December 8, 2011

The Only Thing That Will Remain.

The other day I was transferring all of the pictures from my phone to my computer, and, let's just say it had been awhile, and there were almost 2000 images dangling on the edge of existence by nothing but the thread of an iPhone memory card- including most of truman's newborn photos and the first moments of his life- when all of a sudden it hit me.

My life was literally flashing before my eyes.

The images were careening across the screen in quick succession and they were all jumbled up, in no particular order, and instantly the world around me blanked out and the images were all that I could see, only they were those moments as I remembered them in full color and sound and touch and I realized... this is it! This is what life on earth stacks up to- this quick vapor, this fading grass, this moment's breath of time that we have on this planet and then we are... gone! And these images were pounding up on the screen relentless but each one of them was a throbbing of the heart inside my chest and before I could catch my breath there were tears smudging all the photos together and splashing down hard on the desk.

I was not sad. I did not feel regret or pangs over lost time.

The tears were skirting the edges of an awe-struck smile.

It was so... beautiful.

There were little boys in batman costumes and goofy first grins and the 95 foot ceiling of a train station in Kansas City that could pull a song right out of your lungs just from the sight of it. There were pictures of outfits and rainbows and teakettles... Warm cookies and water towers... sunrises and sunsets. There were pictures of the man I love, laughing, and of our little chalkboard in the kitchen with Ezra's heart-rending reminder that "God is GRATE!"

Life is short and what will we leave behind? We can take nothing with us when our time here is up. No money, no trophies, no spouses or children or friends. Just ourselves, alone, and the things we've personally stored up in heaven... the love we've poured out on the needy and hurting and lost without any thought of selfish gain.

We can take nothing, but that does not mean that we will not leave something. The things we do and the choices we make on this earth will affect generations.

This is a reality that I feel like our culture doesn't seem to acknowledge these days. We make choices for our pleasure without thought of choosing the harder way of character... character that will shape our children and shape the entire world long after we're gone.

As the images flashed, I was moved. I want to leave behind a legacy of character and faith and children who stand for what's right. I want to savor the beauty in the small moments and live a life of thanksgiving and praise. I want to smile more and laugh with my head thrown back... I want my children to remember me as a happy woman who knew her God.

I am so grateful that God used this transferring of pictures to remind me of what has real value. I am thankful that I got to see my life flash before my eyes NOW, rather than when it was too late to do anything about it.

I am choosing to pour myself out rather than fill myself up. I am choosing to dance with my son by the Christmas tree rather than stress about the dishes in the sink. I am choosing to live HAPPY in my moments- leaving behind love and storing up love- because I see now that love is the only thing that will remain when all else is shaken and stripped away.

November 30, 2011


It has been a longer absence than i anticipated, yes.

The days have been so full and what they say is true... when you start really paying attention to the little moments in front of you, life explodes with rich meaning and other things lose their flavor in comparison.

The Internet has seemed a bit like a dry rice cake sitting here after I've stuffed myself with a savory Thanksgiving feast and spent more time in prayer and reading and journaling. I've had a harder time than anticipated picking it back up again, and for that I apologize.

This Thanksgiving was the most meaningful season of thanks I have ever experienced. This journey of hunting down things to be thankful for had me ripe and primed for the season and the number one thing that I was thankful for this year was for my new heart of gratitude (still in training) that is causing me to love life and enjoy laundry and find daily happiness again.

Christmas lights are appearing now, and my boys are in heaven. Everywhere we go, their little eyes are scouting for the strands of gold and green and red hung with such care on houses that we would otherwise pass by in the dark, unknown.

Truman's eyes absorb the shimmer and reflect back complete wonder and awe, and this alone could make me wish it was christmas time all year long and forever.

He makes everything new and soft and lovely.

My sweet sister-in-law, Candace, was here for Thanksgiving, and the time spent cozied up on the couch, all of us buried under piles of blankets, talking deep and real and true over hot cups of tea, is one of my new favorite memories. She has a heart of gold that rings clear when you sound it. We love her infinitely.

The air is getting cold and the skies are sharpening. I find myself desperately hoping to find blankets of white outside my windows when I wake. Snow makes me feel warm inside, and I long for its sound-absorbing hush all year long.

We decorated the tree on a Sunday night. Sunday nights have recently become our "no electricity" nights (excepting for Christmas lights, OF COURSE!) and we spend them as a family over board games or books. The boys have flashlights and we light candles and the ever-pressing noise of the outside world is silenced as we fumble around in the dark.

