Category Archives: Life

All The Things.

 

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*”mommy, I will pose for you”…AND. I. QUOTE.

Raw.

It is the word that comes to mind about how we live these days and months. We are still in a difficult period in our lives and I am still in a place of deep peace. It is well with my soul. Truly.

I praise God for His transforming, healing power. I am living it. I praise God for all of the blessings He has given my family. I praise God for loving us. I can’t wait until I look back and think, good grief those couple years were ridiculous and they changed us for the better. Maybe change isn’t dramatic enough. Maybe, “He makes all things NEW”. Not just better, not just changed, but N E W. Beautifully NEW.

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Something about a fresh start in a cross country move has provided a safe place to unravel after a very tough season. Or in reality, to fall apart. Praise God, no, for real. Praise God, for that. He doesn’t waste a moment. When you’ve overstayed your welcome in the world of holding it together, this part inevitably comes.

It’s a funny thing, moving. It doesn’t sound that dramatic. But as one of my children expressed to me, “It’s like everything I knew, everything that made me comfortable, everything I was…it’s all gone. Gone… and I didn’t have a say in the matter.” Literally words spoken to me by my child that were breathed before that on my heart. It’s how moving FEELS. That alone is not easy. Some say “kids are resilient”. I say kids are freaking amazing, articulate, little people that feel everything we adults feel and sometimes do it even better than us. Our move was voluntary, but yet 100% necessary to provide a healthy place for our family. As I’ve come to find out, moving, when it wasn’t what you wanted, even though you understand it and embrace it, makes things just a tad more difficult, especially to inquisitive children.

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*a university over 100 years old that looks like a castle. can I be 18 again?

But I wanna feel everything. I want to lean into life head on. To heal and move on from things, no matter how long it takes. To bleed and forgive and make it through. The timing is in God’s hand. Feeling is the hard stuff. Feeling when you are raw is almost unbearable. I could give you an example to drive that point home, but as self appointed president of queasy stomachs of America, I will refrain. Feeling is not the easy route, definitely the road less traveled. There are a million things thrown at us every second to lesson and dull life’s bumps and bruises. So, I will prayerfully and humbly learn to run towards the roar. Sometimes the healing is in the aching. (Just a little thing I read on Pinterest).

Which brings me to this book. Through The Eyes Of A Lion. Levi Lusko. Please get it. Read it. There is a pastor and his wife who live in Montana. They have four little girls. One of them was called home to heaven with no warning shortly before Christmas. These guys have been through what seems to me, about one of the worst things you can walk through. This man has every single justification to write a book about their pain, and he did, BUT not because He wanted to talk about His pain and how hard it was. Rather He wanted to tell His story of how JESUS is healing his heart and the heart of his family without their precious Lenya on this earth. Deep pain and great perspective go hand in hand. There is such good stuff in this book, I can’t dare explain it to you, lest I mess it up. You’ve got to read it.

My mantra these days, “Chase God.” It has become my heart beat. Always has been in my head, but it’s being burned in my heart and soul like no other time in my life. If I was to ever tattoo, this would be it.

Break my heart for what breaks yours. I’ve sung it a million times. He’s answering.

Disturb me, Oh Lord. I’ve prayed it a million times. He’s answering.

Where losing sight of land, we shall find the stars. It’s happening. Holla.

The thing about raw living. It is just that. Raw. Red and painful as the dictionary defines it. Such simplicity for such complexity. Raw is not an easy place when you are in an environment where every single thing is new. Raw is messy. Raw is not always received well. Raw is sometimes misunderstood and sometimes it means you don’t get invited back. Raw. That place doesn’t bring with it warm and fuzzy, it brings pain. Pain that is waiting for healing. I am thankful for my people that hold me up.

All of it is o.k.

Because He leads. He writes our story.

He makes all things new.

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*apparently Lewis and Clark were here. at this spot. 

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We are leaving in 18 days for a marathon road trip back to California. It will be the first time my kids have been back since the move. I am everything about it. It’s going to be difficult and amazing. I have 25 photography clients to see. We will do Santa Cruz, San Francisco, Lake Tahoe and everything we can fit in, in between. It’s all planned, which I don’t like to plan certain things, but we gotta make sure we get to see everyone and do everything. So plan, we must…

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*do not mess with parks in Missouri

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This summer has dragged on and on for me. It’s been awesome, but long. I am craving routine (who just said that?). I am looking forward to returning from Ca and beginning our 7th year of homeschooling. And by the way, do you ever hear yourself say something and think, “wow, there’s a sentence I never thought I would say?”. #yeahthat

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*the ferris wheel between the trees

I have spent a ton of time this summer to continue my education with health and wellness. I have listened to webinars, read books, and attended the Young Living convention down in Texas with 20,000 others. I love that my family is on a path to improved physical and emotional health. I am so grateful for all that I’ve learned and the people I have met. God created our bodies and they are ridiculous {in a good way}. It’s just unreal and I am so grateful for my hippie oils and the community I have become a part of. Life changing. Not at all the weirdos I thought they were.

