21 March 2017

Simply Tuesday/Grati Tuesday/ Thankful Tuesday

...whatever you want to call it, I am home and I am thankful...

...for voluntary garden growth,
For a working washer and dryer,
For fresh memories of vacation,
For nice people who return lost wallets,
For nap time and podcasts,
For new beginnings. 

27 February 2017

Music Monday: Nathan and Eva

These guys are fun. Still
I love that they are brother and sister (incase I never mentioned that before)!

Happy Monday, y'all.

20 February 2017

Valentimes: a belated post.

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”

film by Clara Williams Photography

It seems like there's nobody with passive feelings about Valentine's Day. You either love it or you hate it.
I love it. I'm all in. And I have been for all of my born days (ok, MOST of my born days).
It has baffled me for a long time why (mostly single) people have such strong negative feelings against it, and it wasn't until I was having a conversation with one of my friends about it on Valentine's Day that I had a bit of an "ah-ha" moment.
Most single people (or, so it seems) who don't like it, seem to feel that way because they don't have somebody lavishing attention or affection on them. Most single people who enjoy it (and those are few and far between), seem to love the chance to show real or silly affection to the people in their lives.

And THAT makes all the difference.
When your focus is on yourself and how much you are not getting what you think you deserve from somebody else, you are going to be miserable.
When your focus is on other people and how much you can bless and serve and show them love, chances are you are going to be much happier!

I love that quote by C.S. Lewis above. A lot of people apply it to romantic love, but love is so much more than that. "To love at all..."
....your family, your neighbors, your co-workers, your classmates, your church family, strangers in the grocery store, etc...

As Mumford and Sons said, "Where you invest your love, you invest your life."

03 February 2017

30 before 30

It's coming, you guys. That big 30. Another decade alive.  

Before I get all introspective, I'm just going to put this quote out there to remind myself (maybe you need the reminder, too).

Instead of having the mentality of "some day" and living in the hypothetical future, I constantly am having to remind myself to live in today (while, yes, preparing for the future). 

In order to give myself goals to help keep the every day on track and purposeful, I decided to make a 30 before 30 list alongside my yearly goals. I love reading other people's lists, and I was particularly inspired by this post. 

Here's an incomplete start to my 30 before 30 in no particular order. Stay tuned. ;)

1. Go to Hippy Hole in the Black Hills (How have I never gone?)
2. Take Matt to the Devil's Bathtubs in the Black Hills.
3. International Travel at least once before Amos needs a ticket ;) 
4. Move to a bigger house (rent? buy?)
5. Camp in the Badlands (again, how have I never?)
6. Complete a Project 365 (already have missed 2 days this year, uhg.)
7. Take Amos up Harney Peak (or Black Elk Peak, whatever)
8. Print out at least ONE photo book (for Amos, or family, or the coffee table, or whatever)
9. Get back into rock climbing shape and go climb some rocks!
10. Ski again (it's been YEARS, people)
11. 30 days of random acts of kindness (this would be fun to do with Amos as he gets older)
12. Research and support a child through a good charity (any suggestions?)
13. Take an actual over-night backpacking trip.
14. A Red Rocks Concert (I am all heart eyes for Amos Lee, but I have several other bands I would go see in a heart-beat).
15. Register for and run an official 5k
16. Practice guitar with the end goal of being able to lead worship at youth group
17. Complete The Great Courses photography course
18. Hike a 14er in the Rockies -either Colorado or Montana
19. Register for and take a college course or two (werk on those gen eds, baby).
20. Print out pictures specifically for Amos' baby book
21. Twelve months of bread baking from scratch.
22. Complete a reading challenge in a year.

.....to be continued.... 
I'm hoping to post about things as I complete them :)

20 January 2017

Dear Amy Schumer

(an open letter, or, Why I Am Not Broken Hearted to have a New Baby in This Crazy, Messed-Up World.)

I saw you this election year. You were on fire. You were using your time in the public spotlight to stand for and promote what you so strongly believe in. You stood alongside your choice for the presidential race, and you campaigned right through voting day. 

I'm with you (kinda). I think that women are strong, capable, powerful, and wise world-shakers. It's astounding to think that just a "few" years ago, women were not even allowed to vote in this country, yet here we are and women are holding political offices and running for president.

Then, like you, I watched in disbelief as Donald Trump was elected president of the United States. 

However, unlike you, I wasn't devastated. I was not hopeless. I did not spend that night or the next few days in mourning. 

And I most certainly am not broken hearted to have given birth to my son the same year that President Trump was elected -not because I voted for Trump (because I didn't) and not because I fully support Trump (because I don't), but because I know that the greatest way for anyone (let alone a woman) to impact the world is to do it right where he or she is. 

This world is full of evil, and it will be until the day I die. A president is not going to change that. I have a hope and joy that does not have to rely on political offices, on health, on religious freedom, on laws, on social network standings, on news headlines, on job security. 
Because I have a certain hope in the promises of God and a relationship with Christ, I can -no, I am COMMANDED to live out that love and grace and truth that I have been given.

