December 20, 2012

For Unto Us a Child Is Born

This grand event has brought us peace, reckoning for our restless souls.
Mundane days blew away, cheer and gladness fill our lives.
That infant frame held the power of created earth.
Redemption for all mankind.


I've known those same moments of childbirth- the fear, the pain, the agony. And also the relief, the joy, the overwhelming love. This Christmas my heart is so full of wonder that from such a tender creature came such awesome victory. Because the son of God chose to come into the earth, sin and death were silenced. And He chose to come as a baby. Excitement swells in my heart that I too have brought forth a wee babe. And that I get to witness great victory proceed from her life.

December 19, 2012

A Sacred Place

There’s art you make for yourself, there’s art for mass consumption, and then there’s the spectrum between. The work that is somehow meaningful to both artist and viewer.
The far ends have never been particularly appealing to me. Writing is communicated truth. It’s pointless to write in such a close way that the truth is only understandable to you, and pointless too to write for so broad an audience that no truth is left.

I feel I could effectually rename, or perhaps subtitle my blog, spectrum.  It has been  my effort from day one [or shall I say post one], to use this spot on the world wide web known as C.Johnt as a sort of variety show featuring a few aspects of my life. It has chronicled both the little and large events of the last few years, short poems, diys, rantings, and ravings. However, spectrum reminds me of a local radio station, with which I have no intention of affiliating myself.

I realize it has been over two months since my last post and I would like to attribute this to my struggle in creating a message that is deeply personal, yet universally relatable. There have been many pictures, thoughts, and hallmarks shared via the social networks, but I didn't want to regurgitate those here. In the last two months I have come to view this space as a sort of holy place. My world and my time are suddenly no longer my own, but here, on C.Johnt, I decide the when and how and what. And there is a sacredness and divinity in that. I'm not sure if this sudden over-awareness is caused by becoming a mother, or if I've just had too much coffee today. Nevertheless, those are my thoughts.

So, what kind of re-entering-the-blog-world post is this? No catch-up? No picture montage? No whimsical poem about poopy diapers, incessant crying, or sleepless nights?


None of that.

This is my sacred place, remember?

Of course I will still enjoy sharing the simple things of life, but as we dive into a new year I'd like to take a turn with my blog. This road will have less day-to-day cluttering branches, and a steeper path leading to more purposeful writing. I hope you'll join and enjoy this venture with me.


October 2, 2012

Octobre! Octobre!

Oh October, what a month you shall be!
We've moved in to our new house (complete miracle, for reals!) and are settling in as gradually (so I don't kill myself) and excitedly (after waiting almost 6 months) as a couple who is expecting their first babe in a matter of weeks can.

So much excitement. But for today, I'm just gonna share some fall goodness. Because it's October and in all the craziness that can become our lives it is so important to stop and enjoy the little things. Especially with one's spouse.

Here are some pictures from a little fall outing the Mr. and I took this weekend after our birth class.

Pumpkin Patch. Pumpkin latte. Pumpkin belly. Thumbs up, no shame.

I try to steer clear of starbs, except this one time of year. They have the best p-spice lattes. And this is exactly how it should be done. 8oz. Double shot. No whip. Extra foam. If you're gonna pay $4 for a little drink it better be just right, right?
Aaaand...the best husband ever. Serious.

Beautiful fall fruits!

Tryin' one out. Such a babe.
Our sweet little pickins. Unfortunately the pears were all bruised and nasty on the inside. Major letdown.

The main attraction. Pumpkin donuts hot off the...oil track. I just don't think about how terrible they are for my body while I enjoy their sweet, warm, cinnamon-sugar dusted goodness.

Happy Fall to you!

September 25, 2012


I've been thinking a lot about the power of the God that I serve, the Lord that I love.
His goodness, love, and mercy are well-known. We hear about how He reaches out to the hurting and the outcast, and I love all that. But my heart has felt a little heavy lately and I'm realizing that I've lost the awe of how full of power He is; that there truly is no one like Him. Situations that seem impossible to me really aren't. It's so easy to be overwhelmed by the issues in the world and so my soul must continually be reminded that the world's problems, not matter how big or small, do not define or change who God is.

Max and I were talking about it this way the other night. Our generation seems to have this notion that our experiences determine reality and truth. What we can see, feel, and understand with our minds, that is real. Yet that is so not how God is. Our experiences of God do not sum up the entirety of who He is. Christ's disciples spent 3 years doing everything with Him, watching and listening, yet their understanding still fell so short of who He is and what He came to do. So how do we, who have had only glimpses of Him so quickly rush to say, "God can/would/should do this."

