Friday, August 7, 2015

Looking Back

A little look back at our first year of homeschooling according to the kids. Because I want to remember their perspectives too :)

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Love in the rain

This morning in an effort to avoid the three loads of laundry, sticky floors and mountain of dishes I decided we needed to head out and run some errands. After a couple of stops we found ourselves at Costco.

The kids browsed the book aisle and I quickly grabbed the few things we needed....and a couple things we didn't. Thanks Costco, you get me every time! After our shopping we headed to the food court line up to grab a quick lunch. Because feeding four kids and a tired mama for $7.88 sounded a whole lot better than adding to the sticky floors and pile of dishes back home.

After we were done our lunch we stepped outside to a rainy parking lot. The five of us raced to the van. We quickly loaded up our groceries and hopped in for protection. The girls were giggling in the backseat (thanks to the pop they had for lunch, I'm sure ;) Evan was trying to ask me about the song that was playing and Ellie was "reading" her new library book out loud. I sighed as I started up the van. As I checked my mirror I saw a lady trying to load up her groceries beside us. She was clearly struggling to pull the heavy boxes from her cart and so I asked Evan to hop out to help her. I watched the relief on her face when he offered and so I decided to hop out as well to help get the job done a little faster in the rain. 

I was not expecting what God was about to do.

As I walked up to this sweet lady our eyes met and she thanked me. Then she told me that she had just received news moments before that one of her daughter's close friends was killed in a car accident. The heaviness of her words broke my heart. And as the three of us loaded up the back of her car, she unloaded some of the grief. I won't soon forget what she said: "You think your day is going well, you're just out getting groceries and then you get this call...." her voice drifted off as she looked down. 

And in that moment words escaped me. All I could do was say how sorry I was.

While she went to return her cart I stood there grasping for how I could add something to our exchange, how could I comfort this sweet lady? When she returned to her car I asked her if I could pray for her. It turns out that she knows Jesus too. We stood in the rain and I prayed for peace and comfort and that her family would draw close to Him during this time. 

I think God wanted to remind us both that His desire is to be close to us. On the easy days when we can easily see Him AND on the hard days when we want to scream to the heavens "Why?!" His heart is to be close to his children. He wants us to know He is there beside us when we are laughing with joy AND when we get that phone call.

When I got back in the car the kids wanted to know what happened. I told them and explained that God just wants to use each of us to encourage and serve others. We talked about what a missed opportunity it would have been if we had just driven away and not offered to help with her boxes. We spoke about the fact that God didn't design us to be alone but that He wants to use us to show everyone we come in contact with what His heart looks like. 

As I shared with them I was once again reminded that this mothering thing, this everyday- day in day out pouring out of myself,  is such an amazing ministry. This season that seems like it will go on FOOOOREVER is so important and beautiful and I would do well to remember that. 

We get to SHOW our kids what it means to care about others. We get to SHOW our kids what it means to allow Jesus into our everyday moments. We get to SHOW our kids how to serve others and how to pray for them. We get to SHOW our kids what Love does.

I don't get it right most of the time, but today.... today God allowed me a chance to see that He can use all of us, we just need to have our eyes and hearts open.

Friday, June 26, 2015


My Selah. I know I say this every year but I can not believe you are already seven. I miss my little crying baby who would not let me put her down for one single second to make dinner.... and yet.... you continue to grow into such a beautiful and kind girl that I am more and more excited to see how our relationship deepens as you grow older.

What I am most excited to see is how God is going to use you. I don't really know how to put it into words but your mind fascinates me. I know that God has big plans for you my sweet girl! The way you reason, the way you think things through, the way you grasp new concepts.... what joy it is to watch you learn. God is going to use your mind and your heart to change this world! I look forward to seeing Him do just that!

At seven you are....

* Proudly riding 2 wheels
* Currently obsessed with dolphins and koalas- NOT koala bears, because koalas are marsupials NOT bears. Bam.
* Already blowing through second grade math
* Chewing your way through "The Magic Treehouse" series
* Teaching your little sister her alphabet
* Mastering the "cup song"
* Showing us all what it means to love like Jesus

I adore you my sweet girl. Happy Birthday
May you have many new adventure and conquer many more mountains this year.


Sunday, June 21, 2015


This past week we escaped away to the mountains with Chris' parents. We had such a wonderful time away. We hiked, we swam, we read, we played games.......we relaxed. On our last afternoon we took a little walk around the villas. There is a golf course that wraps itself around the resort and while walking along the road back toward our villa our little Abby was hit with a flying golf ball.

Her leg was pretty badly bruised but otherwise she was not really hurt.

My immediate reaction was to her, of course, but after I saw that she was ok a second wave of unexpected emotion followed.... for the golfer.

I won't soon forget the expression on that young golfers face when he quickly came over to apologize and realized that he had hit an 8 year old.

He didn't see her. He didn't mean to. It was an accident. He was so, so very sorry.

I feel sick just thinking about it. Remembering his face.
I am sure the rest of his game changed that afternoon because of that shot. He probably hit a little lighter. Hesitated a little more. And I am certain from now on each and every time he goes to hit that ball he will remember.

