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Monday, December 24, 2012

A Night at the Box Office

Last night we saw Anna Karenina at the movies for our 7th year anniversary date. Aside from the fact that it was a visual and artistic masterpiece, we were just completely taken with the story.

This is the part where I admit I haven't read the book. I started it, but like so many potential reads, I did not get far before I put it down for life to happen and never picked it up again.

So I didn't really know what to expect. I knew there was something about adultery in it (and to be honest, that always made me a little weary of watching/reading it; I'm sick of the romanticized whoredom our culture is so obsessed with). And I knew it was set in Imperial Russia. That's pretty much it.

So if you're unfamiliar with it, I won't ruin anything for you (but you should at least go see the movie). Gabe and I were really affected by it. We spent over an hour talking about it after we left the theater and we realized that what was so striking was actually the Gospel covered in 19th century fashion and splattered over salacious dialogue.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Beauty for Ashes

I don't know why God doesn't always step in and fix the things that are broken.

I don't know why people who knew the Lord get divorced.

I don't know why children die.

I don't know why prayers go unanswered and mountains aren't moved.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Kindness and Severity

The Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands,forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children's children, to the third and the fourth generation.” And Moses quickly bowed his head toward the earth and worshiped. And he said, “If now I have found favor in your sight, O Lord, please let the Lord go in the midst of us, for it is a stiff-necked people, and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for your inheritance.”
And he said, “Behold, I am making a covenant. Before all your people I will do marvels, such as have not been created in all the earth or in any nation. And all the people among whom you are shall see the work of the Lord, for it is an awesome thing that I will do with you."
 (From Exodus 34 (ESV))

I read this passage a while ago and it was at the same time completely amazing and eerily troubling. On the one hand God says plainly that He is exactly who we believe He is. He is forgiving and steadfast and faithful. We know those things are true. We can see it all over the Bible and we can recount our own testifying experiences. 

Yet on the other hand and presented as just as true, God says that He doesn't pardon the guilty. That He will let children and grandchildren suffer for their father's sin. 

This sounds very harsh... But when I consider it further it is a deep comfort. Because He does forgive the guilty who repent and as my husband reminded me, He does allow us to rise above the sin that we inherit from our fathers. But He is also just. And we need a just God.

We need a God who does not let the wicked prevail.

We need a God who defeats His enemies.

We need a God who will defend us from the crooked, who will guard us from sin.

Iniquity travels. It is the natural course of morality (which affects spirituality) that our poor choices negatively impact our children. Our very poor choices impact our grandchildren. Our extremely poor choices can ruin our families for generations. A man who abuses his wife teaches his sons to abuse their wives and so on. A man who abandons his family leaves his children with a lasting scar that carries into all kinds of bad decisions on their parts. A man who squanders the family fortune catapults them into poverty and leaves future generations who would otherwise be taken care of to fend for themselves.

And yet we can rise above our circumstance. God is gracious and mighty and He sees our hearts, not just our heritage. Gabe is a godly man despite the great sins of his father (and at least in part because of the righteousness of his mother). As Gabe also reminded me while we were chewing on this together, a big part of the good news that Jesus brought us is that we are no longer tied to our families, we are adopted into God's family. We who were orphans now have a Father. We who were broken have now been restored. We who were destitute have means beyond means. 

I am so grateful for a God who makes Himself known. I'm grateful for His grace and His justice. 

Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God's kindness to you,provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off.
(Romans 11:22)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

An Attitude Adjustment

On Sunday Brent Harris delivered a great message on love. He even sang a line of the Beatles.

As he talked about what real love looks like he mentioned that while we can't control our feelings toward someone, we need to align our attitudes and our actions with what is true. No matter what kind of person we are dealing with, they are loved by God and deserve from us the same grace we were given undeserved from the Father.

That dichotomy began to itch me: feelings vs. attitude. When I was a kid my dad would warn whiney or pouty me to "Fix the attitude." He would never say, "Fix your feelings," but he seemed to think I had some control over my perception of the situation. Of course I did because the fear of a spanking was, to me, worth what it took to get over myself in the moment.

