His timing, not mine

August 29, 2015

just yesterday, josiah looked up at me and spontaneously said, “mama, i love our new minivan!”  and a couple minutes later, “mama, i love our home.”

i smiled and agreed and told him how thankful we are that God has given us this home, and our van.

and i remembered again … how long the waiting felt. 

how i battled against coveting a friend’s home, or their minivan.

how all the voices around us and our culture screamed a message that said,  “you *have* to get a bigger house! after all, your hubby works from home, you are having more babies, it is time to move! and it is absolutely time for a bigger vehicle – have you started shopping!?”

truly, we did outgrow our car. then, the a/c died in it and it needed other repairs and during a hot smoky summer season when finances were super tight and driving anywhere in a hot semi-functional car became overwhelming, our dear friends showed up and gave us theirs. an old, well-worn, unattractive yet *totally* functional car WITH A/C. total grace.

and we drove that gift for a year and daily felt the gratitude of the gift – the a/c! the strong engine! GOD humbled my heart as i got over the appearance. funny, because i never considered myself a car person and certainly didn’t feel attached to the image of any vehicle. and yet, circumstances orchestrated by God’s grace revealed that indeed, i was attached to STUFF. it does define us in ways we don’t realize. it took a year of grace to really get the deep gratitude for FUNCTION, not appearance in any way.

and we waited … for the time that GOD would provide for us to buy something, not move forward with the protocol of our culture that says to charge and become indebted and accumulate, regardless of one’s capacity to actually pay. we determined to let provision inform our timing, not our wants and desires.

the time did come last month and it’s hard to capture how gratifying it felt to find just the perfect used minivan … and how every detail is something we still squeal with delight over! we waited, we chose gratitude in the waiting, and now we look back and see how good His timing is – always.

we were stretched and humbled and grown and shaped during the waiting.

and i know more than ever that the growing during the waiting is so much more valuable and lasting than any “thing” we set our hopes on.

He is good! even when circumstances look bleak, when we can’t see light at the end of the tunnel … seek Him, trust Him and rest in His love.  we are known and loved. 

healing josiah

August 23, 2015

it’s been 9 days since we learned the list of foods that our josiah could safely eat. the list is stunningly short and at times panic-inducing for this mama. especially for those first few days, as my hubby felt relief and optimism (finally, answers! clarity!) and i could connect intellectually with those reactions, my emotions were sunk with overwhelm. what would i feed my family??

i’ve come to realize (duh, perhaps) that this preparation of foods is so much  more than the rote process for this mama – it is LOVE, and giving it and blessing by the foods i prepare for them each day. 

i like them to be happy, these people of mine.

so, back to the list. when we arrived at our doctor appointment last friday, she so sweetly invited us to sit down and brace ourselves, saying that josiah’s results were the most severe and worst she’s seen in 15 years with just one exception.  gulp. ok.  we reviewed the results, asked a ton of questions, and proceeded to create a “YES” list that he could eat.

yes list

the excellent news is that he can eat any meats, which is great as we are a big meat-eating family. but he can’t have rice and that is a staple for nearly every meal in our home. he reacted profoundly to all grains, legumes and nuts with the exception of pecans … so we have quinoa, millet and amaranth to work with. another relief was that blueberries are acceptable as they are his favorite fruit – phew!

i dove in and for days, barely looked up. i told my family on our drive home from the doctor that my priority, my focus, my total obsession (let’s be honest) over the coming weeks would be cooking and experimenting and researching foods. and that’s proven true. i’ve done multiple experiments, mostly with quinoa and millet (whole, flours, in tortilllas, creamy, pureed … and on and on). the results for those have been dismal.

i was super hopeful with this beef pot pie the other night …

pot pie fail

but oh my gosh, the quinoa millet crust had that bitter taste that has proven inescapable with those two when i use them in flour form. UGH.

there was a no good nasty bad day here last week between hubby and i … and how i hate arguing. but emotions were raw and this whole endeavor brings so much to the surface and we are so different and our processes are different. and i really need words of affirmation and i’ve married a logical process guy who doesn’t always slow down to acknowledge and build up my feelings that are crashing all around. ugh. but thankfully, GOD gave me grace and insight and revealed again the stinking pride in my spirit that keeps rearing it’s ugly head. i am so thankful to have a partner on this journey who is walking every step with me, present in every appointment, passionate and committed and supportive … leading us well.