It has been incredible.

This family of mine is worth all of the strugglings with identity and laying down of self that I have wrestled through these past eight years and it will still be worth it all, no matter what arises, in the years to come. I look around this filled-up-to-the-brim little house most days and just shake my head in amazement. What a gift this season of life has been. What a long, and often times confusing, journey that has led me straight into such clarity and purpose!

God truly is the author of all history, in advance. He has guided each of my faltering steps directly to this place, and I can feel Him calling me on again. I will follow, no matter what or where, with even more confidence than before, because I see now that He is always & forever good, and His purposes will never be, CAN never be shaken apart.

November 3, 2011


Yesterday was one of those days that seeps down in to the bone level and aches. The nights have been rough with little Tru, and Myer is in this phase where I swear he is trying to make me want to send him away to baby boot camp until he's at least 4. These days of counting gratitude have been life-transforming, but there are still those days, you know? Where everything your eyes rest upon make you grumble instead of sing and you somehow feel that God owes you a home that stays clean and children who play quietly for hours and never whine or need you for anything. UGH, just saying that makes me feel like a total doofwad. Living as if GOD owed ME something! It's a miracle I haven't become a lightning rod by now. haha.

Even in the midst of days like yesterday, though, I feel an underlying foundation that wasn't there before. Maybe I should say the beginnings of a foundation. All these days of counting thanks have begun to build a trust in the goodness of God that definitely was not there before. As I'm learning to live aware of God's gifts of grace in each and every moment, in each and every breath, I am realizing something... I am realizing that, oh heck! God really is GOOD! Look at how the light bars from the window are waving on the shower curtain and how the fast moving clouds cause it to pulse and strobe! I am captivated and in awe and I lay another pebble down on the foundation of believing God loves me and only has good intentions towards me. How have I lived for so long blind to my moments? And all the goodness stuffed down full inside each and every single one?

I may have stumbled back into discontentment yesterday, but even in that there is a gift. A reminder of how very much I don't want to fall back into living that way. As I said, the day pulled heavy on my bones and made me feel old and thin. Who wants to walk in that day after day? Not me. Not any more. I've tasted and seen.

Today is already proving to be much better. My husband, seeing the weariness in my eyes, let me sleep in this morning... until ELEVEN O'CLOCK. He had the boys to school and the house tidied up and the baby napping by the time I pulled myself out of bed. You know how the Bible talks about loving those who grumble against you and it being like hot coals heaped upon their heads? Is my hair on fire? After such a hard and grumble-filled day yesterday, God's grace is heaped upon me afresh through the loving servitude of the husband that THAT HE GAVE ME.

Forget the pebbles... I'm laying down a whole SLAB on the foundation today.

Life has never been so steadied, and I have never felt so loved.

November 1, 2011

eight years.

#330 on my list of 1000 thanks-
A family that will chase the sunrise with me.

There are so many things happening below the surface over here, and our minds are running at break-neck speeds trying to chase all the pieces so we can eventually, hopefully, make sense of the puzzle.

For now, all we know is that God is speaking. Con uno megaphono. He has something big on the horizon, but for now it looms off just out of reach, a shadow outlined against the sky.

#357. bumblebee & obi wan.

I have never known God to be so near. I have never known God to be so real. I have never known God to be so... intimately intertwined in my everyday story. I wake up excited these days, hope surging through my veins and humming out through my vocal chords as I sing "You are good, you are good, when there's nothing good in me!"

I am reveling in my weaknesses for the FIRST time in my life, because in those moments, when I allow Him to, He is proving Himself strong and faithful. O, Dichotomy of God! When I am most frail, it is then that I am something He can rebuild city walls with! When my need is greatest and everything in me feels dark like ink, it is then that the grace of Him burns so bright I can hardly look!

Today Chris and I are celebrating eight years of marriage. We went out to dinner on Friday for an early anniversary date and felt the favor and happiness of God on us the whole time. The hostess led us straight to the best table in the restaurant... a booth seat overlooking the lake and the lighthouse and the most beautiful sunset I have seen in ages. Afterwards, at coffee, the barista winked and gave us our drinks for free and we sat at a table-for-two and giggled like teenagers in love. Best anniversary gifts EVER.

#350. eight years of joy.

#351. anniversary skies.

