December 17, 2015

blogged!

I've blogged a couple mini sessions from the Pacific Palisades over HERE, check it out! xo



December 15, 2015

fender bender

Sigh.....so California finally got some much needed rain, that's the good news, the bad news is Californian's don't know how to drive in said rain. The other night we were coming home from dinner, about 2 blocks from our house, it was dark and rainy, we were at a red light and then the light turned green and we went to make a right turn, as did the person in front of us...only the person in front of us ran up on the curb and ran into a light pole, as we turned the corner we inevitably rear-ended him as his car was half in the street, half on the curb and we had no way of seeing him before we turned the corner. One insurance person said it shouldn't be our fault since his accident caused a chain of events, another person said we hit him from behind so that's on us -WHAT?! We had literally no where else to go but into his rear! Its maddening, I'm not yet sure what the end result will be but I spent my morning dropping off my car and getting a rental. BIG SIGH. There is clearly never a good time for a car accident but the added stress/$ at the holidays is a big ol' bummer. Booooo.

On a lighter note, we had a nice weekend! Our Friday night plans got cancelled since our poor friends got sick, so we stayed in and had a chill evening. Saturday I ran some errands and that night the 3 of us went out for pizza and then went to the annual Christmas lighting on Christmas Tree Lane here in Altadena, that was so fun! Sunday we listened to a sermon online from our church in Texas and then went out to this cute place in South Pasadena that serves cereal and grilled cheese sandwiches and had breakfast, then we went to the park where we celebrated B's 1st birthday. Sunday night we met some friends for dinner and then got in a car accident and then had them over for dessert -fun times (minus said accident). I've been baking like a crazy person, lots of cookies, fudge, peanut butter balls, etc... I don't want to know what the scale says but tis the season, right?!

I hope everyone out there is having a better week-start than me! Looking forward to Christmas and having a nice, relaxing break coming up. xo

December 8, 2015

some thoughts on forgiveness

The other day I was part of a hard conversation, several people were talking about this tragic event that took place recently wherein a pregnant woman was raped by 3 men and then shot in her own home while her infant child slept in the house. Her husband came home shortly thereafter and realized he had left the door unlocked when he went for his early morning workout. There is more heartache here than I can even wrap my mind around but the topic of the conversation quickly turned to that of forgiveness. Apparently the deceased woman's husband is a pastor and was on a news program preaching forgiveness and how he knew that is what he needed to do. Someone in the conversation made mention at how ridiculous that notion even was...and I think it wasn't so much that he didn't think it was the "right" thing to do inasmuch as an impossible and unrealistic task. We discussed how yes, it seems a lot of time would need to take place and God would really have to do some mighty work to allow forgiveness to happen, but it begged the question of how could that even be what is required? We all have a hard time forgiving those who have wronged us when murder of a loved one isn't involved (or maybe I should just speak for myself here? I have a hard time). Let me jump forward a bit, a month or so ago I found myself in a conversation discussing the existence of God with someone, we each have our own experiences we bring to the table that shape our thoughts and opinions as one would expect, but here's the deal, God has proven himself to me time and time again, I would be the idiot not to believe, but moreover, I choose to believe God exists because that is literally the only way the world and its brokenness makes sense to me. I believe that God will do what he says he will do and that in the end, he will make all things right. But here's also the "deal" -I want to believe. I want to live and raise my daughter believing that there is more to this hard, broken, earthly life where people can be raped and murdered and to know without a doubt, that isn't the end. Back to the topic of forgiveness, I think we can all agree that the widowed husband would fare better in life to forgive those men who took his wife, being bottled up with rage and anger will ultimately eat him alive, right? But to go through the process of real forgiveness seems like such a hard and daunting task...does it not? But here's the thing about Jesus, he asks us to do things that we don't want to do, that seem really unfair and hard, and where earthly justice doesn't necessarily get served - isn't that just so ughhhhhhhhh (insert cringy crying face) for lack of a better word. That when someone hits you we're supposed to turn the other cheek? That if someone asks for us to walk a mile were to go two? Isn't it just like Jesus to ask for such an extravagant response that we can't.even.wrap.our.minds.around.it.? And really, any one who has forgiven the unforgiveable, aren't they the ones who turn out blessed, who have the amazing story of redemption and healing and freedom that only real forgiveness from Jesus can bring? The movie "Unbroken" (as hard as it is to watch, and sadly ends before the really good stuff happens -do some research on the real story, the forgiveness/redemption is beyond words), is such a neat picture of the torture that someone can endure but with whom Jesus can do a mighty work and bring about healing because he did the hard work and chose to forgive his persecutors. Isn't that the stuff that movies are made of (literally)? Only Jesus can do that. When people really don't think there are signs of a living God I'm almost at a loss for words, there are stories all around us of something extraordinary that can only be explained in miraculous ways -in Jesus ways. It reminds me of the quote "If you never listen you'll never hear the voice of God calling your name." Please here me here, I'm no expert at/on forgiveness, in true transparency (which really, is the only way I roll) I kinda suck at it, but I know its what I'm called to do and so I go after it. In my lifelong quest to be more like Jesus I work at forgiveness, sometimes it haunts me and I confess in several areas of my life I'm not there yet, but I'm thankful for a God who's paved the way and doesn't ask anything of me that He hasn't done himself. You see, Jesus can ask extravagant things of us, because He is extravagant in His love and sacrifice for us. Come Lord Jesus, come. xo

