Category Archives: Random

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.


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


*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.


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.


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.



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…






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.



 *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.


*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…

PicMonkey Collage

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….


and that’s what’s up…

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

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Alright friends! Here is the deal.

It is time for a giveaway. I don’t do giveaways unless they are a thing that all my friends need in their lives. It’s kinda a rule I have.

I met Alicia through Amy and they are both fabulous. The kind that you hope to meet in real life someday so that you could hug their face off, ya know?


Alicia blogs at Investing Love. She has four adorable littles, is a homeschool mama, and beyond creative. Love, Love, Love her blog.



Anyway, if you homeschool, then you just gotta have these in your arsenal.

Mrs Hutchinson’s Classroom Guides

No for real, you need them.

Homeschool Basics– NOT just for newbies. She included solutions for everyday problems, curriculum guide, tons of printables, and more. $7


Planning and OrganizingShe included almost 20 pages of printables for you to use as well as tips on how to organize your schoolroom, you lesson planner, your yearly plans, and your daily schedules. This guide also covers tons of tips on getting through the nitty gritty of organizing and keeping things in order. $7

Please go get some cookies and a cup of tea and head on over to sit and read up on the details on these ebooks!



and ya know what? She has another title coming out soon, Make Homeschooling Fun.

and ya know what else? She just released her lesson planner. For just $7. It’s modern, simple to use, cute, and practical.



Enter below to win a copy of BOTH of her ebooks!!!!  Homeschool Basics and Planning & Organizing!!!


Good Luck!!!







a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Six More Days

Look what arrived today. We will be packing up all our earthly possessions into these wooden boxes that are labeled water resistant {not waterproof} and sending them 1800 miles across the country with complete strangers. There they will sit in storage indefinitely, somewhere, while we continue our search for a house. Not weird at all. Oh my word.


After some lengthy inspection reports revealed just too many issues, we decided to not continue the deal on the country property. We continued our search online and I stumbled upon an adorable home. Five days ago I viewed it via FaceTime with my realtor and fell in love with so many things about the house. The trouble is, my realtor hasn’t been able to get back inside since. There are some issues going on that I am not quite sure of the details. We were seriously considering putting an offer in after a hopeful second FaceTime walk through. However now, I don’t know. Apparently they are not currently showing it. Props to all you realtors out there because I just have never understood the market. Things aren’t coming together in the house purchase part of our move, not yet.

weather*I have never stepped foot in zero degree temps. Literally never. 

I had the best breakfast last week with some of my girls. Copy us. It’s fabulous.

Head to McDonalds. Order a side of pancakes and a chocolate chip cookie. Give them back the butter and syrup because you are not going to use it. Break the cookie in half and fold inside a pancake like a taco. The pancakes are served incredibly hot and they will slight melt the cookie. Your welcome.


My family took a night off from everything and went out to be Christmasy, just the six of us. We saw lights and more lights and a cute little show downtown and met Santa. I am having trouble feeling Christmasy this year. I am thinking Santa Clause 3, Elf, and sugar cookies are on the agenda for tomorrow. This is getting desperate. I am running out of time for Christmas cheer. Even the kids feel it. My nine year old actually said, “Mommy, I wish Christmas Eve was farther away.” I told her that next year’s was 367 days away. She said, “I can’t wait”.



*I blinked


Packing is going slow. Really slow. Mainly because I am choosing to spend my days with my people instead of my boxes. Also because I stop for photo sessions with toys. I can’t help it. You might call it, living in the moment and this moment screamed, “bunch up and act natural”.


We are big Christmas people. Christmas is something we count down literally all year. I actually have an app. However, this last month has been a countdown to Dec. 29th. The day we begin our next chapter. We have filled these last days as full as they can handle with memory making moments. The hugs, and prayers, and tears, and conversation has just made me sob with gratitude of how blessed I have been with the friends and people we have in our life. These days every second matters. No time wasted. People. People. People. Getting together and saying goodbye and telling each other what we mean to each other. Dude. Nothin’ better. I promise you, I don’t ever remember my heart being this full. Why do we wait for goodbyes to amp up the love to quite this level. I vow to change that from here forward because feeling this loved rocks and I wanna make others feel this way too.