I am so honored to have this man lead me through this life. He makes adventures feel God-grounded and the mundane feel like the most important and holy of tasks. He sincerely thanks me for washing dishes, caring for boys, cooking (bad) food, and vacuuming carpets. He honors me with his words (even when I'm not around!) and he is quick to serve me, making me feel like I'm the only woman in the room, always.

What more could a girl ask for??

I could fill 1000 thanks with his love alone...

...and have a hundred more of his babies. hahhaha.


October 26, 2011

Sibling Portraits, Oil on Wood.

I have two amazing older brothers.

My oldest brother, Jared, is a man of intellect and integrity. He recently applied to medical school after many years of working as a civil engineer. This courage of his speaks loudly to me... makes me remember that our days on this earth are short, and why not live them bold?

My middle brother, Jaxon, is a man of generosity and passion. He does things with paint that don't seem humanly possible. His humility and kindness towards everyone, no matter their stature in this world, make me want to be a better person.

I love these two men dearly. Recently, my mom commissioned Jaxon to paint us three siblings so she could hang the portraits in her home. They are oil on wood, and stunning...

If you or anyone you know ever want a portrait done, I KNOW A GUY.

October 7, 2011

Feasting on Crow.

It was there when I woke up this morning, this contemptuous weight lodged in my chest that had me angry even before my feet had time to hit the floor.

Watch out, everyone. Mama's awake.

Ezra bore the brunt of it. He was whiny and snively and I had not an ounce of patience to my name. I was snapping angry and stomping before the sun even had a chance to peek over the neighbor's rooftop.

My husband tried to infuse some peace into the battlefield, but when Ezra left for school I was still fuming- cleaning random objects and sighing until there was almost no oxygen left in the house for anyone else to breathe. My day was already looking quite bleak and dreary- Myer started to whine and my eyes searched hungry for the clock.

It was only 8:00 in the morning.

I felt the mother-guilt creep in like a blanket of fog.

A painful hour and a half later, I was standing in a room at my church with a large group of women- mothers, all. The fact that so many of us had made it, had stumbled through the doors with small children hanging off of every limb, in spite of nap times and potty breaks and accidents and twisted car seat straps and dropped pacifiers, was in and of itself a miracle.

We sang. "Tune my heart to sing thy grace." The mother-guilt tried to sing louder. Why had I been so angry at my six-year-old child this morning? Why had I woken up and felt that someone needed to pay?

A woman from my church spoke about knowing your child's specific strengths and weaknesses, and how we need to be building our children up rather than tearing them down with our words.

The mother-guilt was screaming. It was so loud in my ears, I was sure the whole room could hear it.

By the time the morning was over, there were only two options for me:

1. go home and limp through the rest of my day, hoping it would all blow over and be forgotten by 5:00 so we could eat dinner and get the kids to bed and hope for a better outcome of tomorrow... or

2. go eat crow. Meaning- stop by Ezra's school on the way home, unload the two littlest boys, make my way to the school office and then to Ezra's classroom, pull him out into the hallway, get down on my knees so I could see straight into his deep clear green eyes, and tell the boy I was sorry for being a grumpy jerk to him earlier.

I debated with myself the whole way home. Myer needed to eat, Truman needed to nap. I needed to clean bathrooms during the ONLY spare moment I would have that day- and that moment would only happen IF I could manage to get Truman and Myer to nap at the same time. My whole day was at stake! My to-do list was at stake! My dirty toilets were at stake!

It was obvious what needed to be done. I made up my mind, turned into the school, and prayed that God would give me the right words to say to my child. With every step I took toward my son's classroom, I felt chunks of burden sloughing off of me to the floor.

By the time I found the sweet boy, I was beaming.

I dropped down to his level- in front of the whole cafeteria full of kids and teachers- feeling a million eyes on my face, and I ate crow. I feasted on crow. I asked him to forgive me and apologized for my poor attitude. I told him I was proud of him and I watched gratefully as his face broke into that big goofy grin and he hugged my neck and told me he forgave me, absolutely.

As I loaded the little boys back into the car in the parking lot, I was a new woman.

Feeling forgiven has a way of doing that to a person, yes? Making them feel new, I mean.

And when we got home? No one napped. Myer hardly ate. It took me all afternoon to clean the bathrooms because I had to keep both my eyes on the boys. And we all ate hot dogs for dinner.

HOT DOGS! The horror!!!