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Yesterday was a good day. Following the advice of my search of things to do in Kansas City, we went exploring up to Parkville, Mo and the Missouri River. It was downright adorable. Like a hometown boy doing a juggling show on a main stage, while a saloon girl from a show depicting life long ago searched the internet on her cell phone, while the smells of funnel cake filled the air. There was actual little cans of air freshner spray in the outhouse, giant flags on the sides of buildings, and adorable dishes in antique shops. It was all so very Hope Floats.

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*juggle young man, this is your moment.

We played, laughed, fought, made up, and unexpectedly saw the blue angels fly.

There have been many times this past year or two that I have stayed quiet. Fear silences me. Fear of whining again. Fear of people thinking I am a failure because I can’t seem to get my crap together. Fear of admitting that I am drowning. Fear of  feeling.  But God writes our story, it’s not our job. We are to live…with vigor. Do you want to hear a beautiful truth I recently learned? We have a mic in our hands and it is always on.

If a man who had to close the eyes of his five year old little girl and would never again see them open on this earth can live out loud, then dang it, I can too.

Our life is speaking something wether we like it or not. Jesus controls the volume, but our mic is always on.

Crank it up Lord Jesus.

I am with you.

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God Told Me To


This last week felt like it might swallow me whole. I found myself asking God, no really begging God, just trying to convince God from my human place, that I really needed one of those “God with skin on moments”… a big touchy, feely moment that I could wrap my heart and soul around.

We have this routine in the morning. My little man comes running in {because walking apparently is lame. He never does it. ever.} Anyway, he comes running in and I awake to hearing a flurry of tiny steps at warp speed. OR a giant bear hug. OR a little, “I love you mommy”. Blessed doesn’t even cover it. We snuggle for a long while because that is what summers are for, but this one particular morning, three days ago…

I awoke to this. Before I opened my eyes I lie there and listened to this. Read these words, every one. This song is my soundtrack for twenty fifteen and here it was waking me up…

 

Grand earth has quaked before
Moved by the sound of His voice
Seas that are shaken and stirred
Can be calmed and broken for my regard

And through it all, through it all
My eyes are on You
And through it all, through it all
It is well

And through it all, through it all
My eyes are on You
And it is well with me

Far be it from me to not believe
Even when my eyes can’t see

And this mountain that’s in front of me
Will be thrown into the midst of the sea

Through it all, through it all
My eyes are on You
Through it all, through it all
It is well

So let go my soul and trust in Him
The waves and wind still know His name

It is well with my soul
It is well with my soul
It is well with my soul
It is well with my soul

It is well it is well with my soul

Through it all, through it all
My eyes are on You Lord
Through it all, through it all
It is well with me.

Then I opened my eyes to find my wireless speaker right by my head and my little boy sitting up criss crossed snuggled in right next to me playing on my iPad. He saw me awake and said “I put your favorite song on for you, mommy”.  He was perched right there taking care of me. Tucking the blankets up, adjusting the speaker, just acting like a true gentlemen while wearing his puppy dog on a surfboard jammies and playing his abc’s. I can’t even…

My heart literally melted to mush and I said, “Thank you baby. You are so nice”.

He said. “ga welcome”. {because I can’t seem to correct the last few words he says in baby.}

I close my eyes and listen some more. This was a nice way to wake up, I think. I should do this more often. Then I must have stopped breathing for a second and thought, wait. How did this song come on? Greyson doesn’t use the speaker or the music on my iPad and while little homeboy can navigate Minecraft like no other, I’ve never seen him turn on and find this song. He doesn’t read. He’s 4. I opened my eyes again and said, “Greyson, what made you think to turn this song on for me?”

He looked those fierce baby blues at me and said as sweetly and matter of factly as could be…

“God told me to”.

Touchy Feely God with skin on moment accomplished. My soul is ever grateful. I mean over the top, grateful.

It is well, with me.

#beanoticer

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Hello, My Lovelies.

I have sat down to write too many times to count and the words won’t come.  So, I start messy and with a blog that won’t currently let me post pictures.