December 7, 2015

Waiting/Advent

This past weekend went fast, too fast in fact. Last night B said "I feel like we need 1 more day of the weekend, that went too fast!" Friday night we stayed home and had a cozy night of Thai take out, Christmas music and cookie baking, it was lovely. Saturday our cousins came early in the day and stayed until very late in the afternoon -it was so fun! Plans had been in the works for ages for Saturday and it was so fun to have everyone together jumping on the trampoline, doing Christmas crafts, watching movies/football, decorating Christmas cookies, eating pizza, etc. So fun. Right as our company walked out the door we hopped in the car to go to our friends house for dinner where we spent the evening eating good food and playing with some dear friends. Sunday I had a shoot on the west side of town so I made the most of it by doing some Christmas shopping and eating by myself...it was pretty great. :) All in all a great, busy weekend!

Isn't it so crazy how as a child the season of advent seems to take forever and the countdown to Christmas is soooo slow and as an adult there don't seem to be enough hours in the day to get it all done? I feel like a lot of Adam's and my life together can be described as a season of waiting, we've done more than our fair share in the 15 years we've been married. Each year for the past 7 years (the last one not withstanding) our whole year was a season of waiting, in the fall we waited to see what jobs would be posted, in the winter we waited to see if we'd get an interview, in the spring we waited to see if we'd get the job, etc.. It was an exhausting season, and at times seemed endless. Now that he's in year 2 of "the job" its still weird to not be in the "job waiting" but we find ourselves in other kinds of waiting. I don't want to go into that too much b/c some things aren't worth talking about at certain points, but as one example, we're still waiting to see where we'll end up at church. This has been an exhaustive road and one that has left us wanting. I've never not been in church my whole life and we've taken a couple months off...I miss it, I can feel the void of that part of our lives and anticipate it being filled again. The older I get I realize just how much of our lives involve waiting and waiting can be so hard and it can be so hard to do well. My Waco pastor said "When you learn to wait well, something transformative happens." I think this is true, and I know its something I've struggled to do well but something I hope to get better at with time. In this season of advent I've admittedly been waiting on other things more than the birth of our Savior and I hope to be more intentional about that in the coming weeks. I hate that I get caught up in getting Christmas cards out, gifts purchased, photos edited, and events planned more than I get caught up in Jesus -I want to be better, He is so worth anticipating and celebrating. xo

December 3, 2015

the thing about the holidays for me is....

...its the busiest time of year for my job and it makes me a little nutty nut bears. Its been busy over here! I've been editing like a crazy person, giving myself carpal tunnel to get folks their photos quickly so they can get holiday cards going-whew! I don't want to sound like I'm complaining, I'm super thankful for the work, I'm just a tad over my computer screen right now. :) Last night the 3 of us went out to get our Christmas tree, we don't normally get it until the first weekend of December but since we're gone for a chunk of the month we want to enjoy it as much as we can. We're calling this year's tree "the scoliosis tree." The trunk is super twisty which made it very hard to put in the stand and the topper is in sad shape! Most of the trees weren't out of their "sleeves" yet and time was an issue so, needless to say, its not our best tree ever but it will work (unless it falls over...which, to be honest is a strong possibility!). So, I just wrapped up editing a newborn session and I'm going to  go put the lights on the tree so B can help decorate it when she gets home from school. I hope everyone is having a lovely day, head on over HERE to check out this sweet little guy and his cute fam! xo

 
 

November 29, 2015

Thanksgiving 2015 -that's a wrap!

It always goes too fast! We had a lovely Thanksgiving break with cousin Mike, he left today and so now the house feels too quiet. :( We had a great time, though! We went out for great Chinese food, I made the traditional T-Day feast and we all ate too much and sat around watching football, we went to a couple movies, ate some more and watched some more football - fun times. :) Now I'm doing laundry, catching up on some work, and starting to put away Thanksgiving decorations to make room for Christmas ones. I hope everyone out there had a lovely Thanksgiving with friends and family! Head on over HERE to check out this engagement shoot from Waco! xo


November 24, 2015

I'm thankful for....

my sweet B! I blogged B's 9 year photos over HERE, check it out! xo

November 23, 2015

T-Day week is finally here

I really do love this week, but I love it even more when Adam finally gets home (tomorrow)! I would really like to talk to the scheduler of his conference about doing it a different time of year! B and I have had a pretty good time so far, but today, she woke up sickie. Sigh. B is rarely under the weather and her timing isn't so great when it does happen. I'm hoping this is just a little 24 hour bug and that she'll be back to her old self by tomorrow! I really need to get to the store, my T-day list is made and the supplies need to be gathered! I'm trying 2 new recipes this year, a new and improved green bean casserole and a maple bacon turkey! Ina Garten's turkey recipe is usually what I make and it never lets me down, hopeful for good things with the change-up, fingers crossed! Well, I've got another coat of pain to put on the new (old) door, and some editing to do so I'm gonna get after it! Head on over HERE to see some cute family photos! xo