I can not fathom that in a few short days we will be pulling into our new state. It feels like we are prepping for an awesome vacation, but it is somewhat unbelievable that we are not coming back home. In some ways, I just don’t think I have wrapped my head around it at all.

Normally, I sit down and blurt out my blog posts. If I can’t write, I stop and wait until I can. This blog is a journal for me and a place to remember what God does. This post has been very difficult to write because somehow I want to articulate all the feelings simultaneously happening in my heart. I just can’t find the words.

Because I am everything. All. At. Once. and I mean everything.









and when I think about the future, my heart races. He’s got big plans.


Tomorrow is Christmas Eve and I wish you the very best. We will be savoring every second of our last days in California with my family and our friends. We leave early in the morning on the 29th and I will be blogging as my heart allows. :)

Merry Christmas y’all…and to all a good night.


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House Hunting

There are 5,675,439 decisions that need to be made when one moves a family of six across the country. The reason I know this is because we have discussed them all. Every. Single. One. Our new home is a big piece of this and so we decided to drive one of the cars out, leave it in Missouri and then fly home. Hopefully, finding a place to live in between. We had two days booked with our realtor and a number of properties to view that we had picked out online.


Whenever we go visit my husband’s family in the northwest, we stop at Taco Time as many times as possible because it is the most ridiculously good, bad for you food, ever. Guess what we found just a few hours into our trip, in the middle of nowhere? Yeah, baby. All decked out in roadside cuteness. The food was delicious, we gained 8.2 pounds in one #4 combo meal, and I reconfirmed my desire to someday be a restaurant decorator…because THAT would be fun.


We had a car concert following lunch. It was quite eclectic. Somewhere, in the nothingness of Nevada, Lisa Lisa and the Cult Jam came on to which I promptly blurted out…”that’s my jam” because really? I loved the song. It was indeed my jam and because I have always wanted to use that phrase in a sentence and see if I could do it without laughing. WHO ACTUALLY TALKS  LIKE  THAT??? 


Before leaving home we discussed planning out our road trip. You know figuring out our hotels, etc. I went as far as to bookmark hotels to make reservations, but I just couldn’t do it. Not too often do you get to get in the car and drive for 1800 miles and the rigidness of the “r” word and a confirmation number made me squirm.

We had a “plan” or a desire really, to get to Rock Springs, Wymong on day one because according to the cursor that you can drag across Mapquest, that appeared to be the middle. No reason to make reservations anyway because honestly who in the world would be in Rock Springs, Wyoming on a Monday night at midnight?


Oh, I will tell you who. EVERYONE. As I jumped out onto the icy streets in my flip flops to multiple hotels, I was repeatedly told they were full. F U L L. Upon further questioning and a very nice clerk at a Hampton Inn, I found out that Rock Springs, Wyoming is apparently usually sold out m-th due to oil workers from Texas. Huh? We were fortunate to find a room we were told after the clerk called around for us. The only room we could find, a suite at the Hilton for $130. I secretly was thrilled that we “had” to suffer through the agony of that exquisitely adorned room and all of its luxuries. I slept like a baby, ate fruit loops for breakfast, and enjoyed my 8 hours of bliss. Lesson learned, maybe.

We pulled into Lees Summit the next day at about 1:30 am. We had a place to stay for a couple nights that the church let us borrow. It was darling. We slept fabulous again and I awoke to the sound of distant thunder. I must of dozed back off and then I re awoke to quite an intense noise, that I didn’t immediately recognize. Once I realized what was going on, I jumped up to watch hail, lightening, and thunder welcome me to that first morning in Missouri. I honestly am looking forward to four seasons. I think it’ll be kinda cool. I like dramatic things.

House Hunting. Day 1.


Look at this downtown. I get to live here with all of its adorableness.

I just may have stepped into the fifties.



We met up with our realtor and were off. At our top choice and our third house of the day to look at, I was done. I fell in love, immediately, with this home. It was as wonderfully eccentric in real life as on the internet. My heart fluttered. One of the bathrooms had an exposed brick wall. That’s all I need. When you add in the claw foot tub I am down right giddy. Looking out the kitchen window you overlook the neighbors big white barn and I vowed to cook a cherry pie immediately after moving in, if we should get this home.


