December 31, 2013

Holly Frost

With eyes bright and blue as the springtime sky
Like a mother bird you welcomed us
To take comfort in your nest, warm and secure. 
Always providing a hug, kiss, and special treat, 
We knew you were on our side. 
With patience you would listen 
To our triumphs and trials, 
And when necessary,
Give the scold we needed. 
Your laugh, sweet and spright, 
Was the auditory expression 
Of a heart that glowed with love. 
In you we saw what it was to value 
The least and the greatest, 
And to cheer for your favorite team. 

The love with which you loved 
Is a love we'll always carry. 
The beauty you found in God's creation, 
Shone so brightly in you,
His treasured creation. 
The faith you lived so gracefully, 
Gracefully carried you
Into the greatest peace you'll ever know. 
And we will miss you forever. 

What a classy, amazing lady that will be missed by so many. 

That's me in the raft with the yellow life jacket. 
And the last picture is just from this last Thanksgiving.

November 27, 2013

Thanks Be

Today I am so thankful for the abundance of life I get to experience, and all those I get to experience it with. I wouldn't call myself an eternal optimist, but maybe an eternal thankful-ist. Yes, there will always things that challenge and disappoint, but there will always be an overarching rainbow of God's promised faithfulness to carry us to the other side. And there will always be a baby to snuggle, a friend to laugh with, a cozy sweater to don, and a tasty drink to imbibe. Hallelujah.

November 8, 2013

Rest with me just for a while
This shading tree is beckoning
Dreams can wait
And time run past us
Cares will blow way with breeze
Let our love here breath
My soul is tired and frayed
Eyes've searched too long
In sweet warm grass cares do melt
Our counted blessings mount
What is this companionship
But God's best gift to us

November 5, 2013

Miracle & Wonder

Whew, I did it. I'm a survivor. I have come out on the other side, and is it okay that I feel pretty victorious about it?

My baby is one year old. I have kept a human alive from its most fragile and dependent state, to a slightly less fragile and dependent state. For a whole year. Yay me. [and Max. Duh]

Motherhood is an amazing thing. An incredible and rewarding journey.

After twelve months [and a few weeks] I can look back and easily say it was like going through puberty all over again. The crazy roller-coaster hormones, strange and terrifying body changes, and comparing yourself to every human you come in contact with. Anything you can think of, some new mom out there has cried about it, either joyously or in distress. I never thought my body could experience, or wear, the things it did. You can see why I feel like such a champion.

Now that is more than anyone wants to let their imagination loose with. I'll stop myself before I become the "horror story mom". After the last year I've decided those are my least favorite. My mind has been victim to just about every irrational fear, managing to put up a pretty valiant fight.

But I have decided that I want to be the most encouraging and loving friend to new moms. I have never felt so alone, so helpless, and so inadequate as I did those first months. Even as I was surrounded by some of the most wonderful moms and an awesome husband. Sadly, for every one of those there are a million hormones terrifying you with the accusation that you are failing. Miserably.

The truth is that you will never experience anything so completely demanding, and yet overwhelmingly fulfilling. I hope that in the midst of tantrums and poop explosions, I won't ever forget those moments my heart bursts at the seams with joy. These truly are the days of miracle and wonder

And my advice to fellow moms is this: Love yourself, let yourself be loved- enjoy that love, and love others.

October 29, 2013

October 30th

Such a wild and terrifying journey this life is. There's always another curve to make our way around, and an unexpected oasis to meet us just in time. Wild branches jut out to catch our foot, thorns prick our tender skin as we lean in to smell the roses, but their beauty we cannot deny.

Love is a demanding force. I gladly give my life to it. For void of it, I am void of passion. And void of passion I am a lost, wandering soul.

And void of passion, I am full of farts.
[Karli, I hope you cherish that line forever.]

The rest of it was for my dear husband Max. Thanks for being my biggest fan. And thanks for three amazing years of marriage. 

October 27, 2013

Winding and Weaving

Lately my mind and heart have been pulled in hundred directions. It's a ridiculous, cliche metaphor, but my thoughts are a pile of spaghetti all tangled up, and starting to rot. I've been writing, but holding it in, waiting for the fog to clear, the pennies to add up to a whole dollar. Now the smell of rottenness is nauseating and I am hating my fear of vulnerability. Life is tempest, and denying its storms will never bring us to safe shore. So here I am, sputtering the phrases that won't stop ringing in my heart.


