June 25, 2017

recovery+17 years+house+life

Its been 11 days since my surgery and they have been a doozy! As luck would have it my incisions got infected and now I'm on antibiotics, etc.. Not my favorite life experience needless to say, but I'm pretty sure I'll make it. It T-6 days until Adam leaves for CA, I'm already dreading that! B and I don't like it when daddy's gone, things are a bit too quiet. When there are only 3 people in your family its just all kinds of wrong when someone is missing. :( I'm hoping I'll feel worlds better by the time he leaves so B and I can do some fun things to pass the time while he's gone. The two of us will head to CA on the 11th and we're looking forward to that! Excited to hug my friends, eat at my favorite spots, and just soak up my southern CA life that will always reside in my heart.

In other news Adam and I celebrated 17 years of marriage yesterday! It was maybe our most anti-climactic anniversary to date due to my post-surgical battle and not even feeling well enough to even go out to dinner. We went to our friend's house (where I can lay on their couch the same way I can at home) and we ate take out together and they bought a cake at the store to celebrate year 1-7. They are pretty great and in the condition I'm in, it was a nice way to spend the evening. Thankful for our village here who have brought dinners, flowers, treats, etc.. if you have to be couch-ridden, Waco, TX is where I want to do it!

Well, June is almost over (which seems crazy but I'm not complaining!) and that means we're that much closer to house move in! Right now everyone is doing their part to try and get us in by mid-August, (right before British Jon comes back). Things are starting to get a bit intense at the house as money is running out, lots of projects remain, and mistakes are starting to happen. I won't go into all the details but the cabinets had several "snags" that are causing some stress. I'm constantly telling myself that in the grand scheme of life, these things don't really matter, but also balancing that with 'I'm spending a lot of money and would like to get what I've asked for'....its tricky. So, with anything, I think we'll "get there" but its been nutty like everyone says house building is (insert cringy face).

As I've said on here many times, life is hard and seasonal and I feel like the past 3 years have largely been kinda ick and I'm ready for a new season, I'm SUPER hopeful the fall will be that season change. My health has been "a thing" now for 6 months and that has admittedly taken a toll. I read this quote yesterday "I wish there was a way to know you're in the good old days before you've actually left them." (by Andy Barnard -fictional character from The Office). I try to be present wherever I am, knowing that life is precious with no guarantee of another day, its a constant struggle I think. I've learned a lot about myself and life in the past 3 years, valuable things that only come with hard so its not wasted on me for sure, but I also feel like I'm inching up the white flag of surrender and am eager for some peace, real God-given, genuine, peace. Sounds nice, right? xo

June 9, 2017

Houston Jaunt

My husband is the coolest (duh) and he was asked to give a lecture at a church in Houston so off we went! They put us up in a swanky hotel, paid for our meals, gas, (paid Adam of course :), and the 3 of us had a super fun mini-vacay! And what was really cool was that by the time we got home yesterday they had started DRYWALLING OUR HOUSE!! You guys: we have walls!!!! I don't think I really ever thought this day would come!!! Its SO fun to see it actually come together!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I officially ordered my appliances today and its all starting to feel like it might actually happen! Building our home has been a dream, its come w/ the headaches that I was assured but it really has been such a dream to take what's in my head, put it on paper, and then see it come to life. Every time I walk into our house I have to pinch myself that we're actually doing this! I can't wait to move in!!!!!

In other news, surgery is next Wednesday and I had a very unpleasant dr appointment this week that went WAY south. She needed to get a biopsy and after NUMEROUS (painful) attempts she couldn't get what she needed because I have a big ol' cyst in the way. Sigh. I had to then have another ultrasound to see if it was getting bigger, thankfully it didn't appear to be bigger from the previous look  but all in all, I'm just so ready to be done w/ this craziness and have it all taken out (I'm also ready for all the appointments and crazy medical bills to stop). This has been a season for sure, I'm definitely looking forward to the fall and all that it *should* bring. :) Thanks for checking in, we're moving along over here slowly but surely! xo

June 1, 2017

a new month....finally

I haven't picked up my computer in ages and its been kinda nice. Brennan wrapped up her 4th grade year last week and we pool mooched for the first time yesterday so it feels like summer has officially begun! May wears me out every.year. I feel like I always breathe a deep sigh with June 1st and this year was no exception. Adam and I had a little getaway to San Antonio this weekend and it was SO nice and much needed. We're starring a long summer in the face and it was nice to just have it be the 2 of us for a couple days. The house is an issue that continues to be a MAJOR frustration, if someone would have told me before this process started that we would have a 2 month time in the middle of the process where nothing happened I'm sure I would've thought they were crazy and yet, that's pretty much exactly what's happened. For the past SEVERAL days we've been assured that our exterior brick would be delivered....I stopped by the house last night and would you believe there is STILL no brick?! UNREAL. We've actually had numerous days in a row with no rain and they've been totally wasted and I have no idea why. MADDENING. Although I'm giddy about a new month, we're that much closer to British Jon coming back and I really think he'd prefer to not have 3 roommates. :/ Ay yi yi. In other fun news its officially less than 2 weeks until my hysterectomy which feels daunting, I've had several surgeries in my life but the older I get I feel like the anticipation gets more heightened. When you know pain is imminent it really isn't a fun reality, BUT cheers to no more periods EVER! Woot!

