Category Archives: Random

The Last Post!!!

After 8 years of Just A Night Owl, I am moving.

Please come over to my new corner of the web at

You will need to re subscribe there to keep these posts coming to your inbox!

A lot more content will be added, including a store that will launch soon! 

Looking forward to reconnecting with you, my friends!

Please come over and say hello!


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The Jelly Belly Factory

“Mom, do they actually make stuff in factories?” my 11 year old asked me.

“Yes, they do. Remember the Jelly Belly Factory?”

“No, I don’t.”

How can she not remember the Jelly Belly Factory, I think. A place we went many times in California. Then I realize she was just too little the last time we were there.


And it hits. That wave of grief. Grief may seem to strong of a word, but I’m going with it. The memories came flooding back. I suddenly felt that Ca air. Warm heat that isn’t using humidity to try and choke you to death. My kids are little again, I am not battling loosing post traumatic move across the country weight, and things are immensely comfortable, familiar, and safe.

But that’s not reality and somehow it just hits so hard that, that likely never will be again. I text my friend to tell her how weird it is that my whole entire life there is just gone and she replies, “No, it is still part of you.” and she’s right.

It is.




I ponder again where this level of pain comes from. Out. of. the. blue. And again I conclude that it doesn’t matter. It just is. But then again, I had a great and terrific morning and I have never been more keenly aware that when I take a step forward Satan is kinda mad about that. So, coincidence? I think not.

I received a text last week to see if I would be interested in heading up decor for a gala for a crisis pregnancy center that is in town. Gala? My thoughts turn to Rachel’s regatta gala and I smile. Then I find out it’s at a building built in the twenties, an old theater. Downtown. Please pinch me. And the cause? raising money to save babies lives. Done.

So my first team meeting was onsite at the venue this morning. I’m an event planner without events to plan, as of late, and they start saying words like stanchion and evening wear and I promise I want to just curl up on the floor and die. Or more realistically, close my eyes under the 15 foot chandelier while they talk all around me. I’m home. Dramatic? Yes, I know. I can’t help it. I’m so honored to be a part of this and it just makes me happy to know buildings like this exist. I could live here. Have I mentioned that? …and event planning of any kind is my favorite.


Then today.

“Mom, you know what I can’t wait for?” my 11 year old asks me.

No, what?

“Summer. The pool to open, swimming after dinner, warm, cozy air, and Cicadas making those noises.”

Then it hits again. I went into her little imagination and I felt it too. The memories of summer came flooding back and I can’t wait either…for Missouri summer. My little Cali girl has made new memories and so have I. We’ve had two full years here. Two sets of everyone’s birthdays, two Thanksgivings, two Christmas Eves of throwing oatmeal spiked with glitter on the roof for the reindeers. It’s a good beginning.





I know the hours of the library by heart, I have made friends with half the checkers at Trader Joes, and I rarely use maps anymore. I drove to the grocery store in the snow this morning without any increase in heart rate. I’ve survived a couple of tornadoes and I’ve found the best thrift store in town.



The last three years of my life have been ones that I could never have imagined in so very many ways. Surprises and sharp turns daily, many times hourly. What God has done….it would take me a book to write it. Leaning into to Him is the very best choice that I make in my life and I certainly wouldn’t be where I am today if I had chosen something else.

My word this year….build.

My Jesus, ever faithful.











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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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My Thoughts On Tornadoes.

raintree clouds

*photo cred from April Yost. Facebook. Taken in my hood.

October of 2013 and we are looking for where God would lead us next. I prayed that it would be a place with no tornadoes and a place where I could get back home to visit in a day in the car. I hate to fly almost as much as I hate tornadoes. So, these were my straightforward requests. Naturally, we packed up and left Ca to come to Missouri. 1800 miles away and on the edge of tornado alley. I asked and asked about the tornadoes and everyone was like, “oh, we barely deal with that here”. Well last Wednesday, I apparently experienced the barely.