 

Let’s discuss the weather first. I’m telling you, I don’t know how I lived without seasons thus far. I find them to be amazing. From a girl who rearranges furniture and paints walls as often as I change my socks, I am totally on board with the let’s change things up every three months plan. The only thing I miss desperately is that 109 degree DRY heat of summer in Cali. That does not happen here. Although it hasn’t yet, maybe it will. One thing I am learning about Missouri, is anything weather related is possible. There is snow on the ground, birds are chirping, my fire is roaring, and our less than efficient temperature readings say it “feels like” 13 even though the temperature is 19. #lifecurrently

A couple of weekends ago, I was in Joplin, Mo and ate at a Chick Fil A that was leveled by the F5 tornado several years ago. The friends we were with drove us through the hardest hit areas. You still see remnants of the path. It’s unreal. I came home and geeked out watching documentaries about it and it is hard to wrap my mind around the fact that I live 2 hours from where that happened. Spring is coming fast and those thunderstorms are coming back. I could live without the tornado possibility, but they are unbelievable fascinating. If only I could see one in real life from a place where I was 100% safe. Ya know? #talesofanearthquakegirl

 

 

A couple of weeks ago, I went on a road trip with one of my daughters. We had never done that before…so fun. We drove 8 hours down to Texas to stay with some of my people and attended the Great Homeschool Convention in Fort Worth. I went to SO many great workshops and was able to spend hours looking through curriculum. So many of the writer’s of the curriculum were at this convention. It was awesome to be able to speak to them in person and learn from them.

One curriculum I really wanted to check out was FIVE IN A ROW. I really wanted to spend some time reading through it to see if it would be a good fit to do with MY BABY WHO WILL BE STARTING PRE K NEXT YEAR. (ugh). I get to their booth only to find it EMPTY. After several attempts over the first two days, I finally track down the creator of the curriculum who was there solo, WITHOUT his books!

Long story, he says.

So, I jokingly replied, well then I won’t tell you I came all the way from Missouri to see your curriculum!

I came down from Missouri.

Wow! I am from Kansas City area.

Really? I am from Lees Summit.

Um, me too.

and we continue this weird little geography back and forth until it turns out he lives exactly 1.1 miles from me. So, I am going over next week for coffee and to look at the curriculum in their home! #bam

WHAT ARE THE ODDS?????? It might be fate. 

Other convention highlights?

My daughter met Math U See Steve. #hesreallytall

I found two new curriculum treasures. ONE THAT I WILL BE REVIEWING SOON…stay tuned. It’s adorableness can not be explained properly.

I was eating lunch alone and Math U See Steve came and sat with me and had lunch with me. (My daughter might think I am famous now)

If you don’t do conventions and you homeschool, make it a priority to get to one. I am reminded every year when I go how NOT alone we are in this journey. We are not weird, well we are, but ya know. Go to the workshops, touch the books, pet them, wheel around a plastic cart or carry a canvas tote if you need to. You won’t be sorry. Do what you need to do to stay inspired. It’s a necessary part of what we do.

This was the best one I have ever been too. SO glad we went.

…and getting to see some of my bestest people was icing on the cake. So was eating at In ‘N Out… Dear Lord, if you see fit, could you please build an In ‘n Out in Missouri. Amen.

 

 

I am not sure if I technically live in the Bible belt or not, but let me tell you many things here are a far cry from anything I would see in California. Gas stations with full racks of shirts praising Jesus, Chick Fil A plays Christian music. I mean….

This was the same thought that I was having as I was in the Target bathroom and all of a sudden a song blatantly praising Jesus came on. I didn’t even realize Target played music. WOW. Totally not in Cali anymore. I closed my eyes for a minute and thanked God from the bottom of my heart for this little known gem I live in, in the middle of America. Fourteen months into this cross country move thang and I still mostly feel like an alien, but hearing this music…somehow just feels like I belong. So great.

Then I realize it was coming from my purse. From my phone. My make up case had decided to turn on my music.

*flushes toilet*

I can’t even…

 

 

Y’all things have been difficult around here. I want to fill endless posts of stories of beauty and there is beauty, but the truth of it is telling it has simply been too much some days and that is ok for now. My pride struggles a bit as well because I am tired of saying things are hard, but they are what they are and I have to be ok with that too. #toeverythingthereisaseason

I honestly can say that I have never been through a season in life where I feel quite so certain that Satan is so after my family, my home, our hearts, and our minds. 2013 was a brutal year and at the end of that year God in His sovereign mercy chose to swoop in and protect my family in ways only He can. So, I mapped out in my head what the next steps were going to be. I need to knock that off.

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I would like to say that 2014 has driven me to my knees. You know a pretty picture of rays of sunlight streaming in and there I am kneeling by my bedside, eyes softly closed and lips forming words to a prayer pleading with God for wisdom and help.

