Friday, October 09, 2015


I know, I know.  You all have been dying to see this year's fall decorations, and I've totally let you down til now.  Kidding, of course.  But, I did change things up a bit this year, so I thought I would blog about it.  The girls also were very involved in helping decorate and picking out new gourds and such.  They LOVE fall, so I must be doing something right.

I got a loaf pan at a vintage/antique fair a few weeks ago and realized that it has endless table-scaping possibilities.  Just know this thing will be popping up in most seasonal decor and birthday parties from now on.  For fall, I filled it with gourds and some glass jars/bowls with fall-ish contents.  I really like it!


The leaves are from a Japanese Maple in our front yard, and now they are crinkly, but I still sort of like them.  The "wheat" is from Hobby Lobby.  I kept our mantle a little simpler with burlap and gourds + the wheat/leaves that were on the table.


Our console table carries most of the same themes as well.


Our front porch is largely the same as year's past, but the lions are new, and I love them.  I intend to decorate them for each season.  Also, I'm working on naming them.  I'll keep you posted.


On our front porch are a bunch of rocks that the girls wrote on with their grandparents while we were in San Francisco - most of them say "I love God" or "God loves me" or "God made sheep."  I decided to let the rocks stay, because they are sweet little encouragements.

I don't think any of this decor is revolutionary, but it was fun to do something different with what I mostly had on hand!  Happy Fall, Y'all!

And, just so you don't get the wrong idea, here is what the dining room table currently looks like.  I need to finish the Great Fall Sort.


Thursday, October 08, 2015


I've made no secret about the ways the past month has been hard for so many that surround us and for us.  It got me thinking - I'm not a fan of the middle of the story.  The conflict.  The dark spots -  the part where we don't know how it will turn out.  Will the cancer come back to claim them after all?  Will he ever realize they are soul mates?  Will she be able to become pregnant again?  Will my children grow up to make good choices?

Fairy tales never let us down, while real life does, and sometimes I don't feel strong enough to withstand the middle.  Here's a wimpy secret about me - I often reread books, and if I already know that a certain part will contain a lot of conflict and pain, I will skip that section. I won't subject myself to it again, and as I reader - I have that option.

That option certainly does not exist in real life, and unfortunately, I often still feel wimpy and unable to really look the hard stuff in the face.  This has caused serious issues for me through the years, because life is full of hard, painful places that God brings for good reasons.  There are also plenty of rotten places that we land ourselves because of sin, and sadly, all of those things end up twisted together.  I've learned to sit in the middle in my own life and with others.  Though it has been painful, I'm so thankful that the Lord has grown me in this way and continues to grow me.

Right now, I can see the middle parts of several stories that make it tough to feel hope.  It looks dark and gloomy.  I want to scream hope, and I know that in the end hope wins out for those who know and follow Christ.  But, that does not mean it will be easy.  It doesn't mean the ending here on earth will look as we hope it will.

It's another opportunity to exercise trust in the Lord.  Trusting that he really does know best and love us most.  That his ways are higher than ours, and that he ultimately wants our good.  He will use any means necessary to help us to really see him and depend on him.

but take heart
(free printable from Petite Modern Life, based on John 16:33)

If you're in the dark middle, just remember that there is light and hope in Jesus.  We know how it all ends, and Jesus overcomes the world.  The dark middle is not the end of the story.  Thank God.

Monday, October 05, 2015



This weekend we were supposed to go to Homecoming at JBU.  John was supposed to have an event for work on Sunday afternoon.  We had plans and people in the mix, and we said "NO" to all of it.  Instead, we slept til 10:15 on both Saturday and Sunday - a miracle of epic proportions brought to us by girls who self-entertain, rather late nights and twins who had colds and needed extra sleep.

It was amazing.

After the last month - heck, after the last year+ - it feels like we need to catch our breath a bit, and unfortunately, that is not our strong suit.  It was sad to not be at Homecoming and to miss people and fun.  We also had to reschedule family pictures.  But - we needed the down time and breathing room.