I think that's all the (random) haps around here, just plugging along easing into summer life. Hope everyone has a lovely June! xo

May 24, 2017

weather & house (be prepared for a rant if you choose to read...you've been warned)

So I knew building a house would be frustrating and that things would take longer than anticipated, that there would be bumps in the road, etc. I think I was pretty realistic and prepared for a lot of these things and I think I've (largely) kept my cool but I feel like I'm at a bit of a breaking point today. I'm hopeful this discouraged feeling will pass soon but today is one of those days where I want to throw in the towel and wave the white flag of surrender. The two main issues that have been so detrimental to this process are: rain and windows. The windows took exceedingly longer to arrive than anticipated (and they likely should have just been ordered a lot sooner) and we probably started the actual building process at the worst possible time of year as far as central Texas weather goes. Spring in Texas means a lot of thunder storms, they can go quickly but they can also dump an exceptional amount of rain in the short spurts that they come in. To add insult to injury our house has a pretty steep slope to get down to it and there is no driveway yet so trucks can't get in/out to the house after it rains b/c they get stuck so WE WASTE SO MANY GOOD WEATHER DAYS on letting the land dry out so the trucks can actually get down to the house that by the time the land dries the rain comes again. I literally have no words for how defeating this is. I'm not exaggerating when I say that pretty much the past 6 weeks we have been (almost) at a literal standstill in the building process, like (essentially) nothing has been done. SIX WEEKS, people. We were supposed to start insulating this week but we failed our inspection due to some random fire safety thing that needed to be fixed so, of course more delays and another week of nothing happening. So, of course what this all inevitably means is that our whole "move in at the end of July" is now "maybe move in at the end of August." BIG SIGH. This is hard on numerous levels, the first being the obvious of one more month of not being home, the second -we're living at our friend's house, he is coming back mid August and I really wanted to be out of his space for his sake when he got home. He is so gracious and has assured us its fine, but its also easy to say before you're actually here and have 3 people in your space. The thought of moving as B is starting a new school year, etc. all sounds just ick and like a lot. I get asked a lot about how the house is coming along so here you have it...its not (insert crying face). If your of the praying kind and you'd like to join me in the "please no rain for a while" bit. that'd be awesome. :) Sorry for the big 'ol downer post but this is where I'm at today. xo

May 4, 2017


A while back I saw a book with a pretty/intriguing cover and I read the tagline, the book was called "Uninvited" and the caption under the title reads: "Living loved when you feel less than, left out and lonely." I dismissed this book, not because I think I have it all together and that I never struggle with feeling left out but because this didn't really seem like "my issue." Don't get me wrong, I've got issues all day and am pretty aware of what they are (for the most part) but this particular struggle (per se) didn't seem like mine. Well, months go by and this book keeps popping up, here and there on amazon, on folks' instragrams, etc. and finally one person's description of how fantastic it was was too good for me to ignore it any longer, so I ordered it. I had low expectations when I started it but was intrigued enough to give it a go. YOU GUYS, I'm not sure if a book has ever grabbed me in way this one did that made me feel like certain parts were just.for.me. Here's the thing, we ALL feel left out at certain points in our lives and have moments, days, years where this is a thing, and some struggle with this issue a lot more than others but the way Lysa unfolds her experiences were so darn relatable to me and I soaked up every page in like 2 days. I texted one of my friends and said "this book is kicking my as$." {full disclosure}. I truly want every woman reading this blog post to run, not walk, to go buy this book. Even if you don't feel like rejection is "your deal" BUY IT ANY WAY. I would be stunned if there weren't words in these pages that didn't hit your heart in a specific spot somewhere. I'll share a few nuggets but honestly, so much of my book is highlighted and circled and notes are in the margins that I don't know where to start. We all have brokenness somewhere, we have all faced some sort of rejection and this book speaks so beautifully to this and to how when we are truly living loved by God these hurts and wounds and rejections are no longer so crippling. I truly cannot recommend this book enough and can think of many women off the top of my head who I'd love to buy this for -GO GET IT.

*"Rejection steals the best of who I am by reinforcing the worst of what's been said to me."

*"Rejection isn't just an emotion we feel. It's a message that's sent to the core of who we are, causing us to believe lies about ourselves, others, and God."

*The mind feasts on what it focuses on. What consumes my thinking will be the making or the breaking of my identity."

*"If we become enamored with something in this world we think offers better fullness than God, we will make room for it. We leak out His fullness to make room for something else we want to chase."

*"Bitterness, resentment, and anger have no place in a heart as beautiful as yours."

*"Grace given when it feels least deserved is the only antidote for bitter rot."

*"Humility can't be bought at a bargain price. It's the long working of grace upon grace within the hurts of our hearts."

*"Relationships don't come in packages of perfection, relationships come in packages of potential."

*"Is my attention being held by something sacred or something secret? What is holding my attention the most is what I'm truly worshipping."

This book caused me to examine my rejections that I've faced over nearly 40 years, whether it be broken family dynamics, broken friendships, etc. it was amazing how many things along my life were brought back to me. To be fair, its not that these things are ever too far from my mind, but this book shined a bright light on some of them and caused me to stare it in the face. I can't think of a woman in my life that wouldn't benefit from this book, I implore you to pick it up and get ready to have a good ol' heart check. {"Uninvited" by Lysa TerKeurst} Happy reading, friends! xo

