salty and sweet

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life with this little lady has been a mix of salty and sweet.

i love how big and bold she is. she’s bursting with personality. she is smart and capable and determined. such a strong will. and boy, can she argue her point.

one moment, she will be well-mannered, reasoned, reasonable. the next, bossy britches and emotional and a wailing protesting heap of ridiculousness. i suppose that is the frustration of being three going on fourteen…or in her case, three going on forty. she surprises me every day with intelligence beyond her years. kindness and compassion and care. she can be exceedingly responsible. she takes care of things and loves to help. she is highly attuned to her surroundings. she notices the emotions of others. she is empathic like crazy. she can even bring her own emotions under control when reminded that she is spiraling. she is a little old lady trapped in a petite almost-four-year-old frame. and while i love that she wants to help and plan and organize and control and take-charge and have things in proper order, the battle between mature and immature – capable adult tendencies and silly irrational preschooler – tyrant and tiny little lady overwhelms her daily.

she runs herself ragged trying to keep up with her own mind. trying to manage her desires and tendencies and preferences. trying to keep herself controlled in the face of frustration. trying to balance the playfulness of childhood with her constant desire to mimic mama and papa and be the adult. we fight this battle constantly. she is such an old soul and wants to be in charge. she is capable and responsible. she has strong opinions. she has a quick mind. and can even have a tremendously thoughtful spirit. but there are numerous times in any given day when all these elements converge and cause a big mess. she tries to do it all. and sometimes, it doesn’t work out as she planned. OR her will is in direct opposition of the authorities in her life. trouble.

it isn’t always hideous defiance, sometimes she is truly trying to help…it’s just that her helpfulness isn’t exactly helpful in that particular moment. or she gets wound up and tries to control things and fix things and causes a bigger mess for herself. or she is trying to entertain the room and takes it a tad too far. or she cracks a fantastic joke that is beyond her years and while it is hilarious, it isn’t appropriate.

God has given us such a gift in elinor. and He has also given us a tremendous challenge in the stewardship of that gift. every single day, we remind her that the spirit of the flesh is alive and well in her…and that in spite of her great ability, sheer force of will alone cannot save her from her own nature. we point her to Christ. we remind her that her acts of love bring delight to God and that her obedience honors her parents. we remind her that when she is feeling stuck or upset or disappointed or angry, she needs to stop and pray – that it is not just okay to ask for help, it is a necessity. we acknowledge her desire to do what is right and ask for forgiveness when she has offended. we pray sweet prayers together. we remind her of the destructive power of sin. we remind her that she is fearfully and wonderfully made. we remind her that she is loved. always. we talk about all the amazing ways that we see Jesus in her – and all the ways that He will continue His work in her life. we encourage her acts of generosity. we praise her spirit of service. we talk about all the ways that God will use her life in bold ways. we talk about the struggle of the heart and flesh and mind and spirit. we point her to Christ again. we do the tough work of molding and shaping and pruning and refining and disciplining and instructing. she is learning so much and growing so much. and so are we.

God, equip us to do this great work of parenting. may we not be faint of heart. may we show grace and patience and mercy and strength. may we be tender and fierce. may we be soft and bold. help us to persevere and enjoy every sweet moment along the way.

CORAM DEO

 

elinor goes to preschool

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elinor officially started preschool this week.

she proudly packed her backpack and got dressed in her matching clothes and requested a sassy topknot for the occasion. she ate her breakfast and excitedly hopped around the house as i collected all her school things (and myself) before we hopped in the car and made our way to her preschool.

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oh my goodness, she has been giddy for weeks. and on wednesday, the illusive thing called preschool became a reality. it seems like we have been talking about it for ages. the research and planning and visiting and talking…the praying. it seems like such a weighty choice. and praise God that He orchestrated everything to perfection. elinor is exactly where she needs to be and wants to be. this is going to be such a good thing for her. a splendid start to her formal education. an ideal mix of play and structure. traditional meets montessori. learning in a warm and loving and christian environment.  it is truly just right. God is good.