Dreaming big has somehow become a sour taste in my mouth. Why can't childlike faith and acceptance flow freely from my heart? How have I allowed dust to pile on the aspirations of an awakened heart? Now they're just a fuzzy picture of the things I used to carry so deeply.

So fear comes, taunting that the day-to-day will be the sum of my days. My head spins as I grasp to understand the balance between contentment and deep, divine pursuit of the greater.

Even in all this, my soul and spirit are so ready. I've wandered for so long and soon will face the edge of the cliff. I'm preparing myself for the jump. I'm deciding now there can be no hesitation, no hindering questions of doubt. 

I know these last years haven't been in vain, but are bringing me to a climax. The struggling, the scurrying, the hoping, the holding. The path that weaves and winds, forcing my heart to trust in the incomprehensible goodness of God. All the trees of circumstance allowing only brief glimpses of the space beyond. The path well-worn in places, with friends to understand and lean on. Yet off to the side we go and it's a desolate, un-pioneered way that we make.

God tell me You're still interested! This film is scratched and pulled tight. This plot has been developing so slowly I'm not sure if there's any room for redemption. Like many a dream in the night maybe it will stop and I'll awaken right as I get to that cliff, and we will never know the outcome, never know if there was a safe landing, or just an eternal falling.


You’ve kept track of my every toss and turn through the sleepless nights, Each tear entered in your ledger, each ache written in your book. (Psalm 56:8)


Most would say to invest yourself is risk- allowing your life to be led by another, suicide. Yet I am finding that the risk is to not bear all, to let the dreams remain silent, the feet planted on the edge of that cliff. To stay, when we have have been beckoned on is always the greater risk. For a cut on the arm will close and heal, but regret plagues a life. 

How startling to find that it's more costly to keep what we have; that silence and criticism brings more bruising, burdens, and brokenness. It's an uphill battle to maintain fear, and at the top we find sorrow and death. But when we release ourselves to the falling, the letting go, rolling down the mountains of striving, we arrive in joy.


We put our hope in the Lord. He is our help and our shield. In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in His holy Name. Let Your unfailing love surround us, Lord, for our hope is in You alone. (Psalms 33:20-22)

October 1, 2013

A Moment to Look Back, Breath Deep, and Embrace the Future

There's nothing that makes me more nostalgic than a crisp fall afternoon. So much that has made me what I am happened when the leaves were golden and the air hadn't quite turned frigid.
One year ago today we moved into our house. I remember warmth and sunshine, sweeping the wood floors, my belly too big to do much else. It was only a few weeks later that I was pacing those same floors, counting the minutes between contractions, and then the middle of the night trip to the hospital. There are so many bright, beautiful memories following. And also the really hard, feeling-like-a-failure ones too. I've learned both are to be expected, whether it's your first baby or fifth. I've also learned that dwelling on the bright ones is a lot better for your psyche. Now my baby is toddling around, learning to point to what she wants, and throw what she doesn't. I've decided it's all too much. How can I not just cry like a baby at how beautiful life is and how fast it is racing by?

This is my segue post to the Germany post. I just had to get these thoughts out and cry a little before I got into the rest.


September 11, 2013

Faith, Trust, Etc.

Blindfolded, seeing only what I see, I strain my eyes to look beyond the veil of things that are. Your voice leads, my heart trusts. Soon today will pass behind and failures surely fade, but trusting faith grows and grows. So in this moment, swallowing fear, I surrender the striving and let my eyes rest. In your wisdom You will show all that I need see, and in my faith assuredly a triumph it will be.


These last few weeks have been FILLED with blessing. One thing after another, big and little. Max and I have been blown away by the Lord's goodness to us. The hard part is, I know exactly why. We said yes to some scary, overwhelming, out-of-our-comfort-zone things the Lord had put before us. And then He brought the next step under us. As we took it. The mental picture alone make my stomach flip-flop. I hate the unknown, I hate things being out of my control. But God seems to love it. Remember this? And probably another dozen posts I've written about being nervous for the future.