April 20, 2017

remembering 4/20

If you've heard my story then you know that today is significant. Part of my story involves my friend Susan and her birthday is today. When I was 11 years old one of my best friends was killed in a car accident, and when that happened something happened to me. I loved Jesus before Susie died, but I knew Him in a different way after Susie died. Susie taught me a lot in her life but she taught me more in her death, lessons I didn't want to learn yet, but valuable lessons nonetheless. Susie didn't always care what others thought of her, she danced to the beat of her own drum in a lot of ways. A funny memory I have of her is that she hated the word "clashed" and didn't like it if I told her something clashed (meaning the colors didn't match each other). She would say "Who cares?!" And really, who does care?! What a silly thing. She knew then what I didn't but what I do know now. She did "her" and looking back I admire that so much. We spent hours and hours playing while our moms spent hours and hours talking. I remember we'd be in the car in the parking lot and our moms would be inside Winchell's Donuts (they could see us out the windows) and they'd talk forever and we always wondered if they were ever coming out! I'm sad Susie and I don't get to be the ones now sitting in the donut shop with our girls waiting for us in the car, I bet we would've talked for hours and hours too. I remember when Susie died and I was left with the harsh reality that that too could be my story, and that just because I was left behind didn't mean that God wasn't good. I remember making the choice at a young age that I was going to follow Jesus even when life didn't make sense because life can change in an instant and I wanted to cling to the one that never changes, who stays the same yesterday, today and tomorrow -that meant something to me. If God was good and loved Susie before she died, then He was still good and would take care of her even better now that she was dead and was physically with Him -that made sense to me, I could wrap my mind around that. I learned so early in life how quickly things can change and how scary life can be, but I also learned to trust the one who has already gone before me and who knows what's around the bend when I can't see. If I'm doing the math right, Susie would have been 41 today, I hope she's eating cake in heaven and wearing clashing clothes just because. :) My friend Kristin lost her son to cancer on this day several years ago, so every 4/20 these 2 precious souls are on my heart and mind. What is life to one is death to another and that's just how the world works. I always take time to think about Susan and Isaiah today, not in sadness so much as in thankfulness for the lives well lived and the lessons they taught while they were physically here. God is good all the time, friends, and He never changes. xo

April 17, 2017

good Easter

Yesterday was good, like, really good. When I was at church I kept thinking how there was literally nowhere else on the planet I wanted to be other than where I was in that exact moment. Our worship pastor wears black every day, 364 days a year, with Easter being the exception -on Easter he wears a white shirt which in and of itself is meaningful if you know him. He spends a lot of time preparing for Sunday morning and picks/writes songs with really profound lyrics that tie into the rest of the service and make it really meaningful, and yesterday was just BEYOND. Here is a fraction of the first song we sang:

"I remember how they scorned the son of Mary
He was gentle as a lamb, gentle as a lamb
He was beaten, he was crucified and buried
and in the night, my hope was gone

but the rulers of this earth could not control Him
they did not take His life, He laid it down
and the gates of Hell could never hope to hold him
so, in the night my hope lives on"

and then Jamie screamed the lyrics :

                                      OH, IN THE NIGHT
                                      OH, IN THE NIGHT
                                      OH, IN THE NIGHT MY HOPE LIVES ON

It was loud, and profound, and meaningful, and gave me chills and reminded me of the truth. Because He rose I don't have to be afraid of what the future holds because He keeps His promises. He said he would rise and He did, He said He will make all things new and He will....one day.

After church we came home and heated up the ham and headed to our friend's house where a group of us ate together and celebrated our risen King. And that was good. Then we came home and rested for an hour and joined some friends at their house where a lot of kids hunted eggs and the adults chatted into the night, and that was really good. I chatted with some new-ish Wacoans and that was SO fun, turns out they lived in WA/OR a long time and we know a lot of the same people, they too worked for Young Life and it was determined that while I was in high school my YL leader met with this guy and likely prayed for me. That was a neat realization. I love the body of Christ, the way it binds people together, the connections that are made, the way friends become family and make life so full. I hope everyone out there had a lovely Easter too, and were reminded of how much you are loved that Jesus died and rose just for you. xo

April 14, 2017

Good Friday

Happy Good Friday, all! It's close to resurrection time and that feels really good. Our church does the season of Lent really well and we've been in the darkness for a while, which has seemed very fitting to me as I've had some personal darkness I've been wading through and I've been walking through some really heavy darkness with some dear to me. After this pretty decent timed season of Lent I'm always ready for the good news of the resurrection, and this year its especially poignant. The other day B said to me that Easter was her second favorite holiday (which I think is pretty great), after all people have debated for years and years which is more important -the birth of Christ or His resurrection? That's tough. B listed a whole set of reasons she loved Easter, Jesus rising wasn't #1 but it also wasn't last so I'm going to call that a win. :) Sweet girl.

The weather in Waco right now is my least favorite kind, its hot, a bit humid, but also cloudy and occasionally we have thunderstorms. The big bummer about this is that its hard to dress for this weather, but it also puts a damper on Easter plans. Our friend was going to host but her yard is a soggy mess from the downpour, we can't host b/c our house isn't done (obviously) and the house we're staying in has boxes all over b/c I had to start ordering plumbing fixtures b/c even though we're nowhere near needing the fixtures, the plumbers needed the rough-in valves that come WITH the fixtures. So, it means our house looks like a hot mess until all these things are needed -  not very conducive to hosting. One more reason I can't wait to move into my house -space to host whenever! I definitely designed my great room/kitchen space w/ hosting in mind - can't wait to put it to good use!

Our windows and doors are the big hold up right now -they weren't ordered in a timely manner and you can't do much of anything w/out those in. Whenever it rains the inside of my house gets so soggy and I hate it! It takes days to dry out and I keep thinking that can't be good! Obviously people build in wet climates everyday but it makes me nuts! Also, because our house has such a steep slope getting down to it. the workers trucks get stuck in the mud so they don't work at least 1 day after it rains either. Boo. We'll get there.

