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A season of change

This summer (since January, actually) has been a season of change. In a week Ava will be in Kindergarten. In two weeks Bell will be in Preschool and we will be having a baby soon. Lots of change.

As I picture Ava becoming a big kid and heading off to school all day I keep thinking about all the things I probably should teach her that I haven’t yet…Some of these are pretty simple or not that big of a deal. And then there are the bigger things, that aren’t just learned from a quick conversation in the car. Glennon Melton shared this a while ago as her son was going back to school, and certainly I don’t think I can put these things better than her.

I have mixed emotions about the whole thing. I am so excited for Ava & Bell, for them to experience all the fun that comes with going to school. Learning and growing in so many ways. I am also nervous about them navigating new situations with friends or teachers or kids who are not friendly. And I am so keenly aware of how quickly this precious time has gone by and I imagine that will only continue.  Speeding up as our calendar and lives get busier and busier. Yay for independence, but maybe let’s slow it down, just a little. These girls will never be this age again, this season is beyond sweet and I pray that it continues to move in that direction.

So we are hoping to squeeze every last drop out of this last week…finding adventures to be and memories to made. Thankful for a summer of sweetness in the midst of change.

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a few of my favorite things

Oprah, I am not. But, I have no shortage of opinions and favorite things and love to share them…To be clear, I am sharing my opinions not, giving away these things. That would be pretty sweet. Here is a list of a few things I really like/am enjoying right now. Feel free to share your favorite things…

Hosts Chip and Joanna Gaines in the Erwin's newly remodeled kitchen, as seen on HGTV's Fixer Upper.

  1. Fixer Upper. I am super late to the game…I think I may have watched a few parts of a few episodes last year, but never really got into it… or at least, not like I am now. I think I would say this is my favorite show at the moment. Chip & Joanna are so sweet and talented, it is so fun to watch them interact & to watch a house transform from a nightmare to a dream home. Also her taste is incredible.
  2. Sorta Awesome. This is a great, positive, fun and light hearted (for the most part) podcast. I found it via Hollywood Housewife, (one of my favorite blogs) she is a regular co-host. They talk about all kinds of things that I think most women and especially moms can relate to. Also the theme song is pretty great for a random dance party- Ava loves it.
  3. Another fun podcast that I have been enjoying lately (although it hasn’t updated for the past 2 weeks) is The Mystery Show. I first heard about this on Sorta Awesome (see above) and I really like it. Starlee Kine solves people’s “mysteries” and it is really entertaining & interesting. I remember hearing her on This American Life (always a favorite!) and loving her voice, style and perspective. It’s a fun blend of finding out people’s stories and laughing at Starlee’s observations.
  4. Enough about podcasts (although I could talk about them for a VERY long time). Let’s switch to the ever-nearing arrival of baby #3. There are a few products I am excited to try. First off- Honest Company. I haven’t been disappointed yet & the customer service is pretty great. With Bell we did diapers and have slowly been switching over our household products (cleaners/bath stuff). Again, I could talk about this for a long time…
  5. Target has come cute blankets & bibs– if there is one thing I am a total sucker for it is blankets, especially ones with adorable prints.
  6. I can’t decide between the two of these…Petunia Picklebottom is what I got with the girls & I still get a lot of complements and love the bag. It has taken a beating though- there is glue from some crafts gone wild and the fabric is a little worn, so I am thinking I may replace my old one with one of these…Beautiful right?
  7. Last but not least- check these bad boys out…Pig Pig Organic Boppy Covers…My favorites are the Feather, the Star & the Triangle one. Again, it’s like the blanket thing…I could get all of them, but they are not cheap…but they are really, really cute. This kid may not have a college fund, but he will have cute things. #priorities

So that’s all I’ve got for now! Happy last few days of summer (YIKES!)

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Summer at a glance

This summer has been an adventure in a lot ways.

  1. We moved. We are still in Metro-Detroit, but we moved…and moving is almost the worst. Not quite, but really close. Thankfully we had amazing help from Derek’s mom & gma, and he was incredible. Now we are slowly, but surely putting together our home and unpacking bit by bit.
  2. Being pregnant. So, yeah. I am about ready to be done, but our little guy could use some more time to grow, so I am good with that. But man. It is no fun to not feel well or be side-lined. I am really excited to feel somewhat normal again and to meet our new babe!
  3. Our vacation. Last week we were planning on spending some time together up north, we really look forward to this time. However, about 30 minutes before we arrived a huge storm, with tornado type winds came through and devastated the town we were going to be in. A tree fell on the house where we were supposed to be staying. It was surreal. So we scrapped what we had imagined the week looking like and decided to have a blast doing some other fun activities and making sweet memories in other ways (playing at the beach, time together with family). It was a total win, much credit to everyone involved for the flexibility and good attitude.