Trust me, when she's teething, the Gremlin has a terrible attitude.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Daughters Grow

There is a simple tension with Mothers and Daughters. It's sweet and complicated. Raychel is at an age of admiration and pushing boundaries, but someday she'll try to break through some of those boundaries and she will probably think I truly don't understand what she is going through as she navigates heavy emotions and scary changes.

She will have fights with her best friends and she won't understand why her sibling's chewing makes her want to scream. She will be scared and feel lonely and sometimes she may even take it out on me. She'll question everything we've taught her and when she learns to disagree she'll wonder what else I'm wrong about. She'll feel confined in a small space as she tries to spread those wings she'll be growing. And as the most prominent woman in her life, she'll both emulate and resent at least some of who I am while she tries to figure out who she is.

And someday when her pudgy little hand becomes slender and coordinated I'll have to let it go and though I'm excited for her to be a Woman, that thought breaks my heart.

But then I remember: after her perspective gets a little broader and she starts to reflect (when she has things to reflect) she'll grab my hand for the parts of Womanhood that require a Mother. 

When she meets the man she wants to serve for the rest of her life or she finds a passion she's meant to pursue and she needs a nudge out of the nest I'll encourage her to take the leap.

When she's newly married and she needs the calm assurance of decades I'll pray over her and remind her who she is in Christ and how that looks as a wife.

When she has children and wrestles with her new role I'll wipe her tears and tell her that she's doing a wonderful job. 

And when I miss her in the everydays I'll remember pots and pans in the living room and surprise kisses in bed. In some sense she'll always be this little girl who lights up our home and in some sense she is already the beautiful woman who will send sparks into the world.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Oops, We Did It Again

Yep! We're pregnant! Well.... technically I'm pregnant. And we could not be more excited! We have been waiting and hoping and praying for another little love to join our family and we are so grateful that God chose to give us another this way.

One incredible thing about this pregnancy is how I believe God prepared my heart almost the opposite way he did for RJ. Before Raychel was born I needed to get amped up! The preceding year was full of growing and stretching and relenting to a spirit of motherhood that was awakening in me. Our hearts had to be readied for the next phase in life (especially since we had hardened them). But this time I was more than ready to get pregnant. Now that I know the joy of being a mom I can't imagine not having more children - and lots!

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Danger of Encountering God

I'm just going to say it: I'm afraid to meet God.

Those words kind of sting. I was raised a Christian - a real one, not a we-go-to-church-on-Sunday-with-a-hangover Christian. As a kid I knew Jesus. He was my best friend, my hero. As I got older I learned about my own sin and how much I needed His friendship.

And as an adult I crashed into Him in a candle-lit apartment after being raked through my own degenerate mind with merciless brutality. Satan and I had quite the tango going before God cut in. I'm not being cute. I was a pitiful mess and I can say with confidence that God met me on the carpet. He was gentle and He was strong. He gave me hope and light and peace without which I could die. I truly believe that. I could be dead.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

"Children are brave!"

Yes, I watch The View. Moving on.

I don't know that I have heard such a clear and honest articulation of childhood. Children are brave. Any mother who has watched her baby take those first trepidatious steps can attest to his fortitude. Determined with his shaky, unreliable feet he fixes his attention, puts his fear behind him and walks. Falls. And invariably, at some point, tries again. Adults don't usually have that courage. Children are on their own in a big and mysterious world.

I love watching RJ explore. She takes delight in things that to me have lost their luster. This morning she was dancing and laughing at her wire hanger percussion and I was blessed with a peek into Wonder. That is just one of the gifts she gives me daily. Because she is an Explorer. On par with Lewis & Clark, she is discovering a completely unknown land. She has adventures in kitchen hideaways and toilet bowls. She scales mountains of armchairs and pillows. She boldly approaches the Wild Beast with an unreasonable hope that he will, for the first time, enjoy her company as much as she enjoys his. She is a Pioneer. She is charting territory for her future brothers and sisters (and I think she will be a great Expedition Leader).

And one day she will leave. I also love Jamie Lee's declaration of independence for our children. Our culture is so intent on keeping the young young that so often parents fail to raise adults. And she is so right: if we do our jobs, separation will be mutually beneficial and anticipated. As much as I thoroughly enjoy every second we get to spend with her, RJ is somebody's wife in the making. She is in her education for motherhood.

