Thursday, March 27, 2014


"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014."

Lucas: I totally love this picture, even though he didn't want it taken. He took his goggles off before I could snap a photo of him "working."

Avery: Avery had a little bit of alone time in brother's room, and I walked in to find the train table in utter devastation. We still haven't figured out how to put it back together.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Love That Always Will Be (and the baby that will not)

It was only a couple weeks ago I noticed my stomach getting a little harder - protruding, ever so slightly, in spite of my health conscious efforts. It was hardly more than a couple days ago that I took a test that showed two pink lines, one ever so faint, but still there. Then I took two more, just to be sure. I even went back to the store to get the fancy one. The one that would spell it out for me: Pregnant.

And somehow this third time was different than all the rest. It was slightly unplanned, but so wholeheartedly wanted. Having done this twice before, having known this love, I skipped past the fear and worry and what ifs, because I knew how little they mattered. There was joy and love and a baby growing inside me.

It's alarming how big that love can get before you've even heard a heartbeat. It's the first thing you think about when you wake up and the last thing you think about when you fall asleep. And even when you're not thinking about that love, it's always there. You're putting your hand over your tiny little tummy and smiling. You're humming happy songs and swaying in that certain way. You're falling in love for a lifetime.

I don't really know what to say, about how horrible it is to have all that love built up inside of you and to have that new life taken from you. It hurts a lot worse than I'd imagined. There really aren't words for it. I was writing this trying to find some, but there aren't any. There is pain and screaming and sobbing and silence. There are no words.

There's a lifetime worth of love and a baby that will never be.

Saturday, March 15, 2014


"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014."

Lucas: Riding on the quad with his great-grandpa at our family ranch.

Avery: 10 months old already. Whoa.

Friday, March 7, 2014


"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014."

Lucas: Lucas both loves and hates my new baking venture. After filling a particularly large order of cupcakes his response was, "Mom, you need to stop making cupcakes for other people. Only for Lucas."

Avery: I'm so in love with this photo. Sissy was sad, so Lucas dumped an entire container of rice puffs on the floor in front of her, then proceeded to hand feed them to her until she was happy again.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

40 Days of Love For Lent

For those of you who want to join me in the 40 Days of Love project, I'm posting the full list here. I'm not even going to pretend that I'll keep up with blogging about it every day, but I will check in every now and again, hopefully with stories of success and love and transformation.

I hope you'll join me on twitter and instagram using #40daysoflove to share how you are giving of yourself for Lent. Whether you're following along with this list, or making your own, I want to see the love! I'm hoping to have a link-up at the end of each week where we can share our stories from the week.

Let's make this a Lent to remember.


40 Days of Love for Lent
Day 1: Wednesday, March 5th  
            Day 1: Reconnect with an old friend
                        send a note, give a phone call, write a facebook message…just get back in touch

Day 2: Thursday, March 6th  

            Day 2: Hold the door open for someone
                        do it consciously, graciously, humbly.

Day 3: Friday, March 7th  

            Day 3: Leave a generous tip
                        go out for coffee, ice-cream, lunch or dinner and make your server’s day a little brighter

Day 4: Saturday, March 8th   

            Day 4: Bake something sweet for your neighbor
                        Whether you’re best friends or you’ve never met, love your neighbor in a tangible way.

Day 5: Monday, March 10th  

            Day 5: Let someone know you’re grateful for them
                        and thank God for putting them in your life

Day 6: Tuesday, March 11th  

            Day 6: Write a letter to a family member
                        Let grandma know you’re thinking of her or tell a far away relative “I miss you”

Day 7: Wednesday, March 12th  

            Day 7: Call someone you love, just to say “Hello”
                        Have a nice chat, it will brighten your day too.

Day 8: Thursday, March 13th

            Day 8: Clean out your closet to donate to charity
                        Simplify your life, and give to those in need.

Day 9: Friday, March 14th

            Day 9: Cook a meal for your loves
            It doesn’t have to be gourmet as long as it’s prepared with love.

Day 10: Saturday, March 15th

            Day 10: Read a favorite book to a child
                        Maybe this means babysitting for a friend, or visiting nieces and nephews. You’ll be glad you did.

Day 11: Monday, March 17th

            Day 11: Pack a lunch to give to the homeless
                        Find someone to give it to today or save it in your car for when the opportunity arises.

Day 12: Tuesday, March 18th

            Day 12: Give a gift to friend
                        It can be as simple as a candy bar and a carton of milk. Just let them know they’re loved.

Day 13: Wednesday, March 19th

            Day 13: Write a list of 40 things you’re thankful for
It may sound like a lot, but it really isn’t. Just jot things down as they come to you throughout the day and say a prayer of gratitude when you’re done.

Day 14: Thursday, March 20th  

                        Day 14: Give to a new charity
                                    Find a worthy cause and give what you can.

Day 15, Friday, March 21st

            Pay for someone’s tab anonymously
Buy a stranger’s coffee or pick a random couple at dinner to cover. It will make their day (and probably make yours as well).

