wisdom from my grandma

April 8, 2015

grandma and mike :)

grandma and mike 🙂 from 2011

My precious Grammy just left after dropping off her delicious bean soup for lunch.

the miracle there is that yesterday,  my grandma and I were playing phone tag. I was on the phone with my mom in the late afternoon and jokingly said, it would be such a dream if grandma had been calling to say she’d made us a pot of her amazing beans. my hubby is out of town and I was feeling the end of day weariness and craving the warmth and love of some of grandma’s soup.

I hung up the phone with my mom, checked my voice mail, and the message from my grandma said she’d made us a pot of beans that she’d like to bring over.

I laughed out loud! Seriously?!

And I remembered the words I believe the Spirit whispered to my heart a few years ago: you are known and loved.

by my family and my Father in the most stunning way.

fast forward to today … grandma arrived as the boys and I were just walking in from playing catch/chase with a ball across the street. It was windy & cool … we come inside and as always, grandma’s arms are full of gifts. bags. She always brings bags of something 🙂

Today’s bags held magazines,  a used sweatshirt she thought we’d like, a darling little frying pan, some fruit snacks for the boys and of course the beans. Mmmm. 🙂

We sat on the couch while the boys raced and hollered down the hall. The sun streamed in on her shoulders as we caught up on life … family … plans for my babe’s birthday tomorrow  (she insists she hosts pie & ice cream to celebrate him :)). And then the conversation turned in another direction as we talked about strained relationships,  phone calls that feel awkward and get put off. And she says this,

“Do everything you can, so you won’t be sorry later.”

no regrets.

she said when she was young, her father never called or took part in her life (her parents were divorced). She said later in life, her father was always saying sorry for what he hadn’t done. she determined then to never have to say sorry but instead to be intentional and always, do everything in her power no matter if she felt like it, so she would have no regrets.

I love that. How often can I put off making that call, reaching out, doing the thing I know I need to do … allowing my feelings to determine my action or inaction.

but I want to have no regrets. Like grandma said, if tomorrow somethinks terrible happened to that person, how important to have the peace of knowing you had made the call or reached out.

so thankful today for wise words, gentle love & delicious bean soup. 🙂

august refresh

September 14, 2014

i love coming together with other mama’s, sharing hearts and encouragement as we walk this wild journey of motherhood.

a friend from church and i had been throwing around the idea of hosting a mama’s bible study since early last year … but there were always obstacles and hiccups. the timing seemed off.

around the middle of this summer, the inspiration came to me again so i started thinking of ways to make it happen. the phrase, “august refresh” came clearly to my mind and i knew that’s what we’d do: meet weekly just for the month of august. to refresh.

i asked just a few friends to see the interest and got a resounding “YES!” from almost every one. we were all looking for this thing, right about now. i wasn’t sure at first what book to study – or should we study scripture? – but after some looking and seeking, i found the very perfect choice for our group: “Desperate: Hope for the Mom who Needs to Breathe.” yes, that was us.

as i think over the month, over those 4 tuesday mornings that we met, i smile. it was *such* a time of sweet refreshment! we were able to have my maddie and her darling friend watch all our kids, upstairs! away from us! contained and mostly happy! 🙂 the first week, once babies and kids were happily upstairs being cared for, we all sat and laughingly agreed that if we didn’t discuss a single thing, the week would be a success: we’d have this 1 1/2 hours to rest. to breathe. 😉

but it turns out, we *did* discuss much. we shared insights, convictions, concerns, burdens, ideas, prayer. there is something so special about women coming to together!

i am so thankful for the blessing the women and that pocket of sweet time was in my august … thankful that i decided to step forward and do the thing that was on my heart. looking forward to next time 🙂

scavenger hunt :)

June 7, 2014

yesterday we “hosted” a scavenger hunt for Madison’s CC class. it was a BLAST! this is something she has been wanting to do with her CC friends for months … and a couple months ago we put June 6 on the calendar and suddenly the day arrived. 🙂 we created a list of one hundred items the teams had to find in the mall. we ended up with 9 kids so i divided in to two teams; they had to stick together, everyone on the team had to see the item, and the first time to return with the list complete won!

