Random Late Night Thoughts

Tonight’ s blog

post is random.

This is for two reasons: 1) My in-laws are in town for the weekend; therefore, I cannot…and should not…spend hours blogging; and 2) I’m going on a combined total of about 9 1/2 hours of sleep the last two nights.

So, welcome to the randomness that is always in my brain and now being shared with you, my faithful readers. And this could potentially get very interesting based on the lack of thinking ability I currently have. Enjoy. :)

Awesome weather today. The weather so far this spring has been more than a little unpredictable.

Today? Sunny (mostly) and 70ish. Tomorrow? Chance of rain and 50’s. Ok then. We took advantage of the sunshine today and spent some time outside with Mae. She loved swinging and going on a walk with Grandma and Grandpa.

I cooked more today than I have in the last two weeks…at least it felt like it. Strawberry white chocolate scones, fruit salad, tacos, and mint brownies.

Yeah, we had a super healthy day. πŸ˜‰ At least we finished it with Subway…and, ahem…more brownies. :)

I’ve been tossing around the whole idea of purpose lately…pretty sure there’s a blog post coming. πŸ˜€ I think it came up because I’ve realized how much time I have, even with a daughter. I want to be sure that the time I have isn’t just being wasted.

Down time is good, but I have a lot of it…and need to make sure there’s some purpose in it. I’m sorting through my thoughts on the topic…we’ll see what comes from it. πŸ˜‰

I took another semi-break from other people’s blogs for a few days.

This was more because of the busyness of life than me intentionally wanting a break. However, the time to not read what everyone else has to say but to, instead, focus on what God is saying to me was good.

I miss my favorite regulars though, so I’ll be catching up with you all tomorrow!

Tobin and I hit an interesting milestone this week. While we haven’t been in Illinois for an entire year yet, he just finished his first “school year” at Judson. For some reason, that felt huge…and scared us with how quickly time has passed.

We spent some time looking at pics of Maelie tonight…she has grown up so much. (I think I say this at least once a week, don’t I?) I just love the beautiful little girl she is becoming.

Have you ever played the game, Farkle? It’s really addicting, and even three years after learning it, the name still cracks me up.

Farkle? Seriously?! It kinda ranks up there with Whoopie Pies. πŸ˜€ My cool neighbor and friend, Lex, makes the best whoopie pies.

She’s even getting a website up and going. I’ll wait to share the link ’til it’s ready…but she rocks. The chocolate chip ones are my favorite so far.

:) I think she’s gonna be famous.

My eyelids are drooping. As much as I would love to keep sharing the random workings of my brain, I think I’m getting close to bed. My pillow is calling.

G’night, world.


Open Mic Night…

I survived.

I did.

I wish my stinkin’ nerves didn’t always get in the way of everything, but by the last song, I was actually having a good time.

(So I’m really glad I saved my favorite song for last.) Oh, and I had some pretty fabulous impromptu backup singers for Let It Be. They are so cool.


One of them asked me why I was doing this on the way there. I believe that question came after I said something to the effect of, And WHY am I doing this

? :) So her question was totally legit.

And deserved.

It was always on my bucket list. (The one I’ve never officially made.

I better hurry up and make one before I cross of all the items…cause then I will really have to do some crazy stuff! ;)) I love to make music. Coffee shops make me happy. Hanging out with friends makes me really happy. I think everyone should do things once in awhile that are wildly out of their comfort zones.

All of those reasons, I guess.

The first time was scary, but I’d do it again.

Yay for new experiences that stretch us.

And yay for adventures…I do love those!


There are no photos of me singing.

(That’s really ok.) But here’s one with two pretty awesome friends…who also sang some pretty sweet harmony on a certain song.

:) Love them.


Diet Coke, Anyone?

Ok, we are on the second week in a row of Diet Coke instead of coffee and a big fat headache.

Oh, shoot. That’s a bummer.

I blame it on the weather. Frustrating.

Today if you came over, you wouldn’t find me vegging on the couch…I’m not feeling quite as bad as last week. I’m just feeling busy, and (of course) headaches tend to show up on my busy days.