But no. It has been one where there is no energy for kneeling, so you lay bloody on the floor face down. Eyes swollen from tears that are just about to do you in and lips that are still because your soul is doing all the talking, the screaming really. Silently, yet louder than any noise heaven has heard before.

“I always thought that desperation was to be avoided at any cost. Now I am learning that being desperate isn’t always a reflection of a disaster but an attitude to cultivate. Desperation for God is a good thing. If you became desperate for God, do you understand what that could mean for the rest of your life?” 

“The kingdom of heaven means being near to the presence of God. The kingdom, the presence of God, is a blessing that comes to the poor in spirit. Poverty of spirit comes to us after we have tried to do life on our own and realize we cannot be enough. We have looked inside our souls and seen that nothing good is there. We have owned up to our sin and fessed up to our motives. We have yelled and cursed and screamed. We’ve finally let the truth of our insides out; into the light comes the reality of poverty. We come to see our emptiness for what it truly is: the absence of God. “

~Angela Thomas

 

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:3

And so the ah ha moment produces a different course of action. One that is not furiously scribbling out plans and to do lists of how to turn this mutha out. You know all the Pinterest inspired ways to be a better wife, a better mom, more clever, more organized, and more holy. All intended to get my junk together. Nope. It’s one I call the #bestill plan. One that is completely enveloped in one thing and one thing alone. Crawling up into the arms of my Savior and staying there in the shadow of His wings.  A longing that is felt in a way unmatched, other than when it is produced from complete and total desperation.

There is so much praise in pain.

Faith adds its “Amen” to God’s “Yea,” and then takes its hands off, and leaves God to finish His work. ~Streams in the Dessert

There is so much glory in pain.

 “Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.”

He’s doing just that and I have a front row seat.

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and with that…I swim.

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The Wordless Post

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Vulnerable Strength

Last Sunday, I sat in tears in church listening to my pastor recount a story of a competition that he did years ago. It ended by going up Heartbreak Hill. He described how spent he was and how he doesn’t do endurance things well. He talked about how his lungs were burning and he was tired and weary. As his body was shutting down and his legs wouldn’t move, one of his team members came back for him. He helped him, pulled him, and pushed him up Heartbreak Hill. (You can hear the sermon here.)

That is what Jesus does for us. When you come to Heartbreak Hill. He’s there. 

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“Just when you think you couldn’t be anymore tired and you don’t think you can take one more thing, you come to Heartbreak Hill. It’s the place where dreams die, where people stop. You kick and claw and you just can’t quite get ahead. You start to go forward and slide right back down.”

Grace is God hanging on to you when you can’t even hang on to Him.

Keep your eyes on the prize, not the pain.

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This has been an unmatchably difficult year or two and I have struggled in some very deep ways. Dealing with death and life and everything in between. Life is beautiful and yet I find myself at the bottom of Heartbreak Hill. Truly, down in the depths of my soul.

February 7th, my dear friend Joany passed away and when she died a very deep part of me awoke. It awoke with a pain that was too deep to smother and pretend that everything was ok. It was too deep.

God works in layers on our soul. Praise Him for His grace. Layer by layer, He has gently been working on me to let go and live without fear. While the pain that I experience with her dying was deep, I felt it…and that my friends is trust. That, is courage. For this world, as I am continuing to learn takes a healthy dose of both. For a woman who was such a blessing to me personally through her life, even in her death, she helped me.

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For a girl who has spent a great deal of her early life flying around about a million miles an hour to stay busy, to avoid feeling, to avoid hurt, the Lord is healing me of that over the last several years. When you live like that you may escape some deep pain, but you also sacrifice deep joy. It is no way to live. God does not want that for me or anyone else.

I am clawing, and kicking, and screaming and there is fight in me that comes straight from Him and I am grateful.

He is hanging on to me…

The desire for authenticity in this life runs deep. It is my fuel and my lifeline and the more I awake the more I crave and the more I see it everywhere.

We need each other in this lifetime. We need to tell our stories.

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…and today as we celebrated my daughter’s 10th birthday and carnivaled it up at my church all afternoon, I teared again.

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This time watching my other daughter on stage with a ministry she is involved in. They lead worship for the kids at our church and they were doing shows throughout the afternoon at the carnival. I am so grateful for this group of kids and the people who started this ministry. I am so grateful that she wants to spend her time singing and dancing and proclaiming God’s truth. I am so grateful that God has given my girl a place to make friendships and belong.

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…and they sing. Big or small, Jesus Heals it all. #amen

I cry because today is also Joany’s birthday and I can’t imagine the way her family misses her on this day particularly.