Well, its a busy few days over here w/ a baby shower in Dallas for one of my precious mi casa gals, Easter, baking a cheesecake and a bundt cake, dinner w/ friends, etc. Hope you all have a lovely weekend and a very Happy Easter!! He is risen indeed! xo

March 29, 2017


Whew. Big sigh. Life has been a doozy lately. The closer I inch to 40 the more things are falling apart! Sorry for the long silence, its been a whole thing up in here. My health isn't great at the moment, without going into all the ol' details on the interwebs, if you're of the praying variety, I'll take all you got.  In other news, the house is coming along slowly but surely. We've had a tad bit of rain here and there but its amazing how much a bit of rain slows things down. If we could just get that roof on and those windows/doors we'd be in good shape -so close! The actual shingle part of the roof will hopefully start next week and the exterior doors/windows are another 2 wks out I think. The windows and doors are pretty much what I care the most about in this house so I'm pretty eager to see them up and painted and ready to go! The exterior windows (and lots of the interior as well) are going to be black and I can't wait to see it all come together! As we inch closer to April I'm eager to be one month closer to moving in! Adam and I still don't believe we actually get to live in it one day, its like we're building it for someone else! Its still pretty surreal and I have to pinch myself that its actually happening. The plumber needed the rough in valves so I had to order several of the bathroom fixtures and that's been so fun!! The things that I've spent (admittedly) too much time thinking about and choosing are arriving and they are so pretty! I told my friend yesterday that even if we never got to live in it and we had to sell it because it ended up being too expensive (how tragic and sad that would be!) how thankful I would still be to have had this experience. I have lots of gratitude that I even get to do this, don't ever let me take it for granted.

In other news, St. Patty's was super fun this year! I decided it was time to revive my (annual) party after a hiatus due to moves, etc. It was so fun to have a big ol' group over and to celebrate the Irish! I made 10lbs of potatoes, 10lbs of carrots, more onions than I could count, 2 loaves of Irish soda bread, Guinness brownies, Bailey's cheesecake, and Bailey's bundt cake. We grilled bangers and had Irish mules as our signature cocktail and had the Irish pub music blasting in the background! We laughed until the wee hours and it reminded me how eager I was to get into my own space and do this type of thing more often. Happy sigh.

Well, I've been working here and there and my new website is up and running (check it out! mollywinnphotography.com), it feels good to be back in the saddle! Here is a peek of a cute family that has hired me numerous times over the years, thanks for checking in, all! xo

March 8, 2017

2 apologies

*I started this post back in January and set it aside for a while and now I'm re-visiting it.

I've talked a bit on here about what apologizing looks like, what humbling yourself and saying the words "I was wrong, will you forgive me" can do. As I get older I learn more about what it means to apologize well, what all it entails, what good can come from it even if the person chooses not to forgive you, etc.. I was a part of a really good apology recently and I want to share that here because I think there's value in it.

In January I was on the other side of a hurtful exchange. My friend was being selfish and interjected their agenda into something that wasn't about them. They created a false agenda and honestly were just rude and inconsiderate. I tried to point this out in a way that I felt was fair to the situation, but was ultimately left with silence. Days went by and there wasn't a response, I saw this person briefly and there was a pretty normal interaction but nothing meaningful was said. I wondered if it was just going to go by the wayside, but I really did expect more from this particular individual so I just waited. Well, wouldn't you know it, after several days my phone rang, what was said on the other end was done so well, which is why I'm sharing it here. My friend said to me "Do you have a minute?" yes. "I wanted to talk to you about our exchange last week, I was selfish and created a narrative about the situation that wasn't true. I had a really good time this weekend because of something that you created because you cared for our friends well, so thank you. I'm sorry I responded that way." WHOA. Here's the deal, if we live long enough, we're all going to be that person, we're all going to have moments of being selfish and we're going to say/text/email things we shouldn't, but what we do after the train wreck is where the rubber meets the road. This isn't new, I get it, (in fact, the more I blog the more I feel like I sound like a broken record and wonder if this poor blog should be put to a permanent rest!) but its a lesson I keep learning, so I gotta believe someone out there can keep learning and benefitting from it too. I was really proud of my friend (not to sound condescending) for the words he chose, the intention with which he said them, and the blatant honesty that he brought to the table. He could have easily said "I'm sorry for our interaction, I shouldn't have done that" and to be fair, that would have been sufficient (for this particular instance), but he owned his mistakes, he named them and used language to express the whole truth of the situation and it was really appreciated, helpful, meaningful, and honest. I'm thinking we could all do more of this when we're wrong, the result is really profound. I'm hopeful to do this better in my life.

On the flip side, I received an apology recently (no, I'm really not being wronged all the time! ha!) that was the complete opposite from what I just described. The words "I was wrong" were lacking, naming the sin/wrong was lacking, ownership was lacking, and it felt empty and very half-hearted and easy. And to be honest, it was nowhere near enough based on the wrong that was done. When is the lesson of not taking the easy way out going to be a thing? I think about this a lot, what is hard for an instant is easy thereafter. The hard part is gathering the courage/humility to tell the truth and say "I was wrong, will you please forgive me?" After that, easy street! You are now freed regardless of what the person decides to do -you just have to speak the truth and ask. GO GET YOUR FREEDOM that Jesus has given!!! Its so dang freeing!! As my dear friend often says to me, "You are only responsible for your responses." You can't make someone forgive you, that's not on you, but you do have to own your wrongs, that is on you.

