Monday, August 29, 2016



This book right here.

Bianca Juarez Olthoff

I am not usually at a loss for words...
{zip it, now. you know who I'm talking to}

but, seriously THIS BOOK.

It has become apparent to me that God sure had a plan when I was chosen for this book launch team. Nothing could have been more appropriately timed... Coincidental? No. I know better than that. I know that His timing is perfect. He knows what I need waaayyyyyy more than I do. He knows... Period.

I have read and highlighted... scribbled scripture references... written quotes... re-read and underlined... re-read and re-read... more underlining with asterisks. All in preparation for this part. I had all kinds of things to share. I had all kinds of quotes prepared. I had all of it. BUT... then, it's not my place. It's not my story. Not mine to tell. And, I cannot do it justice.

However, what I will tell you is that in our seasons (and we all will have them), when it feels least like it, God is there. I needed that reminder. I needed to know it wasn't just me. I needed scriptures to stand on. Sometimes it feels like He is far away... He is closer than the air. Sometimes it feels like He is not listening, not even noticing. Oh, but sweet soul, He sees... every detail, every tear. He has made provision, regardless of the situation. He has given us community, if we allow ourselves to be open. And He will use us. We just must be willing to allow Him.

You should quit reading and just get the book. Right now. Go on, I'll wait.

{insert elevator music... I'll spare you my serenading, and for that you are certainly welcome.}

Now, go find your pen and your highlighter. Oh, and grab a notebook. You're gonna need them.

~~ hugs ~~


Monday, August 31, 2015

Happy birthday, buddy.

Eight years old. Eight years. As in 96 months. 416 weeks. 2,920 days. That's how old this sweet boy is today. That's how many days we have been blessed by Cale.

He has the sweetest heart, and a warrior spirit. He loves basketball, riding his bike, and shooting his BB gun. He hates when school is over for the year and lives for nerf gun wars. Most of all, he says he loves his family... But I think we love him the most. 

What a ride we've already had with this boy. I know God has big plans for him... Bigger than any of us can imagine!!! 

Dude, I love you to the moon and back... all the time, no matter what. Happy, happiest birthday, bud. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

FOR THE LOVE!!!!!!!!

#ForTheLove, it's #FTLlaunchday and I don't even know where to start. This book, y'all. Seriously. This could be the best Jen Hatmaker book. Evah. This book grips your heart... as a wife, mother, friend... mostly as a woman.

I've read, highlighted, noted, laughed, cried, made my husband listen to my favorite parts, and then re-read Jen'a new book, For The Love. I don't feel like I have adequate words to summarize it other than to tell you this... I. LOVE. IT. I love her. This book... it's like you're having a cup of coffee out of your favorite mug, in your favorite flannel pants, with your favorite, most comfortable friend. And she's speaking truth straight to your places. And she is freakin' hilarious... As in I cried so hard I started crying for real. And she's real... As in i started crying so hard that I couldn't see through the tears. And she calls out the crap, you know, like it's crap but with a pretty little bow. It might wreck you, so get ready. #bless

Beautifully made by the magic of the graphics fairies of the #500, I give you snippets...

on committments...

on a call to live a worthy life...

on parenting...

on people...

 of living life together...

full of simple truth...

And then there's this gem...

Enjoy... then let's talk.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Time for school: the first day

These little folks... The tribe I birthed... This was a big day for them, for all of us. Today was the first day of school. It was super big. This year we made a move. It is back to a previous school for the older two, and it's a totally new school for the youngest. 

I've been sooo emotional about all of this. Lots of prayer and many tears have led to big changes for our family. Sometimes you just obey, even when you don't understand. Trusting. That's where we are, where we choose to take our stand. 

This is such an amazing year. It's our last first day of first grade... and the only year they'll all be in elementary together. Forever. They're growing and changing right before my eyes. Some days I don't notice anything, and other days the changes unfold before my very eyes. Today was a day of watching it all unfold. I watched my babies courageously walk into brand new classrooms, without "their people", and take on this new adventure with nervous excitement.