So I have clearly overcommitted myself in the next few days, especially since my in-laws will be in town for two of those days. I am trying to breathe and smile since most of what I have committed myself to are things I truly enjoy. Like music and coffee and more music. Oh, and royal weddings.

For a brief moment I entertained the idea of inviting a bunch friends over to watch with me at 3 a.m. But when the first person I mentioned it to was like, “Um, no,” I accepted the fact that none of them are as crazy as I am. I am still going to watch it. I will even wake up for a bit of the pre-wedding coverage, but I doubt I’ ll make it through the whole thing.

I’m going to watch the whole shebang in all of its pre-recorded glory at a decent hour.

(Thanks, Alison.)

I kinda wonder what it must be like to be Kate Middleton.

The girl is beautiful…and truly carries herself like a princess. I love it that she is so classy and just the girl next door.

(I really want to have coffee with her.) She is just the type of girl I want to see actually become royalty. (Listen to me, I sound like she’s going to be my princess or something!) As happy as I can be for a girl I don’t know, I’m happy for her.

πŸ˜‰ I wish her and Prince William a lifetime of happiness and love. (And may the paparazzi stay far, far away.)

Maelie has been a superb napper this week.

This is a very good thing since from the second she’s gone to sleep, the guitar has been in my hands for hours. I truly love to play and sing. Sometimes I wish I was better, but the fact that not all the notes are perfect doesn’t take away the pleasure of it. I love music.

And as stinkin’ nervous as I am about tomorrow night, I’m also looking forward to it. Music is one of my favorite things.

I also got to do something tonight I hadn’t done in eleven years…play handbells. I was not good. But it was still fun, there was a lot of mercy extended to me, and I’ve been blessed with the ability to laugh at myself, which was necessary several times tonight. Then I had praise team practice…it was nice to know most of the songs for once. πŸ˜€

I’ m starting to get the itch for real spring to show up.

Really, enough with these mid-40’s days. I’M COLD! AND I WANT TO BE WARM!

Ok, I’ ll quit ranting about the weather today.

Soon enough I’ll be complaining that it’s too hot.

Wow, I’ve been random today, which is pretty much the way I am when it comes to coffee…ahem, Diet Coke.

But I want to end with something from Bible study that really challenged me.

I’ve mentioned that we started a new Beth Moore study on the Fruits of the Spirit, and it’s good. Really good. She was talking about being filled with the Spirit and said, “There is nothing our fleshly desires can give us that is worth what they take from us.”

Wow. Powerful. I’ve been thinking about that today, and I’m not sure what it means for me…yet. But I’m thankful for those little things that God keeps giving me to think over and process. He’s working in my heart even if the words to verbalize what He’s doing aren’t there yet.

Wishing you all a wonderful (almost) Friday! Thanks for stopping by!


The Importance of Community

The word ” community”

came up a lot when we were living overseas.

Over and over, it was stressed to us that living in commun

ity was important. I didn’t always exactly understand it…or do it well…but in the past few weeks,

the concept has come up in my mind again.

When you’re the new girl in town, “community” can be tough.

When we first moved here, I wanted nothing to do with the community in which I was being forced to reside.

But before long, I loved it. Really, truly loved it.

I live

in the “Old” area of Carpentersville, Illinois.

I love it…it’s like this “oldish” neighborhood with homes that have tons of character.

Personally, I love it that my house does not look like every other house on the block. The neighbors actually come out of their homes and talk to each other. Kids in the neighborhood ride

their bikes and stop to play with our dogs.

The couple diagonal from us hangs with the neighborhood kids and bakes them cookies. (And sometimes they share cause they’re just cool like that.) The older couple next to us are so sweet and love our Mae…they even brought her the cutest little furry stuffed bunny for Easter. Our neighbors across the street have become some of our closest friends and Aunt and Uncle to Maelie.

I love my neighborhood/community…really, who wouldn’t?

Beyond my immediate community, there’s the general area in which I live.

It’s several smaller villages (Seriously, that’s what they’re called…no idea why. Anyone?) that make me feel like I live in a small town…but with everything we’ll ever need within ten minutes of our house.

