Tuesday, December 4, 2012


It is so interesting to read through the book of Acts around the Christmas season.  As I read, I picture baby Jesus as the Jesus being talked about in Acts.  The risen Jesus of power, healing, and revival is all packed in a little pint-sized babe.  

It causes me to cherish my girls even more.  I think the enemy wants parenting to feel difficult at times.  Us to be paralyzed by fear of messing up, trapped in what others may think of us, making decisions out of fear instead of worrying less and seeing our children as the little powerhouses that they are.  Little carriers of the same powerful Holy Spirit that we carry... humble babes with snotty noses, dirty diapers, temper tantrums, so unafraid, authentic and real, blatant and truthful about everything they feel and think, in awe and wonder of so many things, easily accepting supernatural truth of the wonders and mysteries of God... quite comfortable with it all.

Imagine if we could all remain that way!

One-hundred percent untarnished, completely honest and pure in our perspective of the world... untethered by twisted thinking, people pleasing, fear of failure, insecurities.  Remaining 100% confident of just how beautifully and wonderfully we are made.  Wow.  What an amazing, powerful people we would be!

Is it possible?

We don't live in a vacuum.  We are exposed to hurt and pain, to false securities that the worlds says are worthy of our lives' devotion.  We hear words that bring us down and cause us to doubt our true identity.  All this is true.

But... I refuse to stop there...

I will cling to John 14:12-14.

I will claim that power for my family.  We are powerful... we have the ability to make positive changes in our world--to love unconditionally, to heal the sick and brokenhearted, to bring beauty and inspiration to our own corners of the world, to remind others that they ARE important, beautiful & worthy.

So, today I honor the children.  May we attempt to become like them.  They are powerful world changers right now... as they are.  Jesus, a very babe--divinity dwelling in a child.

Is it possible?  You bet it is.


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Two Days

Two days.  Saturday and Sunday.  Lots of life.  Time together and with others.  Here are some pictures that capture a bit of it all.  Thinking also of the moments not captured on film: the gift of a big "comfort" meal with new friends, chatting over coffee & tea after the girls are in bed... learning more about their lives.  Seeing salmon at the river.  Puzzles and books.  A bit of crocheting.  Sunday naps.  A movie with Maddie.  Feeling full and thankful.

i guess the leaves finally do change here.  it even smelled like fall... ahh.

walks and bike rides in the park.  exploring everything around us.

some "nature." we ended up taking lots of nature home.

harper at the park.  wanting to walk everywhere now!

maddie swinging. still amazed at how high she can go all by herself! oh, what 
happens in that summer after turning 5.

a fun new hair style.

game time with daddy.

painting pumpkins!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

33 Years In: A Declaration

Here I am.  Thirty-three years into this journey and loving it.

There is so much to be thankful for over the past year.  Thinking back to November 2011 when Brad first visited Bethel... so much has happened.  God, we are experiencing your powerful love in so many new ways.  I'm still trying to wrap my head around it all and praying for the truth of it all to sink deeply into my heart and affect my day-to-day life greatly.  I find myself learning to dwell on the past and my "fails" less and instead, repent and quickly turn my eyes to You.  With our eyes focused on you, Lord, we recognize that the atmosphere we walk in (the Holy Spirit living in us- carrying your presence) is always so much greater than any problems we face.  When my eyes slip from You and focus more on the problems of life, it can quickly become about me and what I (in my own strength) can or can't do, instead of what YOU empower ME to do with your strength.

So, on this, my thirty-third year, I am declaring that...
This year will be greater than the last.  This year will be a year of hope, thankfulness & joy.  When I have a rough day and find my eyes slipping from You, I will practice thankfulness.

When I feel a bit of hopelessness creeping in, I will stop and provide space to simply be with You, wallow in Your goodness and realign my identity to a place defined by Your great love for me, instead of my attempts to love You.

When I find myself taking life too seriously, I will ask for more joy and remind myself of the bigger picture... and probably put on some loud music & declare a family dance party too. :)

This year I will love recklessly and without fear.  I will speak truth over myself, my family and others in place of lies we may be believing.  I will step out in faith, knowing your love for others through me is so important and always worth it.  I will choose to see, remember & speak life instead of death.  I will recognize your abundant blessings and give to others from that abundant place.