I expect to be heartbroken when she moves away and starts her family (or does something else as the Lord wills), but in the best possible way. A shifting paradigm is never a smooth ordeal, but I so look forward to watching her use all we are able to teach her and learn from her as she navigates this life with her own RJ flair. I pray and trust {well, working on the trust} that she will not depart from the Truth. That: my children loving God when they are out of my nest, will be my deepest joy in parenthood.

And I will not shield my brave little ones from this: it will take courage.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Mom Moments

When RJ is snug in her bed and the night is winding down, I have the honor of putting our well loved home back in order. I pick up her brightly colored toys and stack them neatly near the wall. I clear the sink and sweep the crumbs from the counters. I toss and fluff throw pillows to their homes on the couches and I grab bits of garbage or laundry during my final walk through.

I love the thought of RJ hearing me wash dishes. I can remember my mom doing her gifts of service every night; it made me feel comfortable and safe. I would wake up to a cleared kitchen and folded laundry. The floors would be clean and ready for another day of wear. No matter what transpired the day before, our home was a clean slate every morning. 

It makes me think of that verse:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
 As RJ grows I hope to relay that character trait of God to her. I hope to give her the grace He so generously gives me and let her rest in the home He allows me to make for her. A home of mercy. I hope that my patience and love for my children is new every morning and that I will remember constantly to enjoy these little blessings while they are still young.

And I hope that I will take joy every evening, when my babies are snug and the night is quieting, in picking up the brightly colored reminders of God's favor and wiping off remnants of His abundance from the countertops.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Five Minute Fridays | Change

Five Minute Friday Five Minute Friday is a really fun way to release the preoccupation with propriety and practice sharing our hearts with our words rather than our expertise. Five minutes of writing without overthinking it. That means you get the ooey gooey stuff that usually stays down deep. :) Try it out!! And the biggest rule Lisa-Jo has is that we encourage one another! So click the link, read some of the authors' posts and have a go yourself!


 Because things can't stay the same forever. New opportunities would be foolish to pass up. Tastes shift and the rug I thought was rich and warm is now just the wrong shade of boring. Heating bills are far too high to reasonably stay in the same house. Moving trucks pull away bits of your heart and leave you with a bittersweet - heavy on the bitter when your everydays are emptier.

But it isn't always so bad.

She crashed into our lives like a tidal wave and we will never be the same. She has broken us and glued us into new shapes. Now I lament for the days I didn't know her. Now I am grateful for the ways in which this life is ripped apart. Without those bitter tears would I have ever known my girl? It hurts sometimes, but so did labor.

It isn't always so bad.


Monday, August 20, 2012

Five Minute Fridays | Stretch

Five Minute Friday 5 Minute Fridays are this thing I do with a bunch of other women over at where we write for 5 minutes straight with little to no editing and no overthinking. It's a chance to do some mental yoga and practice writing from the heart without caring too much about how it turns out. Please join in!!


I want another baby. We both do, actually. So the negative pregnancy tests kind of suck. I enjoyed pregnancy and birth (well, birth in retrospect only) and I thoroughly enjoy having RJ here. I waited a long time to be able to conceive again and now that it's here I have to wait some more.


I thought that we could never open our home up and be constantly surrounded by people. I'm somewhat of an introvert and it actually, legitimately scared me to think of an open door. But now we are here and God has used my uncomfortable compromise to enrich our lives more than I can express.

Sometimes I have to wait. I have to let my patience be tried and give up my idea of a perfect life. Because if I'm not content with where I am now, with what we have, with who we know, I won't be content if my ideal is achieved.


Friday, August 17, 2012

RJ's First Birthday

Photos of RJ's First Birthday are here on my photography blog. Oh she is such a joye!!! We have loved being her parents. She is kind of the most awesome child. :D 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Grr! ;)

Earlier today I saw this on facebook:
My apologies: I don't normally post photos without credit (or that aren't copyrighted to me, for that matter),
but I don't know where this came from. It was just on facebook. If you know the owner, let me know so I can
credit him. :) 
I have written here before on beauty and body image and this picture struck such a chord with me. As the mother of a daughter I feel a dense responsibility to combat the lies and distortions that war outside our little bubble of a home. I feel on the defense; armed and angry at the prospect of my sweet girl's innocence being shot with a million poisoned arrows of some stranger's vague preference. 