What I am saying in all of this is that Paul had it so right when he wrote in Romans 8,
"For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity [some translations say hostile] against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God."

I'm not talking about perfection or self-righteousness. I'm talking about relinquishing our minds to be ruled not by our own understanding, but by the Spirit of God.

Just another of those simple-yet-hardest-to-do challenges that God puts forth to His children.

I am totally impatient to meet our little Hanley Rose.

September 19, 2012

Worth the Waiting

My due date was one month from yesterday and the thought of holding my baby in just a matter of weeks makes me ecstatic. I've been trying to occupy my mind with other thoughts, but I'm trapped in babyland, dreaming [literally] about holding and snuggling my sweet Hanley. And then waking up less than happy. My poor husband.

And how has it been two weeks since my last post? We've been just a little busy-- Settling in at my parents. Doctor appointments. Maternity pictures. Birth classes. Cathedral Pearls' last show for a little while. Baby shower. Figuring out what last items I need to take care of. And you know, growing [or at this stage just fattening up] a baby! And then the day-to-day work stuff. Naps have never been more glorious!

In the midst of so much transition and anticipation the last few weeks have been a bit rough emotionally. Some days I feel like a moody jr. high girl [which is only reinforced by the fact that I am living in my parent's basement].

Pregnancy has no doubt held many many joys and memories that I will forever cherish. I don't think I'll ever forget the excitement when I looked at the pregnancy test with two very clear pink stripes and screamed at Max while he was in the shower, "MAX!!! I'M PREGNANT!!!!!" But reminding myself to cherish these last few weeks of the pregnancy is not so easy. Am I crazy for wanting to enjoy pregnancy? I don't hear many women talk about experiencing a glorious end to the quest of growing a baby [remember the mom and daughter in Father of the Bride II at the end of their pregnancies?] I'm not expecting a blissful, painless journey, but I do meditate on this verse often.

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

I know it's not theologically sound, but here we go;
Witnesses- All the billions of women who have made it through pregnancy.
Encumbrance & Sin- Discomfort, pain, emotional craziness.
Jesus- Me
Joy set before me- Baby girl.

Blasphemous, I know. I don't assume to possess the authoring and perfecting qualities. I'm not that crazed by surplus hormones raging through my body.

And in closing, here are a few pictures from the maternity session my sister did last week. They are pretty wonderful if I do say so myself. I can't wait to see more.

 for more of her work, creativelyyoursphotography

August 28, 2012

Consolations For Cares

The epidemic of worry is a terrifying wraith. This harrowing bacteria eats away at our strength and dignity we were once clothed with. It nags and torments, snagging and tearing away at the fabric of our personhood, until there is nothing but thin strands that dangle across our shoulders. There is no resemblance of peace and prosperity, but our once gentle skin is exposed to every harsh element, hope mocked by the rough reality of our circumstances.

In a world of projects and to-dos, it seems impossible to not be defined by our achievements or lack thereof. But the human tendency to provide a motivational speech or an encouragement to try harder next time are only reminders that we have fallen short. Healing is found in love’s simplicity, in consolation from something outside ourselves.

My soul is quieted by the ocean’s constant waves falling into the shore; The silence of a room at rest; My husband beside me, affirming even my vainest efforts; Knowledge that there are possibilities that reach beyond my abilities.

Threads are restrung and woven again into garments of peace and protection.


Please excuse these musings of an emotional pregnant lady. They may seem like nonsensical ramblings, but as with most posts, they are more for me to process and document than for you. I know, I am incredibly selfish. I only hope my vulnerability counts for something.

August 21, 2012

Rainy Day Inspiration

Rainy days after a slew of blazing ones make me romantic and wistful. Today is a wonderful reprieve from the 100+ temps we've been having. Just before 6am Max and I awoke to startling thunder. It was beautiful. I love waking up to thunder and rain, especially when the window by our bed is open. It put me in the mood for some cutesy musical duets, Pete Yorn+Scarlett Johansson, M.Ward+Zooey, Andrew Bird+Emily Loizeau.
Because I love having all my senses awakened so sweetly- by a cool breeze, thunder, soft colors in our room, rain's sweet smells, and a cozy bed- I wanted to share some gentle sweet things with you.
Although they aren't so romantic, here's a song from one very talented male+female duet, David Byrne and St. Vincent. They are releasing an album September 11th and I am pretty excited. They create some marvelous sounds together.

Some images from favim

I love pictures that you can feel the texture in.
These ones make me especially excited for fall's crisp cool air.
A couple at our birth class gave us one ginormous zucchini and the cooler weather today is perfect for baking some zucchini bread tonight. I love the smell [and taste!] of freshly baked bread. Who doesn't?

