September 21, 2015

over myself

Do you ever get to that point where you've been in your own head so much and just feeling all the feelings and you get over your own self? That's where I'm at. I need a break from me, thus the blog lull. Sometimes you just gotta take a big ol' break...from all of it, right?! Anyhoo... from when I last blogged I got sick (boo!), we had cousin Mike visit (yay!), had back to school night for B, we hosted a couple dinner parties for some dear friends who are celebrating birthdays this month (I tried a new dairy-free cake recipe for my friend who is off was interesting and I tried a new macaroni and cheese recipe which was just okay), this weekend we went to LA and had a nice dinner at a little French restaurant we used to go to before we had B, and we spent all day yesterday at Newport Beach with some friends for my friend Ann's baptism! It was a lovely day and perfect beach weather (I was in the water a long time, it wasn't even cold!). This week is pretty chill, we have a goodbye party that we are helping to host for our dear friends from the church we attended a while back, they are moving to Michigan so it will be sad to see them off but an exciting new adventure for them. British Jon is coming into town to visit from Waco!! We're pretty pumped for that, its always fun to have a little piece of Waco come to us. :) All in all, pretty low key around here, just getting into the swing of the new school year and getting a schedule going. Hope everyone has a lovely week! xo

September 10, 2015

"Excessive Heat"

24 hours in Colorado was just that, 24 short, crazy hours! Taylor Swift was as fabulous as you'd hope and my friend and I had an a-maz-ing dinner. We ended up not having time to get dinner prior to the concert so after it was over we were both starving. She had heard about this cool place called "Williams & Graham" that her husband had hoped to take her to before they moved to NY but it didn't happen. I was skeptical of any place that would be open so late but off we went! It was the craziest thing, we essentially couldn't find the restaurant and kept driving by it but our GPS said we were there. We saw a place with a balcony and cool lights so we assumed that was it and got out to ask. Well, that place was a cool new bar but they guy told us to walk through the bar, find an older gal named Trudy and ask her if we maybe could get on the list to eat at W & G...what?! It was about 12:30am at this point and I was totally confused -who takes reservations at 12:30am?! So, we found Trudy, she pointed us through another door and we were in a tiny room with a wall of books and a gal who said they were booked until their close time at 2am but that if we wanted to wait a bit she maybe could squeeze us in. It took me a while to figure out what was going on (b/c there was no restaurant that I could see). Well, as easy as I can explain it, W & G is essentially a speakeasy and the wall of books was a secret passage way into a backroom that was AMAZING. It was so quaint and cool and dark and had a small but delicious menu. This place is mainly known for all their amazing and unique signature cocktails but it was such.a.neat.experience. We ate a delicious meal together around 1am and made it home around 2am and fell into bed before getting up and heading to the airport. Quick trip!

My friend Tracy lives in San Juan Capistrano, which is the very southern tip of orange country. We've had a "date" on our calendar for ages now and yesterday it arrived! I drove 2 hours to her lovely new home and spent the whole day with my dear friend. She made me a delicious lunch and we talked and talked, it was good for my soul. Then, 2 hours home to my two favorites. Its nice to shake up the routine every now and again and get a change of scenery...and its always good to be with old friends who just get you.

Well, yesterday and today Brennan has gotten out of school at 11:30am due to "excessive heat." Don't even get me started! Its not even the whole district, just her school. Ay yi yi....this Texas-hearted girl thinks this is INSANELY ridiculous! Its going to be 99 degrees today...I'm pretty sure they can handle sitting in class to learn. Okay, I'll stop now b/c I'm pretty sure this could turn into a 5 paragraph rant. Sigh. In happy news, cousin Mike comes in town tomorrow!! Michael will be here all weekend and we're excited to have him, its been too long! We're heading to the Angels/Astros game tomorrow...go Astros! Watching the Ducks on Saturday and the Titans on Sunday, its the trifecta! Hope everyone has a great weekend, its all sports all the time for us the next few days (Well, and knowing Mike, good food is sure to be a part too!). :) xo

Head on over HERE to see this sweet 1st birthday party!

September 5, 2015

my weekend just got a lot more exciting!