And these "preferences" are distortions. We can see this as shallowly as the ladies' poses above. The Victoria's Secret women are twisting their bodies in flattering poses, well aware of every inch of their position - make no mistake that their elbows are precisely where they want them to be and their pinky toes are doing just what they want. The women in the Dove photo are still posing, but are much less concerned with their position. I don't know the context of either of these photos (or if they are even actual photos), but I know that the one in which the women are bending to our culture's demands would be considered more beautiful by the vast majority of this society. 

And maybe that is the heart of our issue. We are worshipping the opinion of Them. This culture has become a god unto itself. The way it makes women feel about their bodies is only one very small byproduct of it's disturbing core. There is a latent fear of rejection from Them. A subtle, heavy chain clinking as we shuffle through life hoping to be patted on the head by our master. 

Not in this home. 

Not only will I do all I can to reinforce that true beauty comes from a gentle, loving heart, but in our home Christ is King. And His chains set us free from bondage. In this home we do not measure worth by pant sizes. We do not look to a mirror for our standing before our God. Nor do we take comfort in our bank account or our the things by which we are surrounded. In this home we serve a King worth serving. A proven warrior, a steadfast love, a humble ruler. In this home we fight behind our King the ever-beckoning Them. We push back against the offensive onslaught of the status quo.  

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Folk Tales | Birth Control

*Folk Tale Disclaimer: These are simply the reasons we chose to do the things we do. We absolutely do not condemn any other parenting decisions as we fully respect that God put specific kids with specific parents and those parents are the only ones fully responsible for their children. These posts are merely meant to be a window into our lives for those who'd like to peer in and to offer some first hand knowledge for people researching these subjects themselves. :) *

I was a teenager when I married Gabe. About a month from my 19th birthday, I was more interested in getting to see my boyfriend every day than having a baby. My new husband was busy in the Army and was even more opposed to the idea. We were young, we had time, we wanted to focus on "us" for a while. And to boot, you know how everyone has an opinion about this stuff (and insists on giving it to you)? Well, almost all of them included some version of "For Heaven's sake don't get pregnant."There was a whole list of various reasons to pick from: education, immaturity, financial insecurity, getting to know each other first... It made sense to us and seemed like wise counsel.

Now we've repented for our foolishness. Let me explain.

Monday, July 9, 2012

A Love Story

I read them with indulgent envy. How I would love to dive into their worlds and become a heroic queen in the 1500s or a simple farmer in the 1850s. How I would don the calico and live for harvest season. How I would restore virtue to a desolate land. How I would be painted with colorful language, intimate details recorded with skill and prose. My life made official. Etched in minds and hearts the way only a great story can be.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Goodbye, George


I've said that name in blinding frustration and in sheer affection. If you knew George you knew 2 things.

1. He was a complete pain in the ass.
2. He loved with every single hair on his body.

We got George just a few days before Gabe went to Afghanistan for the second time. I really wanted a puppy and we thought it would be a good distraction. We saw him in the shelter and were drawn to him right away. At first we were going to pass him by because we thought he was a big-dog puppy. When we saw that he was already a year we were hooked. Then only he would do. I don't even remember looking at the other dogs.

Friday, June 8, 2012

5 Minute Fridays | Expectation

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking

2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community.
I thought it would be challenging, but I didn't know it would be so hard. I didn't think we would ever say the things we've said or feel the way we've felt. I didn't know that he would hurt me so badly or that I would ever close him out.

When we talked about our future we talked about kids, finances, faith. All the things you're supposed to go over before the big day. We didn't talk about what to do when we didn't want to love each other. We didn't talk about how to overcome the pain we'd put each other through.

I thought it would be fulfilling, but I didn't know it would be so huge. I didn't think I could love another person the way I love him now. Now. I didn't know that there was a difference between the kind of affection we shared then and the kind that veterans of love share.