so we came up with a process to simplify my life and this entire undertaking: i do meal experimentation mostly at lunch. for dinner, i stick with the meals that are so far tried and true. my list of things to try grows daily and some days i can’t tackle as much. but i am thankful that things are getting easier and that we are increasingly able to create and serve the foods that nourish.

i am a list girl. these are my pages of notes, ideas, foods to try.

i am a list girl. these are my pages of notes, ideas, foods to try.

josiah (and the rest of us) have loved a pot roast creation i’ve made; sauteed chicken breasts made the list; whole roast seasoned chicken; hamburger patties. the challenge remains the carb side – again, rice was a staple always. we’ve just never eaten potatoes very much and this week i’ve tried so many potato options: baked fries (both regular and sweet potato), mashed, baked … the only semi success was shredded fried hash brown potatoes. so. much work to do there. quinoa has been an ok side with our meat but isn’t totally loved.

here is the best part of all of this,and really the headline to this whole post: josiah is healing. we realized yesterday that he’s had only 1 major sneezing/sniffling burst total vs the *several he was having each DAY before changing his diet. his system just seems more relaxed. he is settling. he continues to have profound itchy spots (mostly feet and knees) but his skin overall is less irritated and red.

he is taking his daily supplements, and needing benadryl far less. he continues to wake at night but it’s always due to being hungry so we feed him of course … can’t stand my babies being hungry. we are so focused on filling his belly. meals. snacks. before bed. and still, he wakes at night. but he hasn’t woken with consuming itches at night so that’s an improvement.

i anticipate a long process of healing; of his allergic-to-foods picture changing as the health of his gut and digestion improves. this isn’t a forever “diagnosis”, this list … just a tool to start the journey.

and we are so thankful.

big boys room

August 8, 2015

we finally did it: moved both boys in to their own big beds, in josiah’s room.

this move, or *some* move, has been months in the making. i’ve known we needed to do something, but i’ve been ambivalent … torn.

Switching up the status quo, even one that isn’t working, takes some inertia and energy, huh? lol. and then there’s that bigger piece, that i think was laying quietly beneath it all: i haven’t been totally ready to move past this season and move in to one where my boys are really just big BOYS. no more baby. no more cuddling for “nursing night night” with “baby” caleb. we have, by the way, done that nearly every night of his entire life and it’s been beyond sweet. words really can’t capture the heart-filing magic and sweetness of cuddling beside my squishy boy, nursing him as i comb my fingers through his hair, breathe in his yumminess and exhale the craziness of the day.

so, bedroom-switching. caleb’s technically been in our closet (his crib) although most nights is in bed with us. and josiah has been in his crib – still! – because … it’s worked. he has loved it, been comfortable and it’s a familiar cozy nest for him. so switching that up didn’t feel as urgent. i went back and forth about what to do – order a big bed for them to share? twin beds? i went through various scenarios of danger in having them alone in a room because they are absolutely still line-of-sight boys and cannot be unsupervised while playing because they ALWAYS hurt each other, scream, taunt, threaten, compete.

last month when i was gone overnight with girlfriends, hubby did some shopping online and ordered toddler beds to be delivered. i LOVE that he did it – just made the decision and did it.  i may not have ordered small toddler beds but it’s FINE and not permanent but a great transition size. he got lightening mcqueen for caleb and spiderman for josiah … great choices … plus bedding.

the beds arrived this past week and i did all the prep work to get rooms rearranged, clothing sorted and combined in one smaller dresser, bedding cleaned, new mattress purchased, etc. hubby got beds assembled late the night before last so we waited til last night. and last night was the first presidential debate so we got another late start.

i had forgotten in my planning that one major step in moving things around was that the crib needed to be taken apart and removed. hubby worked on that upstairs and i had some tears with him as i shared the emotional piece of all this change on my heart. (for him, it’s very matter of fact :-)). no more crib after over 4 years of a baby being in there; no more changing table dresser to lay and change babes (and big boys) on … the crib bumper and wall decor that matched, coming down. being replaced by crazy cartoon super heroes, lol.