I will not put you in a box, God.  I will ask You what you're dreaming about, listen, see how we fit into it and dream boldly with You.  I will recognize what unique gifts you've placed in Brad and our two beautiful girls and I will celebrate them with uninhibited joy.  I will give grace to others and be thankful for the graciousness in those around me.

I will let You love me abundantly and rest in it... because it is what You love to do.

Psalm 103:1-5

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Sweet, Sticky Moments

We were headed out for a few days, just the girls and I.  For MANY reasons and turns of events, I was beginning to wonder if we were truly supposed to be moving toward our destination.  Everything seemed to be working against us successfully making it there.  The "icing on the cake of bad karma" manifested itself in a spilled sugary smoothie in the front seat of the car.

I like a clean car and the mounting frustration I felt was NOT oozing away as I watched the bright yellow mango concoction seep between the front passenger seat and drip to the floor below.  I asked Maddie to stand to the side of the car, safe in the parking lot and out of my way as I furiously took to cleaning the seat with the last few baby wipes in our travel container.  The brief thought of having to make yet another stop for more wipes crossed my mind amidst my growing frustration and Harper's increasingly loud screams. 

My irritation was evidently felt by Maddie who had quietly edged closer to the car door in order to watch the cleaning unfold.  I stepped back with handfuls of smoothie and stepped right on her toes.  For the third time, I firmly walked her back to the spot I'd originally asked her to stay in.  She was quiet.  Getting back to cleaning, I noticed a look of consternation pass Maddie's face and realized that she was receiving the brunt of my frustration.  Although not willingly directed at her, I HAD asked her to get the smoothie out of the front seat so we could throw it away (because to top this all off, the mango smoothie was fiercely disgusting) so in the end, she was the one who had spilled it.  I was frustrated and she, understandably, interpreted the frustration as being directed toward her.

Once the situation was resolved- sticky smoothie cleaned up, Harper finally calm- I gently pulled Maddie toward me and apologized for being frustrated.  I explained that I wasn't frustrated at her, that it wasn't her fault.  Looking for someone or something to blame (because that's what we tend to do, right?), I quickly assured her it was my fault for asking her to get the smoothie-- indeed it was a tough task for a 5-year old. 

She laughed a bit.  "Mom," she said tentatively, "you know... it doesn't have to be anyone's fault.  It just happened."  Now we were both smiling, then laughing. 

"Girl, you are so right!" I said.  "It's not our fault... it's the nasty smoothie's fault!"

Maddie laughed, to appease me.  She then replied with her "old soul wisdom" that I love so much about her, "Mom, let's not call it nasty.  Those people worked really hard to make it, even though it doesn't taste good to us." 

At this point, tears were at the edge of my eyes as I hugged her, told her I loved her and thanked her for teaching me a super important lesson.

Sometimes things just happen.  It's not about figuring out "whose fault it was," seeking out justification.  It's about how we connect with others in the sticky moments of life and who we become as a result.

In the end, isn't that what it's ALL about... really?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Yet, Joy

Isn't it interesting how our circumstances dictate our mood?

Maybe it's not true of you... but it often is of me.  How was your day today?  Brad will ask when he gets home from work.  My response 95% of the time seems to be based on WHAT happened.

I accomplished so much of my "to do" list and the girls behaved exactly as I had wished, so my day was fabulous.  Or, Harper was fussier than normal, so my day was OK.  Maddie was a bit more sassy than normal, so it was rough.  A friend and I cried over a broken situation, so it was terrible.

Joy quickly sapped, I can become gloomy, inner-focused and downright icky to be around.  My day is defined by that... then, life.

I hold in HIGH regard, the ability to provide space for us to process through grief and hardship, questions and pain.

There are definitely days that are HAPPIER than others.

But what about joy?  Joy as opposed to happiness.

When I think of joy, I think of a deep limitless well bubbling up with a constant supply of fresh water.  It's available.   Deep.  Present and peaceful.  It's foundational.

And... I would say, more often than not, it's a choice.

In the midst of all life has to offer, do we truly have the ability to CHOOSE joy?  Dare I say, I think so.

What will I choose?  Will I choose to be brought down by circumstances or will I choose something else?  Something that can completely redefine my circumstances... even the not-so happy ones.

