the gift of today.

About a week or so ago, I had a hard week. It was the first week of preschool for the kids, with a new schedule this year, I had an intense work week and so did Andrew. I felt like I was drowning. And I noticed how my kids attitude were a direct reflection of my own. They whined and groaned and cried, it seemed all week, taking turns, so someone was whining at every moment throughout the week, and I may have been in that rotation of whiners.

 I absolutely did not take that week as a gift. I did not see that week in the eyes of gratitude. [In fact, my eye sight literally became blurry, at that moment I knew I needed to stop and take a step back and breathe and take care of myself.] The joy was mushed beneath the backpacks and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and dirty diapers and dishes in the sink and dirt on the floor and seat buckles to buckle and, you get the point.

So it goes, I let go of my expectations. Lowered them. And I tell myself over and over, today is a gift. Our days are numbered. This world is temporary, as much as sometimes we feel invincible and the days will not end. They will.

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12

We are not entitled to our everyday. That was a lesson well-learned this past summer with Naomi's cancer diagnosis. I don't want to forget that. [And why my blog title was changed to The Gift of Today.]

And oh my, yesterday was quite certainly a gift from God. His grace was so abundant as we returned to the hospital after a three month hiatus. Emotions were high and low and across the board last week and up until the moment we heard the results of her tests from yesterday. Fear was there. Our flesh, our human, sinful nature, wanted to welcome fear, but our unwavering faith pushed it out. And it took a lot of pushing. A lot of focusing on The Creator, but He allowed for that peace to fill us.

On the way to the hospital we saw another glorious sunrise, that was not by accident. God is a pretty sweet artist. And the kids were really good. Let's be honest, with three little ones, it is not an easy statement to say all the kids were joyful and good. But they were, thank you Jesus. Naomi couldn't eat breakfast like the other two, but she was satisfied with the fact that she could carry her banana around until after her scans. Her IV took one quick poke and she was good to go. The nurses couldn't believe how low-key she was for a two year old--she didn't even have to be sedated for her scan, because she laid perfectly still. [And if you know Naomi, her stubbornness can come out and well, hello, she is the middle-child.] We waited for two hours to talk with our oncologist, Dr. Long. Waiting on a hospital floor, especially on a hematologist-oncologist pediatric floor, isn't the most comfortable feeling. But God protected my thoughts by focusing on Naomi's sweet way of play while we waited.

Then the news came. Although the chances of Naomi's cancer returning are very slim, there is still a chance. But that chance didn't happen yesterday, praise Jesus! She still has a small part of the tumor left, as it was expected since 95% was initially removed, but it didn't appear to grow and there were no new spots! We thank our Heavenly Father for what He has already done in Naomi's life and remain confident in His almighty power. And we continue to focus on today. That today is a gift. And one day, we will no longer experience cancer, and death, and pain, and doctor visits, because we will be rescued by God. I'm so thankful we are apart of His redemption plan.

We celebrated the good news with an afternoon trip to the zoo with all the kids and my brother and sister-in-law and their two children.

Now we are go on another three month break before the next scan. But I refuse to live our lives waiting for the when and if, but living rather for the great I Am. 

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw everything that hinders and the sin that so easy entangles. And let us run with perserverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2


unattainable expectations.

I'm fresh in this season. This season of feeling like I have to do everything right. Everything perfect. And if I don't, well, someone is going to be let down and not like me or judge me or think I'm a failure. This last week in particularly I've been struggling with this. Which causes me to make me feel like I'm drowning.

The problem is, this expectation came from no one but myself. Why do we do this to ourselves? Fill our brain with doubt and unattainable goals of perfection. Christ hasn't called us to perfection. In fact, it's complete opposite. He calls us, as sinners, to accept His love, and just love Him and His people. His grace is sufficient.

Here's a confession. We just got home from the kids being at preschool while I was at work.  Now I'm letting the kids eat their lunch on the coffee table while watching a movie. Linc just brought me a pair of sharp scissors. I'm eating leftovers from dinner and there is a huge sink full of dishes in my kitchen. And somehow I thought it would be a good idea to write about unattainable expectations because if I thought hard about what my current moment of life looks like I might freak out. Because, I'm far from perfect. My kids aren't learning at this very moment, my house is a mess, or I'm not spending quality time with my kiddos.

But, but I'm trying to change my habits of self destruction.  Instead of seeing this moment right now as chaos and tons of things to do. I'm taking this moment right now and seeing my kids as freely expressing themselves by putting on dance clothes and shoes to dance to the movie they are watching. [Wait, now they have asked to turn on some Nutcracker music to dance to, done with the movie.] Linc is exploring--learning about himself and things around him--currently bringing me shoe after shoe, a bit safer than scissors, thankfully. And I get to eat in peace, which is rare and pretty awesome.

My kids are okay. They are loved. I am loved, by them and my Heavenly Father. I have no one to please, but to share the grace of God and the joy that he scores deep into my heart when I realize what really matters in life. Not the dishes. Or that I let my kids watch a movie while eating lunch. Or, gasp, they don't eat all organically.