We continued on with our realtor, looking at other options, and finding back up homes, all the while discussing the antics of my crazy Greyson. I was trying to explain how the lack of fences in Missouri would just not work out for him, how laundry shoots would become tunnels to climb up, and catwalks in any home is just an opportunity for balance beam practice. If you have been around this blog long or know this boy in real life you will know what I mean. I, in fact, gave birth to my own little Houdini. My realtor even told me after we had been home to say hi to Greyson because he felt like he knew him already.

Day two began with no hail and more charming downtown cuteness as we met up with our new pastor. We chatted some, and prayed some, and he said some of my favorite words ever, “you gotta follow your heart”. And after another day of looking at properties, we went back to the house we loved and did just that. We made an offer.


Our last night in Missouri was spent at a hotel close to the airport. After the Rock Springs incident, I went ahead and made a reservation at this hotel while we were still way back somewhere along i80 in Nebraska. It was a great pick. Inexpensive, clean, and super adorable. We went hot tubbing, swimming, watched Friend’s reruns, signed electronic documents on the house, and so enjoyed the last night of our trip.


We were taken to the airport in a shuttle van early the next morning, with praise music blasting. I am still in shock over that one. However, the real bummer of this trip came when I looked out gate 63 and saw this.


I promptly informed my husband that I had no intention of getting on this plane, as if I had some sort of control over this. I wished for a brief moment I was someone of fame so that I could snap a finger and get a plane that had engines and held more people. They seem better to me.

It was a horrific flight. No joke. Just awful. I made friends with the two stewardess who took turns patting my shoulder and bringing me kleenexes for my tears. Constantly explaining to me the constant turbulence was normal due to the small size of the plane and the fact that I was in the last row and blah, blah, blah. All I knew was this was the second time in a month I was on a plane in the skies of Missouri crying from a mix of hating to fly and overwhelming emotion.


We land in Denver and get out of the plane and are told to stand on the Tarmac in the thirty degree weather waiting for our carry ons. It was then confirmed in my head the stupidity of the situation and I made a mental note to always check which aircraft would be taking you, before booking. This propeller deal is so NOT O. K.


I happily entered a regular sized plane for the second flight of the day. Calm and content with in air tv and quickly brought back to mild terror when the pilot announced that our flight would be “moderately bumpy”. Words you don’t want to hear. It’s like when a doctor tells you something is going to painful. You just know you are in for it. Indeed, about an hour in, service was discontinued, and as the stewardesses took their seats, I tightened my seat belt as tight as I could for an hour of “moderate turbulence”. Moderate? my. foot. We bounced for an hour. I made good friends with the gal next to me and literally arm and in arm with her and clenching Shawn’s hand we jostled our way into Sacramento airport. I was green and ill and praying to not use the air sick bag and thinking how high maintenance I was. Bleh. No. Fun.

But the trip? I will always remember. I am so grateful for this new beginning. For the ability to purchase a home. For a third get away with my husband in the last couple of months. For all of God’s blessings.

And for the little house in the country that someday soon just might be home.

…what a journey.

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Green Jeans. Fall 2013.


Some of my favorite blog posts include going through the last couple of months of my photography work and pulling out a few of my favorite images. Each session is unique. I really try and make it easy going and fun with people because let me tell you… I am camera phobic in the worst way and I get it when people do not enjoy being on the receiving end of photos!

One of my favorite phrases to hear when we are all through at a session is, “that wasn’t so bad”.  :)

End of summer and early fall starts to get crazy as people gear up for the holidays. I was awaiting five baby boys on my calendar, as well as a wedding. I am learning each and every day and I love it.

I have literally been working daily right now trying to keep up. Shooting by day and editing by night.

Will have lots of holiday photos to show you soon.





















StemmlerCollage Stemmlercollage2 Taylor8a



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If you would have told me when I wrote THIS, that just 30 days later I would be where I am today, I would have promptly said, ha..HA. Not because I don’t believe God provides, because I do. Rather, many times I am a realist and I know that the process of finding a new position as a pastor should have, in human eyes, taken 4-6 months, at minimum. But God took my ha, Ha and dished it right back and said, “baby girl, I am going to take care of you and yours in ways you can’t even imagine.”