November 18, 2015

Perch & Brussel Sprouts

Last week a group of us gals went to the swanky Perch restaurant in Los Angeles to celebrate some November birthdays and it was FABULOUS. If you are in LA and want to try a trendy place -GO! We ate outside on the rooftop deck overlooking downtown and it was just so so lovely. What was especially great...the brussel sprouts. I didn't know what I've been missing all my life! Lately I've been obsessed with this salad at this cute restaurant in Pasadena that also has brussel sprouts in it so now I'm officially on a brussel sprout kick! Here's what I've realized, brussel sprouts with balsamic, parmesan cheese and bacon is just about heaven. I made some at home last night for the first time and half my plate was brussel sprouts b/c they were so good-AND B didn't even seem to mind them! VICTORY!!! So, if you're at all intrigued, just google some recipes w/ those ingredients, I bet you'll be amazed if you're not a fan already! In other news, I blogged one of my besties and her cute fam so head on over HERE to check it out! xo

November 16, 2015

Justin Bieber/Venice Blvd/Cheesey Lasagna

Whew! This was a fun and busy weekend! Justin Bieber released his new album this past week and he held a last minute concert at the Staples Center here in LA. Tickets were too cheap to not take advantage of this opportunity so, Adam, B and I went a heard the Biebs on Friday night! It was pretty cool, he did a Q&A and then just sang some acoustic music, no bells and whistles, just a low key show, fun. :) Saturday morning we lounged around the house and then I went and got my first blow out at Pasadena's "Dry Bar." It was fun having someone style my hair since ever since I got it cut I feel like I don't do such a great job. :/ Then Adam, B and I hopped in the car and drove to Venice Blvd where we had our family photos taken, fingers crossed we get some good ones! My friend had told me we must eat at Gjelina so we gave it a whirl. They service was slow and rude (its a pretty snobby place) but the pizza was pretty darn great and I loved the atmosphere. Then we stopped by Blue Star Donuts and paid way too much for these little nuggets of gold, but, truth be told -they were pretty darn good. Really unique flavors and very dense donuts, I'll be going back. :) Yesterday I had a photo shoot, went to the grocery store and made my friend's mother-in-law's lasagna recipe. Its been ages since I made a lasagna but it turned out pretty darn good! (I mistook an "oz" for a 0 so needless to say, it was CHEESE-y~!). Our long-time friends came over for dinner and we spent the evening chatting away and catching up on life. It was a very full and very good weekend, just how I like 'em. :) This week always brings some bluebirds for me and B b/c Adam heads to his yearly conference this weekend (boo!), we always hate it when daddy's gone. :( I'm trying to think of some fun things for us to do, I do have to work a bit, I have a couple photo shoots in Pacific Palisades so, hopefully a play date for B! And then cousin Mike comes for T-Day! I've been scouring recipes, hope to try a couple new things this year! I hope everyone had a lovely weekend too, happy Monday, all! xo

My clients were late to our shoot yesterday so I took some pics while I was waiting. Here's the lovely Pasadena City Hall.

November 10, 2015

Palm Springs #taketheperk

We got back from Palm Springs yesterday, it was a blast! I was so sad to see the weekend come to an end. :( (And whoever thought it was a good idea to come home ON my actual birthday?!). We laid by the pool, ate good food, went to a couple movies, and just relaxed and enjoyed one another's company, so so fun, a great way to ring in 38. Thanks to my sis for taking the work perks and including Adam and I in the fun!! I really do love my birthday...yesterday my phone was blowing up all day with sweet messages from friends and family, I'm a blessed gal for sure. Tomorrow is veterans day so no school for B, trying to think of something fun to do...suggestions? :) I do love this time of year, Thanksgiving is around the corner, breaks from school, the semester is winding down for Adam, etc.. Fun things ahead. Well, its been a lazy day so I'm going to attempt to do some productive things before picking up B from school, happy Tuesday all! xo

November 4, 2015

2 birthdays down, 1 to go!

Whew! Its been a busy time over here! For Adam's 39th birthday we ate really good BBQ and he rooted the Ducks onto victory in triple over time! Woot! Brennan's birthday was school, play time with grandma, opening gifts, dinner at Jimmy John's (who doesn't want a cold sub in the pouring down rain?!), and ice cream birthday cake at home. All in all, I think everyone has felt very loved and celebrated! Today I'm doing some cleaning, laundry, work, and grocery shopping to gear up for Adam's and my trip to Palm Springs tomorrow! We're so excited for a little mini vacation with my sis and bro-in-law! This time of year is always such a whirlwind but lots of fun. Momsie left last night which is always sad, B cried on the way home from the airport and I cheerfully reminded her that grandma Kemi is coming in 2 days!! That helped. :) Its no fun when the "party" is over. :( Sweet girl. Well, I've got my work cut out for me so I'm gonna get after it, hope everyone is enjoying their November so far! Head on over HERE to see this cute fam! xo