A few months ago some friends and I discovered a little coffee shop that hosts open mic night every other week. Yours truly is lending her vocal cords and guitar strumming to them this Friday…and hoping she doesn’t scare away the entire place or get banned forever. πŸ˜‰ I was in there just chatting with the owner yesterday, and I love how I walk into her shop and we start talking like we’ve known each other for years.

I love, love, love my community.

Then there’s the aspect of church community. This one took a little longer.

We tried a few churches in this area when we first moved here and were very disappointed…maybe our expectations were too high? I don’t know. We ended up going to our current church because it’s where I attend a weekly Bible study…and we found an unexpected home there.

Wonderful people, great worship, and we’re being challenged and fed…which is so important to us.

In the past few months I’ve slowly joined a little of the blogging community, specifically through a few websites where I read and comment often.

Today, one of those sites posted this video that I just thought was amazing. It is so, so, exactly what the (in)courage community is all about. It’s worth your time to watch, but if you don’t have the time, at least check out

the site. I love it.

Last week one of the regular writers for this blog lost her daughter.

It was a beautiful thing to see the (in)courage community come around her family to support them, love them, and pray for them. It was also a reminder that community doesn’t always have to be physically present…that we can support and love each other online, too.

And…I’m excited to announce that in a couple weeks, I’ll be the daily guest blogger for this site…which I am so, so pumped about!

(But what I’m writing about? You’ll have to wait until then. :)) I so admire the (in)courage writers and am humbled that they are allowing me to share a piece of my heart with them and with all of you. I can’t wait!

I’m so thankful for community…and the many ways it has blessed me.


It’s So Small

Yesterday I cut my toe.

Pretty bad, actually. The wordsΒ gashed, sliced, or even slashed, would probably be more appropriate here, but in the interest of not completely grossing you out, I will leave it at cut.

The story of how it happened is strange. If you know me, you know I’m a klutz.

Always have been, always will be. I embrace it each day as I fall over nothing… πŸ˜‰

I was feeding Maelie some cereal in the dining room and got up to grab something in the kitchen. There is a tiny little step-up into our kitchen, and I assume it’s there from when one of the previous owners redid the floor and added granite tile. I know it’s there and don’t even think about it most of the time.

(This is common in Indonesia in many rooms, too, so I think I’m just used to floors that aren’t level.) I didn’t really trip…my right foot made it into the kitchen just fine, but my left big toe…somehow found the edge of that tile.

Oh, Pain. PAin. PAIn. PAIN.

I was scared to look at first…I knew it was bad.

(And I’m not really a fan of blood, either.) While I often display drama queen characteristics, I do actually have a decently high tolerance for pain.

And. This. Hurt.

There was so much blood that I couldn’t really tell how bad it was at first. Looking at it made my stomach turn, so I grabbed some paper towels and just held them over my toe, hoping the initial blood flow wasn’t as seemingly endless as I thought it might be.

It bled for over an hour, and when I could finally examine it without wanting to completely throw up, I discovered it was pretty deep…which wasn’t really a surprise.

So then comes the question, To stitch or not to stitch?

I’m not a fan of stitches, but even more, not a fan of scars. Also, summer is coming, and that equals flip flops and Mel in all of her barefoot glory. I did NOT want a huge, disgusting scar.

I called Tobin, but there was only so much he could do from work.

We ended up skyping and turn ing on

the video just so he could help me figure out what to do. He couldn’t tell much, so we decided to wait until that night to make a decision.

All day long I limped around because it hurt too much to actually step on my big toe. By later afternoon it was feeling somewhat better, but the question of whether I needed stitches remained as I stared at the gaping wound on my toe.

Tobin got home, and we decided it was one of those cuts that could go either way.

If we went in, they would probably stitch it; if we didn’t, it would probably heal fine but take longer. We opted for no stitches, which I’m still kind of questioning, but bandaids and butterfly tape seem to be doing the trick ok.

Anyway, all of that leads up to my story…cause, you know me, I need a story to go with my story! :)

I’ve been running with a friend 2-3 times a week in the mornings.

We had planned to go running this morning. Since my toe didn’t really hurt too bad last night, I just bandaged it up and decided it would be okay to try running.

