Getting closer.

Merry 2-days-before-Christmas!

May your final days before celebrating our Savior's birth
be calm and Christ-honoring.
 {Psalm 19:14}

Happy Thursday. 
Everything's merrier with a bear on the bum, right?


Tuesday evening.
our sweet, finally-getting-over-all-forms-of-sickness kiddos are asleep.
Grant, in all his fatigue, was passed out early.

I sit with [decaf] dunkin donuts coffee brewing 
and {don't judge} heavy whipping cream awaiting it.
{totally in love with holiday baking that leaves real cream left over for my coffee}

today I played the Goodnight Moon game about 74 times with my favorite almost-5-year-old.

I scoured the house for a pink hairbow for my favorite, insistent-2-year-old that commandeers all my pony tail holders for bracelets.
{our sweet, cuddly, a-tad-obsessive Gracie}

{grace, who's holding her necessary hairbow}

and today, as our Christmas Advent Calendar nears single digits, 
my heart still reflects on how to truly honor Christ in this season.

In this whole fun, busy, stressful, whirlwhind of a season,
does my heart, my attitude, my speech, 
{my life}
honor the baby in a manger?

and if it does 
{and oh, how I long for it to}
how do I reflect that to my family?
to the cashier at Target who was, well, honestly, slow.
and I was in a hurry. 
with a toddler on the brink of making a fast escape 
and streaking through the candy section.

If Jesus is truly the reason for my season, my life should be different. 
Especially the month we're celebrating Him.

my checkbook should look different, the way I handle Holiday stresses should look different, the way I handle kids who want to play but come-on-don't-they-know-I-have-things-to-do situations should look different.

and in all, I've concluded, they should be marked by love.

For even if we give away all we have,
{even to charities and needy kids}
even if we have all faith and all knowledge
{and know the history of Luke and can tell the Nativity story better than anyone}
Even if our house is the prettiest and decorations the best 
and our baking the most impressive...
even in all,
if I have not loved in the process,


As our Advent Calendar gets closer, I pause.
I attempt to love harder, more deeply.
to give more freely and more richly.

Love God, Love others.

My heart.
My time, my life, my energy.

I will embrace the business of this season as an avenue to love.

After all,
that's what it's all about, right?


...Of all the commandments,
which is the most important?
You shall love the Lord with all your heart...
you shall love your neighbor as yourself.
Mark 12

And we wait.

blood work.

it's a topic that our almost 5-year-old can very matter-of-factly tell you about.
{which, kinda breaks my momma-heart. he really shouldn't know this much about hospitals, doctors, needles, and blood}.

Often his first sign with his juvenile rheumatoid arthritis is fatigue.
well, it's back.
he's exhausted.
really, really exhausted.

so, we increased his medicine to the maximum dosage.

and now we wait
and pray.

wait for test results.
wait to see if the medicine will work.

wait and pray.
wait, pray.
and trust.


He will shelter you with his wings. 
His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
Psalm 91:4

On Why I Blog

I sit down at my keyboard. a new clean {publish post} page comes up.
I wonder.

Why write?
People...out there {somewhere?} do they read? does it matter?  
it's just my silly little thoughts.
my seemingly insignificant words.

Why write?
there are millions of better writers.
more inspiriting voices.
prettier pictures.
more significant stories.

I pause.
I think.  I process.
I realize.
{I write for our children}.
because with all good intentions the baby books are still half-filled-out, and the memories of swings and nursing and cribs and swaddling and pacifiers fade.
these sweet days with my little ones, these are the days which my heart wishes I could just press pause and tangibly grasp for longer, for more, for deeper.  these sweet days my heart truly loves and I long to capture every messy, silly, funny, special detail and write it on my heart, but somehow in the midst of laundry and naps and playing dolls and zooming cars, I know they'll be forgotten.
so, I write.  I write to not forget.
{I write for our children}.

{I write.}
I write for myself.  
I've read that Van Gogh used paints to portray that which inspired him.
me? I use words.
these words. these seemingly small, twelve-fonted single-spaced words,
they portray that which inspires me.
these words are my heart on paper.
...For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks...
Luke 6
I write because I can't not
I write for me. even if no one read
i would write, for the words spill out. my fingers click, the cursor moves.
my heart overfloweth, and the words must come.
so, I write.

{I write for others}.
my heart aches. 
for orphans. orphans who need love. a home. food. water.
for Christians. Christians who don't know that the Bible truly has 
everything they need for life and Godliness.
that His Word can make an actual difference in these lives of ours, 
these lives that are often hard and frustrating and valley-filled.
as my heart aches, I long to help. to serve. to edify. to encourage.
if somehow, as I write and share our story, our simple story of redemption, grace, and love,  of a man and wife that are trying their best to love the Lord, each other, and others in the most Radical possible way this side of Heaven,
if I can share this story,
and encourage somehow? love somehow? serve somehow?
then to Him be the Glory both now and forevermore.