August 16, 2012

Quotes & Action

In the hunt for a new journal [which I still have not decided on, I think I have commitment issues with them] I've been looking up quotes on writing to get me inspired and to possibly put on the front. My first go-to was CS Lewis. Every time I pick up one of his books I am inspired to write. The way he uses language is easy to read, yet deep and thought provoking. Mark Twain is another writer like that. They are both the "for those who have ears to hear", or I guess "eyes to read and the minds to see past the obvious and into the heart of the writer". The language they use is quite different though.

Quotes are funny things to me. The creative side of me wants to say they are overrated and overused and we should be inspired by the things inside ourselves, not repeat what is around us. But the female [and human!] in me, craves the affirmation that I am not alone in my pursuits and struggles. To balance these two thought processes out I've decided to draw from quotes by people whose lives and actions [not just words] have made an impact on mine. 

August 14, 2012

A [Slightly] More Epic Decision

Remember when I said that thing yesterday about making an “epic decision,” well I was about 99.999% joking. I said that to make light of a slightly bigger decision Max and I had to make last week. I feel like we’ve had a lot of those this year. As stressful and overwhelming as they are, I love that each one we have talked through and made together. It’s been quite a pleasant surprise to feel continually more “joined” as we journey.

Last week’s decision-

When we made an offer on a house back in May, we knew it could easily take 3 months to hear back from the bank. Yet the 3 months has felt so much longer, especially as my belly grows and my patience and energy deplete. But here we are mid-August and no news other than that it is moving along, but still in the process. The tricky part is that our 6 month lease ends August 31st and we found out last Wednesday that we had two days to either resign or say we were moving out. In hindsight, it wasn't really that hard, but because we felt rushed, confused, and discouraged [mostly me on that one] it was big.

We’ve decided to move out on the 31st and move in with my parents until things with our offer clear up. We don’t know how long this will be, but we all feel a peace about it. Our main reason for moving out is that it will make the move into our house much easier. Everything will be packed up and we’ll just need to get it out of storage. Even as we have begun packing [we’ve got 2.5 weeks], I can’t imagine trying to do this a month later in the pregnancy or with a newborn. It is exhausting and overwhelming [and we’ve been finding lots of spiders, yuk!].

So there it is. In answer to the many questions, our baby room is not setup. It is currently non-existent. Our house is being overtaken by boxes and our baby furniture is in a pile in the basement and her clothes are in a box. As much as this hurts my heart, I am confident that all of these details are really not that important. We have a healthy baby on the way and we are surrounded by amazingly supportive friends and family. Not to mention a loving Father in Heaven who knows [and wants to meet] every need before we even ask. Those are good things.

 Here's the packing process so far.
I picked up all those boxes from the grocery store this morning. We'll see how far they get us. We've got a ways to go...

August 13, 2012

An Epic Decision

Monday? Is that really you?
I don't know what happened to the weekend. Or what happened to the first two weeks of August. But somehow they have come and gone without asking if I cared to hold on to them.

The weekend was full. Of course. Everyone tells us that once we have the baby we won't be able to run around and do whatever we'd like, so we cram our days/weekends/weeks full. And then I'm exhausted and want to lay around and sleep all day. I've been having some pretty frustrating sciatic nerve problems which will be fine for a day, so I'll be out walking and sitting on the ground. Living like my body is my own. But when one is 7 months pregnant it is most definitely not. All of this will leave me with a limp for several days, making me feel like a total gangster [ha!]. Our birth teacher [is that the proper term?] said there are some massages and chiropractic exercises that can dramatically help the nerve, so until I try them out I will stop complaining. [I really hate when people complain about things that have a simple solution].

Moving on...

I wish it was the opposite, but getting married and being pregnant has decreased my personal journal-ing. My current journal has taken me far too long to fill up [I can't stand to quit partway through]. As I am on the last pages, I'm excited to start a new one and have begun the hunt. Am I the only one who views a new journal as a new adventure? It's ridiculous how many stores I go to and how picky I am about something as simple as a journal. Thankfully my dear sweet husband caters to my "needs" and doesn't get annoyed when I leave another store empty handed. He even tries to help me out. Such a patient man.

Here's the deal: The journal can't be too big, thick, or heavy. It can't be too busy or too plain. The pages can't have far-spaced lines, but they can't be so overdone that there's no room to write. And they can't be over $20. Most importantly the book has to say "Carrie, write in me". I have to be inspired by it. 

Am I a little ridiculous?