When we talked about our future we talked about having fun, being together, never having to go home at night. We didn't know that 7 years later a trip to the grocery store would still be fun simply because we were together. We didn't talk about how to love, but we've done it.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

5 Minute Friday | See

My vision is kind of fuzzy when I first open my eyes. Before the covers pull back, before I wobble to her room, before I rub my eyes. It takes them a while to adjust. They take in a furry ball attached to a chubby body - she looks like a doll I would have played with as a girl. Good thing my feet know where to step in the dimly lit living area as I carry my little gremlin back to my bed to nurse.

I stare at her in the cool light of a morning trying hard to break past my curtains. Every morning: gazing at the most precious sight... Fuzzy and all. She is stubborn (like me) and she holds those heavy eyelids up to look at her mother. We lay there silent, her sucking, me gazing. My eyes never had it so good.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

"Every Good and Perfect Gift Comes from Above"

I miss him. That has not changed.

The "rule" I discovered about his departure bringing minor calamities has proven true as well. RJ got splinters all over the bottom of her feet (and she won't let me remove them), a big diaper rash suddenly formed, Gabe's laptop just wouldn't turn on so we couldn't use that to communicate, Raychel has bled for the first time from a fall... and then repeated it twice more...

Saturday, May 26, 2012

5 Minute Fridays | Opportunity

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community.

I married a dreamer. A daydream believer. He once asked me (quite sincerely) what I would think about breeding chickens. That was within the first few months of our marriage. My first sign of things to come.

He sees the world differently than most people. Where the average man sees a waste of time, he sees a chance to change things. To provide. To rise above the occasion.

We have been in the pit before. We have struggled to make ends meet. We have been in all but hopeless situations. But one thing I know I do not have to concern myself with is whether or not we will be okay. God is always looking out for us and the way He does that is with this incredible man I married. He works hard, he does things other people are scared to do or are too incredulous to try. He has no qualms when it comes to providing.

Do you know what it feels like to have total peace that your daughter will be fed? That your husband is doing everything in his power to provide? 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

5 Minute Fridays | Perspective

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. Please visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments.

 When he packed his things in that old Cat bag and I made sure to fold the clothes over a photo in a frame it felt familiar. When he drove away and my heart couldn't take the burden it was an old feeling. When I sobbed into Samson I felt like I was home again - bitterly.

But when the pain subsided quickly. When I went outside to get the coffee my friend had brought over. When I took my daughter upstairs for a good long visit with her Auntie. When I was checked in on, brought food to (McDonald's. Twice. By separate people.), when I spent the night laughing. Those things are new. Those things are appreciated.

I know what it's like to be alone. I know what it's like to say goodbye. I know what it's like to cherish time together. I'm now learning what it's like to be surrounded. I'm learning what a normal business trip looks like. I'm learning that time apart doesn't mean bombs and fear and isolation.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

What I sent my mom for Mother's Day. Just wanted to brag on her a little bit (and show off how pretty she is!! From new-mommyhood to grandma-hood, my Mom is a fox!). 

Friday, May 11, 2012

Folk Tales | Sleep

There are certain things that mothers around the country - probably around the world - argue about.




Organic food.


{In comprising this list, I realized that these are very affluent issues. I'm guessing mothers in the Australian bush argue about very different things.}

One of those controversial topics is the issue of purposely letting a child cry, or the "cry-it-out" method. I have heard extremes on this issue. Mostly on the "no" side. One mother condemned other moms for letting their babies cry even when they are driving. She advised pulling over and doing... whatever they want you to do I guess. I'm not sure how that would play out if you were, say, in LA style traffic on the freeway. I think the extreme on the "yes" side would be a mentally unwell mother who never held her children or attended to their needs. We can all agree that that is not healthy.

5 Minute Friday | Identity

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking

2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. Please visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments.

I am constantly finding myself in a battle for identity. Am I a mother? Yes. A wife? I believe so. A daughter, sister, friend? Last time I checked. But my identity is more than those things. It defines me. One word. Christ. 

When I was a kid I learned about Jesus and I loved him. I didn't need any favors or see my need of salvation, I just thought he was wonderful. When I grew up and I realized that I not only loved him, wanted him, but needed him I decided that giving myself over to him was a necessary and desirable action. But it wasn't a one time deal. My identity is that I'm his. I'm not mine, I've been bought with a high price. I'm not Gabe's. I'm not Raychel's. I'm Jesus'. 