So, I write.


My heart overflows with a good theme; 
I address my verses to the King; My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.
psalms 45:1

tired girl.

sweet grace.
a couple of nights ago, she was tired.
{really, really tired}.

so tired, in fact, that she got a pillow, went over to her dollhouse
and tried to climb in it, saying
{night night, night night}.

needless to say, we put her to bed.

the start of a season.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

The season started off last night with some friends coming over for a Christmas dessert party.  
chocolate, candles, sparkling grape juice, and good friends.
{not a lot tops that}

I'm even extra-excited about Christmas this year, as Grant {almost 5} really, really gets it.
and since he does get it, on my heart these days is this:
{How do we really, truly live out the meaning of Christmas?}
How do we celebrate Christ's birth in such a way that it really makes our Christmas different?

Sure, we give toys to charities.
we'll bake a birthday cake for Jesus.
We'll talk about how Mary and Joseph went to Bethlehem.
and then a King was born.

But, somehow, some of those activities just seem like an add-on.
you know what I mean?
We're Christians, and should be celebrating Christ, so we're going to bake a cake for Jesus.
all the while spending more than we should on toys our kids don't really need.
we'll give a few gifts to charities.
all the while getting way caught up in the commercialism off it all.

I do love Christmas. I love giving and getting gifts.
seriously.  I love the excitement and the shopping and the snow and the cold and the frenzy of it all.
{and I'm totally a Christmas-Eve shopper and love it}.

I just want to spend this whole holiday season actually honoring the baby in a manager,
all the while baking and eating and laughing and buying and unwrapping.

 so, it's still on my heart:
{How do we really, truly honor Christ this Christmas?}

I have a few ideas.
but, my coffee is getting cold.
and the kids are getting ready to play super-hero and leap off the coffee table with blankie-capes.

i'm off to catch them.

a moment of honesty

{this post deviates a bit from my norm here on my blog...
i'm a bit hesitant, honestly, to share it.
but, I've been reading a couple of other blogs of pastor's wives and their honesty and glimpses into ministry are so refreshing and interesting. so, I thought I'd share a bit of our minsitry life with you.
even though I'm tempted to just hit "delete post" right.this.second. eek!}


six years ago my husband graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary 
with a masters of theology.

one of my favorite pictures of Matt and myself, taken on his graduation weekend.  Dallas, May, 2005.

{and for the record? we absolutely loved Dallas. 
loved the educaction and the experiences. seriously.
Miss Dallas life, but definitely am a midwestern girl at heart 
and am happy to be back home again}.
we have served in full-time church ministry since then.

Through {just} six years of ministry, I have learned a lot. 
we have learned a lot. for the better and for the worse.
the position of "pastor's wife" can be a hard one, but also a really, really rewarding one.
I have lots and lots I could share, but today, I'm going to say one thing.  
one thing that you could do that could really encourage the pastor's wife of the church you attend.

{sit by her.}

seriously. that easy.

I may be the only pastor's wife that feels like this, but for me, 
it's kinda awkward to figure out where to sit.
{I know, seriously, this sound so small and insignificant. 
it's not. trust me}.

I walk into the sanctuary on a Sunday morning, 
{or even for special meetings, dinners, events}
saying hi to as many people as I can, making an effort to greet as many people as I can
{but then, at some point, I gotta sit.}

if I sit by the same person every week I feel like I'm going to play favorites.
sometimes I feel like I'll interrupt people's families or friends or groups if I sit down next to them.
 if I sit by myself I feel like people are going think I'm cold or isolating.

seriously, this whole where-to-sit issue?
i'm sure i over-analyze it.
but also? for me, at least?
it can feel really, really awkward.

{to be super honest for a moment? sometimes I seriously make a point of getting a last-minute-cup-of-coffee just to be able to sneak in the back and avoid this whole issue}.

So, this Sunday?
sit by your pastor's wife during church.
it will make her feel more normal.
less isolated. less like the odd-man-out.
i promise.

and then? tell me if you do. 
and I'll say thank-you on her behalf.


Hope your Thanksgiving was restful and full of food and family.

one of my favorite parts of our Thanksgiving?
{besides the pumpkin cheesecake my dad sent home with us?}
seeing Grace {2 1/2} play with my parent's dog. She LOVES the dog. loves.
{love may not be a strong enough word}
and me? I love how much my sweet girl loves animals.  it's precious, and i love it.
{and brace myself for the pleading for a pet we're going to hear soon!}

Happiest of holiday weekends...
my heart is so, so thankful.