I love spur of the moment plans, I think they are so fun and make life exciting. My sweet friend who moved from Waco around the time I did has also had a doozy of a time getting settled. Her husband took a job that moved them to Denver, CO, shortly after arriving and buying a house and getting settled the company that moved him there decided to shut.down, the Denver offices. What?! Her husband just now accepted a job in NY! That is a BIG move to go from Waco, TX to Denver, CO for a hot minute to then turn around and move to NY!! So, she is in a crazy time of her life and we've had many teary phone calls over this past year as we've tried to help each other through a rough transition. Well, she just moved to NY but since she broke her ankle a while back (!!) (who has time for that in the midst of all of this?!!!) she had to fly back to Denver for her drs appointment and was going to meet her sister and some of her friends to go see Taylor Swift in concert. On Thursday I woke up to a text from her saying "Do you want to fly to Denver and go to Taylor Swift with me?!" Um...YES! Yes, I do!! So, I got a relatively inexpensive ticket and off to Colorado I go! SO FUN! Sure, going to Taylor Swift will be great, but what I'm really excited to do is see my friend. We've both been put through the ringer lately and are needing some good girl time, can.not.wait. SO thankful I have a sweet husband who says "yes" to last minute plane tickets and knows when I need a breather, I'm a lucky gal. So, that's what I'm up to this weekend, I'll be back on Sunday, its a quick trip, but hopefully I'll come back refreshed and rejuvenated...its much needed! xo

August 31, 2015

SO over August

I'm really really done w/ August, its felt really long and hard (and hot) to me, ready for a new month! Bring on September! Poor B is home from school today, yesterday her fever returned and she wasn't eating, all signs that her uti was back. Sigh. So, back to urgent care we went and yes, she has yet another uti. I was up with her at 2:30am, poor thing was so hot and she threw up (she hadn't eaten all day but uti's always make her nauseous). Its so sad b/c its just a waiting game for the anti-biotics to kick in and do their thing. The scary part is that the dr said if she gets another one, she might need to undergo that nasty test in the hospital -AGAIN. I remember the last time they did that test I almost passed out it was so traumatic, the thought of doing it again....NOOOOOOOO!!! I'm just praying this will be the last one and it won't be a "thing" in her life again. I hate uti's!! Leave my baby alone!!

In other news, we tried church #13 yesterday. Adam and I pretty much decided this craziness needs to end, the "perfect" church is not to be found here and we need to just make a decision. We enjoyed the church last week, its just far so we need to think about that. The church we tried yesterday our friends had tried the week before and liked it so we gave it a go. The kicker...they are just now starting a search for a new senior pastor so they are over a year out from having the position filled which means rotating teachers for a loooong time. The music was decent (although the people leading looked really disinterested), the sermon was actually really good, and its not far from our house. B wasn't feeling well (which we didn't know at the time) so she liked it okay but I don't think had much to say for the mere fact, she was feeling yucky. So, we're now deciding if we want to make the drive to church #12 (which I kinda prefer) or if we give this church a go and endure no pastor and likely lots of transition for a long time coming? Big Sigh.

All in all this weekend was pretty chill, B and I got up early on Saturday and drove way south to San Juan Capistrano to photograph my friend's daughter's first birthday party, and that night we went to some friends for dinner. We made yummy pizzas and chatted the night away, good times. :) Hope everyone had a fun weekend! xo

August 27, 2015

nuggets of wisdom

We all go through seasons of life, some are really good, some are really bad, some are really hard, some are really sad, (that rhymed!) etc. Life is seasonal and it ebbs and flows, and right now I'm in a hard season but its in these times when I can feel the Lord is really close to me (not always, sometimes in the hard times thats part of the reason, the Lord feels far even though that's never really the case). Right now I'm in a season where I'm hungering and thirsting for more of his goodness and wisdom and I've been intentional about seeking it out. There is an old worship song that starts out "Hungry I come to you for I know you satisfy, though I'm empty but I know your love does not run dry." I feel like that's a fair mantra for me these days. In my quest for "more" and to be "filled" I've been listening to sermons online, not strictly from my church in Waco but other church's as well. It doesn't matter if its a good sermon or a bad sermon or an okay sermon, there has been at least 1 nugget that has stuck out to me, at least one "something" that was said that left a mark, I kinda love that. I love that the Lord is meeting me where I'm at, and "feeding" my hunger. I've written these nuggets down to remind myself but its good stuff so I'm sharing it here.