I'm coming off a very emotionally charged week, I don't have the freedom to discuss the details here for numerous reasons but I am really drained. If you could pray for Adam and I, for the wisdom and grace to love some folks well in a really tough time, we'd appreciate that. Life is hard, and doing life with others gets really messy sometimes. I'm thankful for the ways in which I get carried through each day by someone who can't and doesn't show up too late. Grace and peace, friends. xo

February 27, 2017

life lately

I go through times of feeling like I have so much to say and then times of feeling like a broken record. Sometimes it feels self-indulgent to chitty chat about my life and I never want to come across that way but then, on the other hand, isn't that somewhat the purpose of a personal blog? To write about your life? Its a tricky balance I think. Not too much has been going on aside from every day life stuff. This weekend was good, busy, but good-busy. Friday I made real dinner (which is something I haven't done too much of since we moved back to Waco) and had friends over to eat with us. I've really missed entertaining and look forward to that being a weekly thing again. It was so nice to sit around a table with good food and good friends and chat the night away. Our pastor's sister and family moved to Waco this past summer and they are 2 blocks down the road and their daughter is one of B's best friends and she is kinda my second daughter now! She is here quite a bit which is so fun and she will randomly tell me she's spending the night, its so funny, so she had a sleepover on Friday night and spent a large part of Saturday here too -fun. I drove out to the country to visit my friend in her pretty farmhouse and later that evening Adam, B and I drove (back) to the country for the best bbq in all the lands. We we met up with our friends after to hang out and chat the night away, so fun. Sunday was church, then I had to run some errands in preparation for my friend's baby shower Sunday afternoon that I helped to host. It was such a fun party celebrating my friend and her new son. Then I came home, took a quick nap and we dropped B off at a friend's house while the 2 of us went to our friend's for an Oscar Party. So fun to eat yummy snacks and drink campaign with friends. Whew! I love these types of weekends but it always makes Monday come too soon! After I picked B up from school today we drove by our house and they are just starting to frame the roof! Hooray! I'm SO ready to get the roof on so the weather is no longer such a thing. We've been told July is the month it should be done so I'm pretty pumped that March is almost here and we're that much closer!

In other randomness I'm currently in a Bible study and a book club (although the book club is pretty much a Christian book club so it kinda feels like a Bible study too). Anyhoo, the books we're reading are good so I thought I'd share, I'm a big fan of Ann Lamott (which if you read my blog regularly you already know) but her book "Stitches" is worth the read. Its more of an essay of short stories with good balm for your soul. I find myself resonating so much with some of her experiences and I just love her candidness and the way she words things. Barbara Brown Taylor is also becoming another favorite, I'm currently on my third (I think?) book of hers and she is such an amazing writer with such humanizing profound things to say. I'm currently reading her book "Leaving Church" and have highlighted many things. In the chapter I just finished I underlined this: "We spend most of our lives sitting in traffic, paying bills, and being irritated with one another. Yet every week we are invited to stop all of that for one hour at least. We are invited to participate in a great drama that has been going on without us for thousands of years, and one that will go on as long as there is a single player left standing." I love that, and it resonates in my soul. I love that I get to participate in life with women who want to spend time reading and reflecting on these things, they make me a better person and we love each other well because of the time we spend doing this each week. I'm learning so much about the value that comes with reflection and inviting people in to the dark corners of our lives, its so so good and so necessary. I think that's all the haps around here, thanks for checking in, always appreciated! xo

February 15, 2017


The other day I was driving in my car and the lyrics "If you can calm the raging sea, you can calm the storm in me" stopped me dead in my tracks. I couldn't shake that imagery. As a girl who grew up in church and has heard the story of Jesus walking on water and calming the seas a million times this picture was so tangible to me. I, like most breathing people walking the planet have gone through some stuff, not near to the depths that many in this world have, but for me, some stuff. I, like most breathing, God-fearing people in this world have wondered "why me?" or "why this particular battle" here and there, that's fair, right? But what I've seen time and time again is that God calms the storm in me, and with time (sometimes a lot of time) brings peace, and maybe if I'm lucky, some understanding too. For the last several years I've been on a journey (which I've alluded to/discussed here numerous times) and I never thought I would come to a place where I'd say "If I could go back and just do the quick, easy fix I wouldn't do it" but that's where I've finally arrived. Don't get me wrong, that would be the easy, less painful, make everyone happy route, but I genuinely don't think it would be the best thing, or even dare I say, the right thing. What I've learned on this journey is that God can calm the storm in me, if I let Him, if I invite Him into the pain and the process and let Him do His work. There is value in that, it likely isn't ever going to be the easy road, or the quick road, or the make everybody happy road, but that's okay, as I've said many times before, I believe God is more interested in our character than our happiness. I also believe this route, in my particular story, paves the way for more healing, truer healing, even if it never comes, the door is wide, wide open. xo

You spoke a word and life began
Told oceans where to start and where to end
You set in motion time and space
But still you come and you call to me by name
Still you come and you call to me by name

If you can hold the stars in place
You can hold my heart the same
Whenever I fall away
Whenever I start to break
So here I am, lifting up my heart
To the one who holds the stars

The deepest depths, the darkest nights
Can't separate, can't keep me from your sight
I get so lost, forget my way
But still you love and you don't forget my name

If you can hold the stars in place
You can hold my heart the same
Whenever I fall away
Whenever I start to break
So here I am, lifting up my heart
If you can calm the raging sea
You can calm the storm in me
You're never too far away
You never show up too late
So here I am, lifting up my heart
To the one who holds the stars

Your love has called my name
What do I have to fear?
What do I have to fear?
Your love has called my name
What do I have to fear?
What do I have to fear?