There is a time for everything. Ecclesiastes 3:1

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I know that these last months God is working in my heart in ways I have yet to understand and my head trusts. Yet, it has left me bloody and bruised, for real. You know those times in life?

I head out Monday morning to go back to my Ca people. I am flying out alone for a week. A week  jam packed full of therapy that my soul needs.

I also can’t wait until I am on the plane coming back home to my family. I am already dreaming of the moment that my three year old will run to me and scream and give me that amazing hug he gives. I can be sure of this because this is the response I get when returning from the grocery store, the post office, or on most days even the bathroom. I can’t wait to be back under the same roof with the five most important people in my life. To continue this journey that the Lord has me on.

I am ready to climb.

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A Big Giant Update

1. It’s customary that when I return from a blogging break, I make a list. Too much in my head to try and tie it all together in pretty paragraphs.

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2. I have jumped in the essential oil world with Young Living Oils. I can’t say emphatically enough that I wish I had tried them sooner. I kid you not. If you want any more information or have questions, please comment below or email me. I would be happy to share my experiences. We have seen significant improvement from things such as allergies (took my symptoms away 100% within a minute, I know hard to believe, yet true) to headaches, to drastic improvement with some issues with sensory processing with my children. I adore them. I’m all in. #wouldntyouliketobeahippietoo

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*totally loving when there are awesome friends who give your kids a fire station tour, complete with putting out the fire (or knocking over the cone), just because they’re cool like that.

My guy still talks about this, weeks later. Thanks Jeremy.

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3. I have been able to do a bit of photography. My calendar is starting to fill. It’s nice. I have missed it, yet enjoyed my time off as well. So many new places for photography. Seriously inspiring. When we first heard about the job opening in Missouri, I have to admit I had to look up exactly where it was. I just knew it was in the middle. This place is absolutely gorgeous.

leessummit Collage*head on over to Green Jeans Photography on Facebook to see more highlights from these fun sessions

4. How are we REALLY doing? My kids are adjusting. My church is seriously unbelievable and has taken my kids in and grabbed their hearts right quick, my whole family really. Don’t get me wrong, this move from Ca to Missouri has been incredibly challenging at times, but that much more rewarding as well. Every single thing is different. It isn’t just the obvious things like leaving family and friends, etc. Everything, everything here, is unfamiliar. The clouds are lower and the formations are incredible,  there are weird bugs, the sky moves (the clouds, like a lot) while the earth stays still, green is a whole new shade of green, the weather really does change every 5 seconds, it’s humid sometimes, it smells different, it feels different, and yes it looks different; mainly it’s flat, well not flat, but rolly like. I don’t see the Sierras here and there isn’t a palm tree to be found. There are no spare the air days. There are water towers everywhere, it rains in the spring and summer, I have seen more lightening here in the past five months than my entire life combined previously, times 10, people say “pop” for soda, they ask what earthquakes are like, I have had to explain smoking to my littles (it’s way more prevalent here than where we came from), lightening bugs rock my world. Even the Carl’s Jr. here is called Hardee’s. Go Figure. Cicadas are ridiculously loud as is the thunder. I have learned more about hunting, than I ever thought I would. I never get caught in traffic. Our house is the same size here as in Ca, just 3 stories instead of 1. 8 ft ceilings instead of 10-16 foot ceilings.

Different.

Nothing BIG is necessarily different. It’s just a thousand little things.

I get asked these things all the time. Yes, there are “regular” stores in Missouri…Target, Chipotle, Office Max, and Hobby Lobby. All the same things we were used to.

For a girl who lived a 40 years in Ca. I was ready for a change. So as different as it is, it’s been fun too. I guess it’s the season of dual emotions coexisting constantly.

Happy/ sad. Adventorous/ fetal. Excited/ homesick. Confident/ terrified.

No big deal. No wonder I am tired.

It has been an unbelievably stretching year for all of us. Because a million little things make up your world and when they almost all disappear, it takes some time. It just does. God never wastes an opportunity. He takes every challenge, every heartache, every new experience and works them all together for good.

It’s been 9 months that we have been here. The time that it takes to grow a baby, or the time it takes to move a family of 6- 1770 miles away and create a new life.

There is freedom here. Watching my husband be loved on and trusted and free to do and be who God has created him to be means the world. It is a gift that I watch unfold a little more each day and one that I cherish. I would follow this man anywhere…and the parting words from my dentist in Ca was, “you must love your husband if you would follow him to Missouri.” lol.  Turns out he led me to a little well kept secret in the midwest.