once the beds were made and the room all ready and cute, maddie excitedly had the boys come upstairs to take a look. caleb was ecstatic! giddy! jumping in his bed, jumping out, exclaiming, hyper. josiah had a completely different reaction: he stood back, had a slow knowing smile with me, and wanted me to hold him. so we cuddled in the rocking chair and talked about this exciting change. but he didn’t want to lay in his bed. and it wasn’t quite bedtime so both boys went downstairs to finish their cartoon before bed.

i wanted to have a normal nighttime routine so we did the 2 things as usual: jammies & teeth. then hubby sat in the rocking chair in their room and read stories as he does every night. i could see as he read that josiah was super tired, on the verge of falling asleep, and was also very itchy. when those 2 things are in play at bedtime, i often rock him to sleep to soothe him and allow him to peacefully fall asleep (vs laying down itching). i rocked him but caleb was still very hyper and super excited about his bed. he was loud and had to have daddy remind him of rules and sit beside him, to quiet and rub his back. but it wasn’t working. he was keeping josiah awake so hubby took him downstairs. josiah fell asleep in my arms but not before caleb stomped back upstairs, making noise, demanding to be rocked, and eventually waking josiah. GRR.

eventually – like, a good hour more – i had rocked both boys to sleep and lay them in their beds. they were so delicious and precious sleeping soundly in their big boy beds. i came downstairs and collapsed on the couch with hubby. bone tired.

the rest of the story is funny: both boys ended up in our bed during the night but we have no idea how exactly. maddie says she heard josiah wake and saw him walking downstairs. but no one saw or heard caleb until i woke at one point and he was in bed beside us. i had expected to be wide awake, laying in bed in hypervigilant expectation of hearing them wake. i guess i was tired. :)

so we are easing in to this, lol. i had bought prizes and unabashedly bribed the boys that whoever stayed in their big bed all night until the blue sky morning, would get to pick a prize.

didn’t happen. maybe tonight? *dreaming*.

it does feel really good to be moving in the right direction. i am SO READY to have my room and bed back with just me and my man! even if they end up there by morning, having designated spaces for boys to sleep separate and away from us feels like a very good exhale.





totally sneakily took this pic of caleb after he'd fallen asleep

totally sneakily took this pic of caleb after he’d fallen asleep


and josiah :) phew that the flash didn't wake him up, lol

and josiah :) phew that the flash didn’t wake him up, lol

morning jobs

August 4, 2015

for the past couple months, i’ve had the boys do their “morning jobs” before we venture forth in to the day’s adventures. i traced each of their hands and for each finger, put one job that needs to be done and hang their “hands” on the refrigerator (thank you so much stacy for the inspiration for this! :) )


i have one word descriptions to keep it simple and clear: bedroom, bathroom, dressed, teeth, vitamins.

they do the first 2 jobs with big sister (good practice for her in teaching and instructing) – cleaning josiah’s room and emptying trash then cleaning the guest bath (2 clean towels, 2 extra rolls of toilet paper, clean sink, toilet and empty trash). the instructions are very clear and repetitive and i “inspect” both of these areas before we move on. my inspection is exaggerated as we walk through everything, “are there 2 towels??” “yes!” etc. i praise for a job well done and we move on to brushing teeth and getting dressed.

the final chore, “vitamins” has morphed in to “vitamins or cod liver oil?” as they think this choice is so fantastic as they don’t like their vitamin and end up taking the cod liver which is my *preference for sure. *wink*.

this week, josiah’s been complaining when i announce that it’s time for morning jobs – “i don’t want to do our jobs today, mama!” wah. wah.

and we get to learn and live the lesson every day: we work before we play. and we do our work, even when we don’t feel like it.

