Category Archives: My kids

All The Things.




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


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.



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.


*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.


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


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…


*do not mess with parks in Missouri


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


*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.


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.


*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.





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Four Years Old.



…and just like that he is four. Absolutely one of the brightest spots of my life.


This fall has been crazy. Emma turning 10, Greyson turning 4, my oldest turning 16, our 20th anniversary next month, along with all the regular holidays at this time of year. Not to mention we are grieving and adventuring our way through our year of “firsts” here in Missouri. So, on a Sunday I was like, “aaaah I want to have a party for Greyson”. We were so happy that with six days notice we had a houseful of friends young and old to help celebrate our little man. We had a little breakfast party using some 90% superhero decorations that I ridiculously moved from California to Missouri, hoping I would use them one day.






*that empty plate soon held a yummy stack of quiche :)




On Greyson’s actual birthday, Grandma J was in town and Shawn was able to take the day off. We went to “high town”, which is Greyson’s name for downtown Kansas City. We played at the park, visited Union Station and his beloved trains, and ate Chipotle.

Just a couple weeks after his birthday, we snuck in this quick Pinterest inspired little photo shoot.







It was 22 degrees and downright unacceptable weather for a photo session outdoors, lol. BUT we made it happen.

Happy Birthday Little Man.

Your mommy absolutely adores you.

Greyson’s Birth day

Greyson’s First Birthday Monster Party

PicMonkey Collage g4

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The Wordless Post





















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But Today

My husband was away on a work trip overnight. I usually have no issues when he leaves, but it was kinda weird being left in Missouri with the kids alone. Just extra alone feeling, I suppose. With Joany passing away last Friday this has been a very difficult week. In addition, it just didn’t work out for me to make the 1770 mile trip home for her services, which reminded me how very far away I am from home. This will be the first of a long list of moments that I am going to not be there for. Things are different. I stopped drinking vats of diet coke cold turkey last Friday. We got quotes back on the work we wanted to have done before we moved into the house and they were all too high. So, we will be needing to do a lot of it ourselves.  I think I definitely have entered a “poor me” stage. Then to top it off we found out escrow was delayed a few days. Not really a big deal, but there was a very sentimental reason that we wanted it to close on the 14th and now it won’t and that was kinda the straw.

So, this morning I laid in bed feeling sorry for myself and then I decided to get up and knock it off. Time to get out of the house and have some fun. So I grabbed the camera and we left. With zero plan.

Cleanliness is next to godliness. So this seemed like an excellent place to start. Car washes in Missouri are weird. First, there are people inside them. I don’t understand this.


Second, there are no full service washes that I have found. So at the end of the wash if you want the interior done you have to get out in the two degree weather and vacuum it yourself. I just can never do it as good as those car wash dudes anyway, and then if you want the dashboards and stuff wiped down, hopefully you brought your own supplies. Not really a problem, I get it, just modern conveniences, you know.


But there is rainbow soap and this is the redeeming quality. For years when the kids where little we would turn up the music, I’d let them out of their seats and we would drive through and have a car wash dance and the highlight which always evoked screams was the rainbow soap. I can smell it now. This isn’t quite rainbow, but purple will do just fine.


Next Stop. Fritz’s.


The place where trains reign supreme. Waitress bring drinks and yell choo choo. There are train whistles and noises everywhere. You call on the phone at your table to order and the train literally drives to your table, stops, and lowers your food down to you.


There are trains everywhere, and everywhere else, literally.


It made me happy to watch my three year old. He is a hard core train dude and his little heart was about to burst.


Next we wandered around Crown Center where the restaurant was located. We stumbled upon a Wizard of Oz exhibit. Free. Completely free.


These people are unknowingly in my photo album forever. Do you ever wonder how many people’s photo albums you are in as an extra? Something to think about.




We found all kinds of other treasures.





Kalidescope, sponsored by Hallmark. A serious creative wonderland. It’s this whole world with craft supplies galore. You take a bag, you create as long as you want, and then you take everything home. I could not believe when the gal said, “come on in, it’s free.”

Don’t mind if we do…





A dirty diaper caused a premature escape to the car because we brought nothing in. I had no idea there was a whole mall and all this stuff. We thought we were going into the restaurant and back to the car.

So one upside of snow? You keep a sled in your trunk and it is the perfect place to keep little things from rolling around and it also doubles as a comfy bed for diaper changes.


We took a long drive around Kansas City. It has such a similar vibe to San Francisco. I feel at home down there. I kept expecting to turn the corner and see the Golden Gate but no such luck ;). I do miss the ocean here. It’s my favorite. But I pretty much love downtown. SO much to do. So fun.


And since we were blessed with 46 degree temps. We rolled the windows down and turned the music up on our drive.


I couldn’t help showing the kids West Bottoms. It’s going to be a place they are photographed often :)




As the sun was setting we stopped at Target to get a couple of last minute Valentines things and then finished the day up with drive thru eat in the car dinner and a trip to the library.



One foot in front of the other, and a day out of the house taking in everything new with these four munchkins was good for the soul. I do so love our new home. Feeling normal here will take time and on the hard days I need to remember this day.

There will be hard days. Today started out as one.

But today ended very different. Hearts full and tired.

We can not control our life, one single bit. BUT we can control how we respond.

There’s good everywhere. Somedays you just have to look a little harder for it. Surely you WILL find it.

I promise.