Don’t get too comfortable. Comfortable is no way to live. No way at all. God is the Master Creator and He molds and stretches and changes. Sometimes He reaches down and grabs you and moves you and does it quick. Sometimes He allows you to come all kinds of undone and puts you back together in the way you didn’t know you needed. It’s incredible. I trust. I am grateful. There are no words to express how grateful I am.

To. Be. Here.

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5. I am heading back to California soon for a visit. All by myself. I feel like I have lived an entire lifetime since I left. I can’t even handle the fun I have planned and the way I am going to miss my people that will be staying home. I can’t wait to hug my people in Cali…and I might be visiting a certain magical mouse. Seriously. We left so quickly I didn’t get a chance to say a proper goodbye. To the mouse, not the people…

 

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6. We have been exploring. Mansions, tea houses, antique and thrift stores, neighboring towns, parks, Truman’s house, and our lake. Kansas City has an amazing zoo. My high schoolers went to camp. I went to a retreat and had the opportunity to speak at a workshop there and be in some fun skit type things. My hubby attended and led worship at Man Camp. My daughter turned 14. My parents came to visit. My Nicole has come to visit. My Betsey has come to visit. My Ashley and her amazing family have come to visit. We have also rested. A ton. This summer has flown by and I am so ready for fall. We first came to Missouri last October and it was incredibly beautiful. I can’t wait to see it again.

 

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 *photo credit to Abundant Life Facebook page.

7.  Our church just broke ground on a new building recently. Today I was excited to see the first wall up. Frequent overflow lobby seating, which is way less than ideal, just prompted the launch of another service on Sunday @ 4:30 pm, as we wait for the completion of our new building. We now are busting the seams at a total of 8 services on Sundays and are anxiously awaiting the opening of the new 2100 seat auditorium in the fall of 2015. This church is so exciting. You know why? It’s not because of what they do, it is because of who they are. Followers of Jesus, and Jesus brings people here in number. Jesus changes lives and when you walk in the door you can see it on these faces. I’m so blessed to be here and learn, grow, serve and be a part of what God is doing here.

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*surprise phot0s on my camera rock

8. I ran my first backlight 5k. Well truth be told we walked it under giant lightening and big fat thunder. As if a backlight run isn’t enough, we did it with a thunderstorm. We were drenched to the core and very colorful. It was amazing. Like a therapy session but 1/10th of the price…and I still am finding color in places…

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9. I will leave you with this thought. Please tell me why we have a Bank of the West here in Missouri, when we are more on the east than the west…and furthermore why isn’t it called the mideast? There should be an east, mideast, midwest, and west. Don’t you think that makes more sense? Because it’s current set up is weird. I give you exhibit A….

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and that’s what’s up…

Happy Sunday…More on our first week of school coming soon!

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Easter And Stuff

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Easter has come and gone again. I love what Easter is about. However, honestly, I am not in to the eggs, and dying, and new clothes, and baskets, and all of that. I know how grinch like, but it’s true. We are pretty low key around here about this holiday. Church was spectacular this past Sunday. Every single bit pointed straight to Jesus and what this holiday is really about. It was fabulous.

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Last Thursday we picked Grandma J, Shawn’s mom, up at the airport and she left today. She braved our post cross country move chaos of a house, that courageous soul. We spent a lot of time focused on Shawn getting ready for church services, playing games, watching lightening, exploring Kansas City, cooking, and just chilling.

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We went downtown Kansas City the day after Easter and it is pretty much one of my favorite things to do these days. So much to explore.

Power Light District

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Union Station

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Crown Center

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I hope you all had a marvelous weekend celebrating and being together with family and/or friends.

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Also, thank you for such encouraging emails, messages, texts, and comments after my recent post about my own health journey. It is always so amazing to me how many struggle and understand exactly what I am saying when I write about this. When I feel like hitting publish is the world’s stupidest idea ever, I do it anyway because in my experience stupid often times brings about the best possible things. This time, yet again, it did.

Satan sure uses junk food, over eating, under eating, too much exercise, not enough exercise, eating from boredom, eating for comfort, eating for every wrong reason there is, laziness, pride, addictions to success, addiction to control, fear of failure and the lot of it to lure us straight away from the foot of the cross.

I heard or read recently somewhere to stop living according to your feelings and live according to the truth. This is my focus. Laying it down. Living arms wide open. Giving Him control. Day by day. Minute by minute…

“Lord cleanse me of anything that breaks your heart”.

AND IN OTHER NEWS…

P.S. You know what people? My pantry worked!! The shelves are still up and nothing broke. Thanks to Rocky and LeRoy at Lowes and their hour long consult extravaganza with me to double check my plans (blog post to come), and a long distance phone consult with my dad when I hit a small problem, I have a shiny new pantry. Plus, this past weekend, I wallpapered for the first time. My dining room is getting all fancy too.