i was so thankful that a dear girlfriend offered to watch josiah as i am not sure how i could have managed overseeing activities with both boys at the mall. would not happen! josiah had a *blast at lori’s (yeah!) and caleb was a chill dumpling on my lap, allowing me to visit (say what?! actually conversate with the mama’s?! LOL). we had a sweet time visiting, caleb was mostly entertained playing with my phone, a snack, a toy and some kind mama’s who talked to him (but he never left mama’s lap).

i expected the kids would take about an hour but it was nearly *two hours before the winning team returned! they were happy, full of funny stories of various hard-to-find items (a mall employee named sara topped the list 🙂 ).

a great, frugal and fun summer activity for sure!


such a darling group!!

such a darling group!!



i took a pic of the completed list, front and back, as it will surely get lost and so it will be here should we want to reference it, or if anyone wants to use it for their scavenger hunt!

i took a pic of the completed list, front and back, as it will surely get lost and so it will be here should we want to reference it, or if anyone wants to use it for their scavenger hunt!


SCAV list


December 24, 2013

i just returned from a glorious evening with some amazing women. my heart is refreshed and my mind is thinking over the years that have passed since these ladies started meeting. it was eight years ago  … my dear friend, gretchen, started hosting a bible study in her home. i was a part of that “founding” group. every tuesday night, rain or shine, until just after josiah’s birth … 5 or 6 years it was. the group has continued to meet, of course, and is just now wrapping up – the season for this particular study is closing. bittersweet. countless women have joined us over the years; some staying for a couple years, some more, some less. older women, younger women, from different churches and different walks … studying GOD’s word, praying together. sharing life, beautifully.

i’ve missed it so much.

tonight as i was getting ready to go, i was feeling gross: i had nothing to wear, my hair hasn’t been cut or styled in over a year, my body is out of shape (two babies in the past two years, via csection).

what a contrast to who i was when this study began those eight years ago: a fulltime working professional mom of one daughter (who attended a private school), married and part of a two-income household; occasional new clothes; hair done at the salon; away from home most nights (competitive gymnastics for our daughter 3 nights, bible study the other); date nights with hubby and a babysitter (or 2!); funds for lunches, dinner and coffee out; a gym membership and working out at lunch (*sigh*).

Now?  home every night; no new clothes or hair styled in ages; homeschooling, BABIES!

:: life is dramatically different. ::

and really?

it’s because prayers were answered.

my deepest longing to be home with my girl, having more babies?

it’s my life, now.

and i am praising Him in the craziness.



one of our very first studies was beth moore’s, “believing God” back in 2006. during the study we were asked to write down areas in which we were struggling to believe God. this is the note card i wrote then, in october 2006. pretty wild and incredible: both areas (getting pregnant and being able to stay home) did eventually come to fruition, in abundance (!!) and in God’s timing. wow.

girlfriend crafting day

September 22, 2013

we had a really sweet time at our home yesterday! madison invited her classmates from classical conversations – the girls, that is 🙂 – over for an afternoon of journal-making and ice cream.

we’d been talking about organizing something for these awesome kids to do and finally a few weeks ago i just said, let’s do it! a crafting time is a no-brainer for my artistic, creative girl. she was so excited and swimming with ideas, but finally narrowed it down to journal-making, because it is frugal and has more appeal to a variety of girls vs a very girly-girly craft that may not interest some.

{an aside: as a mama who has decided to keep my daughter home – out of a large school setting – i believe i carry a great responsibility to steward well her time particularly as it relates to cultivating and growing friendships. i have to be intentional about ensuring she has adequate and positive opportunities to spend time with friends with whom she can share her growing life. i take this seriously and grapple often with this responsibility … and the fact that she spends her mondays in CC seminar with honestly some of the most incredible young teens *ever* makes it simple to decide to create more time with some of these kiddos!}.

the supplies for the party were simple: cheap “composition” books, some pretty paper and rubber cement, then a collection of random pens and stickers and glitter glue that maddie had in her stash. easy & cheap. the day was totally lovely!