It's waning and it's fuzzy. I keep trying to take my life back from him and he doesn't promise not to let me. But when I think about identity I think about the God who has made me his bride and the King whose slave I get to be. Daily. I have to decide this daily. 

Friday, April 27, 2012

5 Minute Friday | Community

It's confessing. It's healing. It's the feeling I get when I'm too tired to entertain so I just sit down and relax with family.


Sometimes there are still pretenses; when we are around less familiar faces. But when I think of community I think of truth. I don't have to hide myself. I look around at people who know the secrets I thought I'd take to the grave and I am so thankful. I've never known anything like this. I've read about it, but I've never known it to this scale.

It's also those people you can't let go of. Beth is my community. It should be abundant and full of different personalities, backgrounds, perspectives... But sometimes it's just one more person so you know you're not alone. When our husbands were gone that's all I had.

Monday, April 23, 2012

A Thousand Tears (from the people who have to listen to me learn the guitar)

So, inspired by my awesome neighbor/sister Tessa and the other people in our community who can just pick up the guitar I have owned for 2 years and make beautiful sounds that I have yet to comprehend in said amount of time, I am finally learning to play! The final push was the image of playing and singing to my beautiful daughter as she grows up; expressing to her the beauty she brings to our home and teaching her about music. I look forward to watching her swim in rhythms and harmonies, discovering the strict structure and free abstracts which complement each other so well in such a rare way.

My little Darling... The Hippy Babe complete with
an Amber Teething Necklace... Yeah, I'm that mom... 
I decided to pick a song to learn on that would be special to RJ and I as she grew. I've heard A Thousand Years by Christina Perri on the radio and it makes me think of my little girl: how I've longed for her since I was a girl myself, how she is so worth the wait, how my insecurities about being a mother climaxed and melted when she showed up, how I want more than almost anything for her to know, no matter what she experiences in this life, that she is so incredibly loved and wanted and important.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Folk Tales | Doula

Labor was here. I was in denial, but the contractions were not. Gabe was being an incredible "Birth Coach" despite the quick progression he had not been expecting. When we called Brittany the first time we had no idea we would soon be picking her up on the way to deliver our child. We just wanted to get through that minute, that second. It was, especially for my sweet husband, chaotic.
Not for Brittany. Over the phone she was calm and pleasant. She brought a sense of peace to our home through the little speaker. She advised us confidently while maintaining her cheer. When we realized that we needed to go to the Birthing Center and that our planned doula would not be there, Brittany jumped into our birth team with enthusiasm and skill. We picked her up on the way and without any formalities she was massaging my back, calming my fears and reminding us that this was an exciting, happy event.

She even knew what to do in case I started pushing in the car. I didn't, but she was prepared.

That is why I recommend a doula.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Folk Tales | Placenta

*Folk Tale Disclaimer: These are simply the reasons we chose to do the things we do. We absolutely do not condemn any other parenting decisions as we fully respect that God put specific kids with specific parents and those parents are the only ones fully responsible for their children. These posts are merely meant to be a window into our lives for those who'd like to peer in and to offer some first hand knowledge for people researching these subjects themselves. :) *

So when I consider all the things we do and the way we must be perceived, this topic probably tops my list of Crazy.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Pain in Childbearing

Giving birth is daunting.

"To the woman he said, 'I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children.'" {Genesis 3:16}

It was physically the most exhausting work I have ever endured. It was the most emotionally draining. It was the least pleasurable experience of my life. It was by far the most painful.

Yet here she is. "In pain you shall bring forth children." In pain you shall bring forth Raychel Joye. For all intents and purposes, God told me well ahead of time that the daughter I so desired would not come to be without suffering.

I suffered. She is worth it.