The last 4 weeks have been a whirlwind. Multiple options came flooding in and I tell you it was awesome on many levels. When you are looking at the calendar and your last paycheck is rapidly approaching and your new paycheck is not yet secured, the opportunity to freak out becomes an attractive option. It took a moment by moment choice to believe that all would be ok. Paycheck or no paycheck. Sometimes I was successful and sometimes my friends talked me off of the ledge.

Then came Missouri, the SHOW ME STATE.  SHOW ME? It just all seems too appropriate. God’s humor is not wasted with me.


A four day interview trip with only a couple of days notice. I could go on and on about the things I loved about our trip. The people, the place, and the opportunity for my husband, but I will tell you above all…they speak our hearts. From detail to detail…they speak our hearts… AND that’s when we knew. God made it abundantly clear to us all.


After lots of prayer, talking, and lots of research…my husband has accepted a new position as the Creative Arts Pastor at a church in Lees Summit, Missouri, just outside of Kansas City. I am so proud of him. He’s going to rock it.


* My greeting upon entering Kansas City International Airport. Lord, I said anywhere, but really what I meant was anywhere withOUT tornados.

It is amazing how God seamlessly winds the trials and blessings of life to be a perfectly knit balance. I have tried to stay present and open and not miss one ounce of these days. I know full well the ability that I have to miss something. Life changes like this have forced my husband and I into lots of late night and early morning talks. When I say forced, I mean that it has driven the conversation into deep, deep, deep waters. D E E P ones. Good ones. Hard ones, but ones you can tend to not get into super often. Evaluating how we know God is speaking, why God calls us where, what does ministry really look like, and on and on and on….I have to be honest, I am t i r e d.


*darling little postcard scene right in the middle of Lees Summit.

I have struggled in this process. Struggled deeply at times. Somedays I wake up and wonder when I will ever feel normal again. The thought of leaving the west coast has made me sick to my stomach at times. While this may seem too dramatic for some, for me this is the only home I have ever had and with that comes a certain sense of safety and security.


*Kansas City was not what I pictured. I can’t wait to get back and explore

I believe with my whole heart that this is where God is calling us to go and that deep truth brings me peace in the midst of chaos. It brings confidence in uncertainty and it brings courage when I have little. It truly does.

One of my least favorite things is that Missouri is 24 hours by car from CA. So, we had to fly out. Not just one flight, but two because apparently there are no direct flights. I am not a fan of flying. I’m working on it, but let me say that it is not a fear of dying that causes this hatred, but rather an “oh, lord please let me be anywhere else, but in this place” type of feeling. I don’t like the feeling of speeding down the runway and taking off. Landing in Phoenix reminded me that I don’t so much like the feeling of turbulence either.


Boarding the plane to return back to California, I was insanely emotional. We were sitting in our seats waiting for that magical moment of take off that I love so much and I leaned my head back on the seat and closed my eyes. The tears started to come. I knew down deep that we were moving the day we arrived in Kansas City. It clicked and I felt it immediately. I think God prepares us this way in advance. I knew crying, sitting in my seat over the wing because I hear that is supposedly the safest place, that I was leaving a piece of my heart here in Kansas City. I knew that we would be back and my emotion got the best of me. Then the announcement came that we were cleared for take off and the tears poured. I assumed my take off position of becoming a human pretzel intertwined with my husband, but this time I decided not to clench and bruise him while we sped down the runway and left the earth.

The Lord has been working on me to live open. Arms stretched out as wide as they go with my eyes lifted up to the heavens. My heart lives there, but my brain and body language struggle to follow as I want to clench up many times to protect myself from bumps of life. It’s a visual the Lord has laid on my heart recently and it is vivid.


As the engines roared and we sped down the runway and lifted off into the air, I thought again what I always do…there is no logical reason this thing should be able to fly. I realize that to those with any sort of plane knowledge that there is an actual reason as to why it should and could BUT to me there is none. It’s a large heavy metal tube. A gogurt with wheels really.

A sweet, sweet friend reminded me before I left the that same God who cares for me on the ground can care for me in the sky and He is no less able to do so when I enter a plane. As we lifted off I repeated this, outstretched my arms in my head {because I am not totally insane}, and I let that plane carry me up without clenching.

It’s how I aim to live. Many days I fail at this.

Thankful His mercies are new every morning.

