My week 3 assignment for my Illuminate course consists of two mini assignments rolled into one.  First we were challenged with taking steps, 100 steps to be exact.  We had to walk 100 steps and take a photo using what was available around us at that moment as our focus.  Second, we had to focus our writing on gratefulness.  I went on two different walks where every 100th step I took a photo.  Each walk I went on I combined the collective photos into a video.  So, 100 steps & gratefulness.

When you think about it, 100 steps really isn’t that much.  But there are times when even one step seems like way too much, so to accomplish one hundred is just out of reach and unthinkable.  I’ve been there before.  My husband and I have been together for over 16 years, married for 5 +.  Yes, that makes us high school sweethearts, and then some. We’ve had ups and downs in that time, but  what relationship doesn’t, especially after being together for so many years.  However, we have never hit as low of a point as we did this year when we had to say goodbye to Samantha.  The simplest of tasks became the hardest.  Sometimes, even the difficult steps were just a blur because you walk around so numb.  You move through life, while life around you moves on.  If it weren’t for my husband, I don’t think I would be as strong as I am.

I am grateful for my husband and the relationship we have.  It is a deep relationship, filled with:  love, communication, strength, encouragement, commitment, warmth, and arms to hold you.

Steps can lead you up, down, winding, straight, and even sometimes backwards.  Have I stumbled on my journey, yes I have.  But through it all, I have been learning from it all.  The steps of the path I am and taking currently, are steps I never thought I would take.  Who does?  For most…you grow up, get a job, get married, and decide to have a family.  No where in your thought and plan do you decide to become the parent of child who is in heaven.  Unfortunately, those are the cards I was dealt.  However, as unfortunate as it is, honestly I am able to remain very thankful and grateful.

I am grateful for the life I have.  I am grateful for the blessings I have received.  I am grateful for Samantha.  I may not have planed for this, but this is where I am.  I have learned a lot over the past year about life, probably more in that short of time then over the course of my life up to this point.  I have learned to slow down and take the moment in.  I have learned that not having a plan can be just as good as having a plan.  I am learning to do more of things I love to do instead of just thinking about doing them.

Steps can take you down familiar terrain or it can be like trying to cross a river where some steps are easy to make and some are sunken just below the water causing uneasyness.  When we take familiar steps, we easily fall into a rhythm and often a routine.  It isn’t until those steps take us out of comfort zone, sometimes way out of our comfort zone, that we begin to worry, are fearful, or begin to shut down.  There are times when going out of our comfort zone is good for us.  But it is easier to take it all in when it is our choice to move out of the comfort zone.  When we are tossed out of comfort zone by no choice of our own, that is when it sometimes gets tough.  It is important to have family and friends.


Family is important to me and always has been.  However, now the importance of family is even more valuable than ever before.  Beyond my husband, my family has been another major support in my life.  I am grateful for the prayers, support, conversations, love, and everything else that come with being a family.

I am grateful for the few close friends I have.  Friends that will join me in having a cup of coffee and good converstation.  Friends who are there and supportive, and genuine.

Steps can be easy or they can be hard.  When you have the things you are most grateful in life for surrounding you, the hard steps become a little easier.  Those hard steps sometimes create the opportunity for us to forget the simple things in life, the things we are grateful for.  I encourage you to slow down and take a step.  If you can, take another and then another.  Break down the big things in life, into smaller steps.  Instead of taking 100 steps, try 50, or even 20.  And if that first step is too hard to take on your own, I encourage you to take the hand of someone who can take that step with you.  Whether it is a spouse, a friend, a family member, or God reach your hand out and say “please go with me, help me take this step”.



Liz Lauterbach

Wife, Mom, Photographer, and Writer walking the path of healing by sharing my story.
  • Holly

    Yeah, 100 steps wasn’t as much as I thought it would be! But my legs aren’t that long either! lol

    I loved you wrote about steps. I know I would much rather take steps in my comfort zone but stepping out has also led to some of the most wonderful moments of my life.

    • Anonymous

      Thank you Holly! I too have had steps outside my comfort zone that have been good and it seems like sometimes I get myself so hyped up before hand, and then in the end it wasn’t all bad. I have learned recently to try to find, sometimes dig, out the good in those moments that don’t go well.

  • LauraBeck12

    You had so many great shots this week!
    I really liked the one of the empty bench seat… to me I felt like it would have been a lovely thanksgiving photo of someone that you love sitting there. and the empty space of it reminded me of all the empty chairs at my dinner table.
    Powerful photo.
    I hope you had a nice Thanksgiving, Liz!

    • Anonymous

      Thank you Laura! I think had that bench been in my folks yard I probably would have sat there for a moment. I understand your perspective on the many meanings.

      Thanksgiving was good! Hope you enjoyed your’s as well!

  • Kristie Weichel

    Liz, your videos were so creative! I love the mood the slideshow and music created for your photos, they were so beautiful. I think what you wrote about your 100 steps was such a cool take on the assignment. I found it pretty difficult to be creative with my photos this week and you had so many awesome ones! Thanks for sharing!

    • Anonymous

      Thank you Kristie! I do have to credit my husband on the video idea. For his blog/site he has taken photos from a certain thing we’ve done and put them to music to make several videos.

  • Kurly21j

    I really like how you put your photos into a video, great idea!! I love you last paragraph about steps being hard or easy and that it is easier when you have the things you are most grateful for around you. And if it’s hard to do, take the hand of someone to help you. So true!!!

    • Anonymous

      Thank you! Asking for help, I think, has proven to be more a difficult task when it comes to the loss side of things for me. But, deep down I know it is okay to do and helpful, just have to find the courage to do so

  • Beryl Ayn Young

    We have an Illumiante first this week with your videos and I absolutely ADORE them and your creativity. You are right, the 100 steps are not a lot and to be able to take them over and over and snap your journey. It reminds me of the baby steps we take to re-discovering ourselves after loss. I love the photo of the two angels in the yard. Reminded me of our babies hopefully finding one another in heaven and comforting each other. xo.

    • Liz Lauterbach

      Thanks Beryl! I had too many photos to choose from, so my husband said “make a video”. I love your perspective on the angels. Maybe they are all playing ring around the rosie or something fun like that.

  • Melissa

    I absolutely love your last paragraph about steps…beautifully written!

    • Liz Lauterbach

      Thank you Melissa! All too often I have been dragging my feet instead of just reaching out my hand for what I need. I have learned to overcome this in the past few months. Thank you!

  • Jamie moore

    It isn’t until those steps take us out of comfort zone, sometimes way out of our comfort zone, that we begin to worry, are fearful, or begin to shut down.

    I totally shut down, so very true.

    I loved your video!

    • Liz Lauterbach

      Thank you Jamie! I agree. I think I have hit all of those at one point or another this journey. And I believe just recently hit a minor shut down mode. I was decorating the house for Christmas and just became overwhelmed. Thank you!

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