But you know what? It was a GREAT day. Not because it was squeaky-clean and well executed... oh no no no. It was a hot mess of chaos, mostly. But my heart sang free in the midst of the tumult and I found myself truly grateful for fresh starts (always only one decision away!) and quick, toothy-grinned forgiveness.

I had no idea crow could taste so good.

October 2, 2011

For You are Good.

The older boys are out back and I've got the door flung open wide. The baby naps and I can hear their mini shovels sounding against the hard dirt in the backyard. It was a long, hot, dry Summer. The very earth seems to cry out sharp when you try to break it up, let it breathe.

The breeze synchronizes their blond hair and matching Superman capes and a dog barks distant. I breathe deep and close my eyes.

We skipped church this morning because of Ezra's cough that has turned his voice into gravel, but even in this I am thankful. This morning as the sun grew warm we all worked in the front yard together, pruning the bushes and raking up leaves and sweeping the walk. As Ezra clipped at the dense leaves, bringing shape back to the hedge, we talked about how letting go of things can be hard- painful lopping off- but it always allows room for new growth. Stronger growth. Greener growth.

As I scooped up the clippings and pressed them down into the bucket, I got lost in the wonder. Again, the kingdom stands on its head and logic can't grasp it. Chop in order to grow. Clip back in order to spring forth. I find awe in my front yard.


The peace of this moment shatters. It never lasts, it never sticks. Dirt flies through the air. Myer growls angry. Shovel now flies through the air. Ezra yelps pain. I storm out heavy onto the deck, scoop up the dirt covered two-year-old and hiss in his ear that it is never okay to throw shovels. His dirt clings to me as I strip him down to bring him inside. He kicks at me, screams, yells "Go way!" in my face.

Now baby screams, awoken much too early by his older brothers, for the second time today.

I burn hot.


This is par for the course these days... me limping along upon moments of high and low. The highs are the highest they've ever been, the lows come more quickly than ever before. How am I, ragged mother, to stand straight and tall before God in the throes of these days? I can almost see the word 'Pharisee' scrawled upon a banner above my head. One moment I am praising Him for his gifts, this day, these boys, this house, this job! The very next I am cursing- literally cursing- under my breath and throwing barbed words around hoping they will stick somewhere, to someone, and relieve the pressure in my chest.


Chris comes home from a long morning of playing music at two back-to-back church services. I feel the desire to lash out at him... somehow stick the morning I've had to his shirt and walk away from it. It's touch and go for a moment, he softens me with his eyes.

We talk of the big things coming up on the horizon. My heart starts to beat life again. I wash dishes in the soapy sink and I sing as loud as the napping children's closed doors will allow.

"Oh Lord, my rock,
my strength in weakness...
come rescue me,
Oh Lord..."

As I move my sponge in circles over the caked-on cinnamon roll frosting, I smile because I somehow sang joy into this mess of a day and the floor in front of my kitchen sink is suddenly holy ground. I feel God's pleasure rise up all around me and I see in my mind a picture of a little blonde tossled-haired girl sitting on her trampoline in the dusk staring up at the mountains that seem to spring up from the edge of her backyard and it's me! And He's there! I knew it then and I know it now and I feel Him say, bold:

"I am so proud of the woman you have become."

My tears mix with the dish water and I sing it back soft:

"You are my hope,
and Your promise never fails me.
For you are good,
for you are good,
for you are good
to me."


September 30, 2011

Fall Fashion Week - Friday!

It is the last day of Fall fashion week! (tragedy of tragedies!!) You WILL join me for a Spring or Summer week in the not-so-distant future, won't you?

Today I am posting my day & night looks. Same shirt, two different ways to style it.

I pinned my hair up today. I love having this length of hair because I can wear it short or pin it up and wear it "fake long". haha. I am in the middle of growing it out, though, so hopefully I won't have to fake it for too much longer. My hair grows at the rate of approximately one quarter inch per eternity.

day look:

top- Harold's, thrifted
trench- Forever21
necklace- Forever21
bracelet- vintage thrifted
skirt- Target maxi dress
gold medallion ballet flats- thrifted

night look:

jacket- thrifted
belt- vintage thrifted
skirt- vintage thrifted
heels- thrifted

Once again, you all are spectacular, spectacular!! Thank you so much for making this week a huge success!

I will be drawing a name for the winner of the $45 ModCloth giftcard on MONDAY, so stay tuned!!

Oh, I hope it is you! ;)

September 29, 2011

Fall Fashion Week - Thursday!

