We all have a story. I grew up understanding this fact. My dad is a pastor and my mom is an English teacher. I come from a family of storytellers. It's in my blood. The concept that we each have a story to tell was natural to me. 

It's seems like such a simple idea, however the older I get the more I come to understand the depth of this statement. See I am neither the author nor the main character in my story. Both of those roles are claimed by Christ. And, since we are creatures of community, I am a tiny part of dozens if not hundreds of other stories.

Right now I have a ring side view of a lot of stories. As I look around I am surrounded by people in the middle if water shed moments. At every turn I encounter people in the middle of major plot twists. 

Some of them are in crises. The outcome of the situations they are facing will forever change their lives. They will look back and mark everything else in life by “before” or “after” these moments.  

Some are being presented with situations they didn't see coming. They are facing plot twists that seem to come completely out of left field and feel like they have nothing to do with where the story was heading before this. They have to regain their footing in a new story line. 

Some are right in the middle of the thick of things. They are living those chapters of the book where it feels like there isn't much "action" but where you come to really understand who the character is and what they are made of. 

And some are facing new adventures. They are at that exciting point where things are just started to get interesting and you are holding your breath and crossing your fingers hoping that it all works out and everything thing ends with a giant musical number and a happy ending.

And in some tiny, itty bitty, miniscule way, I get to be a part of all of these stories. Even if just as a walk on a role. A supporting role to the supporting characters.  The mail man’s second cousin.
Some days it’s hard, when my own story seems to be primarily about supporting someone else in theirs. When you are a social person, and have a gift of encouragement you often find yourself playing a thousand and one supporting characters. But then I realize… I get to be part of it. I get to be part of this great, big, gigantic story that arcs over centuries past and centuries to come.  I get a sneak peek into what He is doing in dozens of story lines that all weave together to tell His story, and it is truly humbling.


Coffee Date

If we were to have coffee today it would have to be at my house  because Miss Tacy can't seem to keep her clothes clean for longer than an hour or two so she is now sitting around in a diaper and heavy blankets because I only have one clean sleeper yet and saving that for bed time.

I would probably tell you how proud I am of myself for writing four days in a row now. It may not seem like much but to me that is huge. Slowly but surely I am making time for this thing that matters so much to me and that I hope to some day do something special with.

I might tell you that I am getting pretty dang excited for Christmas that I finally caved today and let the girls start watching Christmas movies on Netflix and that I am warming my favorite holiday scent in my Scentsy warmer. I would tell you just how excited I am about the beautiful paper dolls I bought my girls for Christmas and how I am not sure I will be able to wait till Christmas day to give them the dolls.

And if we were having coffee together that might be as far as we got because teething, stuffy babies don't sleep very well. And little girls are very tired and demanding after a full week of school. And I am currently so exhausted that any attempt at sitting still has me dozing off.

But if by some miracle the girls were playing quietly, and the baby was napping, and I was still awake I might tell you about the struggle I have had with this holiday season and desperately wanting to do show, but some how knowing in my heart that I shouldn't. My hands are ITCHING to do some creating, but every time I sat down to fill out a show application, or post a custom listing on etsy I was filled with anxiety.

God seems to be calling our family to a quieter Advent Season this year and I am fully ok with that. Last year we instituted the rule of four for gifts for our girls (Something you want, something you need, something to wear, and something to ready). We are going to do that again this year and are putting very firm budgets on gift giving and hoping to do at least one really special activity with the advent calendar. Other than that I am looking forward to having my Saturdays and evenings open this year to Christmas shop with friends and family, grab coffee with my friends, and really WATCH Christmas movies instead of just having them on in back ground while I work.


When Gratitude Doesn't Come Easily

What do you do when gratitude doesn't come easily?

What do you do when you can look around and you KNOW you are surrounded by blessings but your heart doesn't feel what your head knows?

What do you do when praise feels far from your lips and your heart?

I think the answer is different for every one... but for me... when I don't know what else to do... I make a list.... and so....when my heart doesn't feel thankful... I start to write... and I keep writing.....and I write until my mind and my heart agree....