I don't know about you, but I want that deep, strong, peace-bringing and life-giving JOY.

I believe God celebrates (dances even perhaps) daily over us.  Over all of creation.  Over his world.  Does his heart break for hurt and pain?  Yes.

Yet, joy.

Joy that it is all coming to pass as it should.

Joy that people are healed and forgiveness is given.

Joy that new life is happening each day.

The joy that creation declares on a moment-by-moment basis.

Joy that comes straight from the bubbling source, our Father God.  Beautiful, loving, full of grace.

And living in us.  Available each day in raw Holy Spirit form.

I WANT THAT.  And more of it.  Farewell, feelings of defeat and disdain.  Hello, Holy Spirit, living in me, able to do far more than we ever think or imagine.
Yep.  I choose joy.

Sunday, March 18, 2012


This weekend I think of you.  I probably will for the rest of my life. 

Saint Patrick's Day will always be a reminder.  The week after Maddie's birthday.  Seven days after we celebrate the birth of our first born and are supposed to be out eating a traditional Irish meal and drinking green beer, I'll be quietly remembering.

Some years will be more painful than others.  This year is one of those years.  More so than last year.  Last year I was pregnant with Harper.  Anticipating and looking forward to her birth.  This year I'm not and I find myself a bit more nostalgic.  Sometimes a bit sad. 

I shed a few tears for you this weekend my love.  I sat in the still of the morning when the rest of the family was still sleeping and I closed my eyes and imagined.  You would be eighteen months old.  Beginning to talk more, walking everywhere and oh so curious about the world around you. 

This year, I realize more than ever that you could legitimately exist in our family unit.  Maddie, just turned 5.  You, 18 months and Harper, 7 months.  It would mean I would have been pregnant two short months after giving birth to you. Something that in the past I may have scoffed at and openly wondered how to handle.  But something that now, I'll hopefully never do.  Life is too precious.  No matter when it occurs.  It's such a sweet gift.

I wish we would have named you.  But, at the same time, I feel as if we can't.  I wish we knew whether you were a boy or a girl.  I wonder if your eyes would have been blue like both of your sisters'.  I wonder all these things and many more...

You help me to appreciate life.  Even when it's difficult.  Because life, no matter how messy or hard, is still life and that is such a gift.

I'm quite confident that someday I'll meet you.  That makes me happy.  Until then, on this weekend each year, I'll remember.  I'll stop.  I'll appreciate.  For this is the weekend we lost you... before we even met you.  And to some, that makes the loss easier, or less, but in so many ways, it makes me miss you even more.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


To Maddie~

Well, my darling baby girl... you are 5.

Gone are the days of babyhood and toddlerhood, in your own little world, you have arrived!  And, you're already anticipating 6. :)

You are so excited to be big and "grown up."  You can't wait to be old enough to go into the woods by yourself, drive a car, get married, have a baby (as long as no shots are involved).  You are independent, recently, easily embarrassed.  You love laughter, but want to be reassured that no one is laughing at your expense or anyone else's.  You love to play pretend!  Most of your sentences these days begin with, "You can be... and I can be..." (inserting any name of Barbies, princesses, fantastical creatures or woodland animals).  You are 5 and you love it.

You look forward to kindergarten and I must say, you seem so ready for it.  You use big words and when you're unsure of the context, you ask, learn, lock it in and use it correctly the next go 'round.  You are fiercely independent, yet still like having us around... to play with, read with & snuggle or rub your back.

Most days now I feel like we parent you well.  And on the days where we mess up and are still learning, please forgive us.  I am daily trying to embody and embrace your little worldview, as I feel God wants to continue to teach me much through you, my lovely.

You talk to Him on a regular basis now and often He talks back to you.  Sometimes you share what he tells you and it carries me for days.  Sometimes you don't and I smile because I love that too.

Most days I have no regrets, but when I do, I hope I haven't pushed you too hard or too far... you already at times seem to demand that of yourself.  I hope I have embraced your creative and bubbly, energetic, talkative self often and fully enough.

I hope (above all), you feel peace in your home, with us and that you know (beyond a shadow of a doubt) how deeply and unconditionally you are loved... just the way you are!

Happy Birthday my amazing lady.


{Waiting patiently for the party guests to arrive}