Where is my focus today? On my unattainable expectations that cause me to drown in self-destruction or on the Creator and Sustainer of all things? On the joys of today, even in the midst of chaos?

Picture completely unrelated to the post, except I look at this and am reminded that my kids accept me for who I am, my imperfections and all. Thankful for how God uses our kids to remind us of grace. 

**Did you notice the new blog title?! More on that in another post!


heroes for naomi. {a childhood cancer event}.

Summer is over for us, kids are in pre-school a few mornings a week and I have more going on with my job (I'm the Elementary Children's Director at our church, mmmhmmm).

But this summer, it's hard to let go of for many reasons. I am constantly reflecting back on what I learned. Or I should say, what God taught me through our circumstances.

One of which, God has clearly shown me over and over He puts people in our path to love us and support us and encourage us.

I've been meaning to post about a very special event that took place this summer. An event that I had nothing to do with, except it had everything to do with us.

An event about people. Love. Community. Support. Childhood cancer.

Two days after Naomi's diagnosis I received a Facebook message from the owner of The Green Nursery, an amazing local (and online) baby boutique. She said she wanted to do a fundraiser for us.

At two days we didn't know a lot of details about Naomi, except that she had Neuroblastoma, the childhood cancer, and that she was going to have surgery. Yet, Abby (and her awesome husband, Scott) said, we are all in. We are helping you guys.

See, last year, Naomi "modeled" some of their cloth diapers for them. So they had a special place in their heart for her. And they are just fantastic people who love to love. They gathered up some other awesome, local companies who wanted to be apart of it. (KRC Catering, Venus Leah Photography, Pip and Bean Capes, and Blissful Transition Doula Services)

Naomi, about 17 months, March 2012. 

So, we showed up for the event on July 1. And we were blown away by the support. 

Custom made super hero capes by Pip and Bean (also local, but can be found on Etsy!) The design was completely inspired by Naomi--while at Riley the scan room had hot air balloons that lit up on the ceiling for Naomi to watch during the scan, it was a great distracter for her, while she had to lay very still. (The owner of Pip and Bean, Alyssa showed up at our home two days after Naomi's diagnosis with custom made capes for each of my children. I mean, seriously.)

There was a free super hero photo booth by Venus Leah Photography (who also so graciously took our family pictures at the beach the day before Naomi's surgery)

So many people from the community came out to support us. 
We were humbled by the love we received. 

Free entertainment by Kid Koozey and Octopus Ink

 Probably my favorite moment of the event was being able to recognize a family that truly is a hero. A little boy from our community, named Peyton, recently went to be with Jesus after a year battle with a brain tumor. His beautiful legacy, that he created in his short five years of life, will live on, especially through his twin brother and most recently born little sister (as of today!). You can learn more about Peyton on his Facebook page, Peyton's Angels. It was a true privilege to be able to put a cape on Peyton's brother, Stillman. I was incredibly touched that the family came out to show their support to us as well. Now that's true community. 

Because we are all in this together. We feel each other's burdens. We encourage. And say, it's going to be okay. Or here's a shoulder to cry on. And when the blessings come in, we then pay-it-forward and bless others. With all the hard in the world, there is still a lot of love. And that is what we are going to continue to spread.

So thankful for this event that shined a light on childhood cancer and how a community can come together and do something about it. I've also been inspired by the event to get more involved in childhood cancer awareness. I'm now volunteering to be a family resource at a local treatment center, so I can encourage families as we have been so encouraged ourselves. 

Childhood cancer can't take love away. That's for sure. 


a few {very honest} thoughts.

I told myself I would be in bed by 9pm tonight because I'm that tired. Except we didn't get the kids to bed till 9, so it wasn't going to happen for me.

Last night I cleaned my home (well, parts of it) after the kiddos went to bed. When I wiped the mirrors, dusted the dresser (who am I kidding, I didn't dust), put away the clothes, scrubbed the old blue toothpaste off of the kids' sink, an overwhelming sense of gratitude set in. And the Holy Spirit filled me with thankfulness for all of our blessings. But last night, as I was almost done cleaning this thought hit me and tried to crumble me up and rip away at my gratitude---Naomi's 3 month post-surgery scan is August 26, I must get my house in tip-top order and get all my projects done by then because what if we have to stay in the hospital for a long time. What if...her cancer comes back. Am I ready for it? [I'm confident in God's plan and what He has already done with Naomi and our family. I fully believe that Naomi's cancer won't return.]

Fear not. For I am with you. [I repeated this to myself over and over.]

Do my kids know that I am broken and need Jesus? Do others? I don't want to wear a mask. I just want to be me. And have Jesus' love radiate through me.

We have lived in our home for just over a year now, I love it so much, but I'm overwhelmed by the size. I want to use it for His glory. How can I do that? Am I doing that? Maybe we should just sell everything. It times to simplify more. I'm tired of stuff.


Thankful that I am God's adopted child. Thankful for his loving discipline. Thankful that He knows the big picture.

Did I remind myself that today was a gift? Did I let go of the things don't really matter? Did I choose joy?