  1. Cinnamon bear scentsy
  2. Warm socks
  3. Comforters
  4. Hot tea
  5. Hot chocolate
  6. Coffee
  7. Flavored creamers
  8. Fresh bread
  9. Pastries
  10. Warm, comforting food.
  11. Someone else cooking dinner.
  12. Sleep
  13. Quilts
  14. Favorite sweaters
  15. Colored pencils
  16. Empty journals
  17. Sisters who are friends
  18. Friends who are like sisters
  19. Family living in the basement
  20. Naps
  21. Baby snuggles
  22. Happy kids
  23. Good report cards
  24. Writing
  25. Words
  26. Language
  27. Good books
  28. The “just right” sermon at the “just right” time.
  29. Hand written letters
  30. Craft time
  31. Books about food
  32. Walks on days off
  33. Starbucks
  34. Birthday presents
  35. Money to pay bills
  36. Red cold cheeks off the school bus
  37. Dinner in the crock pot
  38. Spontaneous conversations while the eggs scramble and the coffee boils and the kids play in the other room. 
  39. Cook books
  40. Danish Butter Cookies
  41. Babies in fuzzy sleepers
  42. J.J. Heller CDs
  43. New Pens
  44. Journal Cards
  45. Note Cards
  46. Snail mail
  47. Reminders to keep my expectations smalls
  48. Mommy groups
  49. Hot Baths
  50. Hot Showers
  51. Sausages
  52. Pasta
  53. Recliners
  54. Bus Stop conversation
  55. Coffee Dates
  56. Afternoons spent in bed with a sister watching hours of TV
  57. Sisters who drive hours for birthday parties
  58. Family who shows up
  59. Getting in bed at the end of an exhausting day
  60. Holding photographs in your hand
  61. Paper dolls
  62. Coloring
  63. Favorite TV shows 
  64. Roasted Chicken
  65. Cresents rolls
  66. Baking
And on and on
Keep on going
Counting on fingers
Counting in my head
On paper
On my phone
Breathing blessing in and out until it fills my lungs with the reality that Life is Beautiful
and God is good
and not every season is joyful
but every season has moments of joy
I may not enjoy every moments
but there are always moments to enjoy


To My Teddy Bear on Her Sixth Birthday

Dear Teddy Bear,

Tomorrow you will be six years old. It is hard to believe. Your baby sister is sitting next to me in the swing and as I look down at her I could swear it was only a few months ago that you were that size. All smiles and giggles and turning inside out with delight whenever anyone looked at you. 

Photo Credit Sarah Abbott Photography

Surely you are not really six. It’s just a trick of my imagination… it has to be… I can still see you standing tip toe in a black and pink tutu looking out the window at the winter beach. You felt so big that winter. You had just turned one and were running around the beach house talking your aunt’s ears off and stealing food from your cousins. 

Photo Credit Sarah Abbott Photography

And then your sister was born and we bought house and some where in the shuffle you lost your baby cheeks and tiny ringlets and shot up into this gangly little girl who is learning to read and rides a bus to school. And my mother was right… I miss those tiny little hands and you in a stroller. 

I look at you now and see so much of myself in you. Not me as a child… not that’s your middle sister full of over exuberant displays of affection and an inability to sit still. No that’s not you… you are far more independent than I was as a child. You are reserved with your physical displays of affection and only around those whom you are closest to do you really express yourself. But you are like me now. Full of opinion and restlessness. Full of creative ideas and frustration at your inability to express yourself accurately. There are moments when I look at your face and I know exactly what you are feeling because I have those same feelings. I see tears spring into your eyes and I know why they are there, because I have held those same tears back myself so many times.

You are so an amazing little girl. You feel deeply, are highly in tune to those around you, are smarter than I know what to do with, and have potential that, if I am being deeply honest, scares me some days. You are a perfectionist and unwaveringly confident in the things you know you excel at. You have all the makings of growing up to be a woman who could change the world. If only I don’t screw you up to badly in the process. 

You are looking to me more and more to discern what being a female means. What being a person means. How to be kind to others, how to handle disappointment, what faith in God looks like. We are at a crucial point you and I. I can feel it in my gut. How I handle these next few years will determine so much.  In this next few years so much of who you will become will be determined and together you and I will lay the ground work for what our relationship will look as you grow up.  We are in this together, you and me, we are both learning. I’m sorry you have to be the first pancake. I know it’s not an easy job.

Things have been turbulently lately.  I pray that years down the road when you finally read this you will look back and have no memory of that. But chances are you will. Your memory is one of our challenges.  Your father asked me this morning what I thought needed to be done, how we could best help you. And, for what felt like the hundredth time I admitted defeat… “if I knew, I would be doing it”. 

I have spent this morning thinking this over this question. Spending time with it, not running away simply because it felt hard. It has been my companion as I went to the store, as I brewed a cup of coffee, as I made granola for a special breakfast treat for your birthday (Don’t worry there will also be donuts).  And I have come to the conclusion that the best way to help you, is to deal with some things in myself. I can hardly help you to be content and happy in the every-dayness of life, until I first find some contentment  in it. I need to find ways to deal with my own feelings before I can guide you in expressing yours.

And so,
Dear Abi Bear,
my first born,
my miracle child,
the one who changed the game for me…
this is my promise to you this year… 

I promise to work on myself.

To attempt to deal with my own questions so I can better answer yours.

To strive to spend time at the feet of our Heavenly Father, so I can lead you there as well.

Have patience with me little girl, I’m still learning, but you are an excellent teacher. 

Photo Credit Sincerely Liz Inc