Monday, March 19, 2012



"And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near." (Hebrews 10:24-25)

You can almost call "missional communities" a trend. It even made it to wikipedia. You can almost call it that, except that the connotation of a trend is something fleeting and superficial and from what I have seen these groups are anything but.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Folk Tales | Shaklee

*Folk Tale Disclaimer: These are simply the reasons we chose to do the things we do. We absolutely do not condemn any other parenting decisions as we fully respect that God put specific kids with specific parents and those parents are the only ones fully responsible for their children. These posts are merely meant to be a window into our lives for those who'd like to peer in and to offer some first hand knowledge for people researching these subjects themselves. :) *

I have a lot of memories of a baby monitor gently filling the room with familiar lullabies while Beth and I picked up blocks and knick knacks and wiped counters down with a particular earth-friendly cleaner. The bottle it came in is still comforting to me. :)

This post is about Shaklee because I have a certain fondness for their products as a result of the aforementioned retrospect. I was first introduced to it in the Ball household as a kid-safe, "green" cleaning agent. I always thought that when we had kids I would want to switch to something safer than the seriously toxic chemicals I used on a daily basis. {Killing my own brain cells is one thing...}

Sunday, February 26, 2012

"Real Marriage: The Respectful Wife"

Copyright of Mars Hill Church, found at
I just watched this really great sermon for wives about being respectful to their husbands. Even if you think you're doing alright, it's worth paying attention to (not really where I am, but you might be! lol). I have so much room to grow so it was especially convicting and encouraging to me; I ended up taking like a page and a half of notes! :)

So grab your bible and some paper! And if you want to start a discussion, comment on here!

I couldn't get it to post on my blog, but click here to watch it at :)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Why I'm Voting for Ron Paul

In 2007 Gabe was deployed to a war we were becoming less sure of and I was attending school in California. Every day I walked alone to and from my classes, digesting silently {well, mostly silently} what I was learning. One particular day I was heading back to my car and saw an elderly gentleman standing on a campus sidewalk with a stack of bright green fliers. In case you've forgotten, the 2008 election season started quite early {maybe because there could be no incumbent} and it was clear that the gentleman was peddling another R/D politician. As students passed he would enthusiastically offer a bit of green propaganda and every time he was either ignored or turned down. As I approached I saw this happen several times so that by the time I got to him my sympathies outweighed my ambivalence. I took one and {as I remember} asked him about this congressman just to make him feel like he wasn't wasting his time. I don't think I actually listened.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Folk Tales | Moby

*Folk Tale Disclaimer: These are simply the reasons we chose to do the things we do. We absolutely do not condemn any other parenting decisions as we fully respect that God put specific kids with specific parents and those parents are the only ones fully responsible for their children. These posts are merely meant to be a window into our lives for those who'd like to peer in and to offer some first hand knowledge for people researching these subjects themselves. :) *

Few things are quite so wonderful as your very own baby nuzzled up against you sleeping peacefully. Few things as lovely, few things as appreciated. The reason I absolutely love my Moby Wrap is that it provides a way for me to enjoy that while also doing life. And I don't just mean talking on the phone or doing make up. I have hiked, cleaned, traveled {by foot}, been to meetings... I do a lot with it. There are 2 downsides, though: it takes so stinkin' long to put on. And it has to touch the ground. So when RJ is a mess because she just wants to be held it's super annoying that I can't put it on quicker - or even hold her while I put it on. And when I'm out where the ground isn't clean enough I have to finagle it even more.

But it's a lifesaver. And once it's on, it's on. It is great on my back, soft and comfortable {no straps or clips} and the cotton is very breathable. Basically, I love the thing.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Folk Tales | Cloth Diapers

*Folk Tale Disclaimer: These are simply the reasons we chose to do the things we do. We absolutely do not condemn any other parenting decisions as we fully respect that God put specific kids with specific parents and those parents are the only ones fully responsible for their children. These posts are merely meant to be a window into our lives for those who'd like to peer in and to offer some first hand knowledge for people researching these subjects themselves. :) *

RJ's very 1st diaper. When the planning met reality. ;)
Like many of the things we do that land on the more... eccentric side of things, Gabe is the one who really came up with the idea of cloth diapering. We always liked the idea, but it wasn't until we were pregnant that we really started looking into it. It was completely overwhelming for the longest time and if you, dear reader, are considering it, let me just say: it is not as complicated as it seems to be.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

For Valentine's Day RJ and I decided to make our special someones super awesome V-Day cards! And instead of a Farside cartoon or a political parody, we wanted our cards to have pictures that would mean something to the recipients.