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my sentiments exactly, miss elinor

she is overjoyed. she is ready. all of us are ready. i am looking forward to seeing her learn and grow and blossom where she is planted. may she be fruitful. may she bring joy and light wherever she goes. may she be sharpened by others and instructed. may her mind swell with new concepts. may she be reminded of God’s creativity and majesty and love. may she expand her vision of the world and soak it all in. may she be pointed to Christ in fresh ways.

is time for the arrow to leave the quiver. may she fly true. Soli Deo Gloria.

throwback thursday


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in honor of #throwbackthursday (or #tbt), i thought it would be fun to pair a few recent snaps with some links to posts from around this time, in years past. oldies but goodies. i started blogging here in late 2011 so there is nothing to be found from april of that year but we can start strong in 2012 right around the time we announced that we were expecting our little peanut!

it is pretty fun to walk down memory lane. reminiscing and being reminded of all that God has done in just the past five years. some of this seems like yesterday. some of it seems so close and familiar and fresh and still relevant. and some of it seems like a lifetime ago. some of it seems exactly the same. and some of it looks like different people entirely. time is funny like that.

this quick exercise of traveling back through the blog was such a meaningful activity for me. sometimes, the simplest of things can mean the most.

this humble blog has become such an important part of our life. it isn’t just about sharing stories or hosting giveaways (although, those are a blast and stay tuned for another one soon, wink wink) or having a creative outlet. it is a chronicle of our life. the messy and lovely. the ups and downs. the tough stuff and fun stuff. those magical mundane moments. the milestones. this is my digital record of our date nights, our precious moments, our epiphanies, our challenges, our ends and our beginnings. and yes, our outfits and meals too.

i think it is such a good practice to write things down, type things out, snap a picture, capture moments and emotions and thoughts and feelings. journal. jot. something that can jog your memory and connect the dots of life. it is so easy to forget from where you have come – what has happened – the ways in which God has worked. i never want to forget His goodness or overlook the ways that He has guided and shaped my life.

psalm 103:1-5 / bless the LORD, o my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

so, here are a few blasts from the past. feel free to click around a bit and look for any gems you might have missed. ahem, ben’s macarons and my random theological musings. but mostly, i hope that going back in time in our life encourages you to do the same for yourself. look back through albums. read your prayer journals. scroll deep into your facebook or instagram feed. laugh at yourself. marvel at the growth and changes. be inspired to revisit neglected positive habits. set goals. try something new. focus on the shifts and pivot points and seemingly insignificant details that served a greater purpose. and be grateful for what you had and what you have.

planting seeds with elinor at this time last year (2015)

a saturday sante from 2014

a family outing for hotdogs and vinyl (2013)

the first dear peanut letter (2012)

hump day dinner

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when your afternoon is busy-busy and everyone is ready to just chill and enjoy some food together, we usually go for a nice home-cooked meal. sitting down at our table. discussing the day while we nibble away. BUT, there are also days when your afternoon is busy-busy and everyone is ready to just chill and enjoy some food together buuuuuut there may be dirty dishes in the sink and it’s 90 degrees and the last thing you want to do is tackle dishes and then cook dinner… on night’s like those, we take the show on the road.

yesterday was one of those days. and instead of our regular uprooted kitchen (hello, wednesday night!) we thought ChopShop would be a nice change of pace. it turned out to be a solid choice (as ChopShop always is).

we ordered a protein bowl and a sandwich and a chicken cheese crisp… plus an extra side of sweet potato kale hash for ridley to have all to himself. we figured we could share our meals with him but with the way this kid pounds the food, it is good to have a backup (and it was gobbled up so, smart move).

after dinner we grabbed some cookies to enjoy at home and strolled around downtown chandler for a spell.

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and on a slightly schmaltzy mama note: this girl of ours. she has been looking and acting like such a little lady, lately. growing and maturing and learning and changing more each day. she constantly impresses and surprises and frustrates and delights me. i love her perspective. her personality. her intelligence. her empathy. her enthusiasm. her sense of humor. it is my honor to be her mother. to have the great challenge of raising her up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. training her. encouraging her. pointing her to Jesus. breaking her will while nurturing her spirit. it is my pleasure, indeed. loving her unconditionally. i know that, for many reasons, i won’t always be able to pick her up and fling her over my head. but i did it last night. and she giggled in return. and i will do it for as long as i am able and for as long as she will allow. the end.

nourishment


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lots of tasty stuff there, right? i have been fixated on the concept of nourishment of late. actually, i think that word is a bit of a theme for our year.

paying special attention to feeding my body what it needs and what it wants. eating for health and eating for pleasure. balance. drinking wine and celebratory libations but sipping green juice and smoothies too. eating chocolate and pastries when my heart wants it but feasting on vibrant veg when my body needs it. moving. staying still. feasting. fasting. lemon water. frothy coffee. brave and bold and spontaneous. but also measured and quiet and patient.

i know that i cannot live on clean foods alone. it can’t all be about discipline or restriction. life needs some fun and indulgence. kale and butter. superfoods and comfort foods. salad and pizza.