life the past 19 days

July 30, 2015

{ i wrote this a few weeks ago and am just now able to devote time to get pictures uploaded and post published. i am pressing forward to do it so that i have *some record of life these – crazy – days. the format is wacky after my multiple copy & paste attempts so i’m gonna just let it go and hit publish ;) }

the last 3 weeks of my life … my hubby was gone on his longest ever trip away. ended up being 19 days when his

return flight was canceled. my deep hope and plan as he prepared to leave was to bless him with the gift of a joyful

report when we talked; no deep venting sessions about how drained i was, how hard it was to chase and wrangle and

care for boys round the clock for almost 3 weeks (although it was). he was in jackson, ms – preparing for and

then overseeing an event of tremendous scale; the actualizing of vision, the coming together of dreams and plans and

relationships years in the making. the making of history. i wanted his mind clear and free to focus.

and i am so thankful that i do believe i achieved this goal! :) i chose each day, many times a day actually, to see the

joy before me: these precious kiddos, resources at hand to choose a fun activity and do it, opportunity to eat meals

out, cook lightly, and do a lot of playing.

also, the opportunity to implement and work on carrying out, the daily jobs i had created for my kids. each boy has a tracing

of their hand with their 5 JOBS: bathroom, bedroom (these done with sissy), dressed, teeth and vitamins. most days, we did

these (despite protests – from all – lol) before moving on with any fun activity. my deep desire is for my kiddos to really live

and learn: work before play. serve and sacrifice and extend before expecting to receive.

i ordered a fabulous book used from amazon with excellent concrete tips for organizing and home management and was

(awesomely, unusually) motivated to tackle some work projects of my own.

we kept the car almost totally cleaned (maintenance! ah, such an elusive concept!). i cleaned and cleared out the laundry

room, our bathroom, some of my clothes. it felt good to *purge.

i missed my man every day, throughout the day. nights were usually the hardest. he is my partner and there is that

indefinable sense of psychological relief that comes from not having to be “on” caring for little ones 24/7. for us, it is round

the clock as neither boy sleeps well and both ended up inbed with me, every night.

so there was very little space.

i am crazy beyond thankful for the help of my maddie – the way that she would suggest i make that quick trip to the store

alone some days. offering to play with her brothers, bring them upstairs with her just when i really needed just a little space.

and my mama came over and helped twice – the first time, hanging with all 3 while i got a pedi (bday gift, hooray!) and next,

*watching the boys alone for the first time* while maddie and i had a lunch date at applebees, which was totally awesome.

yahoo :)

the last weekend of his trip was 4th of july weekend and my cousin, her hubby and their 2 darling kiddos came to visit. what

a treat! the boys LOVED playing with their (second?) cousins.

i am sharing lots of pics here mostly as my own journal to keep and store and remember … ;)

these double decker strollers at the mall were a sanity-saver on a few trips to the mall :)

these double decker strollers at the mall were a sanity-saver on a few trips to the mall :)

sweet big sister suggested a movie night with brothers one night and they had a blast camping out on the living room floor while i had a glorious bit of time alone in my room :) perhaps with a glass of wine, some chocolate and a magazine

sweet big sister suggested a movie night with brothers one night and they had a blast camping out on the living room floor while i had a glorious bit of time alone in my room :) perhaps with a glass of wine, some chocolate and a magazine

a few trips to fro yo :)

a few trips to fro yo :)


park adventures

park adventures

father's day at the grandparents

father’s day at the grandparents



our little local library - a sweet spot of comfort

our little local library – a sweet spot of comfort

applebee's lunch date with my girl

applebee’s lunch date with my girl


going to atticus' bday party

going to atticus’ bday party

lily love

lily love

that time in walmart where they would NOT keep their hands off each other and i was pushing the 92 foot cart and i was just about done.

that time in walmart where they would NOT keep their hands off each other and i was pushing the 92 foot cart and i was just about done.

so much fun with luca & lynnea

so much fun with luca & lynnea

lynnea & josiah

lynnea & josiah

grandma &joy

grandma &joy



40th birthday!