Here are some neat truths:

*Joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God

*Start each day saying "Lord, I want your will for my life. What is best for the kingdom of God?"

*Confession helps us not to repeat the sin again

*People bond more over shared brokenness than shared belief.

*If you never listen, you'll never hear the voice of God call your name.

*Death produces life, suffering produces good gifts, good gifts come from death.

*When we sing we confess what we believe. We sing because in our singing we remind ourselves who we really are, we sing to put the truth in deep places of our heart. We sing because in our singing we remind ourselves what the truth really is. We sing because we were first sung.

I totally stole all of that, I'm sorry I can't remember who all to give credit to, but hopefully they won't sue me b/c I'm passing on life-giving information. :)

GOOD stuff, right?! So much wisdom and goodness to ponder and play over in my heart and mind on my quest to be *better (previous blog post reference). Thanks for indulging me, hopefully something here is resonating with someone out there. That's one thing I love about this little blog, all the emails, texts, phone calls, etc. that I get from you sweet readers when something resonates with you, I'm so so glad. Thanks for reading. xo

August 25, 2015

baked garlic chicken & a car accident

I'm up and at 'em early this morning (grrr). Adam didn't sleep too well last night which meant I didn't sleep too well last night. Sigh. We were both up at the 5 o' clock hour (I can hear my mom gasping from here) so I'm starting my day tired. Yesterday I got some good time in with one of my oldest and bestest friends, the Lord saw fit to make her my roommate my freshman year of college and I've been thanking him for that move ever since. A couple of my closest friends are in the mental health profession so, I get some "free" therapy from time to time and that's not a bad thing! :) Always worthwhile to do some processing and get some good feedback and accountability, extra thankful for my sweet friends today.

On my way home from orange county I got rear ended on the freeway. Big sigh. Thankfully it wasn't bad, my car is only scratched and my headache is gone. The 18 year old moron that hit me was your typical disaster as far as who you "want" to get hit by -no drivers license on him "my wallet just got stolen" (as he pulls out a well used looking wallet), he "just bought this car 2 days ago so he doesn't have his insurance paperwork with him but if I call his sister's boyfriend named Sean at this car dealership number he can tell me what I need to know." Ay yi yi. Thankfully I don't think I'll be needing to follow up w/ insurance stuff but man, of all the people to hit me!!

In other news, I haven't been to the store in a while so its bare bones in this house, so when I was trying to make dinner last night I was scouring the internets for recipes based on ingredients I had. The good thing about this method is you can end up w/ some great recipes that you may not have otherwise tried! I tried this really easy garlic chicken recipe that was a bit hit! Even B liked it -SCORE. I did the recipe a tad differently that the verbatim instructions so I'll share my version, preheat the oven to 400, put 4 chicken breasts on a piece of parchment paper on a pan (easier clean up), sprinkle the breasts w/ salt and pepper, mix together 1/2 cup mayo, 1/2 cup parm cheese, 1 tsp garlic powder and rub on breasts, bake for 20 mins, take out, sprinkle each breast w/ about 1 tsp of herbed bread crumbs, put back in the oven for another 15-20 mins and voila! Super easy and really good. I'm weird about texture and the texture of the baked on mayo mixture is perfect, I'd highly recommend!

Sadly that's all the news I got today, nothing too exciting around these here parts this week. I hope everyone is having a lovely Tuesday, and hopefully you didn't wake up in the 5 o' clock hour. xo

August 24, 2015

Little Beast

Friday night we celebrated with our friends who have finished a busy/tough year and we went to the most perfectly quaint, little restaurant called Little Beast. The menu was simple but stellar, and the ambiance could I'm a sucker for eating outside and they had the most perfect patio with strands of lights was great. Such a fun night with some of our favorite people, these are the things I love about southern California.