Day 16: Saturday, March 22nd

            Plant a flower
                        …or some seeds, a cactus, a whole garden! Put something in God’s earth and help it grow.

Day 17: Monday, March 24rd  

                        Be Patient and Kind
                        work towards this always…

Day 18: Tuesday, March 25th  

            Set aside ten minutes for prayerful meditation
                        Quiet time with God in the morning will work wonders on the rest of your day.

Day 19: Wednesday, March 26th  

            Write a love note
                        and tuck it away where it will be found.

Day 20: Thursday, March 27th

            Share a smile with a stranger
                        and maybe a warm “hello” too

Day 21: Friday, March 28th  

            Leave something nice on a neighbor’s doorstep
                        a sweet potted plant, a basket of goodies, the possibilities are endless

Day 22: Saturday, March 29th

            Write a thank you note for your priest or pastor
                        show them you appreciate the selfless love they show your church community

Day 23: Monday, March 31st  

            Be sincere when you ask people “How are you?”
                        then listen, really listen.

Day 24: Tuesday, April 1st  

            Make a treat to share with friends
                        cupcakes or cookies, layered dips and chips – make your specialty

Day 25: Wednesday, April 2nd  

            Tell five people “I love you”
                        I bet you’ll get that love right back.

Day 26: Thursday, April 3rd

            Volunteer your time
                        Commit yourself to give a day to help out at Saint Vincent’s or help a friend with Spring Cleaning

Day 27: Friday, April 4th

            Make dinner for a busy friend
                        Drop it off at their house, at their work, or at school. A hot meal does wonders for the weary soul.

Day 28: Saturday, April 5th

            Appreciate the weather
                        It doesn’t matter if it’s sunny, cloudy, raining or snowing…enjoy it fully and give thanks to God.

Day 29: Monday, April 7th

            Make a date with a friend
                        Whatever you love to do, do it together.

Day 30: Tuesday, April 8th

            Frame a special photograph for someone
                        Think of how happy it will make them to look at it every day.

Day 31: Wednesday, April 9th

            Sing a happy song while you clean
                        A hymn or the Gloria or a catchy tune from the radio, be a joyful steward of what God has given you

Day 32: Thursday, April 10th

            Give your pets extra love
                        If you don’t have furry friends of your own, walk through the park and pet a playful mutt

Day 33: Friday, April 11th

            Forgive, really truly forgive
                        “…as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

Day 34: Saturday, April 12th

            Pay someone a compliment
                        and make sure it’s sincere!

Day 35: Monday, April 14th

            Send Easter cards to friends and family
                        Remind them you love them during this season of joy

Day 36: Tuesday, April 15th

            Write down an inspirational quote on a post-it and leave it in a public place
There used to be someone who left post-its saying “you’re beautiful” in the ladies restrooms on campus and I thought it was just lovely.

Day 37: Wednesday, April 16th

            Let yourself laugh with others
                        Recall humorous adventures with a friend, watch a funny movie together, laugh loudly and freely.

Day 38: Thursday, April 17th

            Unplug and spend time with those you love
                        Turn off the television, computer and phone and spend uninterrupted time together.

Day 39: Friday, April 18th

            Be in awe of nature
                        Go for a hike, watch the sun rise or set, revel in the beauty of spring flowers and thank God.

Day 40: Saturday, April 19th

            Journal about your 40 days of Love
                        reflect on this Lenten season and prepare your heart for the Easter celebration.

Lent and Love

The last couple years I've tried (and failed) to complete my 40 Days of Love project, where I would have a new goal each day - to give extra of myself rather than fasting. I am stretched thin these days, but I will still try, as I always do, to make this project happen.

But this year feels different than the past few years. I felt compelled to fast in some way. I thought about giving up alcohol, but it's not a strong enough vice for me. I thought about giving up sweets, but with my new bakery business booming, there's just no way. I thought about giving up meat, but that just didn't feel like the right answer.

Then last night, I realized exactly what I needed to give up: yelling.

It hadn't been a particularly bad day. It wasn't anything out of the ordinary for Lucas to throw himself to the floor when I told him it was time to get ready for bed, even though he'd been warned that this time was coming - counting down the minutes so it wouldn't take him by surprise. Some nights I glide through the motions as he kicks and screams, keeping my calm in the face of the storm, but it wasn't one of those nights.

I had eaten some bad food and my body was achy and unhappy and exhausted. It had been one of those days where I hadn't gotten enough done. When the morning's dishes were still in the sink and I felt like I was failing. And I snapped. I yelled. Between the two of us tantruming we woke the baby. It was a terrible way to end the day.

I've struggled with yelling for a long time, and over the past couple years it's gotten much better. But I still have my days. I still have those moments where the anger rises in my chest before I can quell it. So I'm trying to commit to 40 days of not raising my voice. 40 days of responding with love and not anger.

I may fail. I'll probably fail. I'll need grace to start over. But I will start over, again and again, because love will always be worth the effort.

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