We leave in two days for our adventure. I feel like I've been holding my breath the last few days and will continue to do so until my feet are in Europe. I've got too much anxious excitement.


I know quotes can be pretty cheesy and overdone. But when I'm struggling to find the words or the strength to keep going [and they have to be from the right people], a good quote can be just the ticket.

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. -Helen Keller

The one who follows the crowd will usually get no further than the crowd. The one who walks alone, is likely to find himself in places no one has ever been. -Albert Einstein

Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God. - Corrie Ten Boom


Our little fam took a mini-adventure to the fair on Sunday. All the colors were amazing, Hanley loved the animals, and I wore my cowboy boots.

August 26, 2013

Laid Down

Bend low, let  hair sweep the ground
One foot above floor boards,
Simplicity is hard to hear.

To live at its surface
Where dreams are wild,
Songs and words, senseless.

Find in grains of wood
Questions silenced,
For lack of care.


I've been captured with this idea the last few days that if I could just lay down on the floor, flat on the floor, I would find what it's all about. Maybe it's to wrestle and tickle my baby, or look up at emptiness, or perhaps I'm just tired. But there's a flicker of something- curiosity, insatiability, romanticism- that is ready to dwell in simplicity. I want to learn all its beautiful secrets and share them with this darkened world.


And more life bliss...

The skies have been so gorgeous lately. I wish I was a watercolor-pro and could recreate them.

I've got an explorer baby.

Gardening has never been a gifting of mine, so my ripening tomatoes are quite the achievement.


August 22, 2013

He Himself

In between running the laundry and mopping every room in our house the other day I got this revelation: The Lord is not all that interested in a perfectly managed life. Working as an administrator, having a spatially-driven mind, and keeping [or attempting to keep] a strict budget, I can get serious OCD sometimes. It's difficult for my brain to comprehend that the God of order isn't too concerned about my to-do lists. As I pushed hard against the mop to get the crusted jam off my kitchen floor I started to wonder if it bothers Him that there's a stack of books on my night-stand that I got bored with and never finished, or that in my basement are many abandoned sewing projects.

What a brain scrambler. Thoughts jumbled, criss-crossed, upside-down.

I don't understand how all of my striving accomplishes so little, but produces so much anxiousness. Why do I endlessly move my pennies of ambition around hoping they'll somehow add up to something greater than the just-enough-to-get-by I've been experiencing?

I know this for certain, God is more than satisfied with these few dirty-pennies of giftings I shuffle from pocket to pocket. After all, God is full of grace, full of goodness, and ever faithful.


I feel bad for people who don't get to know our Hanley Rose. As younger[ish] parents we may miss out on some things our peers do, but she is the sweetest thing. Even when she does her 100% girl whine, or arches her back in protest. The joy and fulfillment she brings I could never have imagined. It's amazing, another brain scrambler.

There's so much happening around me that I want to savor and capture, hold tight and always remember.

We got to welcome a new niece into the world last week. She is sweet as can be.

I can feel summer winding down so we are filling in these last weeks with lots of walks, meals outside, and hopefully one last visit to the lake.

Fall is my favorite season and I'm looking forward to sweet bundled eskimo-esque outfits for my baby.

Having my baby at work with me is the most wonderful thing. She's learning all sorts of new tricks and I'm so glad I don't miss too much.

Lastly, I did complete one sweet little dress for my baby, it was really a joint effort. She picked out the fabric and hungout with me while I sewed, but was quite the wiggly model/muse.

August 8, 2013

Softness of Spirit & Inspired Living

Recently I've been convicted to live a more palpable life. To let my spirit and the things deep deep in my being come to the surface and affect my daily living. The self-sacrificing thing that comes with motherhood says, "I can do this. I won't complain about my unmet needs. My dreaming can wait." I won't go any further, we've all heard the same sad motherhood songs. What caught me out was hearing this, "If your vision isn't intimidating to you, it's most likely offending God." My heart was pricked, blood drawn. In all of my efforts to be an awesome, strong, full-of-grace woman, I've neglected to ask God what attitude/vision He would like me to carry. My conception that self-sustaining is His preferred route was refuted. He opts for the soul-bending overwhelming peace brought only by His hurricane-love.