This blog I follow featured this wonderful print shop last week. From what I can gather via the the interweb, their journals are just what I am looking for. They have some lovely designs, too many in fact, and I can't decide which one to get.

Grey Stripes
Thoughts of a Major Journals
Soft Bouquet
You can change the title on this one. I love the design.
Words Not War
Flag Parade

Now that I put them all next to each other I think I like certain ones more.
Which is your favorite?
It's a pretty epic decision, right?

August 8, 2012

A Smidgen For Today

Some days I get little bits of prose stuck in my head. They're usually just three or four lines. I'll try to expand on them, but nothing fits. It all feels too contrived. So I they are usually dismissed. But I've decided they should be shared, no matter the length. This one came as I was filing at work. 


When fear and doubt are raging strong
Make a heart whose feet do run
Ever swiftly to your throne
In its grace, being found and known


I stumbled across this website yesterday. It has all sorts of lovely photos. As long as you search good, clean words. Anyways, I'm kind of addicted to their "vintage" section.

August 6, 2012

A Room For Little Miss H.

As I've mentioned, [just a couple dozen times] I can't wait to get in our house and setup our nursery. I've shared ideas for the dining and living rooms, but what is really the most exciting is Hanley's room! I'm not huge into themes or bright colors for baby rooms. I want something calm and peaceful. Like many things, my tastes have proven to be expensive. But [again] like many things I am willing to compromise and go DIY. Isn't it more fun to make your own hodgepodge than to follow exactly what someone else has designed? Putting thought and hard work into a project gives me such a feeling of satisfaction and pride.

The contrasting dark wood and light tones of this set from Pottery Barn Kids has been my main inspiration. 

We found a crib and mattress on craigslist that is similar to the one pictured above.
The dresser/changing table, also from craigslist, will [hopefully] look like this once we re-stain it.

Isn't this sheet from Pottery Barn Kids adorable? 
It went on sale so I had to snag one before they sold out.

The nursery has hardwood floors and I'd love to get a lush creamy rug like this one from Ikea to cozy it up.
I've seen this Ikea rocking chair alternative in several nursery designs and I absolutely love it. The minimalist style is great, and from reviews I've read it's also really comfortable and durable. Best of all, the cover is removable and machine washable. But alas, we don't have an Ikea in Spokane and I don't have any trips to Seattle or Portland coming up, so I'm not sure when [or if] I'll get it.

Now that I've shared my ideas for the nursery you can see how perfectly this print fits.
I just need to get a frame for it.

Some pretty sweet/darling stuff, I think.

Baby's arrival is coming so quickly. I can't believe I am almost at 30 weeks! At my dr. appointment the other day he said baby has a strong and healthy heartbeat and that everything is measuring right on schedule. There aren't words to describe how wonderful a feeling that is. He also said that if it seems like it's been going by fast so far, it's about to get even faster. There's such a mix of excitement, nervousness, and [lots] of anxiousness. I just keep reminding myself to breath deep and enjoy every moment of the journey.

July 30, 2012

How Do You Do

Psalm 27:14
Wait on the Lord;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!

Our pastor preached yesterday on waiting on the Lord. I don’t know if there could be a timelier message for Max and me right now.

Psalm 37:9
For evildoers shall be cut off;
But those who wait on the Lord,
They shall inherit the earth.

Oh! You don’t say. Inherit the earth? That sounds like a good deal to me.
And here’s another one-
(I used the Message Bible to get a fresh perspective on this often-quoted verse)

Isaiah 40:27-31
Why would you ever complain, O Jacob,
Or whine, Israel, saying,
"God has lost track of me.
   He doesn't care what happens to me"?
Don't you know anything? Haven't you been listening?
God doesn't come and go. God lasts.
   He's Creator of all you can see or imagine.
He doesn't get tired out, doesn't pause to catch his breath.
   And he knows everything, inside and out.
He energizes those who get tired,
   gives fresh strength to dropouts.
For even young people tire and drop out,
   young folk in their prime stumble and fall.
But those who wait upon God get fresh strength.
   They spread their wings and soar like eagles,
They run and don't get tired,
   they walk and don't lag behind.

Just reading those verses and knowing how powerful the truth of them is brings tears to my eyes. I hear that first question a lot [both from my own spirit and from Max’s mouth]. Why would I whine or complain? In my life, and in the last 1.5 years of marriage, God has shown His faithfulness over and over; shown that He never forgets or gives up. He knows His promises better than I do. I even believe He is more passionate about His promises than I am [of this I have been convinced over and over].

Now I take a deep breath.
Now I let it out.
[No, I am not in labor. Sometimes I just have to remind 
myself to do normal things like breath and relax].