{may we remain this grateful all year round}.

Another JRA update

Sweet Grant.

He's my favorite-four-year-old.
{although he will quickly tell you he is four-and-a-half}!
 he's changing from preschooler-to-little-boy
he's playing with his tractors less and transformers more.
his logic abilities astound me and his eating abilities seriously surprise me!

he's funny and extremely observant.

{and wakes up with his knees hurting almost daily}.
his juvenile rheumatoid arthritis has taken us on an almost-year-long-journey so far.
last week we had another appointment with the really fabulous rheumatologist.

it made me so, so thankful.

so thankful that we walk into the children's hospital instead of push him in.
so thankful that we turn left towards rheumatology and not right towards oncology.
so thankful that three small pills keep his joint pain and fatigue under control.
so thankful that he has no more swelling in any joints.
{no more swelling!!}

about his knee pain?
the rheumatologist said that it's actually a good sign - meaning that when we give him the medicine, the pain goes away.  it's kind of the best-case-scenario with JRA.
so, good news.

for now, it's status quo.

three small pills and lots of prayer for remission. i can handle this. 
so, so thankful for a very manageable, very treatable disease.

and so, so thankful for my sweet four-and-a-HALF year-old.
grant owen, 
prayed for.

Thanksgiving Eve

It's the day before Thanksgiving and
I called my best friend four times today.
we met when we were 15.
and pretty much have been best friends since.

the crazy thing is is that I never had important stuff to tell her...
i told her how it doesn't feel like Christmas to me yet, though my trip to the mall
with all of the pre-black-friday shoppers; the Christmas decoration; salvation army bells...
it started to get me excited.
a four-year-old exclaiming Christmas lights! Santa! toys! it's CHRISTMAS! was helping. 

i told her how much the small things made me happy today.

like pretty eggs.

homemade burlap wreaths.

and warm chocolate brown paint for our sunroom that looks 
extra cozy with twinkly white lights added in the windows.

we chatted about our Thanksgivings.
We're spending tomorrow as everyone should
{lots of family and lots of food!}

if I were to call you today 
{if even to just tell you about my Bobbi Brown make up purchase}
I'd tell you that I'd hope you were going to drama-free family tomorrow. that you'd have your favorite food just the way you would serve it, and that you'd be surrounded by love.

May your Thanksgiving, wherever you're at, be blessed!

...When you have eaten and are satisfied, 
praise the LORD your God....
deut. 8:10


 {a day late}

 grace abigail. after church.
trying to figure out her momma's {sparklies}.
and don't you just die-with-cute over that dress?
i do.


The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me;
your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.
Do not forsake the work of your hands.
Psalm 138:8

 i walk by faith, not by sight.
it's a relief that He will fulfill His purpose for me.
as I pray to be radically obedient to our Savior, 
I rest in this promise from the Psalms.
He has a purpose for my life.
that's more than eternal piles of laundry.
I let go trying to figure out the what and when of the purpose out.

I walk by faith, not by sight.
 thank goodness, huh?
because if I walked by sight, sometimes my life would be running into walls.
i'd be frustrated. confused. 
I walk by faith. 
and i'm content. at rest.
with confidence in the One my faith is placed.

today, I walk by faith.
The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me;
your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.
Do not forsake the work of your hands.
Psalm 138:8


Right now,
{I kinda smell like throw-up}.

it was naptime.
We were rocking.
and then coughing.
and then throw up.

And with that, my day changed.
these will wait.

the crazy mounds of laundry will get folded
{shirt by shirt}

i sigh.
for a moment,
i wish.

to not step over legos.
to not go from sickness-to-sickness.
to sleep.
to make a phone call.

but then,

and i realize.
i realize that when the day comes that i'm not stepping over legos.
the dishes and laundry are done.
the cushions are always on the couch.

when that day comes?
my heart will ache for these days.

so, for now?
i will shower the throw up off, rock the baby girl, and breathe.


a friend introduced me to the Extraordinary Ordinary's Just Write.
love it. 
and love my friend Love.


today, my kitchen island looks like this

because my favorite four year old and I ...

 were busy making a red paper lightening-fast race track.

 and today, every single time this sweet girl

said {mommy hold you}...

...I stopped what I was doing
{like making potato soup for my last Bible study of the semester tonight}

...and I held her very, very close.

Today, I played monster trucks.
shot dart guns.
read princess books.
played tag.
got beat in tag.
rocked a baby girl to sleep.
played scientist with a preschooler.

Today, my kitchen island looks like this

and I am very, very okay with that.