We tried church #12 (I think) this weekend. We ventured further out since we haven't had much luck around here. My old boss from my Young Life days is the pastor of a church out in Claremont (about 30 mins down the freeway) so we went there. The people were super nice, it was great to see Donn, the worship was just okay, but B...wasn't a fan. Her complaints were things that weren't deal breakers to me so, I told her we might give it another go. All in all it was nice to walk out not feeling defeated but to actually feel like it was a real possibility. We shall see....

This week is pretty chill in the Winn household, I think we're still somewhere between summer winding down and school really starting. I get to soak up having Adam around for a little longer so I'm going to take advantage of that....he's just the best. :) Today I get to have lunch with one of my best friends who I don't see enough, so I'm pretty giddy about that! Fun things. Happy Monday, all! xo

August 21, 2015

first week down

Well, today is the last day of B's first week of third grade! We made it. B isn't too talkative and doesn't expand very much when asked questions so, all in all I think her first day of school was pretty good. She agreed it was leaps and bounds better than last year and she likes her teacher so, I'll call it a success. I'm pretty sure I've heard this saying before: that you are only as happy as your kids -I think this is true. As a parent, if your kids are "off" then I think you can only be so content yourself because you are only as happy as your children. B has seemed a bit off to me lately, not her normal self which I can feel trickling down into my own life. I'm okay, because I think my daughter is just okay. I'm hopeful she'll get into a groove and her normal self will "come back" but I think its just a part of this journey, in this phase that is our life right now. I was listening to UBC's sermon this morning (what can I say, I'm an emotional cutter ;) and Josh said "good gifts come from death." He didn't mean in the literal someone dying (although this is the case too sometimes), but in the defining, hard moments that we go through, good things come from that hard. A good reminder for me this morning as I watch B navigate this new year, this new season of her life.

Tonight we got a babysitter, Adam and I are going out w/ some of our besties to celebrate a class being over for our friend, and the freedom that this year will bring after a hard year, looking forward to that. :) I love celebrating people, life has lots of hard things, its important to rejoice in the good things, big or small. Happy weekend, all! xo

PS I've blogged a couple sessions lately so head on over HERE!

August 19, 2015

"First" day of 3rd Grade

We took B to urgent care yesterday b/c her fever kept creeping up, turns out she had a UTI and wasn't "sick' after all. So, got her on some meds and she was off to school today! I got a little emotional walking onto her campus and watching her bestie run up to her and hug her for a solid 3 minutes. All the memories of last year came flooding back to me, my begging and pleading with the Lord to provide her with at least one good friend as I ran to my car sobbing. To see the tangible way in which God was faithful to (me) her was a neat reminder this morning. It was also a night and day experience from last year, we knew where to go, we recognized some kids and parents, B was more confident, Adam was with us, and it was a typical first day experience versus an emotional train wreck. Tears streamed down my face as Adam and I walked to the car as I recalled how I felt last year at this time and how this year was so much better, and Adam was with me (last year he had to be at work). I said to Adam "this is another first that is a last." Parenting an only child brings a lot of "last firsts" and I really try to be present in these moments, knowing I won't do them again. Bittersweet really is the best word to describe how I'm feeling today. Another sweet moment that happened this morning...we stopped by B's classroom to peek in, knowing everyone meets on the playground but just to see it, and another little girl came up with her mom, she had an oxygen mask on and didn't look familiar to me so I didn't say anything but she saw Brennan and in the sweetest voice said "Brennan! I'm so happy to see you!!" And just like heart burst. As my friend said to me yesterday "this parenting stuff is no joke!" Your heart really is walking around outside your body when you become a parent, and it is often most apparent (in my opinion) on the first days of elementary school. I already can't wait to pick up my girl and hear how her day went! xo


August 18, 2015

B's non-first day of school

So, today was supposed to be B's first day of school, but...she's sick. BIG SIGH. I don't know why, but for some reason it really, really bothers me that she's missing her first day, it just seems so wrong! Who misses their first day?! Yesterday her fever got to 102 and she's been dry heaving, some..not much though, but also, she didn't eat one bite of food yesterday. I'm really hoping she'll be in better shape tomorrow, please pray she can go - its so hard to miss stuff at the beginning (and Adam had to physically go to her school today and explain she was ill so they didn't take her off the roster!!). It seems like if its not one thing its another these days.