Now we nearly half-way through August. I am racing to get to get Ava signed up for Kindergarten and all that comes with that (school shopping, paperwork), Bell signed up for Preschool, and awaiting the arrival of a new baby.

I am trying not to count this summer as over, to try and squeeze out the last few drops of what it has to offer. Maybe we can sneak in a few more camp fires, a movie, and maybe a last adventure or two.

A lot going on, but all of it is great. Truly thankful.

The Third Trimester

I am in the third trimester of my third pregnancy. So basically my ninth trimester- that seems about right.

This pregnancy has been an “adventure” in many ways. It’s been a lot harder and more uncomfortable than the other, certainly. But tomorrow I will be 33 weeks…light at the end of tunnel, friends.

**If you are a man and still reading this, I am impressed. I am aiming for more of a social commentary than a biological one, although, I can’t make any promises. It’s just the way it is, sorry.

I am not sure if it because I am carrying a little guy, but things seem really different this time around. Pregnancy, in general is a pretty bizarre experience. It is a great time and first peek into motherhood…essentially losing vanity and comfort right off the bat. Comfort and normalcy take a back seat to utility and functionality. These are not bad things, but they are not easy things, and they start sooner than one might expect. And conversations during the third trimester ebb and flow between awkward, encouraging and slightly offensive. And it doesn’t help that I am super aware of how I look, but one can only cover up so much…Also, hormones don’t help the situation.

All in all though, I am thankful for a healthy pregnancy. That the little guy who is growing inside is strong and by all accounts seems very active and healthy. This has been my pretty much constant prayer since January. We are all excited to meet our little man – hoping he waits for a few more weeks, but after that- I am very open to him making an early appearance.

Permission and Different Voices

Have you found this yet? The Robcast…Let me tell you, it takes a confident person to stick there name in the actual podcast, like he is redefining it. Right? I love podcasts…They are one of my favorite things, for sure.  I was a little skeptical at first about this one, for the name thing mostly. I like to find small reasons to make big judgments.

BUT, let me tell you…I am so thankful for his voice and for his creative mind. I have been listening to these almost constantly…as I work or clean up the house or whenever I can find a quiet moment. And can I just say how life-giving it has been for me.

I don’t think I fit super neatly into one particular mold or box or category…I am not a super conservative Christian, I think differently than a lot peers or colleagues. I am a leader, outspoken and opinionated, I have a different temperament and gift mix than what women in ministry leadership used to be expected to have. I have gifts that sometimes people don’t know what to do with or feel intimidated by (heck, I still don’t know what to do with myself). And for a long time I thought I was wrong. Maybe made wrong or that I just didn’t seem to get what came so naturally to many people. I had questions or different thoughts about things, that few people seemed to express.

But, hearing someone eloquently and passionately talk about things that matter to me (the importance of creativity, my beef with date night, how things come in waves) is nothing short of amazing. The way his mind works is so interesting and different, and I believe his voice matters. It’s inspiring and it teaches and challenges me in a way that I don’t find very often…It’s like learning from having a really deep & honest talk with a good friend. Someone who gets you and is happy to speak about their experience, and make you feel a little less crazy. A little less alone on the journey. But not let you off the hook.

Often times it is easy to eliminate voices that we don’t resonate or agree with from our sphere. We have control and don’t have to hear voices or opinions that don’t exactly align with what we think or how we feel. When we do this we are choosing to not be challenged and instead be coddled. For many, I think Rob Bell’s voice and opinion is a challenge. For me there are several high profile Christian speakers who it is difficult to listen to, because I passionately disagree with them about some issues that feel very personal to me. But I try to. I try to choose to not be ignorant and I try give people the benefit of the doubt. And I try not to roll my eyes and talk back as I listen.

And in all of this, it gives me permission to be myself. I believe Rob is truly living his life to in the best way possible, being true to who God created him to be. Quirky and creative, he is a polarizing figure. And in doing so is giving others permission to do the same. Similar to the Nelson Mandela quote I love so much and believe wholeheartedly. And I am thankful for it for that permission. I too want to be true and the best version of who God made me, and in the process, allow others to do the same.

