Saturday, October 22, 2016

 Mali turns seven

Dear Mali,

The energy around your seventh birthday is something I won't forget.

You are a ball of energy - that's the truth.  But *this day*, well, that was an understatement.

Your chosen menu, your handmade signs, the decorations,  hayride - sparklers.  Seven year old dreams coming true.

My baby boy.  We ended on such a unique note with you. ;)

The two things you had asked us for as birthday gifts certainly highlights that fact.

1}  An essential oil diffuser

2} A goose down comforter.

What seven year old asks for those things? - Mine. ;)

You can be hard.

So, so hard.  And you know it.

But you are the baby.  And that's a thing. ;) {Said the mama who is also a baby}

You are also


cuddly {SO cuddly}

a deep thinker






I don't want to forget your crazy {out-of-control?} affinity for stuffed animals.

The many insightful political conversations we have had together on this election year.

Our nightly routine of reading devotions together in your top bunk, talking all about your day, and cuddling.  The way you weave your arms around mine and won't let me go at the end of the day.

Your long eye lashes resting on your cheeks,  when you *finally* give in to sleep {always after a bit of a struggle...} and I fulfill your request to "check on me one more time!"

Your questions about God,  life,  trust,  friends, and the world.

You are our gift, Mal.  Our precious, tough, strong willed caboose.

We are so thankful for you.  For all you have added to our family.  Even on the days of struggle and the nights we fall into bed,  exhausted from going up against that will of yours - yep, even then.  You are our corner of crazy and our piece of precious.


Monday, October 10, 2016

 {October} 10 on the 10th

Getting ready to drive the two youngest to our elementary school.  This time of year we are greeted by BEAUTY when we step out the door.  Takes my breath away. Thank you God! 

When I downloaded 10-10 pics from my phone - I saw this.  My finger was right over that delete button when I realized this actually is a fairly accurate representation of life right now.  ;)

 So what if it was an accidental photo that I didn't even know I took. Here it is.  

A blur.  But a blur of light and color. 

A routine visit to U of M.  Best Neurologists ever.  

Waiting.  And waiting.  And realizing that my U of M visitor sticker matches my LuLaRoe leggings. ;) it's the little things.... 

And back to the middle school and elementary school for a van full of cuties. 

So, this picture... ;) Oh you guys.  Since our day was different than our normal routine,  and it was really packed, and I am a little too scattered.... 

I brought K to occupational therapy without socks and shoes. 

I am officially "that mom". 

Thank you Lions.  {!!}

Thank you Papa John's.

Thank you husband.

Ham and mushroom + Ham and pineapple.  My favs. ;) 
Enjoyed by all.  
And goodnight.  

Wednesday, September 14, 2016


"Oysters make pearls in response to an irritant, such as a grain of sand or another object. When any irritant makes its way between the mollusk's shell and mantle, the creature produces nacre, a protective coating that helps reduce irritation.  Nacre is also referred to as mother-of-pearl; it's made of microscopic crystals of calcium carbonate, and it also lines the interior of a mollusk's shell.

Layers of nacre coat the irritant, eventually forming an iridescent gem (the pearl).

The only difference between naturally developed pearls and cultured pearls is that a pearl farmer embeds an irritant between the shell and the mantle by cutting into the mollusk's tissues.  With freshwater pearls, irritants do not need to be introduced; simply cutting the oyster's soft tissues is enough to begin the pearl-making process.

Some pearls can develop in a period of six months. Larger pearls can take up to four years to develop."

Have you ever really sat and thought about this? I mean, yeah - it seems pretty much as cliche as it gets. I can just hear some  responsible leader figure type, spouting off the significance of irritations helping us to grow...

But really, let's think about this for a minute.  No one really tells an oyster what's going to happen in this process, or that this is even a thing.  Mama oyster isn't like, "Ok, so we have this thing - where every now and then something irritating may get lodged into our shell....but something beautiful is created in the process.  Trust the process,  just stick it out!"  - I mean, this just happens,  right?  It's another amazing thing we can credit our Creator for.  This process of pain and beauty.  It's his thing.  He really excels at that. 

Guess what?  I have irritations in my life. ;)  Oh man.  I know I've been kind of silent on here lately, but life is full and beautiful and boy can it be irritating too. It's hard, you guys.  Every single one you can attest to that.  

I've just really been camped out here on this pearl thought lately though.  I want to filter the hard in my life through this thought process.  That God is making beauty form from my irritations - if/when I handle them well, trust him with the process, don't fight it, don't try to fling the irritation out.  You know my default instinct, right? Pain -Bad! Get it out! Make it go away! -  What would we miss out on if oysters did that?  A pearl seems so unique,  so pure,  so priceless.  To think, that all starts with an irritation!  Something that "gets under our skin". 

I believe that there are times God sees our potential and our endurance, through His own strength,  so much more clearly than we do and he may even cause a freshwater pearl experience to manufacture beauty we didn't know we contained. His beauty.  {cutting back soft tissue, or even introducing an irritant to begin the pearl making process}

What do we do with this kind of thinking?  Do we serve a God who would get kicks out of irritating us?  Is it a game?  

No and No.  First of all -  this life?  It's not about us.  We were created to bring honor and glory to God, and for his pleasure!  He knows the beginning  He knows the process we must go through to bring beauty from ashes, He knows the glorious end result.  

In my life it's coming down to this simple truth.  Believe Him.  

Believe that He is good, that He sees what I can't see.  Believe that He would NOT introduce or allow any irritation, any pain, any kind of discomfort just to see us struggle.  Because he is good,  he allows things for OUR good, and the ultimate good of His Kingdom.  

When you aren't living your life just for yourself you can glimpse it.  Glimpse the beauty of the pearl.  The beauty of trusting the process.  The beauty of letting go and allowing God's plan to play out in your life.  

I'm breathing deeply and letting this sink in.  Friends, it's my goal to trust God when tough stuff embeds itself in my life.  *Exhale* 

Let it lay there.

Let it be.

No panic.

No digging at it to fling it out.


                           lie there.

{Some pearls can develop in a period of six months. Larger pearls can take up to four years to develop}

Ouch.  My fingers tap the keyboard and anxiety creeps in just forming the words.  Of letting pain lie.  Leaving it.  Trusting the process.  Not running from it frantically.  Not cramming a million other things in to drown it out. 

But just *be* with the pain. 

{the creature produces nacre, a protective coating that helps reduce irritation.  Nacre is also referred to as mother-of-pearl; it's made of microscopic crystals of calcium carbonate, and it also lines the interior of a mollusk's shell.

Layers of nacre coat the irritant, eventually forming an iridescent gem (the pearl)}

Don't fling it out - let the natural process happen.  There is a "protective coating" - even as the irritant stays there.  How cool is that?  The protective coating eases the pain.  It's *part* of the formation of the pearl.  

I want to produce beauty in this life.  I want to be an example to my precious boys of enduring, of sticking with the process, of trusting God, believing Him in what he allows.  

Monday, August 15, 2016

 {August} 10 on the 10th

August 10th, 2016

Awoke this morning and was informed that Kai's beloved Teddy was turning 23 today.  Who knew?! 

Balloons were a must.  Kai grabbed the helium tank out of the photo studio and got to work...

While mom had an already much needed cup of coffee.

What's birthday without cake?

All the leftover sprinkles in the pantry - mostly from Christmas - were the finishing touches.

How cool that we already had plans to go to our friends house. NOW it's a party!

Finishing the day with a half mile run with my Jay!