We cleaned our house the other night before our company came over and I'm pretty much caught up on laundry so I'm getting a bit of cabin fever hunkering down here at home. I've been listening to a lot of sermons online from my pastor in Waco and from my old boss when I worked for Young Life (who is the pastor of a church we might try about 35 mins down the freeway). Trying to make the most of these moments and be intentional with this time. Well, again, would appreciate your prayers for girl, fingers crossed for tomorrow! xo

August 17, 2015

It was like a bad sitcom

If you need a good chuckle on this here Monday morning, grab a cup of jo and sit back for a little tale of company dinner gone wrong.

This weekend we had some friends over for dinner, we knew them when we lived here before and sadly we've only seen them once since we moved back (life is busy!). Anyhow, they had mentioned salmon sounded good for dinner and since I rarely make seafood since Adam and B don't like it, I was thrilled to have an excuse to try a new recipe! Well, trying new recipes is tricky when you're having company... it can quickly turn into an epic fail. Well, in addition to trying a new salmon recipe I also tried a new potato recipe, the recipe said to cut up red potatoes and put them in the crock pot for a few hours, then you were supposed to add some yummy ingredients and mash them up. Before our company came, the time was up so I put my hand held blender in the crockpot to mash the potatoes and they were still too hard....which means the stuff I had put in the crockpot to season them went flying on the walls and my dress. Lovely. I put a plastic bag over my kitchen mallet and tried to smash the potatoes no avail (and again, more stuff went flying on the walls and on my dress due to this method). Sigh. I cranked the crock pot to high and hoped our friends would be a tad late. Well, they were a tad late, and we gave them the 30 second house tour, and I started to make the salmon in hopes the potatoes would be done after the fish but no...still hard as rocks. GRRR. Well, the salmon was a new recipe and I knew it would be helpful to have 2 people working on it b/c you were supposed to sprinkle flour on both sides of the fish, then put honey on both sides and cook it on each side for several minutes all the while browning butter in another pan to make the sauce that goes on top. In the past I've burned my butter while browning it while working on the meat so I was smart enough to ask my friend for help (and of course, she's amazing in the kitchen...all the more reason the events that I will continue to unfold will become that much more embarrassing). So, Des is browning the butter, I'm cooking the fish and because of the searing of the fish on high heat and the smoke from the honey...the smoke detector starts going off...and its LOUD! So, my house is a smoke bomb and the beeping is obnoxious as Adam is waving a towel in front of it -AND it just happened to be the hottest day of the summer on Saturday so we couldn't open the doors to let the smoke out b/c it was over 100 degrees and our A/C was already having a hard enough time trying to keep the house cool (and it couldn't even get it to the temp it was set for b/c it was so hot). So, we get the fish cooked, the sauce made, we sit down for dinner, and aside from the potatoes being hard as rocks, the meal turned out pretty well! Salad was good, biscuits were good, salmon was a really good recipe (although truth be told, my piece could've been cooked a little more) so all in all it wasn't too too bad. Well, after dinner Al decides he wants some coffee, I never drink coffee but I have a coffee maker and I have some coffee in my freezer so he is in the kitchen working on that when all of a sudden the power goes out! So, there we are -in pitch black, no A/C and its HOT. I peek outside the windows and everyone else has power...we've blown some breakers. Ay yi Adam and Al quickly realize the problem and resolve it and we're up and running!  So between the potatoes being splattered all over the walls and my dress, the smoke detector going off, my house a hazy smoke bomb, the power completely going out, and watching our friends graciously gnawing through my hard-as-rocks-potatoes it was quite the dinner party! Who wants to come over next weekend?! Any takers???