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p.s.s. I stepped behind the camera for a few head shots of this stunning girl, this past weekend. She was one of the very first people I met when we landed in Mo for the first time. Only fitting she should be my first official client in Mo as well.

Alyssa5a

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Musings From Missouri

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1. I think I over use the word musings. It is a fancy word. I like fancy.

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2. We are starting to feel settled in our house. There was so much work to do and big ticket items to purchase, but we have the basics almost done. We have successfully obliterated most of the oak throughout the house. The kitchen cabinets are my project for the summer! Over the next year, as budget allows, the frills will come. You know the throw pillows, curtains, candles, rugs, and things like that. I will tackle it room by room. BUT- let me tell you I am in love with this house. I love the feel of it. The back yard view sold me from day one. It seems kinda like you are living in the country, but the other way, one street over is a giant lake and tons of houses. The only big bummer is they will not allow chickens here. That is sad, but I once again buy eggs at Trader Joes. Which, off topic, rumor has it, we might get one here. If you are bored, please go to the Trader Joe’s website and request a location in Lees Summit, Mo. The check out gal told me to do it. She said they listen. Couldn’t hurt, right?

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3. West Bottoms. Oh. Wow. It’s like my dreams came to life. #noreally. Amazing things. In old brick buildings. Blocks and blocks of it, for Dirt cheap. Best. Shopping. Ever. The. End.

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4. I went to a homeschool convention recently and it was so stinkin’ fabulous to be around grown ups. I went to workshops and walked the exhibit hall. It was nice to use my brain. The conferences re energize me every year. I am finalizing my choices for next year. Our SIXTH year of homeschooling???? WHAT?????? :) Never say never, remember that. You’ve been warned!

5. I have always heard that people in the midwest are so kind. I think it’s crazy to generalize a whole geographical region that way. I mean who started that? However, people here are very nice. Very. Not just the people from my church, but it sure does seem people in general are less in a hurry and more willing to engage in a conversation. BUT THEN, the drivers here? Another story. Four separate times I have been cussed at, flipped off, and yelled at in a manner that is shameful. My kids have seen it all and we’ve decided maybe it’s my California plates? Need to change those and see if things improve, lol. It’s not my driving skills. I did nothing. Don’t go there. Really, I’m an excellent driver ;).

6. I went to Kobe Steakhouse/Casting Crowns with a bunch of peeps from church. Had. A. Blast. This Friday we are going to a dinner and the symphony. We are being spoiled rotten and enjoying every second. So many things to do, see, and explore. It’s ridiculously fun.

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7. The weather. Hmmmmm. We had a couple thunder/lightening situations which I heard were “nothing”. Nothing my foot, I say. We just never had weather like that in California. Period. BUT overall, I am loving the change in seasons. It’s amazing and I am SO glad we get to experience it. You know all those activities about the change of seasons you do in elementary school? They make sense now.

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8. Have you ever been to Costco and purchased a tv, 2 rotisserie chickens, and a bag of chips? These items snuggled in with my treasures from West Bottoms and we made it home, chuckling all the way. Not sure why that is funny, but somehow it is.

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9. I love that God knows your dreams and what will fill your soul and prepares you for things in your life, long before you ever even dream them. Our church and new city are like that for us. We didn’t look on the map and find a “cool” place, and the best school districts, and the perfect weather, and a certain size church. We prayed, God lead us and when we get there, show us the beauty. In fact, to be honest, all I knew about Missouri was that it was somewhere in the middle-ish. But in reality it is this hidden gem that I didn’t know existed and I just love it here. Let me just tell you what God does. He works all things together for my good. This move has stretched us, caused more discussions, arguments, forgiveness, and new levels of honesty in our family then I could have prepared for. It has been stupidly hard and infinitely worth it. The best things in life do not come for free. When you look for the beauty, you WILL find it, wherever you are. For beauty is God breathed and He is everywhere. He hand picked Lees Summit, Mo for such a time is this and I am beyond grateful. This past weekend, I had one of the nicest things said to me I have ever heard. I was thanked because this person said it was apparent that our family moved here with our hearts. There are no words for that to me. For my tired and overworked heart, it clicked into place immediately. This is why the sleepless nights and shed tears have been so many. We did just that. We just want to follow Him with our whole hearts. Whatever that looks like.

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10. I created a wall of our people. I am working on getting the frames all filled, but it makes me so incredibly happy.

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11. I have an empty pantry, not even shelves. It is this weekend’s project. Wish me luck and pray that the unsuspecting Lowe’s dude will make all the cuts I need on the lumber, because I have plans and no saw. Maybe I should buy one.