November 2, 2015

My Girl is 9

Today my sweet girl turns 9, I can't believe it! I have a third grader who is NINE. Its so weird living back in Pasadena, where B was born 9 years ago. Having moved away for so long and now to live here again, its all so nuts. I remember certain things about her birth week so vividly and other things not as much. I always write things about B as she is now so I won't forget so I'm going to do that again this year of course. :)

B, you are still so tall! We both get asked all the time if you're tall for your age, I think we're kinda used to it now. It doesn't seem to bother you and I'm so glad, I was always the tallest in my class too so I guess the apple doesn't fall far. You're still a string bean! The other day I bought you a skirt in a size 5 b/c your waist is so tiny! You are as beautiful as ever and I often get told that you should be a model (I kinda agree! :). Your teeth have grown in and it makes you look so much older/different! So far they are looking really straight so your dad and I have our fingers crossed for no braces! :) You haven't changed your opinions much, which is also like me, you know what you like and what you don't and that pretty much stays the same. You still hate shoes, which continues to make me nuts, trying to find a pair you will wear is exhausting! And you are still a pretty picky eater, you eat what I make but you definitely have opinions about it. Roasted veggies with chicken is one of your favorite dinners these days, and tacos. Jimmy Johns and Little Caesars are still your go-tos for fast food, and you still love the salad at Olive Garden. For your 9th birthday this year you decided you wanted to take just a couple close friends to the American Girl doll store, so that's what we did! So far it seems you're enjoying your 3rd grade year pretty well but you still long to move back to Waco. We talk about Texas a lot and you often tell me how much you miss our house and how it will always be the best house. You are still as sweet as ever and have such a tender heart. I'm so proud of the person you are. I can honestly say I've never seen you be intentionally mean to another person, you are always trying to include others and it makes my heart swell with pride. You got an award in school last year for always doing your best and being a good friend to your classmates, this year on your evaluation from your teacher she commented on what a good friend to others you are. I cannot tell you how much this means to me, I know I wouldn't be anywhere in this life without my friends and if I can teach you how to love Jesus and others well, I'll have done what I set out to do. Life can be really hard B, but showing up for others is so much of what this life is about, and the fruits of that will be so rewarding. Today my baby girl turns 9, we are at the halfway point to adulthood, if you keep on in the direction your headed, I see so many good things in store for you, precious girl. Happy 9th birthday, Brennan Grace, daddy and I love you beyond measure. xo

October 29, 2015

39 never looked so goood!

Today is one of my favorite days of the year because my lovekins was born 39 years ago!! Its no secret that I LOVE birthdays, especially of those near and dear to me so today is a big day in the Winn household! I have Adam's cake in the oven, tonight he wants BBQ for dinner and the Ducks are playing so...that right there, is a day made in heaven for my love. :) I've got a busy day ahead with Bible Study, bday errands, house cleaning for momsie who comes tomorrow and laundry! I love this time of year but its always such a blur. This morning B asked how many more days until her birthday and I said "We're not talking about that today! Today is daddy's day -yours is coming soon enough!" :) When the whole fam is packed within 12 days, its lots of celebrating and cake! I want everyone to feel special and well celebrated, life is full of hard things, its important to celebrate the good things. Amen. Hope everyone has a great day and if you know Adam, don't forget to send him birthday love!! xo

October 21, 2015

One Month later

I recently received a text from my sweet aunt that said "Your blog has had the same title of "over myself" for a while now, just because you're over yourself doesn't mean the rest of us are!" This made me chuckle, and forced me to give an honest response of "I'm in a dark place but I'm working hard to claw my way out, I'll get there." That's the simplest way I can explain in, I've been in a dark hole but have been working hard to get out, and I'm making good progress. Here's the thing about life, it can be really hard sometimes, and sometimes you just need to take a step back and work on/take care of yourself, and that's okay. I know in hard times God can feel really far away, I've experienced this in my own life and have listened to countless people tell me of their own experiences, and I get it. With that said, this hasn't been my experience in this season of my life, I have actually felt God very near to me and have intentionally sought Him out and have drawn near to Him. I think its our human nature to avoid pain at all costs, but tremendous healing can take place when you lean in (to use a popular reference these days) to the pain and sit with it for a while. Sometimes you just need to be "in" it and let the pain wash over you and really feel it, then the real healing can begin. I think God does some of His best work in us in the broken times, good things come from pain.  Its been a tough season, ya'll, and I'm not out of the woods yet, but as my dear friend reminded me recently, "I've got a good God" and he sees me. As hard as life can be, it can also be really really good. I'm a spoiled girl, don't ever let me forget that. Our dear friend British Jon (that's what everyone calls him, well, everyone in Waco anyhow :) flew from Waco to LA to visit us, no other reason, just because he's our friend -that's the good stuff of life. We had a fabulous beach day, we ate really good food and soaked up each other's company. The weekend went too fast of course, but it was so so good. Recently Adam and I flew to Colorado to meet Doug and Kemi and cousin Mike for our annual Duck game, we won! Its always a fun trip and a tradition we all care deeply about upholding, and it was a good reminder of the good stuff of life: football, family, traditions, freedom from the yuckiness that can creep in, etc. Life is hard but its so good, and God is so good. I just got back from being in Waco for several days, that is always good for my soul. There is something about getting off the plane in Texas and feeling this peace and feels so familiar and so good. Now, I'm in the thick of it, its that time of year where there aren't enough hours in the day and I wonder how its all going to get done? :/ I'm buried in editing (which is a great problem to have), Adam's birthday is next week, and my sweet girl's birthday is in 12 days!! I can't believe 9 is right around the corner! Momsie flies in next week in time to do Halloween with us and to be a part of B's birthday! Then of course its my birthday shortly after that (which I will be celebrating in Palm Springs w/ my sister and bro-in-law and Adam) -can.not.wait. for that! Its a busy time in the Winn household but good things to be busy with! I won't apologize for the blog lull, it needed to happen and really, I'm doubtful anyone would've wanted to read what I was capable of in the past month! :) Thank you to those of you who continually check in on our little corner of the web, it means a lot. xo