Thankfully some sweet friends had us over for dinner last night so we had a break from cooking and were able to sit around and relax and chat the evening away...felt good. :) We also went back to church #11 yesterday and decided it was a no-go, sigh. The worship just isn't good and when we went to pick up B from Sunday School it was only her and 1 other girl...just not what we're wanting for her or us. We're realizing we might need to drive further out to find what we're looking for and at this point, we're getting desperate enough to do it. Sigh. B had another "meltdown" yesterday on the way home from our friends house, she could hear Adam and I talking about church and she started crying and said "I don't want to go to any other church besides UBC." All Adam and I could say was "us too, B, that's what we want too." Man, its hard. In the wee hours this morning B was at our door saying she couldn't fall back asleep and so I went and laid with her for a while, I took this opportunity to snuggle my girl and pray over her, thankfully due to my back pain meds I got a lot of sleep yesterday so I wasn't so out of it when she woke me this morning and I could be in the moment. Her first day of school is tomorrow, we find out who her teacher is today, and I think we're all a little apprehensive (for lack of a better word) just thinking about this time last year as we start anther year. It doesn't feel near as daunting but it also doesn't feel easy. one day at a time. To add insult to injury B wasn't feeling too well this morning, she thought she was going to throw up but just dry-heaved (sorry if that's TMI), so I'm praying she doesn't get sick, she can't miss her first day of school!!  Anyhow, that's whats going on in the Winn household...we'll take any prayers we can get! I hope everyone has a good week! xo

August 13, 2015

Still Raw

On Sunday we tried a new church, on Tuesday they were having a monthly dinner and we decided to go (which felt bold to me). Its always awkward being new and walking into a group situation where you don't know any one, but we decided to go and see how the community was and if we felt like it was a place we could maybe be a part. In all honesty, there were a lot of older folks and very few folks with young kids...this is concerning a bit. With that said, everyone was very nice and wouldn't you know it, we were literally the last ones to leave! The pastor and his wife ended up sitting next to us toward the end of the evening as it cleared out and we got to chatting and...shut the place down. This is funny to me for a couple reasons, mainly that Adam and I were always amongst the last to leave church on Sunday in Waco b/c we were too busy chatting with our friends, and here we were, brand new and the last ones to leave. I so appreciate how warm and friendly everyone was and although it may not be the perfect fit, I think we're going to give it another go on Sunday. With that said, as we got in the car to leave the dinner and head home, out of the blue B started crying and said "I just miss my house, and my school, and UBC, and my friends. I just want to move back to Waco." And just like that, a dagger in my heart. Although it was out of the blue, it also wasn't, I think I know my girl pretty well and what I think is happening is that she is having post-traumatic stress (somewhat jokingly) memories from last year at this time. A year ago we just moved here and our life was total chaos and she was about to start the first day of school, and I think all the memories from that raw time are flooding her mind these days. And I think that because if I'm being honest, that's how I'm feeling too. As dramatic as it sounds, B's first day of school last year was one of the worst days of my life and as we're broaching another year here full of unknowns and new things, I have that sort of pit in my stomach too. Moving is really, really hard. I also think that since we tried so many new churches last year and bounced around so much with no normalcy, it didn't really feel like real life, and I think with the idea of settling on a church and getting rooted somewhere, that makes it feel real and that feeling sinks in and makes Waco feel further away. I think that is where B is at, and I get that, I feel it too. When we got home we put B to bed and I felt this heavy sadness, I woke up crying the next day and just had this ache in my heart for my sweet girl, who a year later, is just as homesick as the day we left...and I get it. Its still raw and hard, and I have no idea when that will change. I never moved as a kid, and navigating this with my girl has been the hardest "mothering" I've had to do yet. Every kid is different so I don't think there is an answer to when it will get easier, B is a lot like me in her personality and we feel things deeply when its something we love so deeply, and incidentally we both hate change. Sigh.