It was an excellent reminder of the power of our "NO."

John and I are both achiever oriented by nature.  I'm a first-born, and though he is the baby of his family, he functions more like a first-born.  We tend to have high expectations for ourselves and to just keep pushing.  Our lives are full of really great opportunities at just about every turn.  There are more people than we can keep up with, there are more great causes than we can possibly be involved in and there are always more projects and work.

We want to do it all.  Or at least, we want to do large portions of it - obviously to our own detriment at times.  It feels like one of the hardest things in the world to strike a BALANCE - that fleeting magical unicorn.  Instead, we swing wildly between extremes wondering if we will ever get anything right.

However, some things are starting to clear and crystalize.  God commanded rest for his glory and our good, and if we just keep going even when we've been told that six days are enough for seven days worth of provision, then shame on us.  Rest resets us and helps us to see more clearly.  We remember that not all things in the world depend on us.  We are amazingly self-centered creatures.

This year I've become well-practiced at my "NO," and it has been immensely freeing.  Mostly I've realized that other people will step up to the plate OR that some things will go undone and everyone will survive that.  Few things that I do are actually critical, and I'm working on doing those critical things better as I've cut out some of the periphery this year.  There will be years where I will get to say "YES" more often, and this is just not the year.  I'm learning to be okay with that, and I'm enjoying seeing the ways that God fills in the gaps.  He really does work things out for his glory and my good.  His work will never go undone, and it certainly doesn't all depend on me.  Thank God.

Friday, October 02, 2015



It's the second day of October, and numbly I'm trying to take it in.  October is historically one of my favorite months.  The weather is gorgeous.  Pumpkins are everywhere, and we are sliding into holiday fun.  But I've gotta tell you, because it is apparently what I do, that September felt like one gut punch after another.  If I were to detail all it contained, you may or may not choose to believe me.

When I texted my friends a couple of days ago, I felt the need to apologize for being a bucket of bad news.  September was wild, because I had some truly amazing experiences (hello Camp Create and SanFrantastic!), and I feel like God gave me those gifts so that I would have the capacity to deal with everything else that has come our way.  We've seen theft, dishonesty, betrayal, miscarriage, still birth and attempted suicide, just to name a few.  Most of these things did not happen directly to us, for which I am grateful.

But, that doesn't mean that we didn't feel them.  A lot.  Here's the thing - our lives are closely tied in with those around us.  We have dear friends and family and a wonderful church family, and we now have about 100 employees.  We consider these people family, and obviously, September was a hard month for many of the people that make up our family.

On Monday, I had to make one of the hardest phone calls of my life from Alcatraz.  I found out that our birth mom had miscarried, and I needed to deliver that news to my dear friend who was hoping to adopt the baby.  It is certainly not how we wanted this story to end, and we are all left wondering what exactly God has in store.  I know he is writing a bigger, better story than we can dream up.  But, that doesn't make it easy.  And we may never get the answers we want on this side of Heaven.  (read Christy's post about it here)

One of the growing realizations that we are having is the fact that this is exactly what God has called us to.  None of these people are in our life by chance, and we are cuddled up next to them here for a reason.  I've compared it to being in the Splash Zone at Sea World.  I feel like we are in the Splash Zone for a lot of people's lives, and when something bad happens, we get wet with them.

It's just a lot harder than I want it to be.  Selfishly, so selfishly, I want to be happy.  I don't want to have to feel the pain of other people.  I don't want to be wet.  I don't want it to become my pain.  The stress and responsibility that it entails feel overwhelming at times.  Lots of times.

At the end of the day, I'm left needing to cling to the Lord more each day.  Each moment.

Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer.
From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint;
lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
Psalm 61:1-2 (NIV)

To be honest, I'm hoping for a little relief this month.  But - I know that even if it doesn't come, God is good.  He knows what is best for us, even when it hurts.