Monday, January 21, 2019


Hey y'all!

I've got a new website that's cleaner and easier to navigate. 

Come visit me over there for some new content and regular updates:


Friday, June 2, 2017


This morning I had a melt down.  Call it hormones or feeling overwhelmed or whatever.  I can't put my finger on why the meltdown happened so fast and so furiously.  But I will tell you that the tipping point was seeing bread crumbs and yogurt scattered across my freshly vacuumed and steamed floors.   Ok maybe it was definitely 100% hormones.

Here's how it happened: Macy was singing happily in her crib, my 3 boys were in the backyard riding bikes and doing skateboard tricks and actually getting along.  I should have been whistling a tune and patting myself on the back for a job well done.  But no.  I was standing in the kitchen, looking at the pile of dirty breakfast dishes (wondering again why we don't always use paper plates for every meal of every day) and that's when the dirty floors caught my eye.  I just started SOBBING, y'all.  Like the full on ugly-cry that catches you unaware and overwhelms you to the deepest part of your soul.  I couldn't even stand up.  I literally just couldn't hold myself up anymore.   I buckled to my knees and cried like no one could hear me or see me. And even if they did, I honestly didn't care in that moment.

I'll admit that this cry had been coming on for a few days.  Sometimes it's a bunch of little nothings that turn into a big something and suddenly you feel like you can't breathe.  So let me just say this so you know I'm not actually crazy: IT WASN'T THE FLOORS that made me fall apart.  That was just the point at which the last several days emotions decided "no more." It felt SO good to cry.   But while crying can release some things, it certainly doesn't fill you up with anything.  And in order to get up off of my knees and do the things I needed to do today, I needed to be filled up with something bigger and stronger than myself.

"Lord, you know all my desires and deepest longings.  
My tears are liquid words and you can read them all."  
Psalm 38: 9, TPT

So I started doing the only thing I knew to do: I cried out (quite literally!) to the Lord.   To give me his strength and his peace and his joy.  To let his great power be made known in my great weakness.  Because let me just admit to you that parenting 4 kids, 3 of them being boys, is not easy for me.  I came from a CALM household of 2 children: 1 boy and 1 girl.  My current household is not calm.  It is not quiet.  My biggest motivation for waking up every morning at 5:30 is not just to spend time with Jesus and have coffee, but it's also to sit in peace, calm, and quiet. Because come 7am…well, the calm and the quiet disappear.

And so I laid on my kitchen floor for who knows how long, crying and praying + praying and crying. I thanked God for my hormones. I told the enemy where to go. I asked the Holy Spirit to equip me for this thing he's called me to. And then I wiped off my tears, stood up and took my kids to school.

Has the rest of this day been perfect? No.  But here's the thing about these little emotional life hiccups: they happen.  It happened to me today and it'll happen to you eventually.  I believe wholeheartedly that what God is really after here is what we do with these emotions.  That's what matters.  That's where our faith gets deeper and stronger and grittier.  In those moments of weakness and complete dependence on him, THIS is the place where he is best able to do deep works in us.  This is where he is able to fully function as our potter while we accept that we are, in fact, clay.  This is where I want to be found, always and without restraint : less of me and more of him.

If you happen to see me today, be gentle ok? I am still in that cry-at-the-drop-of-a-hat-zone.  I'm also thinking of creating a bumper sticker (because folks still use bumper stickers, right?) that says "Hormones Happen."  Also I'm totally joking. Happy Friday friends.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Bearing the Consequences of Laziness

“…She carefully watches all that goes on in her household and does not have to bear the consequences of laziness.”  Proverbs 31:27

I never set out to be a lazy mom.  I really didn’t.  Before having kids I had this idea in my head of how this whole parenting-thing would go.  Actually, I guess if I really think about it, I had ideas in my head of how it wouldn’t go.  My kid would NOT be the screaming toddler in Wal-Mart with no shoes on, half-naked, and begging for more chocolate.  No sir.  Not my kid.  In fact, none of my babies would scream in public, I decided.  My kids would not have messy rooms or gross bathrooms. My children wouldn’t be picky eaters and they would never scream when I dropped them off at the nursery for church on Sundays.

I wish I could kick my pre-baby self. 