June 14, 2015

i’ve really struggled with anticipating turning 40. it really just feels “old” – sounds lame, i know – but it feels like a turning-the-corner, round bend … from youthfulness to the inevitable downward sag of skin & gravity. i feel silly admitting to these very trivial, superficial concerns. because i *know* it’s a gift to BE alive, to be aging! it’s all grace and a gift. i get it.



i remember my 30th: i had just married the man of my dreams; the future lay open before us; i felt young and healthy and vibrant and just so happy & excited. i had *zero* turning-30 angst.

i’ve received such sweet wisdom and encouragement from both friends and strangers who describe the 40s as the best decade ever: a time of sweet self-awareness & understanding; great capacity for fitness gains and adventures; settling in to one’s skin, and savoring the contentment of what the season brings.

i wasn’t sure what to expect on my actual birthday (yesterday) other than sweetness from my family – my hubby and daughter are always so attentive and spoiling on my special day. i do love it. :) my mom had called a couple weeks ago to invite me to lunch which was sweet – a bit unusual because for several years she’s had us over on my birthday evening for the whole family cake & gifts. and i wasn’t sure that my hubby wouldn’t be planning some day outing for us, but … i was going with the flow. :)

i woke and had a totally contented morning of leisure … long conversation with my hubby as he rubbed my feet (my very fave); calls and texts from family & friends; coffee … just relaxing. i asked maddie if she wanted to join us for lunch (since it would be at a winery i wasn’t sure initially if mom had invited her but i really wanted her to come) and she said she would love to, so we both got ready to go as we prepared for mom and grandma to pick us up at 2pm.

the *only* hint i had that something was up, was a look mike & maddie exchanged as i reminded them of the plans for lunch with my mom. *wink*.

so, mom and grandma arrived … i had thrown together something to wear … we hopped in grandma’s cool air conditioned car and headed to 2hawk winery. as we left, mike encouraged me to have a great time and not hurry home. :0

when we pulled up to the winery, i noticed a familiar car in the parking lot and commented that it was so cool that my friend autumn was here today! still, no clue. we walked to the front door and i looked out over to the far right … on the lawn … and i noticed a familiar face. kristi! then another, ernestine! i seriously was thinking – this is SO COOL that some of my best friends are here today! and, i didn’t know that they knew each other?! LOL.

then i think maddie made some comment that indicated i wasn’t supposed to have seen my friends and it hit me – what!!!??? i ran through the lobby, out the back door and seriously exploded with laughter and tears and hugs!


i could not believe it. the complete awesomeness of having some of my very favorite women, gathered together, for me … just too good to be true.

we laughed and ate and laughed and talked and the hours passed so quick. i felt like i had a permanent grin on my face. i texted mike, “am i in a dream??:)” it was just too good to be true. and they brought gifts – what?? just their presence was my gift. i loved seeing the way connections were made; i loved having dear ones that hadn’t met finally meet and connect. it was so good and so beautiful. these gorgeous, lovely, amazing, Godly, fantastic women gathered together under the warm sun on this beautiful stretch of lawn overlooking the valley … just doesn’t get much better.

40th bday1

40th bday2

40th bday3

lori & grandma :)

lori & grandma :)

40th bday5

this gift from mom was SO pretty!

this gift from mom was SO pretty!

and one of the most extravagant blessings of the entire day came from my daughter, and the gifts she had taken such time & love to prepare … a letter “E”, decoupaged with pictures she had printed; a sign she painted and framed that said, “i love everything about you” and finally, cards that were individually decorated with colored cardstock and were “40 things i love about you”. OH MY WORD. pretty much nothing in the universe sweeter & more encouraging to  my heart, than the words my daughter wrote on those 40 cards.

40th bday7

the one intangible

May 25, 2015

the other night, late in to the wee hours of the morning, we were having an intense and important family discussion. hubby, me and maddie … talking through heavy heart stuff, reading through scripture, sorting out and processing things happening within our family. our hearts.

and really, i was really just observing … cuddled on the couch, joining the conversation by my presence but hubby lead the way.

and i was struck by this thought: there is almost nothing that means more in the dark corners of night, in the hard seasons of parenting, than to have a partner whose leadership you respect.

who leads with wisdom and integrity; who my mind doesn’t race to second-guess, correct or interrupt.

if i could speak encouragement to the young woman making that enormously huge life decision in choosing a spouse, i would urge her to get this: find one that you respect, that has spiritual insight and wisdom, that seeks God’s truth first. because there are so many life moments where having that person beside you brings the greatest comfort and peace to your spirit.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.