If you can hold the stars in place
You can hold my heart the same
Whenever I fall away
Whenever I start to break
So here I am, lifting up my heart
(Lifting up my heart)
If you can calm the raging sea
You can calm the storm in me
You're never too far away
You never show up too late
So here I am, lifting up my heart
To the one who holds the stars

You're the one who holds the stars


February 9, 2017

crazytown + enneagram workshop

After my last post things went south...quickly. I won't go into all the ins and outs of this past week and a half that have been an utter train wreck but I will say it involved a major plumbing fiasco, staying somewhere else for a couple nights, a medical procedure, the death of a beloved pet, a lot of physical pain, numerous contractors, budget issues, etc etc. etc. Last year had a really rough start and I'm realizing the same thing about this year, I'm hopeful this year will start an upward trajectory soon but man, its been a doozy up to this point. Big sigh. Life...sometimes it just hits you smack in the face!

On a different note, I had the opportunity to attend an all day enneagram workshop at Baylor this week (taught by Joe & Suzanne Stabile). The workshop didn't delve into a lot of what I was hoping for but it still had some good information nonetheless. Here are some nuggets from the notes I took:

*You can learn from the past, you can't discern from the past

*maturity is holding the past, present and future at one time

*we have to discover Christianity as a way of life, not beliefs

*an open heart + pure intentions = holiness

*good discernment is never done in a vacuum

*what God is doing is none of your business

That last one caused me pause, I know God's ways are higher than mine (understatement) and that we don't get the inside scoop on what He's up to but I'm not sure its ever occurred to me that its none of my business. Hmmmm. I guess its not. But I sure would like to know! :) Going into the workshop I was hopeful to hear more about specific numbers and how they apply to others, etc. and although there wasn't a ton of that, there was some of that. As I think I've previously mentioned the enneagram is a personality assessment of sorts, basically each person is a 1-9 based on their personality and there are numbers they "go to" when they are healthy or unhealthy and based on this information it can help you can better understand/deal with yourself and others the more information you have. I've had many "aha" moments as I read books on the enneagram, go to workshops, etc. Lots of eye opening stuff there if you're interested in just bettering yourself and seeking to better understand others. I love that as I'm getting older I'm learning more about why things affect me the way they do, ie why something that someone did hurt me so badly or why I felt so strongly about X, etc. Its so eye opening to learn things about yourself and to put some awareness to things you might not have known. AND, to know you're not alone in it! At the workshop they didn't go through and ask each person what their number was but at one point they asked all the 9's to raise their hands (and there were only like 3 in the whole room and there were about 80 people there (rough guess), and at one point they asked all the 8's to raise their hands (and there were also, only a handful). I'm an 8 (if anyone is wondering :) and Adam is a 9 so it was so interesting to see how in a large-ish group, there were only a few of us. Hmmmmmm. What I also found intriguing (that I admittedly know virtually nothing about) is that each number has a spot on a "triad" where it deals w/ certain parts of the body, like certain numbers are associated w/ the head, some with the heart, and some with the gut. Apparently 8's are "in" (for lack of a better word) their gut and I had someone tell me the night before the workshop that most 8's they know have some form of stomach-issue type stuff. Or maybe a better way to say it is, the friends she has with stomach issues are also an 8 on the enneagram. At the workshop the speaker at one point said based on research that 8's are among the numbers most likely to have eating problem/issues, etc. and all my friends at the workshop instantly looked at me! I'm an 8 and I've had digestive issues for 20 years -so crazy! Obviously this isn't across the board, and I'm doing a drastic disservice by writing about this when I have such minimal information/understanding at this point but it was super intriguing/interesting to me. Things that make you go "hmmmm." I look forward to learning more and understanding myself/others better.

Sorry, that was some randomness but its also what's been going on over here/with me. I have more dr appointments this month, hoping for some clarity/healing but am thankful for a new day and that I get to live this life. Thanks for checking in, all. xo

January 30, 2017

back on the 'cord

So we officially moved into our friend's house 2 days ago and its been a whirlwind! Moving is ALWAYS insanity and we've moved a lot so you'd think we'd have a good handle on it but...not so much. We asked our friend's to help this go around (we've hired movers our last couple moves) and they were so helpful and we are almost done! Adam and I had to go back over for a couple hours yesterday and tomorrow we'll need to clean a couple things and then...we're officially outta there! We're all SO happy to be out of that rental, we all hated it! My projects at my friend's house aren't quite done yet so that's a bummer, I was hoping to have it wrapped up before we moved in but alas, as with any "little" project I take on, there's always gotta be a hiccup. Sigh. When they took out the jenky old vanity it revealed that the plumbing was actually coming from the side wall versus the back wall like we had all anticipated sooooo, I knew Jon wouldn't want to pay extra to have the plumbing moved and so that meant the sink I bought wouldn't fit. Sigh. Had to return the sink and now I'm waiting for the new one to arrive. And today the toilet was supposed to get installed but the guy hasn't shown up so...we've got 2 hold ups. Grrrr. Bright side: we're back on our old street and its SO fun to be so close to our friends again, yay! Right now the house is so quiet b/c B got called over for a play date up the street, Adam is teaching his evening class and I'm editing away. It was an early morning for us today, Adam set off the house alarm when we went to work out in the wee hours and after about 10 minutes the cops showed up. Ay yi yi. As you can imagine they had a lot of questions as to why the owner wasn't here and I live in Waco but I'm living here..ha! So, that happened. And today is my 24 hour fast for my medical procedure tomorrow where they'll check me out to make sure I'm not a total disaster on the inside so...I'm HUNGRY. Would appreciate your prayers for tomorrow, I hate being put under. :/ So, that's the haps around here, the good, the bad, and the ugly! Hope everyone's week is off to a great start! Here's a little nugget I'm editing...isn't he so cute?! xo