My greatest impact in this world will not be my choice on voting day, but rather, will be in the relationships that I have with my husband and son. It will be in the relationships that I develop with the youth in this town, it will be where I choose to invest and donate time and money to people serving people here and across the world, it will be in the time I take with my nieces and nephews, it will be at work with patients and co-workers, it will be as I stumble my way through this messy thing we call life alongside my local church family (and countless other spheres). 

The reality is that if our president would have been Hilary Clinton instead of Donald Trump, I still would have woken up the next morning before I was ready to a hungry boy, kissed my husband goodbye as he left for the uncertainty that LEO work brings, and spent my days and weeks and months doing life.

It made me sad to see you and many others so devastated by the outcome of the election because it made me realize how hopeless life for you must be. And I want you to know, Amy, that it doesn't have to be that way. There's a God, and you are his image-bearer, living in rebellion against him. But, he has made a way to reconcile that relationship with you through his Son, Jesus Christ. All because of his great love. It's mind-blowing, really.
I pray that you can know true forgiveness and true hope one day. Because, while you can make a lot of people laugh while shaking up the cultural (mis)perceptions of women's bodies and female objectification (good on ya), it's not going to matter in the end. 

A life lived for Jesus is the only life worth living. 

I hope to be a little more open and honest about my daily struggle to figure out the practical implications of that in this space. You're welcome to check back in from time to time. :) Until then, I hope that we can ALL be a little kinder to each other. 


16 December 2016

Merry, merry, merry

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

Here's the albums that I have been listening to on repeat this year.

First off, this golden album from Sufjan Stevens. Forty two songs. You won't be sorry.
(P.S. Anybody know how to pronounce that first name?)

This next album is technically for kids, but it's fantastic listening for advent!

And my new all-time favorite Christmas album: The Light Came Down.
I mean, Josh outdid himself. I am crying giant tears of sorrow because I can't be at one of his Christmas concerts.

What are you listening to this year (Or every year)?

07 November 2016

October Photo Challenge: days 22-31

22. up and over
while the babes wait for music practice to be over... 

23. get real
real talk right here. #bedroomstruggles

24. days end
smokey skies at sunset

25. first thing
coffee and wake up snuggles.

26. think about it

27. bite size

28. dress up

29. candy
...or something like that... 

30. pretend
if I can't see you, you can't see me.

31. trick or treat
we party hard around here...

04 November 2016

October photo challenge: days 11-21

I did a bit more "cheating" for this week of pictures. I prefer to call it "borrowing" from other days. ;) 

11. create
my sister is really great at creating teachable experiences that are woven into every day moments.

12. night life
technically, this was sunrise. but in my mind, same same.

13. musical
the baby cousins. also, my focusing skills are lacking.

14. happy day
Uncle Jon is the best.

15. cuddle

16. discover

17. the boss
good thing he's cute.

18. oops
don't worry, I helped her up.

19. special
all of my plant babies come from special people in my life and from special times in my life. 

20. silliness
singing songs during missionary conference brings out the silliness in the adults, as these kids soon discovered.

21. favorite photo
this is not a picture of my favorite photo (how would I ever choose?), but it is my favorite photo that I took that day.

02 November 2016

October photo challenge: days 1-10ish

Taking pictures every day helps me learn and grow. So, I took these prompts for the month of October. Sometimes I missed a day. Some days I took pictures for more than one category. It all evens out eventually. I think. 

1. weekend
fall weekends are for fires and tending to the plant babies.

2. chilly
love the fall chill that comes along with the changing leaves

3. symmetrical
I tried.

4. around
not sure what this has to do with "around", but it's open to interpretation.

5. prepare
there's only 3 of us, and we already pack way too much. 

6. travel
road construction and rain. the worst.

7. friends
my family has a problem with talking while getting their picture taken.

8. educate
not sure what is happening in the flower girl squad, but it is bound to be good times.

9. farewell
one last night of adventures in KC.

10. exploring
coffee shops. always coffee shops.


27 October 2016

Write 31 Days: bouquet

[I wrote this post several months ago after the death of my dad. It's cheating, I know. But it is the first thing that comes to mind when I think of "bouquet".]

Like my dad, I am a sucker for fresh flowers.
Like my dad, I have a stubborn streak.
Like my dad, I love to laugh.
Like my dad, I adore my siblings' kids.
Like my dad, I can be ornery.
Like my dad, I know that exaggeration gets the point across.
Like my dad, I work on an ambulance because I care about people.
Like my dad, I have a January 31 birthday.
Like my dad, I like to bundle up and go find adventures in the snow.
Like my dad, I like to cheer for the Nebraska Huskers.
Like my dad, I love to camp and hike and sit around a campfire.
Like my dad, I love me some good harmonies and guitar.
Like my dad, I have tasted and seen that God is good to us.
Like my dad, I am a sucker for fresh flowers.