Yesterday was just good, good for the soul, good for a change of scenery, good to be with family, just good. We drove out to Moreno Valley and had some good cousin/aunt/uncle/pool time which was so needed and fed our souls. We got there around lunch time and stayed through dinner, just lovely. We only have a couple days left of summer before school starts for B on Tuesday and are trying to squeeze in as much fun as we can. If you're of the praying kind, would appreciate your prayers for my girl and her sweet heart as she starts another new year, so so appreciated. As always, thanks for reading. xo

August 10, 2015

summer is winding down

Our summer has been so busy but this last week it really winded down, and this week will be pretty chill too. Its nice to have this calm at the end, before the busy-ness of school starts back up. This weekend was good! We got Thai food from our favorite place on Friday night and ate outside, it was low key and lovely at the same time. Saturday B and I ran some back-to-school errands and that evening we went to our sweet friends house for pizza and ice cream. I'm so thankful the Lord saw fit to put our house a literal 3 minute drive from some of our favorite people, its been so fun doing life with them and getting to see them as often as we do. Sunday we tried a new church (well, new to me, Adam went once when I was out of town), it was...okay. The worship was lacking and there weren't a lot of people in our age demographic, but, the people were nice, I enjoyed the pastor, and someone already asked us to dinner so...that's pretty great. :) We'll see. After church we went out to lunch w/ friends and then 4 of our college students from our time at High Sierra came over to visit! It was so fun to see these precious gals and to catch up on their lives. Always good for the soul when people you've poured into come back to visit, so so good. Later afternoon cousin Kyle and his girlfriend came over for dinner and we grilled and ate outside, so fun. Today my house is bustling with 3 sweet little girls! B has her friends over to play and I'm getting my house picked up and the laundry done (which I may or may not have been neglecting for a while now). I hope everyone had a nice weekend and that this Monday isn't too Monday-ish! :) I blogged my friend's lovely wedding so head on over HERE and check it out! xo

August 5, 2015

Good Hard Things

 God's been teaching me a lot lately, he's been refining me and using me to help refine others. Being a Christian is a really daunting task, and if  I'm being honest I fail far more than I succeed, but I know about grace and so I know its okay. Grace isn't an excuse I use to behave badly and then get redemption, I'm smart enough to know God won't be mocked, but I know grace covers all my mistakes and I find so much healing from that. This past year there has been an issue in my life that has left a lot of anger, resentment, irritation, frustration, a sense of injustice, a sense of isolation, a hurt so deep that I've had to really explore the recesses of my mind to find the real root and not the obvious. This has been a hard thing, but I'm starting to see some of the good in the hard. Several people who are close to me know of what I'm referring but you don't need to know the ins and outs to get the good stuff, the "meat" if you will. I think a lot of the Christian life is striving to be better, not in the cheesy "we always smile and life is always okay and we love Jesus" crap that makes me crazy, but in the -the more we know Jesus and we engage in true discipleship, and practice life the way he intended, the more our instincts become like His, with minimal thought or effort. I had a hard conversation with one of my long time friends recently, and maybe at some point I'll share some of the good stuff that came from that "hard" but I read her a quote from my pastor in Waco that I carry with me on my phone because it speaks to the person I want to be:

"Following Jesus is about learning how to be like Jesus so that you move through the world like Jesus would. Discipleship then is rehearsing Jesus' thoughts, words, and actions over and over until they become your instinct and your character." ~ Josh Carney

Man, I want that -I want to be like Jesus to the point where its effortless, I want to live in a way that others can't help but see there is more to this hard, earthly life that so many people merely survive because the pain they live with is beyond what many of us can even imagine.

Recently I received a text from someone who knows about my "hard thing"  -it came out of the blue and it simply said "Today I prayed for you to receive the freedom of forgiveness." This caused me pause and I replied and thanked her, confessed I wasn't "there" yet, but that I could see progress in this department. She then replied and said "I'm praying it will be given to you as a gift. Because I know you love Jesus and he gives good gifts." I've let this marinate in my soul for a while now, it has been admittedly hard for me to even want to forgive, I'm someone who is passionate about justice and when you forgive someone who has wronged you without them asking, that sense of justice doesn't (necessarily) get righted. Man, I hate that. Some of the most profound stories are of those who have suffered egregious injustices and have forgiven their persecutors without being asked ...right? Those are the stories that stick with you, those are the people we all think "Man, I don't know if I could do that." But, don't we all want to do that? Isn't that really, at our core who we want to be? Don't we all want to be better? Better people, better friends, better spouses, better aunts/uncles/cousins? Don't you want to