chores were done to ensure everything was clean and guest-ready; after that, maddie had a blast setting up!



crafting 4



crafting 2






such sweet girls!!

such sweet girls!!


an added bonus was the opportunity i had to connect with some of the other mama’s … one that i hadn’t yet met and ended up having a really awesome heart-sharing time of conversation with as she dropped her daughter off.  what a blessing!

another mama was a childhood friend of mine – crazy! – and now our daughters are enjoying their growing friendship so much. in fact, when this mama came her daughter was protesting having to leave, insisting her mom sit and visit with me longer. 🙂 no problem!

i was struck by a comment one mama made: that we are all overwhelmed by the intensity of this *very* academic, challenging, rigorous classical schooling program and that i – having two small babies at home – opened my home to host this wonderful time for the girls. honestly, i don’t feel like it’s that big of a deal as far as effort, etc. it’s so worth it!

most of all, it’s worth it because relationships matter. they  matter to GOD – he designed us for relationship with Him and for unity with one another. it can be so easy to let the busy-ness of life get in the way,

i have also been thinking about how *stuff* can get in the way of relationships … not having the “right” stuff, having too much stuff. STUFF!

i confess that since we’ve moved and haven’t yet been able to furnish the way that i’d love to, it can feel a little intimidating having company over. i want so badly to have the big comfortable couch that would be cozy and beautiful; the lovely pillows and rug and pictures and …


on the flip side, i know someone who has such nice stuff, who cares so much about all this stuff, that she doesn’t have company (especially little people) because getting all that stuff messy would totally stress her out.

how crazy is all this?! so, i determined to no longer put off opening our home … in order to do what matters most: love people. build relationship.

make memories.

what a waste

April 15, 2013


i love this picture.

it brings me back to our glorious days at my aunt and uncle’s cabin celebrating 4th of july … sunshine, sparkling blue lake at the base of the mountain, barbecue, family and friends, the fresh air of the forest, fireworks, a big campfire. so much goodness and joy.

when i found this picture the other day, it brought back other memories, too: was mad.  i was actually pouting and grumpy as this picture was being taken.

hubby and i had argued over something stupid – so stupid and silly, in fact, that i cannot even remember what it was.

all i remember was the feeling. my emotions completely undergirded that moment; i couldn’t move past them or get over them and as a result, this beautiful memory is tainted. i was agitated and frustrated at him, for something ridiculous! it was one of those times when the irritation feels like it’s sinking so deeply in and it can’t be quickly shaken.

i wish i could go back and shake the woman in that picture: enjoy the moment, emily! get over the stupid stuff, quick. it’s not worth it.

i love this guy SO much!

“a man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.” (proverbs 19:11)

i said yes

March 22, 2013

i am glad that i said yes.

not just with my lips, but with my heart.

admittedly, i was looking forward to my morning walk … alone with my thoughts while pushing the boys in the stroller; a “much-needed” break from the nonstop routine of cleaning-cooking-schooling-mothering at home.

as i got ready to leave, she quickly said, “i’ll come with you, mama!”

yes, sounds like a great idea. 🙂

as we walked, we talked and laughed … ideas were shared, plans discussed, ideas offered.

and i realized: i am the person closest to her, her primary influencer and her main relationship (a daunting reality i’ve been grappling with much these days) – a tremendous weight and responsibility.  when i open the door, there is a safe and beautiful space to share her heart … and for me to love and guide and disciple.

as women, we can be bombarded by our culture telling us what we need and deserve; as mama’s especially we are reminded that we deserve “me” time. and i’m certainly not downplaying the deep value in solitude; i just know that construct creates an artificial scenario that plays out in my mind (‘wait, you come on my walk?? but i want/need to get away‘).

it felt so good to embrace the moment … remembering how fleeting this time is, and how extraordinary it is to get to spend my days with this growing {fast} girl. and? how awesome that she wants to join me on a walk!

{one extra nugget of beauty: we talked about extracurricular involvements, perhaps there is a sport or activity she can participate in, now that theater has ended? her response: “i love our evenings at home together!”. ahhh. me too, my girl.}

today's walk

today’s walk