We are giddy, anticipating what all God has in store for them this year... Here's to another year!!! 

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Time for school: The prep

School is about to start!!! Only 4 more days. And with school starting soon, it can mean only one thing... BACK TO SCHOOL SHOPPING! Who doesn't love a brand new notebook and some new crayons... that I may or may not still smell. 

Oh, I always have these fantastic dreams of back to school shopping (or any shopping experience, really). You know the one where everyone keeps their hands in their little pockets and never ask for anything extra. But that is all that it is... a dream. The way it usually plays out with my circus is things start flying in the basket at warp speed, while they simultainously rapid-fire questions at me. 

Let's be honest. Back to school shopping is not for the faint of heart, no matter how many littles you are charged with shopping for. After several years of failed attempts, this year I took a trip down memory lane before I jumped in. Whilst meandering that path, I realized that I know what will work for me! I will collect all the lists, compile into one big list, and then tackle it... alone.
 A-L-O-N-E. This year, that is the key for me... the key to my SANITY!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

So, off i went to tackle that big 'ol list. Just me, my buggy, my list, and my trusty pen. My metal sidekicks and I snatched up almost everything we needed and in quite a timely fashion, I might add. I made my way to the checkout and unloaded my haul onto the conveyer belt. As my bags began to fill, I noticed the mama behind me unloading her considerably smaller haul, as room became available. I glanced at her stash. Then I looked at my overflowing bags, and again at her things. For a brief second, I stood there and thought I'd like for my pile to be that small. And then... BAM. Would I really? Really? Because if my pile was that small, I wouldn't have the circus. And there would be no entertainment. And there would be (gasp!) silence. I don't do silence well. And it would be boring. I don't like boring, either. And there wouldn't be well, for instance... just now. Lily can't find lankie. That's because lankie is in the dryer. Because I sneaked lankie into the washer this afternoon when Lily wasn't looking. And in the 18 seconds since I've informed her of that, she has proceeded to have a meltdown because I've "washed lankie's smells away!" What?!?! True story.

Sometimes I wish I was the sweet, ever patient, never yells or says anything she wishes she could take back, kind of mama. I am not her. And I'm ok with that. And those precious littles who are loud and rowdy children are exactly who God made them to be. He picked me to be their mama. Craziness and all. 

I did take them for clothes and shoe shopping... and once or twice may have questioned that decision on #taxfreeweekend. That $12.68 I saved wasn't worth it. At all.

And then there's this... the very haul that hit me like a ton of bricks.

Sometimes people ask what it's like having 3 kids. I tell them it's crazy and we're outnumbered, and now I'll say it's worth every school-shopping penny.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

national bubba day

happy national bubba day to mine...

bub, you're such a pain in my blessing to me.

and happy national bubba day to the one i birthed...

Cale, the girls may not know it now, but their lives are richer because of you.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

joo-bee 101

had to stop for gas after leaving the office tonight. as we got ready to pull out, the following conversation happened...

me: "lily, did you get your seat belt on?"

lily: "yep."

me: "ok, just making sure. i can see a policeman up ahead."

lily: "we don't want to get stopped."

me: "nope."

lily: "if he stops us, we might go to jail... and that would be no fun."

me: "you're right. that would not be fun."

lily: "we might go to jail... or we might go to joo-bee."


lily: "you know mom, jail is for adults and joo-bee is for kids."

me: "hold on, did you just say ju-vee?"

lily: "yes, joo-bee. it's where kids go when they hafta go to jail."

me: "oh my... ok, lily... um, where did you hear about joo-bee?"

lily: "from gracie. she said kids go to joo-bee when they go to jail. kids like to go to joo-bee."

me: "lily, kids do not like to go to joo-bee. it's not a fun place."

lily: "i know. i was kidding. it's not a fun place. they make 'em eat yucky stuff."

me: "oh yeah, like what?"

lily: "ummm... like rotten fish. and when they're bad they get bad emails sent."

at this point i decided it best to just keep the remainder of my questions and comments to myself...

and just in case you're wondering, gracie has completely denied any part of her sister hearing about "joo-bee"...