There are days that I want to go fetal on the floor and there are days that I do. Many of them.

BUT there are days where the peace and excitement floods my soul in a way I can not explain.

“Hard times are good for people. Not everyone gets to go through them, but for those that do…I just keep picturing a river with this crazy rushing current. You can hang on get exhausted struggling just to stay alive and stuck to that rock or you can let go and be carried by where it’s going to take you. You have to let go.” ~ Bloom, Kelle Hampton.

We leave shortly after the holidays to arrive in Missouri at the New Year.

Today, I texted my Monica, one of the first friends I had in Elk Grove 8 years ago. I invited myself over to her house immediately. I told her we looked like scum and were basically in pjs. She said it was o.k. because it was Wednesday. I got a hug, hot chocolate, a comfy couch, we teamed up for an impromptu hair cut for my little boy, and I snuggled her 6 week old….and I sniffed him. Nothing better then a baby smell.


Filled my soul.


Praise my God, for Wednesdays, and the joy that they bring.

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I Speak Picture

I think my favorite thing about technology these days is the ease of pictures. My photos on my phone are constantly overflowing. Instagram is where I hang out if I am in line at Target, or waiting at the dentist office, or ya know, doing whatever.


 entertainment on a midnight in n out burger run with my man child.


cracks me up to no end. i don’t really know why. it’s just funny.


i am so blessed to be their mom. i am also to young to be their mom, right? and they are cute huh?


fab new shoes at Target, on clearance. oh, how we love Target.

6paleowhat my plate looks like these days. learning how to eat correctly. #betterlatethannever #whole30


completely summer. makes me smile. big.


waiting his turn at the park. rock your manners, wee one.


socrates is brilliant. i hold on to this tightly.


still working on selfies. i hate them. i am a photographer, but I don’t like this side of things. and WHAT is with my arm reflection.


uh huh.


turning our garage into a bonus room. my little area is coming along. lots more to do. needs to be done by the first day of school, WHICH is shockingly almost upon us.


we just found out that princess consuela is now a prince. today we have our first egg. I need to send the rooster away. I am freaked out to eat these. #chickendrama


love her spirit. no fear. none.


mary krause you have no idea how this spoke to me. bless you for posting. it remains in my phone. follow this girl on ig. she’s kinda fabulous.


here i sat. editing photos for my “job” and I realized I was looking out at my studio where they were taken.

Aren’t we all blessed?

Happy Wednesday.

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Making Memories

I was 16 or 17. We had a G R E A T youth group and a fantastic youth pastor. He was all about making memories. He was all about telling us, he was all about making memories.


Every summer we went on a trip called Endless Summer. 1.5 weeks of non stop fun. Camping, amusement parks, beaches, and everything in between. It was A W E S O M E. Well, this one year, we took one of those accordian style busses. It was our transportation for the whole trip. Maybe 70 or 80 of us left for our Endless Summer Trip.


For weeks prior to this particular year, our youth pastor had been telling us he had a special surprise that we would not want to miss. To say we were all excited would be a severe understatement. There was SUCH a buzz about our surprise. We could not figure it out.


Heading southbound on Highway 5 toward Los Angeles, a famous stench exists. It is the familiar smell to all Californians and travelers of highway 5 known as Harris Ranch. I think it is home to about 5 gazillion cows, give or take.


Remember that Endless Summer surprise? Yes, a tour. On the bus. Driving the roads in between said cows. In the middle of July. Hot. Flys. Groaning teenagers. AND a gleefully happy youth pastor walking the aisles of the bus yelling “you will never forget this”. He was right. I haven’t.

…and I love it.


A few months ago I get a phone call from my husband in the middle of the day, asking if we could take May 16th off school. Of course. He informs me that there is a frog jumping gig at the Calaveras County fair. He wants to surprise the kids. I immediately thought of the cows. I was in.


Anticipation built with my munchkins.

It was a total crack up and a total surprise until we arrived at our destination.



You see, they didn’t even know that frog jumping existed. Neither did I.


*this picture is titled, WHY WE USE A STROLLER.

It was an unusally wet rainy morning in CA, that we set out. It was cold, damp, and entirely entertaining.


We had a great day.

Here’s to hoping the kids never forget it.