New house with your new kitchen, bedrooms, bathrooms, living room, and baby room- you are coming. All in good time. I’ve been losing patience and grace with the ones I have now, but they are only for a time and someday I will miss you.

Baby girl- Oh how excited we are to meet you. The labor to bring you into this world terrifies me. Seriously terrifies. I think about it and start crying some days. [Crazy hormones? I think yes.] But I have the best husband in the world to coach me through it. We started talking about the playlist for the labor and I got excited. Not for the labor, but for being able to listen to and make new memories to my favorite, most relaxing music. In my mind, the playlist and the baby that comes after are the only good parts of labor.

Dreams of my heart and my husband's- You are not impossible or too far off. You are made just for us and even now are unfolding in ways we can't see or understand.


I look forward to the day, 3 or more months from now when I will read this post, baby girl in my arms, sitting in my new house [fingers crossed], and flooded with all the joy of a victorious champion.
Because I have no doubt that I will be facing all new challenges in that moment and could use a reminder of how good and faithful the Lord is to those who wait on Him.

July 24, 2012

Some Proverbial Goodness For the 24th

As today is the 24th, I thought I would give Proverbs 24 a little read to see what golden nuggets it had for me. I don’t know why I was surprised when I found quite a few challenging bits. But I’ll start with the more encouraging ones.

Through wisdom a house is built,
And by understanding it is established;
By knowledge the rooms are filled
With all precious and pleasant riches.

I love that we don’t just build and fill as we please, but that God can give us wisdom and understanding in all the details. Throughout the Old Testament He tells His people exact measurements and elements as they build various structures. I can get overwhelmed with details so it does my heart good to know God is more aware [and able to take care] of them than me.

Deliver those who are drawn toward death,
And hold back those stumbling to the slaughter.
If you say, “Surely we did not know this,”
Does not He who weighs the hearts consider it?
He who keeps your soul, does He not know it?
And will He not render to each man according to his deeds?

There are a lot of interpretations we can have for those “drawn toward death.” Like many scriptures, we are able to take them as straight-forward or as deep-down as we choose. I think of people convinced of their self-sufficiency [one of the scariest to me], those with no hope or joy in their life, and I think about the people intentionally walking [or running] toward death. I feel so inept at helping any one of those people. My natural tendency is to turn and walk the other way as if I never saw them. It’s so uncomfortable to extend a hand, and we often get hurt ourselves. But the Lord isn’t alright with feigned ignorance. He keeps my soul, and He keeps theirs. Faith and action must meet, no  matter how uncomfortable. And this is where I need His grace to guide me.

Hmmm… gaining wisdom isn't for the faint of heart. 
Good thing I've got this good lookin' guy to help me out.

July 19, 2012

Etsy Love

Oh boy. I've been bit. Real bad. By the Etsy bug. For me, Esty obsession goes in waves. My younger sister is getting married in December [!!!] so I've been perusing the treasuries to get ideas for different things. And then I thought I should see what kind of baby vintage items they had. And then I thought I should see what kind of maternity-ish things they have [most of which were REALLY weird and/or poorly made]. I did find a few wonderful shops. Here are a few.



July 18, 2012

A Name for Baby Girl

Some days my heart feels full enough to burst. Maybe it's the donut my love brought me this morning. Or the delicious coffee roasts my work buys and then makes french press with for us to enjoy. Or the blue skies outside my window. Or just maybe it's the little baby inside that keeps me company wherever I go. And also the fact that she is due 3 months from today. [Mind you, I am fully aware that it could be 3 months and two weeks before she is actually in my arms. I frequently remind myself that the baby comes when they are ready, not when the doctor says it should, or when I think it should.]

To celebrate baby girl's approaching due date I thought I would do her name reveal. Many of our close friends and family already know, we haven't been strictly keeping it a secret. We're not really into that sort of thing. So here it is,

Hanley is Max's middle name, which he was his great-grandmother's maiden name. Depending on the origin it either means "from the high field" [English] or "grace and beauty" [Irish]. Both quite lovely. I don't really know how we thought of using it, but as we looked through books and websites we couldn't find a name more perfect for our first baby girl. I'm not sure how we came up with the middle name either. It just sounded so pretty.

July 13, 2012

Feelin' Good In the Neighborhood

Yesterday marked week 26 of being preggers.
And oh my it's been a hot one. [the week that is]
The temps are high but I'm feeling great.
I've got a beautiful life growing inside of me.
And that makes everything wonderful.
Baby girl has been making her presence well-known.
Lots of pushing and kicking all over.
I can't complain, there's not much room in there!

My heart is so full of love for her already.