Friday, October 31, 2014


and now...

what a difference 4 years makes. they are growing too fast. seems as though we blink and they are big. it is marvelous and amazing, yet gut-wrenching all at the same time. it is such an amazing gift God has given to us... we get to be their parents. we get to love them and grow with them... such sweetness that God chose us for them.

p.s... i just want to call your attention to the boots... because it's just... so... lily.
but what would any outfit be without a little lily-flair?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

deep thoughts by cale g.

Let me just set this little scene for you…  

Lily was sharing at the dinner table last night about a little girl who hasn’t been very nice to her lately. Now I know Lily can be soooooooooooo Lily-ish, but she is a girl who loves her friends. Oh, they clash sometimes… like 5 year olds who want to be in charge, but she loves them.  So we’re talking about this particular little girl, how she’s sometimes mean… and sassy… and storms off when it’s not her way. We talk about how Lily should still be kind to this little girl, but that doesn’t mean she has to take all that mean sass either.

Lily: “… and she was mean-a-me!”

Me: “well…”

Cale (who doesn’t even look up from his enchiladas): “I don’t know why anybody would go for a girl like that.”

And just like that… end of discussion… I just couldn’t… I mean I had nothing else. Nothing. He just wrapped it and tied it with a pretty little bow.

***Note:  to any girl who might ever be interested in Cale… apparently he doesn’t like mean girls. 

Monday, September 1, 2014

one year later...

I don't usually tend to dwell on the past, but all day today I have found myself very reflective and emotional. One year ago at this very moment, Cale was 3 hours into a 4 hour emergency brain surgery. As I have spent much of my day today reliving each moment of the whirlwind of craziness that it was, what I keep being reminded of was how undeniable God's presence was in every detail of Cale's ordeal and how His faithfulness shines through each and every single memory I have. I wanted to share a few scriptures we were given during that time ministered to our family and continue to speak life over Cale. 

For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; (Psalm 91:11 NIV)

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10 NIV)

and my personal favorite... (the word "preserve" was spoken over Cale many times in the initial events)... 

The Lord protects and preserves them— they are counted among the blessed in the land— he does not give them over to the desire of their foes. (Psalm 41:2 NIV)

Kyle and I believe, with every fiber of our beings, that Cale's healing has been nothing short of a miracle. There were so many ways this could have turned out differently, but it didn't. We know that it was God's hand bringing abundant life and wholeness to our sweet boy. We believe God was guarding Cale from the very instant the accident happened. We believe that God was with us and our entire family, holding us, and strengthening us. We believe that God has PRESERVED Cale for His purposes. 

Our family has seen first hand what it looks like when God works so mightily on our behalf... and one year later, we are blessed and still in awe. 

As Your children, and as a family, we give you all the praise and glory for this precious miracle. Thank you, Father, for Your mighty works.

Friday, August 29, 2014

I struggle. You struggle. We struggle.

I wrote this over 2 weeks ago and have had such a hard time posting it. I guess I've wrestled with what the response would be... but it has been and continues to be on my heart. So, here it goes…

Guess what? I struggle. There, I said it. It’s true and it’s often. Some days I’m ok with it all and feel like I can tackle whatever is on the agenda and other days, not so much. Then there are the days that I feel like an epic failure everywhere I am. I know I’m not the only one… admit it. Most of the time they’re small little things that need to be done or sometimes it’s extra pressure I put on myself that all add up to AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yes. I said it. You wanna know something else? Sometimes I get so overwhelmed, I just wanna scream. I mean really, and not just on paper. Wanna know something else? Last night I did. Right in the middle of the chaos of my sweet life. I wish you could’ve seen the looks on their faces. Every one of them stopped and just looked at me like I was nuts. I don’t know why it was so strange to them. They do it. What’s the difference? It’s that I’m the mama. I’m not supposed to act like that. I’m not supposed to want to scream. I’m supposed to have it all together. Sometimes I just don’t. Ok, lots of times I don’t.

