sit outside and enjoy the breeze while eating delicious fish and shrimp. Overall, a wonderful day!

God has an interesting way of working. I never pretend to understand it, I just accept it. I accept His will and trust it completely. Isn’t it amazing that He gave us such a wonderful gift today?? He provided us an opportunity to marvel at the beauty He created. He gifted us with memories with our children and friends that will last forever. He reminded us that He is able to restore all things and make them new. Today on a day that reminds us of something painful in our lives, we choose to be grateful for life. He has restored us. He has brought us joy that can only come from Him. What a beautiful day!!!!


For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. Romans 8:18


You have allowed me to suffer much hardship, but you will restore me to life again and lift me up from the depths of the earth. Psalm 71:20

fingers gone one year ago.

One year ago today, Ian had his fingers amputated. He had developed an infection in his left wrist joint and had to have surgery for that, so Dr Pederson decided to go ahead with the amputations in the same surgery.

I remember being discouraged when Pederson came to the waiting room when he was through. Everything had gone well. “I had to get to the good tissue.. It was just mush in there… We had to cut off more than we thought.” My heart sank in my stomach. I knew I’d have to tell Ian when he woke up. He would be disappointed that his fingers would be shorter than we had hoped for.

In perfect Ian fashion, he was not discouraged. “They were no good,” he said. “I couldn’t use them anyway.” He was the one having to encourage me. The surgery was early Friday morning and his hands were bandaged until Sunday evening when the resident dr came.

We had waited so long for the big reveal. After what seemed like forever, the last bits of gauze were removed. His hands were swollen. There were many stitches. The hands were not pretty. His left hand was a puffy paddle with a tiny pinkie. I was disappointed when I saw his right hand. Before the surgery we thought his fingers would be to the length of his first knuckle. The big reveal showed that they were only halfway there. Bummer.

I always try to keep it together for Ian. Even though I was disappointed, I looked at the bright side. “God knew. Ian, God knew that this is what you would be left with. This is not a surprise to Him. You’ll get used to them and be great.”

Here we are one year later and Ian IS great. He surprises me everyday with the things he is able to do. I don’t need to help him much at all, and instead, HE helps ME with house chores and the kids more now. I’m so grateful! God is good!

making memories.

June was a good month.  I blinked and there it went.  Poof!  It was such a blessing to be able to enjoy time with my children this last month! We played games, read books, and laughed a lot.  We watched movies, dug in the dirt, and had picnic lunches. We practiced writing and blew bubbles.  We even stayed up past our bedtime!!  🙂

While I’m surprised that a month of our summer is over, I am anxious for even more time with my precious babies.  We have some fun things planned and I’m certain that they are going to have a blast!  First on the agenda: beach.  When I asked Emma what she wanted to do this summer she said, “Go to the beach!”   We have been blessed by Ian’s friend and his wife who gifted us a few nights in Port A!  Woo hoo!  Isn’t it cool how God keeps providing for us??  We are so grateful!  The kids will have a blast building in the sand and fishing. (Hopefully fishing will go well… We will be learning as we go. Tips welcome.)  It will be our first time to go to the beach since Ian lost his legs last summer.  How wonderful that one year later we will be having fun at the beach!

Next we will be going to Houston and Dallas to see family and friends.  I’m excited to finally get to hug some special people that have prayed so much for our family this last year.  No definite plans on activities yet.  My mind is full of ideas on things to do at both of these cities.  Luckily they are both close enough to drive to, and our fun shouldn’t cost much.  Anyone know anything about Great Wolf Lodge?  I’m thinking about going there for a night…  We will see.

Between the bigger trips we are also trying to squeeze in some specific activities the kids requested…  Among them are bowling, seeing a movie, the zoo, and going to Peter Piper Pizza.  I think I might have to finally get us a Sea World pass too.  Jack keeps asking to go to a water park and see some sea animals.  Just thinking about all these things to do makes me want to take a nap!

If you have children or grandchildren, I urge you to go out and have some fun with them this summer.  There is nothing better than seeing a child smile!  Life is so short and precious.  I’ve always chosen experiences and activities in life over “things.”  The memories that you make with your kids last a lifetime.  The activities that you decide to do can be as simple as going to the park or baking cookies together.  Spending time together shows kids that they are loved and makes them feel important.  So go ahead and have some fun!