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 dairy...it 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 not.be.beat. I'm a sucker for eating outside and they had the most perfect patio with strands of lights overhead...it 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 that...my 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 but...to 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 yi...so 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 just.be.better?

 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 life..it 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

July 25, 2015

back!

After 2 long days of driving we got home last night, and it feels so good to be home! Vacation was lovely, it was so good to be "home" and get some good family time in. I have lots to blog about but things are gonna be a bit nutty around here for another week or so! We are going with our friends to the Cal Philharmonic tonight and I've got to get to the store and do laundry and get some editing done (that I may or may not have been neglecting for the past couple weeks!) so I need to get after it! I did update the ol' blog so if you haven't checked that out in a while head on over HERE to see this cute fam! More to come! xo

July 7, 2015

Whew, that was busy!

Adam and B and I had to get up super early to get me to the airport to fly to northern CA on Friday morning. It was really fun to be in Monterey with dear friends and to watch sweet Ginger marry the man of her dreams. So many people in the wedding were near and dear to Adam and I when we lived in CA years ago and it was so fun to be together again, felt like old times and I laughed harder than I have in a long time. Friday was busy with last minute wedding stuff, rehearsal, rehearsal diner, etc. and Saturday was a long but lovely day. I was staying in a room w/ my bestie who was also the maid of honor, so, needless to say our room was bustling from dawn til dusk! We drove back to southern CA on Sunday morning, both exhausted and sore! When we made it home and walked through the door Adam thought we both looked pretty rough! It was a busy few days and I feel like I'm still getting caught up on sleep. Last night a friend from Waco came over! Our friend Jeremy was in town for business so we got to have him for the evening and that was so fun. I made dinner (first time in a while!) and we sat around and caught up for hours, so good to see a Texan. :) Today is officially laundry and packing day with a few errands thrown in there. I think I already need a vacation from our summer! We're all looking forward to a relaxing time in Oregon with family, praying for good weather and healthy people! Here is a peek from Ginger and RJ's big day, such an honor to be there photographing this beautiful day. xo

July 2, 2015

Radio Silence

We've gotten to that point in the summer where the ol' blog is going to be quiet for a while. I travel early tomorrow to northern CA to shoot a wedding, when I get home its going to be a crazy 2 days of cleaning/laundry/packing for our drive to Oregon. I may blog here and there but I'm apologizing in advance for the radio silence that is coming. :) I blogged one of my all time favorite family sessions over HERE, check it out!! You're going to have loft envy! Happy Summer, all! xo

June 29, 2015

TOAD & other fun things

Summer is in full swing around here! Its been getting hotter and hotter and the summer fun is well underway! This past week was nutty, but in a good way! B was in VBS all week, she had a good time but I think she was also okay w/ it being over. :) My bestie Kelly was in town for 3 days so we had lots of fun running errands, eating good food, watching movies, etc. On Monday the 4 of us went to an Astros game, that was lots of fun but sadly they lost by 1 run, boo! I'm pretty sure we were the only Astros fans in the stadium! Wednesday Adam and I went on a date for our anniversary and Lauren and Kelly stayed w/ B (thanks gals!). We tried a new French restaurant...it was just okay, then we went to a movie, it was a fun night. Friday Adam and I had SO MUCH FUN, we drove to Temecula and went to the Toad the Wet Sprocket concert!!! This was a-maz-ing! I've been a huge fan of Toad for years and they sounded just as good as they ever have, it was a great time! Saturday we felt so spoiled, some sweet friends invited us to go with them to the Cal Philharmonic, it was lovely! 6 of us brought wine, cheese, crackers, meats, brownies, etc. and had a table all to ourselves and listened to beautiful music and chatted the night away! It was a beautiful southern California evening and such a treat. Last week was "play" week and this week is "catch up on work, do laundry, pack, and shoot" week. I'm still knee deep in editing from my Waco sessions and I fly out early Friday morning to northern California to shoot a wedding. Summer is a-flyin' by! I hope everyone is enjoying their summer as much as we are, thanks for reading! xo

Head on over HERE to see my latest session!