{Enter: mini-photo-shoot!}

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Why So Serious?

Okay, forgive the title. I... don't even remember what happens in The Dark Night {or Knight?}.

I do however wonder why the proverbial "we" still treat that hormonal dip after giving birth as a huge taboo. Women don't talk about it, but most of us experience at least mild depression. It happens. Let's be okay with that already!

Monday, February 6, 2012

I Can See Clearly Now

RJ as a newborn! She's always been the cutest baby!
If it hasn't become noticeable already, I love RJ. She makes life better in so many ways and I truly cannot imagine life without her anymore. :)

But I remember when that was not the case. I remember feeling numb, feeling scared, feeling like I wanted to run away. I remember not wanting to wake up, not wanting to nurse, not wanting to look at the baby that I couldn't connect to. I remember wishing I could feel so in love again and being absolutely horrified all the time because I did not believe I ever would.

Now, I bask.

Friday, February 3, 2012

One for the Book

The other night I had a very special dream. I dreamt of my beautiful little girl as a teenager. I'm not saying it's prophetic or anything, but I woke up feeling like I had gotten a glimpse of the future Raychel Joye and I felt so blessed the whole day. 

She was timid in a respectful way, not because she was scared. I was in a home talking business with a client and she quietly walked in after I sent someone to get her from the car. She had her hair down (it was straight, which is strange) and wore a modest outfit - a sweater and skirt. She didn't have any make-up on and my goodness... She was just gorgeous. Her skin was tan and smooth... I often call her "Honey Girl" because of her golden skin and she fit the description well.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Body Image

I stumbled across a support website about women's bodies recently. Along the same thread of thought that provoked my first post on beauty, I am inspired to think and write about how we view our bodies. Bear with me as I work through my thoughts with a keyboard.

The female body is sensual. God designed men to be inherently attracted to its curves and motion. There is decent reasoning behind some cultures' decision to cover their women up in loose-fitting garments and probably better reasoning behind the sex industry covering very little. Our creator knew what he was doing when he came up with the template for our bodies. They are meant to be enjoyed {within a marriage} for their aesthetic qualities.

Monday, January 16, 2012

A Double-Take

"Beauty is fleeting," they say. And to some extent that is true. People become less and less attractive as they age; liver spots, sagging skin, wiry gray hair, calluses... Not the most appealing things in the world. But on another level, truly beautiful people only shine brighter with age.

My mother was voted "class flirt" (sorry mom!). She was that girl in school; everybody loved her and she was pretty to boot. The kind of girl the rest of us think "not fair!" about. She is getting older, as is naturally expected, and some of the things that got her onto the most popular list back then are gone now. What remains, however, is her heart. She is generous, optimistic, compassionate, joyful and hard working. The things that make her a true beauty queen have become more enhanced since she was a girl. Now people call her beautiful all the time and while they are also complimenting her appearance they are mostly exalting her remarkable heart. 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Raychel Joye's Dedication

Emmaus Baby!
Last Sunday was Raychel's baby dedication. It's the first at Emmaus so I am kind of stoked that she is now the official Emmaus Baby. :P

For us, a dedication it is a public acknowledgment that our daughter is a gift. One which we fully intend on giving back to the Giver (i.e.: God). It's an act of consecration and solidarity. We know that we will fail in a million ways, but we commit to do our best to raise her up not only to know the Lord, but to follow Him.

From Black-and-White to Color

Gabe asked me today how it felt after Raychel was born to not have her in my tummy anymore. It was odd, but not in the way I thought it would be. It felt like my stomach wasn't mine. I had become so used to Baby Berry making it her home that I no longer thought of it as just "my" belly. When she was gone I remember not feeling confident that I could stand up straight or really do anything involving my abdominal muscles because I think I did not feel I had control over them anymore.

Anyway, I'm sure you really wanted to know all that. What it then brought me to was the pre-RJ mindset. Because we didn't know her gender I didn't feel like I fully "knew" her. Obviously I adored her, but she was still a huge mystery to me. I remember how I would wonder about her and how my imagination had to stop quite short of her full glory. I'm sure every mother feels this way, but it was made more so by the fact that I wasn't even sure what to call her.