There always seems to be a laundry list of things we allow ourselves to be consumed by. Some of us worry we are not the doting, encouraging wife we should be. Some of us worry that we are not skinny enough or pretty enough. We worry that we are not super-mom enough or pinteresty (yes, I just made that up) enough. And my problem is that I want to be super-mom. Some of us forget things that we need to do, or I forget things I said I would do. I often forget what I was saying mid-sentence, cause there’s always so much running through my brain. You’ll be glad to know that I haven’t forgotten my children anywhere… yet. I kid. Seriously though, I’m worried right now as I type, laying this all out in the open. What if someone thinks I’m crazy for writing this? We worry that our houses aren’t clean enough or big enough or good enough to open it to share life with others.  I don’t like that sometimes I say harsh things in anger that I can’t take back. I hate it that I get so bogged down with the everyday cares of life that I miss seeing the blessings right in front of me. We get so focused on ourselves that we don't see the person who needs a kind word or even a smile to change their day. I struggle with other people knowing I’m struggling. And, it makes me nutty that it takes me 10 days and 3 reminders from the school to remember to send lunch money with for the kids… good thing they know where to find me… although, it apparently doesn’t matter. Do you see what I mean!?!?!

So in the mulling over of my epic failures, it hit me... thank you, God, that You allow me to be free to struggle. Did you get that? We are free to struggle. That is the very point of His unmerited grace. God knows we are not perfect, and He never asked us to be. Jesus was the only one who was. It’s really so easy to get sidetracked and consumed with the struggles of life that we forget that what God really wants is not for us to be all of those things or do all of those things. All He wants is all of me… all of you. And because we are so easily sidetracked… squirrel… He constantly gives opportunities to choose Him again and again. And because we will mess up again and again, His mercy is new every day. I can fail and fail and fail at whatever, but He doesn’t. Ever.

Let’s just be honest with each other. We will never be the perfect little wives… with the perfect children whose every hair is in place and everything part of their outfit matches… and the perfect houses… decorated with the perfect pinterest project. My job isn’t to be perfect. It’s to be His and to love others. Matter of fact, I think I’ll stop trying. Instead, I’ll try to teach my children what grace looks like lived out in the midst of our craziness. I will ask forgiveness when I say things I shouldn’t. I will do my best to be less offended when something is said harshly to me, and extend grace to the mouth saying it. I will try to look past my stuff to see the person standing close who needs a smile, and encouraging word, or just a hug. I’ll say to my friends, “you just c’mon over… I’ll move the laundry from the couch, and then I’ll getcha some Oreos and milk.” I will still have days when I’m overwhelmed. And don't get too optimistic, because I will probably still forget where I’m supposed to be and what I was saying. However, I will try to be overwhelmed with His sweet grace rather than the cares of my every day. 

Monday, August 4, 2014

yay for back to school!!!!

honestly, i've been trying all day to come up with something witty to accompany the kids pictures from the first day of school, and have come to the conclusion that there really are 
just no words necessary... 

attempt #1...

attempt #2...

attempt #3...

help me out a little... can a girl at least get points for two outta three?

this, however, made it all better... 

sweet victory.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

"mom, i need some butter!"

several weeks ago, cale and his we-are-like-brothers-best-buddy, mason, decided to prank lilybug. 
unbeknownst to us, they got the butter and slathered her doorknob. 
it was pretty funny. we were impressed. 
lily was not.

fast forward to last week. it's 9:45 pm. past my bedtime. 
lily comes to me with and says, "hey mom, i need some butter!"
"yeah, i'm gonna prank cale!" 
(that comment was followed by a laugh that would rival any cartoon villian. oh how i wish you could hear it.) 
"c'mon mom!"
ummm... ok!

it was funny. especially cale's reaction. he freaked, ran away, and came back with a towel completely puzzled until he saw us laughing... then he realized lily got him. 

quite amusing for 3 little kiddos, i'd say.

as a bystander, my advice to cale and mason would be this...
you boys should really watch it. 
cause i'm pretty sure you have no idea who you're messing with...
she's paying attention.