June 24, 2015

15 Years

15 years ago today Adam and I tied the knot! 15 sounds like a lot to me, also makes me feel old! The other day I had a conversation with B that warmed my heart/made me laugh so I'm going to share it here (it seems applicable today):

[out of the clear blue]

B: I'm really glad you married daddy

Me: Me too, B, one of the best decisions I've ever made

B: Its THE best decision you've ever made

Me: Well, choosing to follow Jesus was the best decision I ever made, but marrying daddy was second

B: And then having me was third

Me: Agreed. :)

Sweet girl, I don't know where she comes up with her thoughts/comments sometimes but they sure can be sweet!

I'm very grateful for the 15 years the Lord has seen fit to give Adam and I together, I hope and pray for many many more to come! Happy Anniversary, Adam, love you beyond words! xo

June 22, 2015

sickness/Texas/vbs/summer/some thoughts

Whew! I knew this summer would feel like a whirlwind, and so far, it has. We got back from Texas super late Thursday night and we've been easing back into life since. Waco was good, of course. Poor B had a rough start (which means we all had a rough start). B started throwing up while we were stuck in LA traffic at 7am on the way to the airport, it was raining, my gps was re-routing me through downtown to avoid the freeway, etc. It was the recipe for stress and disaster. We practically walked onto our plane and then we headed to Dallas. The decent into Dallas was ROUGH so then, once again, B started throwing up, and I started to feel nauseous as well from turbulence, only have eaten m&m's all day, and my kid being sick -it was AWFUL. Then we exited the plane and the heat and humidity hit us like a ton of bricks and then...B threw up AGAIN. We got our rental car, started the drive to Waco and poor B got sick AGAIN. We arrived in Waco and our gracious friends let us stay in their backhouse where we hunkered down for about 2 days until B came back to life. A rough way to start the trip and also cancelling plans we had in the works for months was hard. Thankfully most things could be re-scheduled and we made the most of every day we had in Waco. We saw lots of friends, went to church, I had many shoots (had to cancel one due to weather -boo!) and just really enjoyed being there, good for the soul.

Since we got back on Thursday we've been celebrating Adam on father's day, catching up with some friends, cleaning a bit, and getting the house ready for our next guest who comes today! My bestie is coming into town from Maine, can't wait to have her here and soak her up for a few days. :) My realtor friend asked me to do some work for her today as well so I'm going to play "Realtor" for the afternoon (ironically in a house we desperately wanted to buy last summer that was a bit over our budget, the new owners did some work and put it back on the market and in a year it has already gone up $184K from the asking price A YEAR AGO!!! Unreal. I'm sure I'll have some house envy b/c its the cutest Janes Cottage but, alas...wasn't meant to be. :)

This morning we dropped B off at VBS at our old church, she was super hesitant to go so any prayers for a good time for my girl would be appreciated. :) I really think when the week is done she will be so glad she went, but she isn't a fan of new things so...fingers crossed!

This Sunday was good, not only b/c it was Father's Day but we went back to a church we had previously tried a couple times and some of the things about it that we weren't fans of (ie no building) have been rectified! It was really encouraging and some new friends came with us so, I'm hopeful this place will work out! I would love to not have to try 9 more churches to find "the one"  -I'm kinda worn out from the previous hunt.

Sorry, this blog post is kinda disjointed and all over the road, which if I'm being honest, has pretty much been the Winn theme of the past year.

On the way to drop B off at VBS this morning I read a church marquee that said something like "What consumes your thoughts dictates your life" -and it got me thinking. I have had some things on "re-play" in my mind this past year, and not necessarily helpful or life-giving things, but rather un-productive things that I want to be better at letting go. I really want to live a life dictated by a heart that seeks the face of Jesus, that is really my hearts desire. Living a Christian life can be really hard and exhausting a lot of the time, and since I fail so often its easy to get discouraged and become complacent but I know that's not what I want for myself, or to model to my daughter. I'm gonna let that marquee marinate in my soul for a bit, maybe I'm not the only one out there reading this who needed to hear it? As always, thanks for caring about our lives and checking in. xo

June 9, 2015

kicking off summer right

Well, we're getting a good start on summer over here! Friday was a lazy day at home, we stayed in our pjs, lounged, slept in, had pancakes and just let the feel of summer take over. Saturday ended up being a zoo, what was supposed to be a simple task of Adam running to the Glendale Target to pick up a patio table turned into a 4 hour ordeal of back and forth, borrowing a friends truck, etc.. Ay yi yi, the end result being, now we can eat outside! Who hoo! We still need to get an umbrella for the table to block the sun (there is zero shade in our yard), but, we're well on our way! Right after we finished dealing with the table we raced to pick up some food and then went to our friends house to all have dinner together while the kiddos played late into the night. Its so fun sitting outside with good friends, fire pit going, s'mores roasting, kids laughter in the background, those are some of my favorite moments. On Sunday one of our old college students from our time at high sierra came over for the afternoon, love that girl! Then, right as she left some of friends up the street came over for a lazy afternoon of hanging out and a casual dinner of grilling burgers and watching the NBA finals. It was a full fun weekend to welcome summer! Today I was supposed to head to Orange Country to help a friend decorate her new home but she texted late last night and said she got a bug and wasn't feeling well, bummer! So today will be a chill day of packing and laundry to get ready for our trip to Waco on Thursday morning! Its gonna be quiet on the ol' blog for the next week while we're gone but I'll have some pics to share when we get back! Have a great week! xo

June 5, 2015

well, that went fast!