4 babies later and my kids have done EVERY single one of those things and worse. Messy rooms? Check.  Gross bathrooms?  Double check.  I remember with particular fondness the day I had to leave my GIANT cart of groceries at Target, right in the middle of the aisle, and go on back home because child #2 (who was shoeless, by the way) was having the meltdown of the century.  (In fact “meltdown” might be too nice a term for it. I mean, what mom out there doesn’t love having to go grocery shopping twice in one day? For the same things? At the same store? Anyways.)

Here’s the thing: I don’t look at these little parenting hiccups as reflections on me, necessarily.  I look at them as my kids being kids.  They need to be trained to not punch one another, to not melt down when I say “no”, to clean their rooms, and for heavens sakes they need to be taught to clean their bathrooms.  They need to be discipled.

But the fight against laziness is real, folks.  And I struggle because everything in me just wants to see immediate results without the work.  It’s a revelation the Lord gave me one morning about myself while I was reading Proverbs 31.  I was trying to focus on the more widely-known things that the chapter talks about:  “charm is deceptive, beauty is vain…”  all good things, of course.  But this particular morning, the Lord had me stop a few verses before that and focus on what he needed me to hear:

“she carefully watches ALL that goes on in her household and does not have to bear the consequences of laziness.”

 As soon as I read it, I was struck by the truth of it: every time I consciously choose to stop watching what goes on in my household, I am choosing laziness. And how can I expect results without putting in the work? What’s more, how can I expect to lead these little humans when I am not leading with a clear vision?  It’s so true that when you have a vision of where you want to be, an end goal in sight, the process of getting there is easier.   I am a to-do girl, I love my lists, and I love checking off my boxes.  So it makes sense that having a clear-cut vision laid out would prevent laziness.

The truth of this applies to so many other areas of  our lives, of my life:  deeply desiring an intimacy with Jesus yet not putting in enough time daily reading the Word and praying.  Or wanting a healthy body without eating clean or exercising regularly. 

I don’t know if you’re feeling lazy or stuck in any areas of your life.  For me, 1 of my big areas is discipling my kids.  I feel stuck and a little bit broken in that capacitiy.  But I am constantly praying that the Lord would put a resolute spirit deep in me to apply his truth and discipline to this area of my life.  Because I know that’s what it will take – time, discipline, hard work, and applying the truth of His Word.  Without Him, it’s too hard, too easy to give up and just keep on treading water in whatever issues you’re facing.  But we aren’t meant to live a life of treading water.  We aren’t meant to live a lazy life.  A vision-less life.  We are meant to live life abundantly (John 10:10).  That’s why Jesus came. 

I pray that whatever you’re facing and whatever areas God is calling you to pay more attention to, whether it’s your health or your kids or your marriage or whatever your thing is, I pray that the Holy Spirit would “put steel in your convictions” (1 Thessalonians 1:5, The Message).  And even though the enemy will try to condemn and constantly plaster the word “failure” over our lives, I pray that the Lord would gently but firmly remind you of who HE is and who you are in him.  Because without him, we will fall short every.single.time.  We need him.  In the big areas that we’re all facing and even on those days when we have to leave Target because the kids just won’t stop screaming.   He makes beautiful things out of our broken places.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Renovations Continued...

What a boring title of a post!  Seriously.  I could've done better.  But my brain is a little fried from camping this last week with my family.  We took the 3 boys and our baby girl for a 5 day camping trip to Penticton, British Columbia.  It was such a beautiful rest before the craziness of the new renovation begins in a couple weeks.

Ok, this post is dedicated to Macy's nursery.   This is her room the day we bought the house:

And then after we moved in, it became a "catch-all" room.  

Once we found out we were pregnant, we knew it would become a nursery.  And then after finding out  the baby was a SHE (!!!) I went to town on pinterest.  (Who doesn't love pinterest, am I right?!).  So I gathered all of my favorite ideas and created Macy's room. Here it is:

Decorating Macy's room was my Christmas gift from Ryan.  But almost everything in there was DIY.  

The rocker is the same one we used for all of the boys but was re-covered by my mom. The rug, the curtains, the chandelier and the dresser were all Ikea purchases. 

The little bird there was a random find at Fred Meyer (a grocery store) and I spray painted it gold. 

This was totally random. I had leftover pink paint (from painting the chandelier pink) and I had some gold paint. I went in the backyard and did this little thing in literally…maybe 3-4 minutes. If that. It's weird and random and I like it. 

