my dearest audrey {you are five}.

[I write a letter ever year to my children on or near their birthday. You can read Audrey's letter from last year here.]

My Dearest Audrey Rose,

It's eleven days past you turning five and I was waiting for just the right moment to write to you. And as I was getting ready to head to bed I thought about a really sweet thing you said to me tonight and it hit me, I needed to write it down. I want you to know the words of encouragement that you fill me up with every single day. As I was getting ready to put Lincoln down for bed you entered his room and said "Happy birthday, mama!" And my response was "it's not my birthday till tomorrow." But you know what you said then? "I know, I just wanted to share my kindness with you!" 

You wanted me to feel special and loved. And I do. I most certainly do from you. A few nights ago I wasn't feeling the best when I was putting you and Naomi to bed and you got a cold washrag to put on my head and gently rubbed it around my face. You're five, and you already have such a tender way. 

This past year, you grew in so many ways. Not just physically and intellectually, but spiritually and emotionally. I think you are such a wise five year old, dear. You have a way with responding to people who are hurting. You love hard, don't ever lose that. I have a feeling that God has big plans to use your caring heart to help others. He already has! You were such an amazing big sister when Naomi was being treated for her cancer. You helped with your brother and you stayed strong. 

You know there isn't a day that goes by you don't tell me how much you love Jesus? Just last night you were dancing around with your hands in the air, worship music was playing, a fire was lit, and you exclaimed "I'm just praising Jesus and enjoying the day!" 

My prayer is that you will always continue to praise Jesus, because He loves you so deeply and even when we can't understand what is going on, we can always, always trust in His promises. He is our Hope, Truth, and Way. 

Some of your favorite things to do right now is to dress up and pretend. Girl, your imagination is beyond. You can turn a piece of grass into a fairy or look at it and see the letter r. You love to write stories and draw. And right now you at the beginning stages of reading, and it is so fun to watch your brain work and sound out words. I tried to spell a word to your daddy the other day without you knowing what I was saying, but you sounded it out and got it. Oops. :) Oh, and apparently you taught yourself how to tie your own shoes and zip your own coat, which makes my life easier. You were motivated to learn to tie because you were adding scarves around your waist for an outfit, not because you are wearing tennis shoes all the time. You are quite the fashionista, sweetie. 

Since you were born you have always been contemplative and reserved before trying things or being in places that are new to you. But you know what? You still try things and push yourself, and I love that about you. The day after you turned five we went to a party with horseback riding. You were so excited to ride, I think this was your second time riding a horse. And you got right on that horse and rode around with a leader guiding it, except the horse ended up bucking you off. And as scary as that was, you rested and you got back on a different horse and tried it again. You didn't let fear win. You can do hard things. You are brave and you are strong. 

You are also beautiful inside and out. Just the way you are. And your caring, five year old heart? Well, it is such a blessing to me every single day. Thank you. 

To the moon and back my dear, I love you.

Your Mama 

 birthday morning tradition--homemade rainbow pancakes, sprinkles, and whipped cream! 

The one thing you wanted to do on your birthday--jump on this thing at the mall, Which you asked to do since you were 3.5! And girl, you were determined to flip! 
It took you several tries to get it, but you didn't give up! 
You told me you were sitting in that so you could be Ariel and your legs wouldn't show. And you sat there and played for a good 20 minutes. 


saying yes.

[Pouring out my heart, typing and letting it go.]

This morning I had the opportunity to share God's Story in our lives, how He carried and is carrying us through this journey with childhood cancer. I'm so thankful that God opens up these doors to share, because as much as I love sharing to encourage others of God's faithfulness, I am just as in need of the sweet reminder of God's sovereignty in my life. I want to say yes to Him. In everything I do.

In everything I do. 

I'm tired of mediocre. I'm tired of separating Him into a box.

He has no boundaries. It's not just a Sunday morning thing. Or a checklist.

And frankly, I'm tired of striving for comfort and safe.

I say these things not because I want some radical change in my life, but if that is what He wants. Then I want it too.

I feel this stirring in my heart, in my little family's lives. So I ask God to help my unbelief and use me for His glory.

If God can bring me a joy and peace in my scariest of times, what can He do if I give Him my everyday?

I am human and seek desires of my own heart every day and my mind is filled with thoughts of selfishness and bitterness and greed and as if I desire more than I have. But. But there is grace, and I welcome grace into my heart to cover my hearts selfish desires. After all, God gives grace freely. And I'm thankful for that.

So, I say yes. Yes to my great God that goes before me, and does immeasurably things.