and as i ponder this concept as it relates to food, my mind wanders to other areas of life. and i wonder: am i truly finding nourishment? following my passions. exploring new paths. examining the nooks and crannies of my mind. chasing my dreams. scheduling and ordering and balancing. am i numbering my days, that i may obtain a heart of wisdom (pslam 90:12)? am i feasting on the goodness of the Lord? am i indulging in the richness of His Word? am i sucking up the marrow? am i enjoying this moment, hour, day, week, month? am i savoring? i know that i am full in Christ…but how does that inform my day?

do i have a spiritual eating disorder? do i have dysmorphia when it comes to my spiritual body? am i binging on junk? am i not eating enough heavenly manna? am i starving myself?

as a person, a wife, a mother, a friend, a daughter, a worker, a whatever i am; it is crucial that i am properly fed. i need nourishing fuel. i need to be full so that i can pour into others. quantity of nourishment matters, and so does quality. an anemic life is no life at all. moreover, am i nourishing others? my relationships. my marriage. my children. do i bring value and blessing and pleasure and enjoyment and fullness and satisfaction to these important areas of life – to these people in my life? or am i stingy with my portions?

i have been thinking about this A LOT as it relates to my relationship with my children (i feel old and weird every single time i type or say that, by the way). as a parent, i am commanded to provide for the needs of my little ones. i am to “nourish” and “nurture” them. meeting their physical needs while also meeting their emotional and spiritual needs. educating them, disciplining them, supporting them, bringing them up in the fear of the Lord. i am to provide nourishment of all sorts for them. sometimes that looks like a morning plant-powered protein shake. sometimes that looks like enjoying a big cookie together. sometimes that looks like running around outside. sometimes that looks like taking a nap. sometimes it is applying a band-aid. sometimes it is telling them to collect themselves and get back on the horse. sometimes it is a stern look. sometimes it is delicate instruction. sometimes it is another warning or reminder. sometimes it is a spanking. sometimes it is forceful words. sometimes it is a forceful hug. sometimes it is rowdy play. sometimes it is quiet reading. sometimes it is encouraging their childlike wonder and questions. sometimes it is reigning them in.

life. it’s not for the faint of heart. twists and turns. muck and mire. tough stuff and total bliss. deep caverns and majestic mountaintops.

i am so grateful that life and relationships and even, ourselves, are not simplistic. i love the complexity of it all. i love that God created us to be complicated and interesting beings. multifaceted. and may i be mindful of this and live a rich life. filled to overflowing by my extravagant Savior.

santa baby, slip a sable under the tree for me.

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7:30am is such an exuberant time of day. with my macchiato or americano or bulletproof coffee in hand, i grab a few moments of calm before i begin to hear elinor chatting away in her room. i make my way upstairs and fetch her from her bed – and so, it begins. she chatters incessantly while i get her dressed and gather her precious belongings to bring downstairs. then we make our way to ridley’s room to greet him. he gives us the heartiest smiles and kicks while elinor and i sing to him and she attempts to smother him with hugs and kisses. these kids. so cheery in the morning. so excited to start a fresh day. such energy.

we head downstairs and sit together, listening to elinor’s favorite, “papa music” (the classical radio station) while i feed ridley. elinor snuggles with me and rubs ridley’s head and holds his hand. it is the VERY best.

once the boy is full and burped (elinor likes to help with that part), elinor and i have our morning reading time while ridley plays. sometimes he just relaxes on my lap but lately, he wants to be plopped on the floor so he can scoot about. there is such a happy and noisy and wonderful vibe that exists in the thirty minute period after the little ones wake. anticipation for what the day has in store. a fresh slate. endless opportunity for play and fun and memory-making and learning and imagination and discovery. gosh, i need to work on my attitude. that’s how i should feel about every morning God gives me. hopeful and joyful and grateful.

so, the other morning.

after ridley was fed, i put him down on the couch next to me so that elinor and i had easy tummy access for a little ticklemonster time (elinor’s new favorite game to play). we attacked the little man and reveled in the sound of his giggles. suddenly, elinor stopped and let out an OH! of concern. i asked her what was wrong and she said that baby brother looked cold. she swiftly moved about the room and collected some fabulous cold-weather gear. she draped a fuzzy blanket across his chest and selected a matching stocking to serve as a hat. “there. much better.”

ridley, shrouded in sable, shot me a quick “really, mama?” look and then transitioned to a series of the sweetest smiles. he is such a trooper. he takes the forced dress up and forcible hugs and kisses like a champ. he’s such a good little brother. and elinor is pretty much rocking this whole big sister gig.

love this life. love these lives.