“ As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”

Nelson Mandela

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That Time I Was Writing About Flowers, But I Really Wasn’t

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I may have mentioned it before, but I have the amazing opportunity to do some writing for a FANTASTIC local wedding production company. I love it and really enjoy the work. Recently I have been doing some writing about different trends ( DIY stuff, wedding dress  trends, and floral trends). So I research what is happening in the world in regards to this stuff and then write about it. Simple, right? It usually is.

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The other day I was finishing up a piece about trends that are happening in wedding flowers and I have noticed that how many bouquets and arrangements, how they take their cue from nature, being true to how they are made- not being forced to fit a particular mold or standard (like in the 80’s…and if you don’t remember or know what I am talking about, that is not a bad thing. Google it.). Unusual flowers are used, BECAUSE they are different. There is beauty in that, in standing out and being unique. And the asymmetry of a design, doesn’t make it flawed, rather it makes it WAY more interesting and striking. Right? I don’t think I am too far off on this…

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So as I am writing this, I started to feel a little poke or something in my heart. This is what I want to believe for myself, and for my girls. Who get the constant message that beauty equals value, and that beauty is so narrowly defined and difficult to achieve. Rather than being who we are created us to be, we try to fit a mold or standard or expectation, that changes the whole thing. Making it less beautiful in so many ways. Safer, yes. But certainly not as incredible as a design that works with who we are. As I looked at these flowers I saw that they were creative and bold. Unapologetically beautiful and unique. They did not play small or back down, rather they were exactly perfect.

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As I write this, I hope that today I will model this. That imperfections and all, I will strive to see the beauty, not only in myself but in others. To wear lenses that allow for more to come through, than just the expected. More than staying within the bounds or coloring in the lines. And yes, much of the beauty comes from the eye of the beholder…So let’s be people who choose to see and make room for more beauty in this world.

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Ava + Day Camp


This week was a big week in our house. Ava is taking part in day camp for the first time. All weekend leading up to Monday morning, when we would check her in and learn all the things that parents of day-campers need to know, I would get overwhelmed with the thought that our little peanut is nearly 6.  And friends, let me tell you…that happened far too quickly. She is a third of the way to 18…a fact that makes me want to alternate between sobbing in the fetal position in my bed and wanting to cuddle and spend every last minute with that little girl that I can. I am so thankful though that she is old enough to take this step on her own. And I am so thrilled that she is doing this, bravely taking steps, and that she is thriving.

Another thing that kept happening this weekend is that Ava would ask about camp. Trying to get a feel of what to expect…what exactly she would be doing and what would be expected of her. A big topic of conversation was if she would have to do things she was scared to do (zip-line, climbing various things of various heights and degrees of scariness). I assured her that she would not be forced to do anything she didn’t want to.

And then I get this picture Monday afternoon (thanks Jenny!)

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My girl. Trying something something new and exciting and scary. My heart just about burst.

When I picked her up, she couldn’t contain her joy- telling stories about all the fun things that she got to experience. And how she LOVES day camp. So thankful. I listened and smiled and asked questions thanking God the whole time…thanking Him for so much. For my sweet girl who is growing up before my eyes, for people who are loving her and teaching her about Him and His goodness and promises. Thankful for the opportunity to let her experience this. For her sweet personality and bravery and that she is healthy enough to do such a wonderful thing- I try not to take these things for granted.

And I think I forgot how AMAZING Spring Hill is. As a camper it is awesome, but I have a whole new appreciation of their excellence and how they minister to kids as parent. Wow. Just wow, really.

So far 2 out of the 3 days I have forgotten something and had to come back with it. I am not the best with details, especially important ones. Whatever. But, really  I don’t mind. I love being able to watch the everyday miracles that are happening…they are happening all day right there, at that school. It’s amazing. Praying for the counselors, and the eager hearts they are speaking life into and bringing such joy to. Praying for those sweet kiddos and what they get to be a part of for a few days, and the incredible impact it can make.

So, I feel like I am watching my girl grow up this week.  I remember (partially) reading a book in jr high about how time passes by, and sometimes it seems so slow and then other times it just races by…and it seems for me, this is a racing by season. There is such sweetness to it, familiarity and comfort. But there is excitement and adventure just up ahead.

Thankful in about a million different ways.

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