January 24, 2017

Wild One

I'm really blessed to go to the church I go to, and the worship is one of the many reasons why. My friend Jameson is the worship pastor at our church and he writes most of the songs we sing, talk about talent! His lyrics are so profound and often stop me dead in my tracks. One of my favorite songs of his is called "Wild One" and I'm going to share the lyrics here. A friend of mine that I made in the recent years of living in CA has had a rough go and I've walked with her through some of it since we met. She called me this morning and I think she was needing some encouragement and a reminder of what the truth really is so I tried to do that. I texted her after we spoke and told her to buy Jameson McGregor's set on iTunes, that she wouldn't be sorry and to crank up the song "Wild One" and just rest in God's truth (everyone reading this should go buy it too :). I love when a song teaches me something I didn't know about God, or shows me a new way to see Him. When you've been in church your whole life I think it can be harder to see God in a new way sometimes (well, it can be for me anyhow) and I love that this song does that for me. I can honestly say that before I heard this song I never considered God a "wild one" but He IS!! And I love that illustration! God is wild and unpredictable and we can't figure Him out and that's such great news! As my aunt reminds me regularly "He's always up to something." Enjoy my friends. xo

you cannot be contained
in leather bindings
the turn of a word or phrase
these idols that you break
crumbling to the ground in place

you were running with iconoclast strides
god, you're wilder than we ever thought you would be
though we try, we can't pin you down
you're a wild one

you're greater

these figures that we form
we want more money
we want a higher bar
these idols that we carve
controlling like the wind to a sail

you were running with iconoclast strides
god, you're wilder than we ever thought you would be
though we try, we can't pin you down
you're a wild one

you're overwhelming
we build you a house
but you keep moving
you're not done making
we gave you seven days
but you're still forming
so form these broken bodies
into gold
a great love with a lighter load
tear these temples down
stone from stone
crashing to the ground like broken chains

you keep running with iconoclast strides
god, you're wilder than we ever thought you would be
though we try, we can't pin you down
you're a wild one

you're greater

~Jameson McGregor

January 17, 2017

a slow go

I can't believe we're halfway through January but at the same time I feel like its been a slow start to this new year. B went back to school late so that made it feel kinda lazy and slow, I wasn't feeling well which added to the slow start as well. I also think B getting out of school early Friday and then having yesterday off for MLK day has just made it feel like the year hasn't REALLY begun, but I think this is the week! I also haven't really cooked in ages and feel like we've kinda just been getting by, time to get real life started around here, folks. I'm starting to feel better which is great, and some stuff with the house is happening which is really great! Last week our foundation was poured and this week I've been told framing will begin!!! The weather has not been cooperating lately but after Wednesday (and then some rain Friday) I think we'll have some clear skies to work with for a bit. I feel like I stalk my weather app, I can't help it! The weather does change often in Waco so that's not unreasonable but I've been a little obsessive about it. Sigh.

Well, in fun news, we had a great weekend! I was talking to my friend Beth on Wednesday (she and her hubs and 2 boys lived in Waco for many years and then the past couple years they've moved to So Cal, then to CO, then to NY, then back to CO so its been nutty). She and I have had MANY teary convos over the past couple years about moving all over and missing Waco, etc. So anyhow, she was saying how her husband's 40th bday was coming, she didn't know what to do, they didn't really have friends at their new home yet, etc.. So I just said "COME TO WACO and we'll throw him a party!" So they did! It was SO FUN! She woke him up early Saturday morning and said "We're going on a trip!" She totally pulled it off and they arrived here Saturday afternoon! We haven't moved into our friend's house yet so I set them up over at his place, got them his car keys, etc. and it was awe.some. I helped to gather all our friend's together and we met up at a nice restaurant, I baked him his favorite cake and we all ushered in his 40th year with him! He was surrounded by his people, we laughed (and there were some happy tears) and it was just simply fantastic. I LOVE celebrating important moments for important people in my life and I was thrilled to be a part of honoring my dear friend. This is the good stuff of life.

In other news, I met the tile guy over at my friend Jon's house today! It was so funny, I was getting ready while B was getting ready this morning (usually I'm half coherent and fumbling around to get her to school so the fact that I was up and at 'em was unusual) and she said "Are you going somewhere after you drop me off?" And I said "Yeah, I'm meeting the tile guy at British Jon's, I'm having some work done to his house" and B said "Does he know??" It cracked me up! I said "Um...Yeah!" (But to be fair, it was a valid question! :) Jon did agree to let me do some things to sprucen up the place while he was gone but I have added a few more things to the list (that of course I will get his permission on first! :). Its fun to decorate someone else's space since I'm so far from doing it in my own house! I'm trying to pick inexpensive things that will make a big impact (since Jon doesn't want me to go nuts :). So for now, I'm having the kitchen painted, popcorn scraped off the kitchen ceiling, new fan put in, and a tile backsplash put in. Fun! He's going to come home to a transformed place! I'm trying to sneak in an inexpensive gut job to the quarter bath downstairs...we'll see! :)

I think that's all the news around these here parts! I just blogged a mini session so you can check it out HERE! Happy Tuesday! xo

January 9, 2017

back to life...back to re-al-ity...