Somehow, I don’t think they will. I can hear it now…”remember when dad took us to that frog jumping fair.”


One of the highlights of the day was when we were walking through all the animals. One of the 4H kids started chatting with us. “Where y’all from?” he says. “Sacramento area”, my husband replies. Them the kid went there….



“Y U P”, my husband says proudly.

Making Memories.


because frogs are cool.


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When things can start to get to be a mess in life, it tends to drag you down and it can become easy to view things as negative. It is easy to forget to see the positive. I remember just recently on our actual move day, a Sunday, my husband had to work in the morning, so I started things off by myself. I can’t remember what it was, but something went wrong early on and I texted him about it. His response, “no joy stealers today”. He was right. We had been wanting to move, literally for a couple of years, and the day had finally arrived. No. Joy. Stealers.

I chose joy.


*we are absolutely adoring our new home.



We have about 3.5 weeks until official summer break and I can NOT wait. I mentioned our garage is going to become our school room/music room/bonus room extravaganza. Both time and money do not allow this to take place right now. SO, I have become the homeschooler who schools all over the house. In the toddlers room, in the hall on the floor, at the kitchen counter, couch, and my bed. I know lots of different people who do school like this regularly. I always thought I was not capable of such flexibility and this couple of weeks has proved to me that I was, in fact, correct. I am not. Our garage is a mess, unfinished, and I am unorganized. From the minute I started homeschooling I knew that I would need a “room” or a “space” that was for school. One that says when we are here, we are focusing on learning. When I sit in my toddler’s room, all I hear is let’s play trains. When we do school on the porch, I put the baby in the swing and say wheeee. When I do school on my bed, zzzzzz.


For the sake of my children, I am disciplining myself to actually get through the end of the year. In the end, having a bit of separation from the house by being in the garage is going to be fantastic. It’s just going to take some work to de garage our new space. I love a decorating challenge. It will be perfectly ready for school by fall. I have embraced the fact that we are on the mobile plan for the remainder of the year. Once I have embraced it, it is going smoother.





*Table vs. Greyson. Table -1 Greyson-0.

Curriculum planning was almost done, but then I pulled something typical. One of my loveliest friends and I were texting each other across the miles and we started the curriculum chat. It led me to a company that I have considered, heard amazing things about, but never really investigated. So after staying up hours to late to research, read reviews, and look at samples, I think think think that I am making a big fat switch. This is why I don’t tell my plan until I order! I am excited and a bit overwhelmed with how to get everything accomplished before fall. Summer’s off? um, no. I really need a couple weeks in the classroom with no students to get everything ready. However, the students live with me, so, um, yeah :).



Tomorrow my girl is going to be a teen. She was my easiest birth and my fastest. My tall, thin, beautiful blonde girl entered this world at 10.6 lbs and 23 inches long. She had multiple chins and huge blue eyes and she was an awesome sleeper from the beginning. She arrived just 16 months after her brother and the two of them grew up little besties.


The other night I dragged myself out of my sick bed to make a celebration happen for her. I was not going to bail on that. I went all over town to purchase a couple of gifts and get things ready. I found myself at the mall at a little store we like to call Forever 21. You see she just now is fitting into junior clothes and is pretty excited to shop here. SO, I thought I would get something from here. I wandered aimlessly picking up item of clothing after item of clothing and wondering how I was shopping for my girl in a store that sold heels taller then my baby was at birth. Why, oh why, was I not down the way at the Children’s Place. I desperately wanted to be looking at stacks of shirts deciding between hearts and rainbows. NOT looking at stacks of clothes trying to figure out what part of the body they were supposed to cover.



Mother’s day is a comin’ and I am going to win in the romance department. I asked my family if we could get the shed put up this weekend. I believe our chicken coup is being built this weekend as well. Can. Not. Wait. The ladies have gotten HUGE. Hopefully I can plant some flowers too! It’ll be awesome. That’ll knock out 3 out of the 4 big projects we have left from the move! I mean a shed for Mother’s Day. What more could a girl dream of???



Today, I finally feel a bit better. Day 8. Whew. That. Was. Long. I am so glad to be on the mend and looking forward to the end of allergies.