And this was just a golf ball hitting a leg.
She was fine. It wasn't as bad as it could have been.

But what if it had been worse? What if the ball had hit her head? What it it wasn't a ball at all, but a car that hit her?

Would I feel this wild mix of emotions? Protection for my girl but also a deep sympathy for the other? Would I want to protect them both? It's easy to forgive and move on when everything is ok. Abby's leg will only be bruised for a little while, but would I be able to move on if the situation were different?

Yes, I can easily forgive that young golfer for accidentally hitting my girl in the leg.
But would I be able to forgive someone for accidentally taking her life?
Does my forgiveness depend on the outcome?

A couple of years ago I heard of a mother who's young daughter was killed by a drunk driver.
My heart can't even bare to imagine it.

This mother took her grief and heartache and allowed God to use it to launch her into an unexpected ministry. She began speaking at schools and churches about the dangers of drunk driving. Her message was a powerful one. She shared images and stories and spoke of her hurt and loss. She said that after awhile God prompted her to truly forgive the young man who made the choice to drink and drive the night that ended up taking her daughter life.

She chose the impossible.....forgiveness.

And in that forgiveness there was healing. They began giving those talks together. A grieving mother and a broken man spoke together about how his actions affected both their lives and about how forgiveness can win. Her family followed her lead and each of them chose to forgive as well. They went before the court and asked to have his 22 year prison sentence cut in half. They won. Forgiveness won. That family says that they grew to love him and now look at him like he's a son.

Only forgiveness can do that.

At the end of this video Matthew West challenges us to look a little closer at our own hearts...
*Do I need to forgive someone? Is bitterness eating away at heart heart and I need to finally set it free?
*Do I need to ask for forgiveness from someone? Have I hurt someone and need to humble myself before them?
*Can I ever forgive myself. Do I flinch when I see myself in the mirror. Could I ever set myself free?
*Have I accepted God's amazing gift of forgiveness. Do I believe that He died on the cross for me and that my every action, my every sin is forgiven by His sacrifice?

I am always so amazed at the way in which God chooses to speak to me. Sometimes it's a soft whisper. Sometimes it's in a broken van door. Today He's using a golf ball and a bruised leg to speak into a part of my heart that I didn't realize needed healing. He's whispering my need to forgive someone in my life.

And so tonight this is my prayer. Maybe it could be yours too....

Show me how to love the unlovable
Show me how to reach the unreachable
Help me now to do the impossible

I want to finally set it free
So show me how to see what Your mercy sees
Help me now to give what You gave to me
~Forgiveness by Matthew West

Sunday, May 31, 2015


Last Friday I did something not so awesome. 

We were coming home from an afternoon at the lake when I pulled up to park the van in the garage. I noticed that one of the kids scooters had not been put away properly. I was worried that I might drive over it so I asked Evan to hop out and move it. After he did, I drove forward to park in my spot when all of a sudden I heard a loud *BAM* - the kind of sound that everyone wants to hear when they are diving. Cringe. I turn my head and saw that our sliding door had hit the garage door frame. Evan hadn't closed it when he hopped out, and I hadn't checked to make sure that it was closed. Nooooo!

My mistake had cost us dearly. The automatic sliding door was now broken.

This could not have come at a worse time. We just don't have any extra to be able to cover a car repair. I was so mad at myself for being so absentminded. It would have taken 2 seconds to turn around to make sure that the door was closed. Why oh why didn't I check that? :(

The next morning, as I sat at the dealership waiting to hear what my mistake would cost us, I flipped open my bible. This is what I read:

“In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me.
From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help, and you listened to my cry."
Jonah 2: 2

And in that moment I wrestled. I was certainly feeling distressed.....but did I believe that He would answer me?

Sometimes when I read His word I struggle with believing that it's for me. I hope it is, but at the same time guard my heart from disappointment. What if He doesn't answer in the way I want, will I still believe He answers? Faith is hard.

A little while later I received an update on our van. It was not the easy fix they had anticipated. The van would need to go to a body shop.  Since it was the weekend I had to lay aside the worries of what it was going to cost until Monday. I tried to just push it out of my head but I was dreading the consequence that was looming ahead.

On Sunday evening my phone chirped with a text. It was from a family we knew. They said that God had put it on their hearts to send us money. They wrote "Think of it as a hug from the Lord and know you're not forgotten about. He hears your cry..."

".....and you listened to my cry." Jonah 2:2

I don't think it's a coincidence that this family used those words to send me. God wanted to use them to remind me that He does answer. He wanted to remind me that He loves me and sees me and cares about me.... and the absentminded mistakes I make. God wanted to pay the price.

I am in tears just writing this. My God is able.

See, in that dealership office I was praying for help. I was hoping that the van door would just need to be popped back in place. That would have been an answer to my prayer.....But God was preparing a bigger surprise.

Our door is now working and we only needed to use a quarter of the money that was given to us. He wanted to answer my cry AND bless us beyond that need as well.

