June 29, 2015

worth it.

Years ago, I flew weekly for work. I boarded planes without trepidation. Until, one flight changed my carefree attitude. I'll never forget it: we were flying from Houston to San Francisco when one of the plane's engines caught on fire {and I SAW the smoke}. Following instructions from the pilot, I found myself praying a desperate pray through tears while in "brace position" {head ducked and arms crossed, gripping the seat in front of me}, listening to voices of the flight attendants shouting "BRACE!" over and over. We landed safely but I knew flying would never look the same for me.

These days, my palms are sweaty and my breathing is shallow the entire time we are in the air. And, without fail, time moves infinitely slower than it ever does when my feet are steady on land. Let me tell you, when your hands are cramping from gripping the arm rests tightly, you would really appreciate it if time would pass a little more quickly.

Yet, sometimes. Sometimes, you just have to look fear in the eye and turn it over to God. You have to put one foot in front of the other and face the thing that scares you the most in the world. Because, otherwise, you'd miss it: the celebrations, the memory-making, the joy.


This past weekend, I faced my fear once again. Charlotte and I boarded a plane to go and visit my family in Florida for the first birthday celebration of my sweetie-pie niece, Addi. We soaked up every moment.








Yes, my child snagged the birthday cake from the birthday girl. This does not surprise anyone who knows me. Clearly, we share the same DNA.



As always, I was reminded that if I let fear take over, I will miss out on the good things awaiting me. Although the two hours in the air were LONG, I wouldn't have wanted to miss a single moment from this weekend.

**Meanwhile, this was happening back at the farm {Dave is slightly excited about the 4th of July}...


Have a wonderful week, friends!



June 19, 2015

happy 5th birthday to my boys!

These summer days have been moving along at a faster pace than I would like. I feel the weight of the importance of this summer like never before. The boys head to kindergarten in a mere forty-seven days {but who's counting?}. This is their last summer before starting school. Somebody, hold me. 

We have been trying really hard to make the most of our days. I haven't had a lot of time to sit and reflect or even open my computer. I like it that way. I like being present in the memory making instead of trying to document every funny sentence or capture every moment with a photo. Hence, the reason this birthday post for the boys is being typed 2 1/2 weeks after their birthday. 

My five year olds. 

This year, the boy's decided to choose a fun activity rather than have a birthday party. We had so much fun choosing exactly what they wanted to do. 

Nathan.


Nate chose to "mine gold" for his activity. If you know Nathan, you know this is absolutely no surprise. Alas, since we don't actually have access to a gold mine {I really need to work on that}, we went to a local cavern where you can pan for gem stones. We also hiked through the caverns and just had an overall fun-filled day.


Don't be fooled by all the fun: this was very serious work.


To my sweet Nathan,

You are tender-hearted, fiercely passionate and protective, a cuddle bug, wild, adventurous and absolutely hysterical. You keep us laughing and entertained every day. You love BIG and you are an encourager to those around you. You want everyone to feel included and you make friends easily. When you're excited, you forget your own strength and have been known to inflict pain through one of your "monster hugs."  {you love BIG, remember?}


You are tough. You don't get hurt easily. You are all boy. You love to dig and fish and "mine for gold." Mud puddles have your name written all over them. 


You're an awesome dancer and you love to entertain us with your moves. You're also the hardest worker I know. 


You are going to do big things in this world, my boy. You are a natural leader and I cannot wait to see the way God uses you to change this world for good. 


My love for you is unending and I could not be more proud of the little man you are becoming. Thank you for being my helper around the house, my fellow chef at dinnertime, my errand-runner, and my snuggle bug.

It is an absolute priviledge to be your momma. 


Ben


Ben chose to go to LegoLand in nearby Kansas City for his activity. He is our little builder and lego constructor. We decided to make a really fun weekend out of the trip and stayed at The Great Wolf Lodge. The lodge has a waterpark and all sorts of activities for kiddos. We had so much fun that we never even left the property. We promised another trip to LegoLand some other time. This ended up being a perfect little getaway for our family. 