My baby announces the presence of every one who enters the room. “MAMA”. “DADA”. At. the. top. of. his. lungs. USUALLY, a giant hug accompanies his declaration. It doesn’t matter if it has been five seconds since he has seen you. “CAM” “EMMA “TAY”. It’s so Norm-like.

I love my family. Yes, a place where everybody knows your name.






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I am on day 6 of a pretty nasty cold. I haven’t been this sick in a very long time. My husband has been working thirteen hour days all week. I have no real break in sight until probably next Thursday at about 5:30. It’s Saturday. I’m not totally complaining, just partially. In my NyQuil commercial spokesperson state of being, I am completely aware that many live with chronic illness on a regular basis and this cold and allergy season will pass as quickly as it came. However, the daily mundane while under the weather can still get to me.

It has been an incredibly emotional six weeks around here. A lot of life. Life that makes you question who has your back, what’s your purpose, who is your support system, and why do we work so hard anyway. Is it worth it?


The answers? Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus and yes.

The answer? Make God your audience, not people.

The answer? Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.

Take the road less traveled, rise above it, no one can make you feel inferior without your consent and every other empowering saying you could possibly find on Pinterest. If I embroidered, I would whip up some fabulous creations of all of these sayings and perhaps make a room full of them. Maybe even shrine like. I need the reminders. I am a slow learner. However, I read them and I find my non sick self screaming AMEN AMEN AMEN. Ya know? Hurt brings you to a place of sweet vulnerability and that vulnerability makes me want to just take all the bad and shake it right out and fill up it’s place with a vat full of fantastic. To work my butt off to be different. To live a good life.

When I look at all the heartache in the world around me, it can make me want to stick my head in a toilet and flush it, quite frankly. It can all just be too much. It’s hard to fathom how downright evil some people in our world can be. It’s heartbreaking.

Praise Jesus….because without Him, the mean and nasties of the world, the people who thrive on living for themselves and tearing you down would just overwhelm and do you in.

…and dude, with each passing day I seem to recognize how tightly I need to value those who seek Him first. Those who choose good, and right, and Jesus. Those are my people, ya know?

God’s got me.

Praise Him for that.


I have been in a season of  life of watching…and waiting… and oh my goodness, the stillness can be deafening. The watching can be overwhelming. The view from the cheap seats, as they say, so enlightening. I wouldn’t trade this period in my life for anything. I live at a turtle’s pace in a world spinning so fast that everything has become a blur. I know this is a season and while it is here, I appreciate it, like the gold that it is.

I fell in love with homeschooling again this past week. I kinda mentioned something about being under the weather :). With our recent move we just can’t afford to take any more time off of school and I can’t muster up the energy to put on clothes that involve zippers and buttons. SO, school on my bed in jammies happened. I sat cuddled up with my 8 year old and we read, and read, and read…. and I thought yet again for the millionth time – this is how life SHOULD be.

Despite all, It is well with my soul. The song plays over and over through my head. Then God confirmed it. Check out what my bloggy crush Kelly posted…

It Is Well With My soul

…and it is. It truly, truly is.



On a lighter note.

1. The man finally has an actual legitimate reason to wear his boots, rather than just the I am so cute no matter what I wear reason. We are country livin’ now and lovin’ it.

2. Dare I say we are just about settled?

3. Curriculum plans are about final for next year and DUDE? so excited.

4. I have said dude twice in this post, not sure why.

5. I have lost 32 pounds. BooYAH! Old word I know. It just fits. Sorry.

6. When allergies are over this year, I am startin’ running again. My half marathon IS happening in twenty thirteen.

7. My husband is going on a missions trip to Ecuador this year. Um, I am going on a girls trip to Disneyland. Do with that information what you will. One of these things is not like the other. M-I-C…K-E-Y……

8. I am addicted to Shark Tank and Justin Timberlake.

9. I am working on turning our garage into a completely live able and comfortable homeschool room. In addition, figuring out how to keep the crickets from joining in as my students. I have had to expel two of them already.

10. Going to find a random act of kindness to do today, right after my nap.

11. No your eyes do not deceive you. Those are Easter baskets. The pictures are THAT old. I have been swamped with photography work this spring {so grateful} and have failed to pick up the camera for my own enjoyment and my own kiddos. Must fix that. STAT. #hazzardofthejob


Happy Weekend!








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