God can do anything, you know- far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us. 
Ephesians 3:20-21 The Message

I want to remember this the next time I am looking into His word and wondering if it's for me.
My God provides for all of my needs. He will provide for yours too.

And when my circumstance
Leaves me with empty hands
You're the provider of my needs
(You Are by Colton Dixon)

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Happy Eight

I remember that day, 8 years ago, like it was yesterday. When they put her on my chest for the first time and I saw her, brand new, oh how I fell in love.

My Abigail.

She's always been my wild one.
My adventure seeking beauty.
She's not afraid of anything and teaches me so much about embracing life.

She's the one I found on top of the fridge at age 2, happily waving down to me while I nearly had a heart attack.

She's the one who, while played hide and seek with her sister at her brother's hockey practice, found the "perfect spot" at the swimming pool on the other side of the complex. Nearly gave this mama a heart attack when we couldn't find her.

She's the one who just didn't understand the meaning of  "inside voice".

She's the first to try a new food. The last one out of the pool. The first to get up in the morning. The last to leave the party.

She truly squeezes out every bit of joy she can- in ALL things. In fact she can turn an ordinary day into one filled with imagination and fun. Sometimes I find myself asking her to stop her silliness, and sometimes Wisdom tells me to just be quiet and let her be.

I could stand to be a little more like her.

Lately, I see a new maturity in her.... it's a beautiful thing. There's a new softness. A gentleness that wasn't there before. She's quick to obey and I see a sweet leadership quality being developed. It's fun to see this change begin to take shape.

Her spark though, it's still there. And I pray, with everything that is in me, that it will never leave.

Happy Birthday my beautiful Abby.
Oh how I adore you.


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Just because...

It was a typical day.

The morning flew by with math lessons, reading practice, writing prompts and morning chores. A few groans were heard here and there and even more giggles as books were opened, worked on and then put away once again.

We had just finished lunch and the girls and I were stepping out to meet some friends at the library when I found it.
A surprise gift on our doorstep.

We brought it inside. Opened it, and found this:

Just because....
just because you are worth it.
just because you are loved.
just because you are special.
just because you are you.

I let the words wash over me. And then I cried. Haha. You need to know something- my husband calls me the "ice queen" because I don't cry in movies (like a certain someone. Ahem) but this card, well, it made me tear up.

Why is it so easy to believe these words about someone else, but hard to believe them about myself?

If you know me, you know I'm a words person. I devour books. Fiction. Non Fiction. Biographies. Studies. I love getting lost in imaginary worlds as well as finding myself lost in the wisdom and advice of others. 

So when I opened this gift and saw books *squeal* I knew that not only did this person bless me with this unexpected gift. Not only did their beautiful words encourage me. But this gift of books was also from someone who truly "gets" me.

The card, as you can see, wasn't signed. 

This became it's own treasure hunt. The girls quickly got to work guessing who could have left it. They excitedly began naming people. Just then Evan casually walked by, took one look at it and said "I know who it's from." He guessed and I agreed. It had to be from her.

I debated back and forth as to whether or not I should thank her. On the one hand I thought maybe she'd wanted to remain anonymous and wouldn't want any credit. After all, she didn't leave her name on the card for a reason. 

But on the other hand my heart leaped with excitement. I just had to tell her. I had to tell her that her love was recognizable. That the intentional, authentic way she lived and loved was so obvious that even my 11 year old son knew right away that it was her.

What joy! To know a friend who loves in this way!

In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take that responsibility seriously. And if you have the gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.
Romans 12:6-8 (NLT)

This friend of mine was given the gift of encouraging others. And she does. She radically encourages. She can see beauty in others and calls it out. She knows how to speak life. She is authentic and just so very lovely with her words.

Which got me to thinking.... what do others recognize about the way I live. The way I love? 
How can I use my gifts to bring Him glory? 

It's so easy to get distracted by the busyness of life. To allow ourselves to get so bombarded that we don't even have the time to use the gifts we are given. Life, indeed, can get messy.

But can I challenge you? And at the same time- myself? 

Let's take a few moments- right now, to recognize how we are gifted
Ask Him. He'll show you.

In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take that responsibility seriously. And if you have the gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.
Romans 12:6-8 (NLT)

So, what is your gift?

*Is it to prophesy? Could you share your heart?
*Is it to serve? Could you make a meal for a friend? Volunteer to watch her kids? Fold your laundry with a smiling heart?
*Is it giving? Could you give what you have to someone who may be too afraid to ask for help? Your time? Money? Talents?
*Is it teaching? Could you share you wisdom with love- doesn't matter if you are "officially" a teacher or not. If God has gifted you in this way- teach what you know!
*Is it kindness? Could you offer that willingly to a stranger? A friend? A grumpy soul needing some extra love?
*Is it leadership? Could you recognize where you need to lead? And step out.

These are just a few ideas. There are so many unique and creative ways to use your gifts :)

And now, this week, let's allow some room in our hearts and our days to use our gifts..... just because.



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