** I am very sorry that the linkytools site I have been using for our link-up has been so troublesome! Some of you have had issues linking and other times the whole thing disappears. I will try to find a more reliable service for our next fashion week! Thanks for your patience. xoxoxo **


Today was a busy day! One of the first things I had to accomplish was returning the *very* late books to the library with two boys in tow. I had to pay $19.20 in fines! hahahahaha.

oh, me.

I kept things simple since I knew I would be lugging 2-3 squirmy boys around town all day.

Headband- Gift from friend
Ears- my favorite thing about my head. (I have a thing for ears. I think girls with big ears are GORGEOUS!)
Sweater- thrifted
Backpack- vintage, thrifted
Shorts- F21
Holey Shoes- Grasshoppers by KEDS, thrifted (and missing a shoelace.)

I loved reading your stories about complimenting people yesterday. After reading some of your posts, I just wanted to run out my front door and start complementing everything that moved! haha. I actually followed a SUUUUPER cute pregnant girl around Target for a little while until I could catch up to her and tell her how beautiful she was.

Mayhaps I am being a bit too zealous with my challenge?

Mayhaps MY BUTT. This is fun!


Tomorrow is our last day!! (Pretend I am not weeping.) I have been having an insane amount of fun doing this with all you ladies this week. Again, thank you so much for being such QUALITY human beings. I adore you all.

September 28, 2011

Fall Fashion Week - Wednesday!

I woke up this morning feeling like a gypsy at heart- a nomad girl hungry for movement- so I dressed the part.

Headpiece- altered fascinator from Ross
Dress- willow & clay from 1/2 of 1/2 Name Brand Clothing
Cardigan- thrifted
Flipflops- Target

My results for the challenge from yesterday: While out & about I saw a woman with her brand new baby. We chatted for a bit about her little guy and then I told her that she looked really amazing and that I could just see the love she had for her baby all over her face, that she was glowing! She seemed really touched by the compliment and I was reminded that beauty really has nothing to do with the clothes we wear or the condition our bodies are in. This woman was giddy and in love and proud of her new son and she just beamed joy! I honestly don't even remember what she was wearing... her beauty came from a deeper place.

Did any of you get a chance to step out of your comfort zones and compliment someone yesterday? Tell us about it if you did! :)

There are only two days left! Join in if you haven't already, you won't regret it! :)

September 27, 2011

Fall Fashion Week - Tuesday!

This morning the weather was wonderful, so after Ezra went off to school me and the two littles tumbled out into the backyard and got lost for hours in our own ways.

I read and sipped coffee while Myer played in the dirt and buried cars. Truman napped like a champ and the crisp breeze called for a blanket to cocoon myself up in.

Why do I start my mornings in any other way? And why do I constantly forget that beauty can be found ANYWHERE... even in a tiny backyard in the middle of oklahoma?

I'm learning to see with new eyes.

Anywho, this is what I wore the rest of the day:

Hat- thrifted
Top- vintage nordstroms thrifted
Necklace- gift from friend
Shorts- thrifted
Belt- thrifted
Backpack- thrifted
Knee-highs- TJ Maxx
Shoes- Report from Ross

This week so far has been so so great, thanks to you all.

Here's a challenge for you... now that we're in the groove of complimenting one another and brightening each other's days... try applying it to the people around you too! Step out and compliment someone (or multiple people!) that you come in contact with during your day today, and then tell us about your experience in your next outfit post!

Truman is excited about this challenge, can you tell? haha.

September 26, 2011

Fall Fashion Week - Monday!

The last couple of days have been a whirlwind of fun activity for my husband's 30th birthday and my Mother-in-Law's birthday, which is only 3 days after his!

(and by "whirlwind of activity", I pretty much mean I have eaten enough brownies and cupcakes to kill a small horse.)

I wore this outfit during the madness so I could chase three little boys and bake cupcakes and try to keep the house somewhat nice during all the commotion.

Lovely chaos!

jacket- Forever21
Camisole- gift from my mama
Owl necklace- vintage thrifted
Belt- gift from my friend Joel
Jeans- Old man Levi wranglers, thrifted
Flipflops- Target

I am having so much fun checking out all of your pictures! You guys are such a wonderful bunch... I am honored to have you participating this week. Thanks for all the wonderful feedback and support that are floating all around this corner of the internet... you really class the joint up.


Remember, it's never too late to join in the fun!!