This print is from Jones Design Company.  I love the scripture; it is the first part of Philippians 4:8 …"fill your mind with beauty and truth."  The rest of the verse goes on to say "meditate on whatever is honourable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is good, whatever is virtuous and praiseworthy." Mmm…so much good truth in that portion of Scripture. 

Also…on a practical note,  the colors just went with well with MJ's room. 

My mom made Macy's crib bumper and sheets. Ya know…because she's amazing like that. The ruffled crib skirt is from Pottery Barn kids.

My best friend, Katherine, surprised me with this handmade artwork for Macy's nursery. I just happened to have the perfect spot for it!

This little porcelain baby was given to me by my great Aunt Ruby when I was born. 

This cute little trinket was in my room growing up. I always loved it and had it somewhere near my bed.  

We may have a slight headband obsession...

After having 3 boys, I was itching to add some pink to our house! And as much fun as it was decorating Macy Jo's room…it's way more fun having her in our lives. She's just the best.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

So we're moving…again.

I figured it's about darn time I finished our renovation pictures because WE'RE MOVING. Again. We bought another dump about 20 minutes away and will be fixing it up.  I'll write about that one day soon and share the way God totally orchestrated the purchase of our new place and the sale of this house.

But in the  meantime it's been bugging me that I started documenting the renovation process and stopped before I could finish all of the "after" pics. ( I took a break from writing about our renovations because our daughter arrived prematurely in February.  You can read about that here.  Also, I just flat got lazy.)  So let's finish this!  Today I'll tackle the kitchen.

Since it's been a while, let's look back at the kitchen before:

And here is the kitchen now:

We are so happy with the way the kitchen turned out.  My father-in-law owns a high-end kitchen cabinet company and he hooked us up.  Together with my husband, he designed the layout of the kitchen in order to maximize our storage space.  (1800 square feet with 4 kids needs as much storage space as possible!).  We went with melamine cabinets, which is the cheapest option.  Our big "splurge" (of the entire house, actually) was the caesar stone island.  But even that was a remnant at the store and so we got it for cheaper than if we'd bought it new.

I need to pause right now and give my awesome sister-in-law HUGE props for helping with the design of the house.  Miranda is an interior designer and she made this process oh so easy for me. I rarely called my husband with questions; it was usually Miranda.  She met me and helped me envision almost every aspect of this house: lights, tile, paint, countertops, etc.  THANK YOU MIRANDA!!!

The pendant lights over the island were the first thing I bought after we closed on the house. I'd been eyeing these seeded glass globe pendants from West Elm.  They were a steal at $30 each and I love them.  Unfortunately they no longer sell them so I can't use them in the next house. (insert sad face emoji).

I should have mentioned that the island is actually not melamine.  Melamine cabinets only come in white. I wanted the island to be grey so these cabinets are actually wood and they are a shade called "lamplighter grey."  It's very subtle but I liked it.  To be honest though, I won't use it in the next house. But that's only because the island is such a high-traffic area and our kids have chipped and nicked the paint a ton. Next time I'll go with my sister-in-law's idea and either get the island stained or have it done with reclaimed wood. 

I'll tell ya right now the BIGGEST thing we regret in our house is buying these floors. They show EVERYTHING.  I literally vacuum at least 3-4 times a day.  Don't buy cheap floors friends. It'll cost you your sanity. 

Because of our budget, we couldn't afford to do caesar stone in the entire kitchen.  So on the perimeter I did a grey laminate. Laminate has come A LONG way! I love the marble-looking laminate in our master bathroom, for example. But this grey laminate…oh I do not like it at all. 

So there's our kitchen reno! Later this week I'll finish up our reno. 


Thursday, June 25, 2015

Welcoming Macy Jo: Part 2

I meant to write this follow up to part 1 of Macy's story a looooong time ago, but such is life with 4 kids.  I think about things, promptly forget, and then they happen (maybe) a month later.  So…yeah.

But I didn't want to not write this mainly because writing it down is my form of remembering.  So if no one but me ever reads this, I'm ok with that.  Well, I'll make my husband read it.  And my parents.  And my in-laws.  Ok, I would definitely be offended if I was the only one to read it.  I can admit that.

Back to Macy Jo…

After she was able to breathe on her own, things started getting much better.  The main goal was for her to gain weight and to eat.  She couldn't go home until she was off of the feeding tube (the tube that's sticking out of her nose) and she also had to be back at her birth weight (4.8 lbs).