Well that was interrupted. What is ever NOT interrupted? Hanley was having a rough time falling asleep. I had to remind myself, softness of spirit, allow myself to be inspired instead of frustrated... Ahh she fell into a deep, sweet slumber. So did I. And then interruption #2, husband on the phone, car died. Glorious. Of course when I'm at a high, a bomb drops. Softness of heart. Inspired living. Trusting, not striving.


Nevertheless I am continually with You;
You hold me by my right hand.
You will guide me with Your counsel,
And afterward receive me to glory.
Whom have I in heaven but You?
And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You.
My flesh and my heart fail;
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.


July 28, 2013

To Put To Words

Stretched, squeezed,
Pushed, pulled, and wrung out.
Every emotion drawn from being.

Joy, sorrow,
Pain, and delight.
Gratitude to feel and receive so much.

Without words to sum the whole,
The mind's million wanderings.
Grappling to keep two feet stationary.

Just before it all gives way, an escape.
Out the side door,
Into blue sky, warm breeze.

Find strength in not knowing,
Keep humble the soul,
Steadfast the heart.

Let tomorrows battle keep far from today,
Laughter carry weary legs.
Grace, teach the anxious peace.


Little Miss Hanley Rose
Now nine months old, I am in awe. Constantly amazed that my heart can hold so much love, that a baby could be so cute, and that my patience could run out the door so quickly.

She is crawling around and under, hitting her head on coffee tables and chair legs. She's realized how many things there are to discover, and is exhibiting a great interest in shoes. Right now her love is manifested mostly in chewing them, which absolutely disgusts me.

It's impossible to pick my favorite thing she does right now, but it's easy to cancel out the screaming for food. She has a raging metabolism and is a snack maniac. But her focused mimicking of Ma-ma and Da-da makes my heart melt to a puddle.

There have been only a few occurrences of belly laughter, but there is no shortage of smiles.

She loves playtime in the water, whether it's the sink, pool, or lake. Splashing is exhilarating, and an adorable bathing suit is the frosting on top!

We've come 3/4 of a year, just three more months and she will be a whole year old. Every part of myself has been demanded of, but it's been incredible to bring a life into the world and watch it become its own. I am in wonder every day.

June 7, 2013

Adventure on the Horizon

Warm breeze, move across my neck
Blow down arms to hands
Hands that ache to mold
Shape purpose in earth under feet

Could I get out all my longing
Squeeze from fingertips
Feel pulsing, rushing, blood
From heart through body to heart again


Times have been tough for baby girl this past week. The cause is irrelevant, the effect is... affecting me. We've been taking walks after dinner to calm her down and all my senses have been overwhelmed with memories. Flower boxes in windows, sun setting on tall grass, gentle breezes carrying the sweet smells of the approaching summer, they bring me back to a most transforming time in my life.

It was 5 years ago this same month that I spent a week in what I now refer to as "the birthplace of my soul"- Herrnhut, Germany. If you don't know the history of this little town, here is some good information. In short, a group of people there started a prayer and missions movement that lasted over 100 years.

I can't put into words the how or why, but there is something in that place that is a part of me, a part of who I am supposed to be. It may sound over-romanticized to some, but I'd rather be full of passion for something, even if I can't explain it, than to have no passion at all. The purpose awakened at that time was unlike anything I've ever experienced. I promised myself that I would return again with my husband. [Who I had no idea was Max]

And so our little family is planning a trip to spend a week there in September. The ministry I went with in 2008 now has a base in Herrnhut and will be meeting daily for worship, prayer, teaching, and community- all things wonderful.

We don't know what is in store, but we've known since the end of last year that it's a step we need to take. The thought of traveling overseas with an almost-one-year old is stressful, and plane tickets are pricey these days, yet to not go would feel like disobedience.

Adventure, here we come!

Here is more information on the ministry in Herrnhut.