 I was listening to a sermon online from my Waco pastor and he said something to the effect of (and I'm paraphrasing here) "if you are going to a church and you aren't being challenged and you leave the same as when you came week after week, then you may as well just go to the rotary club instead." Amen. If you aren't growing into a better person, into someone who looks more like Jesus, why not? And why wouldn't you want that? If we actually lived in a world where we prayed for those who persecuted us and where we actually loved our enemies, would that not be so life changing? My Waco pastor often talks about how in this day and age, we don't really have "enemies" so much as there are people in our lives who are often just really annoying, and really, aren't those the ones that are really hard to love? I can't tell you how many times this has played over and over and over in my mind through the years. I'm not very good at loving the annoying, let alone praying for them...that's the hard stuff right there.

If I'm being honest I kinda hate these posts, sometimes I don't want to be refined or to be held accountable to the process or what that means for my relationships with others. But I also shared here years ago that I think this little blog is meant for more than pretty pictures and life updates, and so, these posts come sometimes and I often feel like I'm not even the one writing. Like I said, God's been teaching me a lot this summer and as we just completed our first year of life in CA and we started the second, I have no doubt lots more lessons are in store. This has been a hard year, lots of it good hard, some of it just plain hard, but we made it! One year down. I'm reading a book with some girlfriends of mine and this quote really struck me yesterday:

God may be leading you away without a clear final destination yet. As maddening as that is, could it be that He needs you to release what was before you can appropriately grasp what will be? Could it be that you might accidentally squash the lovely vision if you obtain it too soon? There is a horrid beauty in following God slightly blind. The victory later is sweeter, the prize more valuable than breath."

-Jen Hatmaker from Interrupted

I feel like she was talking directly to me here, I'm not sure what the final destination is (in several regards), and that makes me nuts (understatement), but clearly, I'm not meant to know just yet, but I take comfort in that when I do, it will be worth the wait. (And I can also see how this relates to Adam getting his job, it is undoubtedly sweeter because of the journey). xo

August 3, 2015

I blinked, and its August

A while back I remember thinking "August will be here before I know it" -and that happened! I can't believe B only has 2 weeks left of summer, it really did fly by! Whew, it has been a busy week around here! Our sweet friends the Millers have been in town with us the last several days, its been so fun lounging in our pjs and chatting the day away, going out to yummy restaurants, the boys toured the Rose Bowl one day and the gals hung out and chatted for hours. It was so fun to have long time friends here and to just soak up each others company. I had to be up and at 'em Saturday morning as I was helping to host a baby shower for my long time friend, Jen. And of course wouldn't you know it, I had just arrived to the shower location around 7:20am, I bent over to put my fruit tarts in the fridge and...right when I stood up I knew....I threw my back out. BIG SIGH. Not only was the timing horrible as I had just started a very long day but I was instantly paranoid that I would be in the same place I was a year ago (May) when I threw my back out and the panic set it. Thankfully I've started carrying my drugs with me at all times so I popped some pills and tried not to bend too much the rest of the day. Well, needless to say, after being on my feet/throwing a shower/setting up/tearing down for 8 hours I was WIPED when I got home. So, the past day or so I've been on drugs, flat on my back, on the couch. BIG bummer. Thankfully its a low key week around here so I can just rest up, and thankfully since I got on my meds so quickly this set back hasn't been anywhere near the severity of the "last" time. So, that's that. :/

The shower for my friend was lovely, about 50 gals came to welcome a sweet baby boy that's on the way, my friend has waited a long time for this phase of life and it was so neat to see all the support and love for this soon to be family of three. Thankful to have been a part.

Like I said, this week is pretty chill (finally and thank goodness!), we have some social things planned but nothing too nuts, just winding down our busy summer and starting to prepare for back to school. August 1st marked our 1 year of living here (well, for this second time of living here :) and that seems kinda crazy to me. We did it, one whole year of California went fast for sure, it wasn't my favorite year of all time by any stretch but I do see God's faithfulness to us in this journey and I'm thankful for that. Here we go, year 2! I've still got wedding editing to get done so that's whats on tap for me today, hope everyone has a lovely Monday! xo