Apparently, babies do not usually begin to have the suckle-reflex until they are about 37 weeks.  Because Macy was born at 33 weeks and 6 days, the doctors and nurses kept telling me not to expect her to even try to nurse until she was 37 weeks.  

But our Macy-girl.  She showed them.  She showed all of us!  At a whopping 5 days old, Macy latched on and started breastfeeding like she'd always known how.  (don't worry…I won't show you a picture of that. I'm pro-breastfeeding, not pro-let me show the whole world).  She would tire very quickly, so it was a day at a time.  Some days she'd try and others she was too tired.  

We had lots of awesome NICU nurses and we were SO grateful for the quality of care we received at Surrey Memorial Hospital.  ((One great thing about Canada: FREE MEDICAL.  That's right…we didn't pay one penny for Macy's amazing care.))  

Macy and I loved having visitors but none more than Ryan and the boys.  

The big brothers were totally smitten!

My in-laws helped so so much, especially that first week after MJ arrived.  They took charge of our kids and it was incredible.  When Macy was a week old, my mom flew in to help too.

Ryan's parents and my mom just seeing Macy for the first time

At 6 days old, all sorts of fun things started happening. I got to dress Macy for the first time...

…and she got the top of her incubator removed to start allowing her to regulate her own body temperature. 

I call this one Macy's "no! they put me in an ugly terry cloth towel" photo.

At 7 days old, Macy had enough wires out that she was able to have her first bath...

Those are definitely Ryan's hairy arms. NOT mine. Just want to be clear.

A cute swaddling blanket from Nana made the terry cloth towel a little more bearable. :)

 And a couple of days after that, Macy graduated out of her incubator and into a "joey bed."  I'm sure it's an acronym and I'm sure I'm slaughtering the spelling, but they called it a Joey bed so that's what it is.

The second week we were in the NICU really concentrated on Macy nursing.  Once she was able to get the hang of it, we knew we'd be able to head home.  In the meantime, it was a great week.

The boys came and visited more…

Noah had been praying for a sister since he was 3.  This is his first time to hold her. (tears)
I also had quite a few special deliveries show up during the week.  One of my favorites was Starbucks showing up in my room at least 3 or 4 times that week (thank you Heidi!!)...

Another favorite was this INCREDIBLE cookie bouquet sent to us by my folks.  They had my dear friend, Julie, owner of The Whisk, create this beautiful masterpiece. 

I also got to start playing dress up with Macy Jo.  Her being so teeny made it tricky but we found some things that worked!

When she was 2 weeks old, Macy did it.  She hit her birth weight AND nursed exclusively for 24 hours.  At rounds that morning, the doctors decided that we could go home that day!  We scrambled to find a preemie car seat (yes, there is such a thing), and I got packed and ready to go.  

The night she was discharged from the hospital, my dad flew in to town.  He came straight to the hospital and hung out with her until the dr released us.

There were so many things I wanted to remember from our time in the NICU.  Her first room. Her first bed. Every nurse that kept her alive and fed.  The Ronald McDonald house, where I stayed for almost the entire 2 weeks.  And then the day before we left the hospital, a good friend, who also happens to be a genius photographer, popped by.  As we sat and visited, she snapped some priceless pictures that really help me remember (almost) every detail of our hospital stay:

Thank you for these memories Melody.  I love you to pieces. 

… I think the thing I wanted to remember the most was what eventually came to be called "Macy's wall." 

 The wall changed and evolved every day.  The boys would draw on it (usually superheroes).  I'd write down scriptures that friends sent me.  People would sign it when they came in the room.  But the day we left to go home, that up there is what it looked like.  Those 4 scriptures remained on the wall the entire time, regardless of what else was written.  They carried me and reminded me of who Macy belonged to.  (The wall was also an interesting topic of discussion with every nurse we had.)

And then, just as quickly as we arrived, it was time to go.

Me and my girl in her room getting ready to go

It was so weird, and a little surreal, to be able to just hold her.  We hadn't been able to do this seemingly simple thing without the help of a nurse or without wires until this moment.  It was awesome.

And then... we were home.  

There are no words that are adequate enough to say THANK YOU to so many who prayed.  I felt so incredibly carried and covered during my stay in the hospital.  Thank you to those who brought food--we were provided with almost 40 days worth of meals.  You guys are amazing. And our family…again, I just don't have words.  The body of Christ is an amazing thing.

A couple of weeks after we came home, my friend Melody came to our house and did some candid shots with the family.  I'll finish Macy's story with these...