I've been waiting and waiting for my friend Jen to come into town, we haven't spent a chunk of time together in YEARS and I was SO looking forward to having her here! She came, and it was great and now I'm wanting more time (of course!). There's just something about being with an old friend whose seen you through it all, so much history there and I'm so thankful for her. We had a full 3 days, we wanted to see as much of LA as we could so we went after it! We shopped in Old Town Pasadena, we shopped at the Grove in LA, we ate cupcakes, we had lunch at the farmers market, we shopped on Venice Blvd/Abbot Kinney, we had dinner at the ever famous Sur in West Hollywood, we went to the Griffith Observatory and saw the amazing LA views and the Hollywood sign, we went to this cute bakery/restaurant in Los Feliz that got rave reviews, and we did lots and lots of catching up. It went too fast of course but I loved every minute of having her here.

Yesterday was B's official last day of school, I can't believe we have a 3rd grader in the house! Sounds so old and grown up! Adam picked up B from school (I was with Jen and had to get her to the airport) and said that she was crying when he got her because she was sad to say goodbye to her friends for the summer...sweet girl. We told her she could pick where we went out to dinner to celebrate and she picked Jimmy Johns for a sub sandwich and then the Cheesecake Factory for dessert (that's my girl!). I think B completing her first year of school in CA was a big accomplishment for all of us, I think we all feel a sigh of relief and accomplishment for making it through. It was really a rough start and just the mere size of her class and distance from home to school by comparison of Texas was a lot for all of us. It was a big adjustment and I'm thankful we've got one year down with success! Tears of missing friends is a good sign I think, makes me feel like she's adjusted and happy there which warms my heart immensely.

We go to Waco in 6 days, we're all looking forward to it but also looking forward to a quiet week at home adjusting to summer before running out the door. Its going to be a full and busy week in Waco, but really, really good -I just know it. :)

Well, summer is in full swing in the Winn household so that always means a more quiet blog...as always, thanks for checking in on us. xo

Check out this senior HERE.

May 31, 2015

cruise and just life stuff

So May pretty much flew by! Since I last blogged momsie came into town, Doug and Kemi came into town and Adam and I went on a cruise! It was fun having mom here, we shopped some, ate a lot, and she got some good play time in with B. Right after she left Doug and Kemi came! It was fun to spend some time with them before we left. Two of our mi casa darlings are spending the summer in Santa Barbara so they stopped by our house on their way and had dinner with the 5 of us, so fun! It was so good to see them and catch up, warmed the ol' heart cockles. :) Adam and I flew to Houston, TX on Friday and our friends picked us up from our hotel Saturday morning and we made our way to Galveston, from there we cruised to Mexico for 5 days and it was glorious. It was so fun being with our dear friends, but also, just relaxing and enjoying a lovely cruise. When we got home the cruise felt almost surreal, like it hadn't even happened! It went by so fast! We spent our days lounging by the pool, sipping yummy drinks and reading and chatting with our friends, the evenings we got dressed up and went to dinner, played lots of blackjack (we won!) and went to shows. It really was a great vacation and I'm so thankful we got to go! (*and a huge thank you to my sweet in-laws for staying with the ninner!).

Since we got home we're still in vacation mode, the laundry is piled up, B has crazy hair and has been in pjs most of the day, and we're all just chillin'. Last night we went out to dinner with some friends and sweet cousin Kyle and his girlfriend stayed with B, that was fun. I haven't wanted to talk to much about it on the ol' interwebs but some stuff went down at church that didn't sit well with us so we've decided its time to move on and sadly, to resume the church hunt (insert very sad face). So, we slept in today and are just taking it easy for the afternoon.

In fun news we all head back to Texas in 11 days and are pretty pumped for that! Also, one of my oldest and best friends is flying into town on Tuesday and I'm SO excited to get her all to myself for 3 whole days! So, fun things coming up -yay! B's last day of school is on Thursday and then full-on vacation mode can begin! Hooray for summer! Sorry for the blog lull there, thanks for checking in!! xo

May 12, 2015

Mother's Day 2015 and other things

Mother's day was really really lovely. As previously mentioned the weather around here hasn't been too great, but the sun came out on Sunday and it was so nice! All 3 of us went to the Rose bowl flea market (which is one of my very favorite things), then we came home and laid outside on the grass for a while. Then we showered and did a little shopping in Old Town before having HUGE burgers at Slaters 50/50 for lunch. We did a little more shopping on the way to the car and then came home and sat on the porch and then later Adam and I watched one of our favorite shows. All in all, a great mothers day with my 2 favorites. :) Hope all you mamas out there had a great one, too!