B went back to school today so break is officially over. Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah. I did not want to get up this morning, so cold outside! Today is the day I need to do things I've been putting off, ie paying taxes for my CA biz, closing out my biz in CA, laundry, dishes, following up w/ my lame web designer (not sure if you've noticed but my website has been down for WEEKS now -grrrr), etc.. Just things, things that I'm not too pumped to do. In brighter news, I'm thankful I feel well enough to do these things! 2017 has been off to a rough start physically for me but I feel like I'm on the mend a bit and thankful for that! Adam started his new semester today and he is starting a class at Truett today so its going to be a looong day for him. When he got permission from UMHB to adjunct at Truett they said to him "You know you don't have to work so hard any more, right?" We both thought that was kinda funny. Well, not too much to share over here, house is plugging along...plumbing is almost done on the front end and we're hopeful concrete can get poured this week before the rain comes! Unfortunately the weather forecast for this week isn't looking so great for house building so...sigh, probably not much happening for a bit. Well, even though my website is down my blog is up and running and you can see this cute fam HERE. Happy Monday! xo

January 4, 2017

2016 in review

Happy New Year, all! There's just something about a fresh start that gets me excited about January (even though its not my favorite month). This year has started a bit rough for us over here, my long-time digestive issues have reared their ugly head and cedar allergies have hit Adam hard so we're not top notch over here...hoping for better days ahead! B doesn't go back to school until the 9th so we're having a pretty lazy week and start to our new year. We're in the process of moving into our friend's house so we got yet another (and please Lord, last) storage unit to put our stuff into and slowly started moving some things over. [Have I mentioned that I hate moving?!] Adam and I are giddy that we only have 1 more move after this one (well, we hope, and at least until we're really old! :). I'm sure it goes without saying but the thing I'm most looking forward to in 2017 is our house being done and moving into our "forever" home (gotta use quotes....you never know right?). I have poured my heart into designing this home and can.not.wait. to see it come to life and to live our lives in it, GIDDY. My builder texted me this morning and told me the plumbers started working today and would be there the next 3 days "trenching and putting in the plumbing slab" so things are finally starting to move! Who hoo!

I always like to spend some time at the end of a year reflecting on the year and all it brought, 2016 was a big one for us so I'm going to share a bit here.

I have mixed feelings when I look back on 2016, its sort of bittersweet but more sweet than bitter. The past few years have been such a mixed bag, 2013 was perhaps our/my best year, and then it was followed by 2014-15 which were the worst years of my life, and then came 2016 that was somewhere in the middle. 2016 started really awful and ended really great. The start of 2016 brought some really hard job news for Adam and I, and some really hard personal conflict for me. Then I got really sick and as someone who has had a lot of horrible physical things here and there throughout my life, I will say that vertigo is one of the worst things that has ever happened to me. As the year progressed Adam and I got some hopeful job news that morphed into what we had been pleading to the Lord for for years, which was a job in Waco. With that turn of events everything took a turn in the right direction. What I haven't shared publicly is that Adam and I had decided to move back to Texas with or without the job at UMHB, we had worked it out with APU where Adam was literally going to commute to CA from TX each week!! It was such a daunting prospect but we were all in and that was our plan until the Lord came through with the job for Adam back home. We weren't excited about this plan but we were desperate, and desperate people do desperate things. I can't tell you how affirming it was that we made the decision to move and then the Lord provided the job; I knew Waco was home and it was really neat to see the Lord make that so apparent as well. 2016 will forever be the year that the Lord brought us back to Waco, brought us home and I'm so so thankful.

For the past couple years I've been on somewhat of a spiritual journey of knowing myself better, understanding myself and others better, digging deeper into what forgiveness and reconciliation really mean/look like, what being true to myself means in the midst of heartache, what lessons I want to teach my daughter, the difference between enabling and honesty, and the things I never want to go back to but hope for the future. As I've mentioned numerous times, I've read more books in the past couple years than in my whole life combined but what I can say about this journey is: I love Jesus more than I did before, I am a better person than I was before because there is more of Jesus in me, I am more gracious than I was, I am more patient, I am more understanding. I have invited several people into the recesses of my life to ask me hard questions and hold me accountable and I've been told there is a difference in me. Healing has taken place in me that for a season I couldn't even imagine happening, things that I couldn't talk about without bursting into tears have become somewhat peaceful and such major areas of growth and I'm so thankful to be on the other side. I still have deep wounds, don't get me wrong, but there has been so much healing and growth within these wounds that is tangible and I'm so thankful for that.

2016 brought us home and the search for home has been such a "thing" for me for so many years and we're here! It brought the start of the process of building our home which has always been a dream of mine that I never really thought would come to fruition and yet, here we are. 2 BIG dreams that the Lord has made possible, so so so thankful and grateful. 2016 was the year our family of 3 went on our first cruise together, we went to NYC for Christmas which is just dreamy in and of itself, and the 3 of us are now Wacoans again -thank you 2016 for the good that you brought!

As I head into 2017 my goals are pretty simple:

move into our home, have people over for dinner all.the.time., save for a pool, get a new mi casa up and running, (as of today) to loose 13 more pounds (I've lost 11 already -woot!), to make good food/try lots of new recipes, become a better photographer, read lots more books, go to a new place with Adam and B, to love Jesus more, and to throw a big ol' 40th birthday bash!

I'm sure I'll come with a few more here and there but I think that's a good start! I hope everyone is starting 2017 with high hopes and new mercies for a new year! Happy New year! xo