The girls were leaving church one morning and said "this is how we praise Jesus, we lift our hands and dance!" Gosh, I have so much to learn from my children. And the picture of Lincoln, well, I just can't handle his cuteness in a tie. 


dear naomi. {you are three}

[I write a letter to my children every year on their birthday, or at least near their birthday. I began this tradition last year. You can read Naomi's second birthday letter here.]

My Dearest Naomi Fae,

It's 15 days past your third birthday and I've thought about this letter every day since. I write these letters on your birthday to reflect back on the year God has gifted you with, gifted me with. And this year, I think I just needed more time to acknowledge that you are three. That we are here. It doesn't seem that old, but to me, it feels like you have been with me since before time. In your three short years, you have a story God has so beautifully orchestrated, I can't wait to share glimpses of grace from this year as you grow. And although three is considered small, I see it as a big milestone. In fact, every day is a milestone, every day is a gift. Will you carry those words close to your heart? You are only three, but that's 1,095 gifts.

You grew this year in part feisty-ness and part sweet-ness. I truly love how God gave you both of these attributes, I think they will serve you well in years to come. Your feisty side often comes out before bed. In which you may leave your room no less than four times after we put you to bed. The other night, or I should say early morning at 3am,  I heard your bedroom door slam, I come into your room to find you and Audrey playing. You are always the first awake, but I think it's because you secretly love the extra snuggles you get with mama and daddy as we try to coax you back to sleep in our bed, but never works. Your independence comes out every time you get dressed. You don't like help, and you have been dressing yourself for a good year now. Which is quite helpful for me, until the occasional moment you come outside in a tank top and shorts and a dress over it with an umbrella and cowgirl boots in 45 degrees. Now, let me share your sweet side, because my oh my, your heart is so full of compassion. You my dear, are (almost) always so quick to share with your siblings. You are a beautiful reminder to me of  where to store my treasures--to not become attached to earthly things, but to store my treasures in heaven. This may not make total sense to you yet (or maybe it does, I never want to underestimate a child's faith, your faith has most certainly inspired mine), but I have a feeling you will continue to be a reminder to me of these verses from Matthew 6. Just a few days ago you asked for a plastic bag. And before I knew it, you had it completely full with toys (one of which was Audrey's, and you hollered at her to ask if it was okay) to give to other children that didn't have any. I love the deep joy you find in giving.

On your actual birthday, you got all fancy and we had a tea party inside at our local mall with our little family and then we visited a local chocolate shop.

You know what is one of my favorite things about you right now? Your little, adorable toddler voice. I love listening to you share your dreams right after you wake because I get to hear your voice go on and on. This morning you told me your dream was about Dorothy (from the Wizard of Oz) having a little lamb (like Mary had a little lamb). Girlfriend, you crack me up. You love to make up stories and then say "I'm just pe-tending mama" and then you giggle. Before nap and bedtime you always request for me to sing to you. And I love you for that, because, sweet honey, you may not realize it yet, but I don't have most pitch-perfect voice, yet, my voice is your comfort. I will never forget the moment I sang to you while you were recovering from your surgery this past May. You were so peaceful as I laid over you, just singing your favorite song Three Little Birds.

Don't worry, every little thing is gonna be alright. 

This is true. Everything is going to be okay, because God has a plan for you. So much bigger and better than I can ever imagine. And I trust in that plan. Do you know how deep my love is for you? Like crazy deep. Well, God's love for you is even deeper.

You never cease to amaze me, like the other day when you learned to write your name completely unassisted and without prompt. You love playing babies, doing puzzles, and changing 17 times a day. And your imagination blows me away. Just this evening I caught you and Audrey playing with a large black trash bag (I told you guys not to put it on your heads, but continued to let you play with it) and you put your body in it to pretend to be snails then you guys put your arms in it and pretended to be dragons. If I ever get rid of all your toys and give you trash bags for presents, you will know why. Toys are out, imagination is in.

Although I mention you and Audrey a lot, because you two are pretty much two peas in a pod, you have a special affection for your brother. You give him toys in the morning while he waits in his crib for mama or daddy to get him out. You always request a hug from him before he goes to bed and when he wakes. I love hearing you call his name through the house--with the L missing. "'incoln, come here! I have something for you!"

You are just right in our family. You were made to be Lincoln's older sister and Audrey's younger sister. You were made to be our daughter. And most certainly the daughter of our King.

I'm so thankful for you, Naomi. Cheers to three!

I love you to the moon and back.

XO- Your Mama