12. How big does the rock need to be? I mean, really?

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Happy Friday, my friends. I will be back next week, hopefully with a glorious new and well organized pantry!

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Just Some Stuff

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We have keys!!

It was another delay from Friday to Monday. We signed papers Friday night at 9:30 pm. We were just waiting to hear on Monday from the money peeps that the final details were done and we could get keys. So image our torture, all weekend. Waiting. The house was sitting there empty, but we couldn’t get in. On Monday, we finally got word that we were homeowners in the afternoon and this is the response from my realtor. LOL. He is crazy, that one, and thankfully was kidding and met us within the hour. He’s been fantastic.

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Our home is currently getting some work done and we are still hanging out in the rental home. I am a huge fan of DIY but there is just only so many hours in the day and the wish list of projects on this 21 year old home was lengthy. So, we have hired some professionals to tackle a big chunk of some things upfront while the house is empty.

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No doubt, after we move in I will keep myself entertained by doing smaller projects here and there, but I am so thankful that we are able to have this done upfront. After the stress of the last year and the move it was going to be beyond fantastic to have these things all done for us and done right! I tend to cut corners :)

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We have had some time to hang out in the home and I have spent a lot of time flipping through pinterest, wallpaper books, and paint decks. In addition, decorating via text with my mama and a couple of my girls back in CA. I love technology. Shawn and a bunch of fabulous guys from church scraped all of the popcorn texture off of the ceiling and then the pros came in. They have a lot to do and we are 4 days into a 8-10 day job. It is nice to live so close, they call us over often to approve things and they have been fantastic.

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I seriously can’t wait to see the transformation of this house. Can’t wait to be home.

Meanwhile, we have been settling in. I get asked a lot if we are “doing school”. The answer is yes. However, it looks about a million percent different than normal. Thi is one of the 10,000 reasons I love homeschooling. There have been a lot of ups and downs of emotions with this move and I feel like we have been able to work through them with the kids while maintaing their studies. Some days school is at night, some in the morning, and sometimes at Chick Fil A. We have been able to take breaks when we need and go to the mall and ride a train. Go see a matinee and just relax. It has been needed.

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The older two kids have started part time, to take science and study hall and lunch:), for the remainder of the year at an awesome Christian homeschool enrichment school. It is set up like a college, in that you select the courses you want at the time you want and pay for those. Plus they have a whole bunch of student life activities and it has been great for the teens to be there and it has been fun to have some time with just the little ones.

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I have been asked a bunch about our new church. Things are going great and we love it, a lot. It is a perfect fit in so many ways. So many exciting things going on here and Shawn and I both feel incredibly blessed to be a part of it.

I have so many things to be grateful for. I still can not believe I live in Missouri. With the keys in hand and an official address it just seems super real now. A new wave of homesickness has set in and I believe will be here for awhile. As exciting as a new home is, quite honestly we just don’t feel completely at home here yet in Missouri, that just takes time. So, it’s just weird. As we unpack our things and put them away and create our new home over the next week or two, it becomes all the more real…and I am confident it will heal hearts.

Our prayer is to simply be used by Him. That’s what this move has been all about.

Faith. Blind faith.

Following Jesus and trusting Him.

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Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, present your requests to God. ~Phil 4:6

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So Close

You know how there is real reality and then emotional reality?

Reality is escrow was delayed for the third time. Emotionally it sorta feels like we may never move in. This real estate journey has been long.

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I’m feeling just as I was feeling one night when I was sitting outside my home on Guanache Ct in Sacramento. I was 36.5 weeks pregnant with my fourth child. I was 1.5 weeks into a 3 week bed rest. I had a firm end date because this baby inside of me was a giant and they would be evicting him at 38 weeks. Yet, still I sat outside drinking hot cocoa, wrapped in a blanket and crying because I felt like he was never coming out. I also knew after three previous children, that there would come a day that I would so desperately miss having that little guy in my belly. Sure enough he came out, all 10.6 lbs of him. Sure enough I miss having him in my belly…desperately.

I have no pregnancy hormones to blame. Just feeling unsettled and so ready for our own place. So, I am bummed.

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We had a big weekend planned. Lots of people planning and ready to help us do some work on our new home. Moving stuff out of our Uhaul Pods and into the garage. Time in my home with my paint deck and pencil and notepad to pick paint colors.

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All that has been changed. Change is hard right now because we have all had a lot, but the reality is we will close on the house soon. We will look back on the days in this house and miss them. I know we will.

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I am SO grateful to be purchasing this home and I am so excited to move in. Like Christmas morning times a million excited.

And so we wait….

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