*Warning to anyone reading this of midwestern descent: I’ve tried to minimize the drama here. Keep your laughing to a minimum. Remember I’m newish and arrived with an intense fear of tornadoes. Thank you and please continue…

Two days ago, I was sitting in Panera, having dinner with a friend. I had a photo shoot at 8pm, so I had been watching the weather. I checked before I left the house at 5 pm and there was a small chance of thunderstorms, that was it. I met my friend for dinner and about 6:40 or so, I get an alert on my phone for a tornado watch. I looked at the window and all looked clear. I guess I am getting acclimated to life in the midwest, because the alert didn’t really concern me. A couple of  loud thunders later and I started to pay attention. Moments later multiple phones start beeping that intense alert sound all across the restaurant. I look down and my phone was flashing to seek shelter immediately. It was a different alert than I had ever seen. Being from California and new to all this business, I look around and study people to see if I should be concerned. Some were concerned, some were eating soup, and some were up looking out the window. My friend called her husband to see what we should do and he suggested we get to the church because it was close by and there was a basement. We walked outside and I heard it, my first tornado siren. Chilling as I imagined it would be. Did you know tornado sirens were NOT designed to be heard indoors? Only outdoors? Little bit of trivia.

So I’m standing there thinking what is worse? Try to get to a basement somewhere or go back in Panera where there was really no really good place to go for safety. We chose to go back in. Because as I told my friend, I’ve seen too many you tube videos of tornadoes where I am all, “why are those people driving during a tornado warning?”. I didn’t want to be one of them. It was a bit chaotic inside. Nobody really knew what to do, including the workers. We were asking them where we should go, what their plan was? Finally, about 6:55 we are instructed to get in the freezer. We shut the door and then the power goes out. It was surreal. I just kept thinking this can not be happening. The power flickered a few times, and came back on. That is when a lady entered that had been driving by and pulled in to take cover. She told us that there was a tornado on the ground about 2 miles away. Then she took selfies with her friends. (The tornado indeed touched down at 6:54, two miles away). Of course there is. I never panicked, but I did start wondering if this metal box that we were standing in would withstand anything. I realized my babies were at home with my husband, and my teens were at church. I knew they were all in basements and as safe as possible. I looked around at the 10 year old crying and hugging her mama next to me, the two little kids clinging to their parents from cold and playing the iPhone seemingly unaware of the impending danger, and I look at the shelves that were stalked with a freakish amount of mayonnaise. I start on a rabbit trail in my own head wondering just how much mayonaise does a restaurant really need. Maybe it was on sale wherever they purchase it from. There was all kinds of other food, but none in the quantity that the mayonnaise was. It was then I realized that my friend was tending to everyone around her. Meeting people, talking, smiling, at peace. I was numb and wondering if I was going to be in a tornado with my last thought contemplating Panera’s mayonnaise quantity. Lord, how did I get here?

We were released from the freezer and some people left the restaurant. After looking at the weather, we decided to stay put. It was nasty. Then after a couple of minutes we were told to go back in the freezer as there was another warning just issued. After another 15 minutes or so, a fireman came in and said that there was going to be a small break in the storm and we were clear to get home.  Panera informed us that they were closing for the night and we needed to leave. We asked to stay through 8 pm and the end of that tornado warning. They obliged and told us to help ourselves to a cookie on the way out. I was shocked at the lack of any kind of plan they had in an emergency situation, but let me tell you, their freezer? Spotless. So there’s that and I don’t really feel like a cookie, but thank you.

I have never seen it rain so hard in all my life. A short few feet to the car and I was drenched. I thank my friend for dinner as I run to my car. She yells “I love you”. “I love you, too,” I yell back and I was on my own. My next goal was to get to church about ten minutes away. I call my husband and ask him to call the teens and have them come to the door so they could jump in the car and we could all get home before the next storm arrived. Church was right on the way and it seemed smart so we wouldn’t have to go back out later and get them. As I pull in to church, multiple people were leaving, so I felt a bit better about my decision to keep going home. As my daughter jumps in the car she says, “mom, the sirens are going off again we have to go back in side.” I leave the car and we further added to our drowned rat appearance as we make our way in the building. There I find my son immediately. People are still leaving, so I tell the kids…let’s go. We dash back to the car, tornado sirens blaring, lightening flashing, thunder crashing, and rain like I’ve never seen. We have about 7 or 8 minutes until home. In hindsight maybe not the smartest idea? But for whatever reason, it’s what I did. The whole night was kinda like that. There really is not a thing that everybody was doing, so you have to figure it out.