This is from my visit in 2008-


April 20, 2013

Quiet, Thankfulness, and Joy

I've been slowly making my way through One Thousand Gifts for a couple months now. I can blame laundry and baby, business and tired eyes, but more than that I blame the book. With a theme of slowing down and being thankful for every small thing, how I could buzz through it? Gifts hasn't brought a zealous message or stabbing conviction. It's a well-rounded, healthy challenge. It's brining light to a dusty, forgotten room- thankfulness. Thankfulness is a powerful tool in any hand, and in the midst of an overwhelming and at times isolating journey into motherhood, I've been leaning on it daily.

This morning I read this portion and the light switch on the lamp began to turn-
I used to think that God's gifts were on shelves one above the other, and that the taller we grew in Christian character the easier we could reach them. I find now that God's gifts are on shelves one beneath the other, and that it is not a question of growing taller but of stooping lower, that we have to go down, always down, to get His best gifts.
To receive God's gifts, to live exalted and joy filled, isn't a function of straining higher, harder, doing more, carrying long the burdens of the super-Pharisees or ultra-saints. Receiving God's gifts is a gentle, simple movement of stooping lower.

I've been spending a lot of time and energy doing things lately, trying to get just one more thing done before I'll rest myself and have joy in the quiet. Play times with baby are my greatest gift, but once she's down for a nap, I'm a torrent of doing. I'm not sure how I came up with my theology that working, straining, and tiring myself brings joy.

But today I will let the laundry pile, the kitchen counters stay dirty and take deep breaths of peace and security. My attempts to gain are costly and my ability to stop doing brings joys. How strange a thing? The only explanation is grace.

April 12, 2013

No amount of perfect planning or positive thinking can get us out of negativity. It's sticky stuff. It takes desert wandering, belly of a whale dwelling to free us; chafing and scraping of self-interest to realize that underneath it all is something delicate, something clean. Life can bring pricks and pokes, but forming a thick layer of doubt doesn't keep our lives safe. It seals our heart-mind-spirit from receiving joy-peace-hope. Grace didn't come to allow hurt, it came to bring a rainbow after a storm, wine after crushing.

No explanation can be offered for failures and slip ups. But plenty of answers can be found in choosing joy-peace-hope.

April 5, 2013

I've been searching for the divine,
For a vessel to put my existence into,
Preferably a one of value.

I'm weary of the same questions, same answers.
Same conversations, same jokes,
Same obligatory laughs.

Can I find a place to rest my heart
A space wide and warm and welcoming?

There's no nest for us here.
No friendly rest stop on our journey home.

We'll always find our trails unmarked,
Our paths yet blazed.

Greatness is ours,
But its road is filled with thorns and rocks
That prick our fingers, draw our blood.

Blood seeps the earth,
Sweat wets the brow.
No one said labor was for the fragile.

March 6, 2013

Life is Joy

"Joy is God's life.
Don't I yearn for it to be mine?"*

I love simplicity, purity, words spoken to the point. Poetry and grandeur are nice, but when we can cut through the fluff and see the true core, it's captivating.

"Joy is God's life." In that simple phrase is expressed those same sentiments. My soul would very quickly like to analyze and theolo-gize my way out of its simplicity, but it can't. In all of God's workings how can I doubt that He does not in Himself possess pure joy?

Surely all the trials and the questions and hurts are only a prick on the skin as we lean in to grasp the most breathtaking rose- relationship with Him.

The more I grow as a person in Him, the more I learn that in Him truly is fullness of joy. A few years ago I [can I humbly say?] coined a phrase, "I've been learning that life's seasons are less about changing and more about becoming who we really are. It's a very pleasant surprise".

As I daily enjoy snuggles with my darling babe I can't help thinking about the overtaking joy that has come into my life by simply doing the things I was made to do. The same can be said as I sit here writing, as I cook a delicious meal, play music with our band, and in a very big way grow in relationship with my husband. Those are all things I was made to do, and so they bring me great joy. Instead of focusing on the dinner I have to make, or a diaper blow-out I have to clean up, or late late bedtime after a late late concert, I think about what a privilege I have been given to do the things I love.

Can I just post that in front of my eyes, Hebrew style?**
Joy can become my life when I choose it to be my life.

I've realized I take a lot of pictures of me kissing my baby. She's just so darling I can't help it.

*From One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp
**Deuteronomy 11:18