This week has been pretty chill, tonight one of our friends from high sierra is coming to spend the night at our house -it will be good to see him. Then tomorrow we'll get the house cleaned and ready for momsie to come on Thursday! Brennan has been asking every.day. how much longer until Thursday (she's pretty excited to see grandma). I got a letter in the mail that B is getting an award at school on Friday so it will be fun to have mom in town to get to see her accept it! They mentioned it would be a good idea to keep it a secret so I haven't told B. :) So proud of my girl!

Our friends and Adam and I are officially on our "cruise countdown" -can't wait for vacation with some of our besties!! Its been a weird/odd/tough year, looking forward to a break from real life. :) Happy Tuesday, all! xo

PS Check out my blog over here and check out this cute senior!

May 7, 2015

rough couple weeks

Its been gloomy and ick here in southern California the past week, I'm ready for the sunshine to come back out and to resume evenings on my porch with Adam and B. :) I feel like the weather has also been indicative of how the past couple weeks have been, gloomy and ick. I don't want this blog to be my venting place (well, today anyway :) so I'll just say its lame when adults don't act like adults and don't take ownership of their mistakes. I'll just leave it at that.

Anyhoo..........momsie comes a week from today (who hoo!) and I've got some little projects that have been hanging over my head that I want to work on before she gets here. B gets out of school at 11:30am today (does any one else notice a theme of my kid NEVER being in school?!) so I'm off to get her shortly. Thankfully Adam's sickness is on the mend (he's had a nasty cold all week) and the sun is supposed to come back soon, hopefully a new day is coming! :) Thanks for checking in! xo

May 1, 2015

Check out my blog...

I just posted my sweet friends and their baby girl! Check it out HERE. xo

April 29, 2015

Vegas, Baby

This past weekend was busy but super fun! The 3 of us drove to Las Vegas and got there Friday night. We met up with cousin Mike and went out to dinner, then we went on "The World's Largest Observation Wheel," saw some great views (a bit too high for B as it turns out), walked around the strip (which in hindsight...maybe not the best place for an 8 year old at 11pm on a Friday night? :/), tried to see some of the Bellagio fountain action and got cupcakes, fun! Saturday Mike and I were on a mission, we had a list of interior design stuff to tackle and we went.after.it. Whew! It was a long day of going to MANY shops and checking things off our list, all in in all we did pretty well! Not everything got accomplished but we made great progress so that was good! We came home, changed our clothes and met B and Adam for a nice dinner. After dinner Adam and B headed back to Mike's and Mike and I hit up the casinos and made our way to see B R I T N E Y S P E A R S!! Anyone who knows me at all knows this has been on my to-do list for YEARS so it was highly anticipated and it did not disappoint! She was fab, just like I expected. :) I slept in on Sunday and then the 4 of us got a good Mexican lunch, came back to Mike's and I put the chairs in order for the outdoor fire pit area we created and then it was time to head home. It went too fast but we had a great time. I told Adam (as we were sitting in horrendous traffic) "We should've stayed one more day." Next time! Adam is wrapping up his first full year at APU this week (which is so crazy to me! Where did the time go?!) and B is starting the countdown to summer. We've got a busy weekend ahead with dinner plans, birthday party, APU graduation (for Adam), family coming over on Sunday for a BBQ, etc. May is about to be in full swing! I hope everyone has a great week, as always, thanks for checking in! xo

April 24, 2015

I'm gonna blink and it will be August

I'm looking at the calendar and getting that "how is it August already?" feeling. Almost every weekend is spoken for between now and August...what?! Its such a nutty time of year!! May is going to be a lot of fun, just really busy. I'm looking forward to momsie being in town and Doug and Kemi, and our cruise, family camp, its just going to all fly by! I just officially booked our plane tickets for Texas in June, I'm shooting a wedding which is the catalyst for the trip but we're turning it into a vacation and are going to see friends and just be in Waco for a week, can't wait. Today is laundry and packing for the weekend, I'm taking B out of school and bit early and am then swinging by APU to pick up Adam and we're off to Vegas for the weekend to see cousin Mike! (it was a lot more convenient when he lived in Orange county!!) I'm going to help him decorate his home and make it cozy, it will be fun. :) I hope everyone has a great weekend!! xo

April 20, 2015

baby shower brunch

This weekend was nice and chill, just what we all needed after a hectic week. I had booked a sitter weeks ago in an effort to take Adam on an surprise date but our sitter called last minute and said she had strep so had to cancel. It ended up becoming a family date and we went to the movies and out to dinner instead, fun. :) I think this week will be the calm before the crazy, May is NUTS for us! We are booked solid in May with family coming into town, church family camp, a long-awaited cruise Adam and I have been planning for years, etc. This weekend we're headed to Las Vegas to visit cousin Mike and Mike is taking me on our annual date...to BRITNEY SPEARS!! That's right ya'll, don't be too jealous! :) I can't wait!!! So this week is lots of work for me and Adam wrapping up his semester at APU, we both can't believe we've almost finished our first academic year here, that went.fast. Time is so weird the older you get, it really does seem to fly by. Speaking of flying by, I feel like it was 2 seconds ago that my friend Emily told me she was pregnant and now we're only days away from her baby coming!! So crazy! I hosted a little baby shower brunch for her about a week-ish ago, here are some photos of the sweet time we had. Happy Monday, all! xo