As we are driving, it is obvious how bad the flooding is starting to get. Too late to turn back now. Not many people are on the roads and we pass several police with lights on. I wonder where they are going. I look to the right and the nastiest clouds I have ever seen are staring back. I wonder if that holds the end of the “break” in the storms that we were supposedly in. I hold my daughter’s hand and tell her we are almost home. We just need to get home. That drive sucked, tbh. Bad.

It has never felt so fabulous to pull in my driveway. My husband met us and we headed to our basement. We did the normal things, I guess. Watched the news, texted, changed into dry clothes, lit candles, and said a billion times I can’t believe we live somewhere where this stuff happens. Occasionally, we went upstairs to see what was going on. At one point it was green. I couldn’t see the sidewalk. It looked like we were in a dust storm. Wind, rain, lightening, thunder, and then a tree branch blew by our window and we decided to go back downstairs and stay put.

I heard reports of 4-6 inches of rain, 8,000 lightening strikes per 5 minutes, 80mph winds. Not sure how accurate all that is. I don’t need the stats. It was bad.

About ten thirty or so it was all over. Shawn went to the corner for crushed ice, cheap frozen pizzas, and sour cream and onion chips. It was everyone’s requests. His report after returning home was lots of flooding, lots of trees down, and a trampoline in our neighbors tree. I live here.

After consuming the most unhealthy dinner in all the world at 11 pm, we all try and get some sleep. Morning couldn’t come soon enough. Daylight please.

It was a reminder of the absolute reality of how out of control we are in our lives. At any given moment during a normal day I don’t live like, hey that car could hit us on the freeway. What if I get cancer? What if an elephant runs me over at the zoo and kills me dead? I mean how absurd. Yet, when I was standing in that freezer with no options of where to go I imagined how tiny we were and what the skies looked like that were swirling above my head. I have never felt so small and helpless. It just reminds me how easy it is to have faith when faith isn’t really required to get through your life. Having faith in the all too close for comfort moments? That is when it counts.

As soon as I woke up, we all got in the car to drive around and look at damage. We went and saw where the tornado touched down and drove around our neighborhood as well.  I could not believe the amount of trees down in my neighborhood. Huge trees snapped in half. all. over. Knocked out of the ground roots and all. There were two trampolines crumpled up and sitting haphazardly in odd places. I exit our subdivision and drive the street that runs along the side of it, about a mile from my house. A roof was gone, a little barn was destroyed and scattered everywhere, and again more trees down. I read online that a tornado had been confirmed touched down here as well. Awesome. Two tornadoes, two hours apart, both within two miles of me. TOO MUCH.

So grateful it was not worse. Because it could have been SO much worse. F1. No injuries were reported from any of the damage. Hard to fathom the whole thing honestly. It was barely posted on Facebook. No one really has talked about it. I can only imagine that this is like when there is a 4.8 earthquake in Cali. It’s a non issue really. Yeah it could have been worse, but it wasn’t. It is the price you pay for living on the San Andreas Fault. Your heart beats a bit faster and you ask everyone around you, “Did you feel that?”. Because of course they did but somehow you have to make sure. So I am still shaking days later, but I suppose I’ll get used to it. Next time maybe I’ll join the others and stand in the parking lot and take video.

Years ago, I had the pleasure of being miles from the epicenter of the Loma Prieta quake in ’89. I’ve been asked by friends back home, “what’s better? earthquakes or tornadoes??”

The answer? They are both scary.

I recommend neither.


Check out some pictures and video here.

This was shot by somebody from the parking lot right outside where I was. Unbelievable video.






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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.


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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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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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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