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First Snow

We fell in love with the steady snowfall all day long. So beautiful.

Praising God for new experiences.





















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She Is Thirteen




Remember when I struggled with THIS???? It doesn’t get easier watching them grow…

I am glad I got to sneak in a few shots for her 13th birthday in between client sessions before we left California. We were several months after her 13th birthday, but we got some.

I wanted to completely embarrass her by posting some adorable newborn photos of her, but alas my photo albums are in California and I am in Missouri, so she will escape for now.

A beautiful little lady, with a giant heart of gold…..









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Just Us


Oh pictures!

We tried these today. I decided yesterday to do them.

Everyone grab clothes in your closet. No fresh hair cuts, new outfits, nothing. Real life complete with grumpiness and running late so we had about 18 minutes to get this done before the sun went to sleep, and no time to flat iron my hair.

A toddler running everywhere, a mom feeling mom frumptastic, and my remote stopped working so I did the whole timer and run thing. HA!

I love my family!

PicMonkey Collage

…and did I mention this is in my backyard? Going to miss this view!!!!






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The Donut Shop

There’s something about the box. In order to the get the “box” you have to buy 12, so we rarely do. We have really changed our diet quiet dramatically and definitely don’t do this often, but sometimes the pink box calls and sometimes it is best to listen.


A few weeks ago, I sat with my littles at the donut shop. I put the purchased donuts in the center of the table and we each take a fourth of the different kinds. It equals a whole, but you get four different kinds. Perfect. Why eat one whole donut when you can eat one whole donut made up of four different kinds?

As we sit on the run down vinyl chairs, a woman walks in with four children of her own, and she begins talking to the police offer, perfectly placed in my favorite donut shop. {The use of the word favorite implies that I have tried multiple donut shops and have chosen this as the top choice. Guilty. Donuts tend to be my favorite junk food.} They make some small talk and he asks where the children go to school. She says, “I homeschool”. I literally want to jump and scream and go “me too” “me too”. It is like I realize we are part of some secret society and I need for her to know I am a member. I sit silent and in utter astonishment, as I hear the police offer begin to give heartfelt praise her for her education choice. He tells her what a wonderful option homeschooling is and how awesome it is that she is giving that gift to her kids. I sat watching wishing it was appropriate for me to get up and hug them both, but then I remember my children (2 of which are teens). I realize it would probably cause permanent scaring to them. There is no way that they could wrap their hormone supercharged brains around why their mom is hugging total strangers…in the donut shop, over homeschooling. I refrain.

My desire to hug ran deep because I remember the not too long ago days where I would just get mortified at the sideways glances people give over our education choice. My kids have been made fun of for being home schooled. I have been the recipient of strong opinions against our homeschool choice. Homeschooling is tough and all of the disagreement and objections can make it SO much harder. Hearing these two kindred spirits made me happy. I agree with them. I agree wholeheartedly. It is a wonderful option.

As I enter my fifth year of homeschooling, I am so at peace. There are definitely challenges. Challenges for me, challenges for my kids, and challenges in our home. BUT challenges, or the lack there of DOES NOT DEFINE or confirm God’s will in our life. They never should. He does that.

After an over busy summer, I find my self burned out, struggling to keep my head above water with all of the responsibilities I have in the next month. Yet, I realize that my God, who created the universe,  made 24 hours in the day and that is enough. I no longer pray for more time, but pray to discern how to use the time I have been given. As I shift focus these last 27 days before the new school year begins {on Sep. 9th} from daily playing, to deep cleaning and organizing the house, preparing curriculum, decorating and organizing the classroom, and trying to discern what needs to be completed and what should be set aside, I can say it is well with my soul. {one of my favorite songs of all time.} Last Friday, I unexpectedly found myself strolling through an antique shop and my heart stopped as I saw this little guy hanging there for just $5.00. {Ever since seeing, this I have been wanting to display those words in my home}.


Fast forward to yesterday. Back to the donut shop and I am paying. There is a gentleman who has been talking to the clerk. He is an older man, likely in his 70’s, he says “why are women only nice before they are married?” His eyes are twinkling with fun. I chime in,”hey, I have been married for 18 years and I am still nice”.

“You look nice” the gentleman says.”What’s your name, young lady”?


“That’s a cute name. A real cute name. Where’d you meet your husband?”

“Church… and today he is a worship pastor.”

“He says no wonder you are happy. Have a GREAT day, today, Darcy”

“I will” and as we say our good byes and I walk away, pink box in hand, I hear him say, “thats a real cute name, Darcy. I like that.”


That man had a twinkle in his eye like no other. It made me happy.  Sometimes donuts hit the spot like no other. Many times I feel like there isn’t enough hours in the day. Yesterday I woke up crying because of the sheer exhaustion life can bring. Then we got up, ate donuts, and did a little swing dancing in our back yard, and it was good.

Today, my to do list is longer than Santa’s, naughty or nice list.

But It is well with my soul.



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You are my sunshine, my only sunshine


*my 8 year old made a birthday breakfast with a little help from Pinterest and her daddy.


*and she spent her quarter chore money on a Target gift card for her sister. Every last cent. 


You make me happy when skies are gray


You’ll never know dear, how much I love you


Please don’t take my sunshine away



Man, I love her.

A bittersweet (for mama’s heart) celebration of the end of her childhood and the beginning of her teen years.

Time indeed does fly swiftly by.

I love you Taylor Grace.


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