My dearest Ben,


If there ever were a picture of kindness, gentleness and compassion it is you, my boy. You have always had the kindest heart. You care so deeply for others and for animals. You can be so very silly. You are always thinking things through. You take your time with new things, you study something before jumping in. Then, once you've figured something out, there is no stopping you. You are brave and intelligent and strong. 



You're our little artist. You spend hours upon hours coloring and drawing. Your creativity astounds me. 

You packed an entire backpack full of "babies" for our weekend away. That is a perfect example of who you are. You don't want your "babies" to be left out or alone. You care so well for everything that is entrusted to you. 



Nathan, on the other hand, packed a backpack of tools for the trip. You jumped right in to work on the bed frame at the hotel. You pay close attention to details and work diligently on a task. 



I could never put into words how proud I am of the little man you are becoming. You are my first-born. You made me a momma. The joy you have brought to my life is beyond anything I could have ever expected. 


It is an absolute priviledge to be your momma. 



My Boys - You two have made my life full of laughter and adventure. I clearly remember lying on that table watching the ultrasound screen in anticipation. When the sonographer announced that we were having two boys, I was in shock. I never considered myself a "boy mom." I didn't know anything about boys. I thought I wanted girly girls and hair bows and dresses.



Little did I know that you two would rock my world in the absolute best possible way. I couldn't imagine my life without dirt and bugs and daily gifts of freshly picked flowers. Watching you draw a "plan for a dirt trench in the backyard" on the floor the other day was one of many little moments where you made my heart swell.


You have taught me what selfless love looks like. The love of a momma for her boys is an unbreakable force. There is nothing I would rather do with my life than love you {and your daddy and your sisters} really, really well. It is my great, great joy to have the title of momma to you, Ben and Nathan. You are two of the absolute greatest accomplishments of my life.

Happy, happy 5th birthday. I love you with all that I am!

Love,
Momma





June 8, 2015

the farmhouse {summer update}.

Because it's sweltering hot, my boys are out of school and I am currently ignoring my "to-do" list, the boys and I decided to rearrange some furniture this morning. I was inspired reading The Nester's post about creating a summer home and decided to start with one room.

Myquillyn's confession hit home: "…when I knew I needed a change, my first thought was to run into Target or HomeGoods and buy some cute tchotchke to make it feel more summery–maybe a big ginger jar or a basket of shells or a fresh throw pillow? But I knew I needed a change with more impact than that. And that’s risky because I had to drive further, spend a little more take a bigger risk and do the work of hanging up new drapes."

I could not agree more. Now, I didn't hang new drapes but I did want a change without purchasing something new. I knew I simply needed to get creative and "shop my own home." I often forget that bringing an item into a different space creates an entirely new feel to a room.

I decided to start with our family room. Other than the kitchen, this is the most hard-working room in our home and it needed a summer update. I didn't take a "before" picture this morning. The photo below was taken not long after we moved in. It's changed since {including new drapes} but this is a general idea of how the room looked "before" our little update:


And, the "after"...


The new sofa has been in here for several months and I had already moved the white chairs into this room {after Christmas - I decided to leave them here so we have additional seating}. I just changed out the lamps, added a footstool {again, extra seating} and swapped the side table. 


And, yes, I need new batteries for the clock. It has been 3 o'clock for a couple of weeks. Details. Details.


One of my absolute favorite things about spring and summer are fresh flowers. I am constantly cutting flowers and bringing them inside. I have them all over the house. They're a free way to instantly brighten up any space.



I love this little end table from a friend's shop. It was in our guest room but I wanted to move it downstairs so I can see it more often. It's just too cute to hide away.


I liked the idea of creating a couple of distinct spaces within the room. Although it's a fairly small room, we are able to cram a lot of people in here fairly comfortably. That's important to us. We love having friends and family over and we want a space that is inviting and welcoming. 


A freshened up entry by swapping out the basket and lightening up the pillow and throw.


Have I ever confessed my love for glass jars of all shapes and sizes? Well, there. I said it. In addition to the flowers all over the house, there are glass jars everywhere. I love these apothecary jars that my little guys dug up on our land. There used to be an old home on the other side of our property and the boys are always digging up "treasures" over there. These jars were some of their favorite finds.


Just for fun, I'll share this photo of more of their "treasures" in the guest bath. I'm telling you, it's jars, jars everywhere you look.


Another summer update tradition around here: our summer bucket list. I have a feeling that summer is going to fly by this year and I want to soak up every single moment!


Thanks for stopping by for a little tour. I hope you have an awesome week, friends!



June 4, 2015

higher and deeper.


"...You have called me higher
You have called me deeper 
And I will go where you will lead me Lord..."

I had forgotten which CD was in the player in my car, assuming it was the usual: last summer's VBS soundtrack.

"And I could be safe
I could be safe here in Your arms and never leave home
Never let these walls down..."

Nothing was on the radio. I decided a few kiddo worship tunes would make the run-around-town-errands a little easier on my backseat passengers.

"And I could just stay
I could just stay right where I am and hope to feel you
Hope to feel something again"

Instead, this song released piercing truth through the car.

I let the words seep into my heart. Knowing.

He is calling me. He is asking me to step out of my comfort zone.

Yet here I stand: on these shaky knees with fists clenched tightly. Can't I just stay here? At home. Fortified walls up. Where I'm safe.

The song was a reminder to my fearful heart. His adventure awaits. His hand is outstretched. He beckons, Come, my child. I will lead you somewhere beautiful. Trust me.

I will go where you will lead me, Lord. 


Tell me I'm not alone in this. Are you feeling called to something higher and deeper? Does fear attempt to steal the joy from following where He leads?



June 2, 2015

prayer changes things.

Life has been moving full steam ahead. Why is it that when I make a concentrated effort to slow down and be present in the moment that suddenly the moments start moving faster and faster?

I have so much to share - from Dave's incredible trip to Haiti (and the amazing possibilities unfolding), the boys FIFTH birthday (somebody hold me) and our all-consuming work on attachment (full disclosure: I thought this process of attachment would look differently than it actually does, it seems my plans have once again been tossed aside for reality - so many thoughts to share on this...soon).

Today, instead of sharing about the many things happening in my life, I need to ask for prayers for friends. I know the eyes that read the words on this little blog have prayed alongside me for the most impossible miracle. Together, we witnessed the fruit of our labor: Sylvie came home against all odds. We did that. Prayer changes things and time on our knees is never, ever wasted. 

McKinley Moore.


When a college friend and sorority sister learned the devastating news last week that her precious, smiley, spunky two-year-old daughter had been diagnosed with leukemia, friends all over the country rallied together to commit to prayer over their sweet McKinley. SEVENTY-FIVE girls were on a group message sharing what we knew in order to pray specifically, as well as how we could help tangibly. In TWO days, friends and family raised nearly $40,000 for the family's unforeseen medical expenses. Incredible.

The body of Christ came together. I couldn't help but thank God for the way He takes even the most horrific situation and allows us to see His light shine through the darkness. He pulled us together and created a team of warriors committed to the long battle ahead. Karen and her family do not have to go through this alone. For that, I am thankful.

Will you join me in praying for sweet McKinley and her parents: Karen and Casey? You can read updates from her momma HERE.

Jonathon Bost.


I met Mary eight or nine years ago at church. Her humor and positive outlook on life immediately drew me to her. Our little church community group wasn't the same when their sweet family moved to Texas several years later. I've loved following her silly stories about her kiddos and sweet reminders about Jesus' goodness on her blog over the years.

When her husband had a seizure and was rushed to the hospital at the end of April, and immediately underwent brain surgery, their community of friends here rallied together in prayer. We spent anxious hours waiting for text updates and placing Jonathon and Mary before the Throne of Grace. The day they went in for the pathology results was covered in prayer. Collectively, we all fell to our knees in grief when the results came back: brain cancer.

Yet, the story isn't over. We stayed on our knees and kept on pleading. For grace and mercy and Shalom. For Divine healing.

Will you join me in praying for Jonathon and Mary and their babies? You can read the beautiful, funny, inspiring updates from Mary HERE.

Thank you, friends.