As we started to jog today, though…I noticed something. Not only was my toe starting to hurt again, but my outer left calf muscle was really aching. I was puzzled by this until I remembered…

I’d been completely off balance the day before, not really stepping down on my big toe at all. That put a lot of stress on other parts of my foot and leg. And when I started to run this morning, I was doing the same thing because my toe couldn’t take the blunt force of crashing onto the pavement with each step.

I was completely off balance, and the run? Well…it was more of a run one minute, walk two kind of outing. And each time I ran, it just hurt.

Tobin spent some time yesterday giving me “big toe” facts. He’s such a goofball…but one interesting fact was that each big toe is capable of supporting up to 40% of a person’s body weight. So, obviously it’s important. Then, he was in all his glory, when he informed me that the first known invention of prosthetics

was for the big toe.

I smiled, nodded, and just hoped I would never need one.


As I was driving home this morning after my run, I started (kept?) thinking about my big toe…it’s so small.

But it’s affecting everything I do.

And then? I thought about my heart. About how, most of the time, what’s going on in there is good.

But what about those moments when I get jealous and mean

? Where do the jealousy and meanness hide

? In little corners of my heart, where I’ve pushed them, hoping to hide them.

And while seemingly small, they can really affect my family, my friends, those around me, myself.

Those things that are so small…can sometimes make an impact bigger than we ever want them to.

Lots to think about tonight.


One Year Later

A year

ago, I left Indonesia.

I remember, so clearly, that last week…

Last get-togethers with friends, last movies, last laughs, final hugs, heartbreaking goodbyes.

I remember, even more clearly, my last day there…

Waking up early to soak in the last bits of my normal. Chatting with our pembantu, loving on my dogs, taking my time as I walked through our house, looking out the upstairs window one more time and memorizing every detail of the mountains that surrounded us. I loved those mountains.

The goodbyes. Trying to stop the constant stream of tears as I hugged our beloved house helper and friend, Ibu Sari, goodbye.

The physical heartache as we pulled out of Kota Baru for

the last time.

Two wonderful friends who gave up their Saturday to go with us to Jakarta to see me off.

One last dinner together at Chili’s…and trying (unsuccessfully) to force down some food, but being able to stomach Cold Stone.

πŸ˜€ No idea why.

One last hour spent together in the Jakarta airport, snagging a semi-private corner, but not far away enough from curious stares.

There were laughs for a bit, and then the tears began to flow. At times I had to force myself to breathe.

Quick hugs to Dave and Tiff, and then Tobin walked me to customs.

Saying goodbye to him was the most awful part of that day, worse than leaving my Indonesia. My best friend, the one who had held my hand through everything, was staying, and I was going. I couldn’t stop crying. He held me as my body shook and the streams of salty tears flowed. It was all I could do to not dissolve on the floor in a puddle of hysterical sobs.

I don’t know where I found the strength…to actually leave his arms and go.

But I did…

I’m sure the customs official wondered why I just cried. I kept looking back to where Tobin was, waiting for his last glimpse of me, dreading the moment when we couldn’t see each other anymore.

It came…and so did more tears.

With wobbly legs, I made my way to Starbucks…I still had two hours until my flight left, and I couldn’t bear to wait it out at the gate. I snagged a comfy chair in a corner, curled up with my latte, and let the tears flow as I reflected on the five years I was leaving behind.

Eventually I made it to the gate and onto the flight. And I was gone.

Indonesia was gone.

Looking back, it easily ranks as one of the worst days of my life. It was a necessary day…but that didn’t make it any easier.

I still feel the heartache when I think about it. And the tears still come.

For the last week or so, my mind has been battling between focusing on Christ and thinking about my last days in Indonesia. Even though it’ s all in the pa

st, it still hurts.

I can’t believe how much I miss it.

Even more, I can’t believe it’s been a year. A whole year.

I have to admit that last week, my thoughts became so consumed with Indonesia that I had to turn things around or I was going to drive myself crazy.

So I asked myself, What has God done in a year?

And the answers to that question sent me to my knees in thanks.

He brought us through six weeks of being on opposite sides of the world.

He provided for me while I was really pregnant, emotional, and away from Tobin…friends, a car, a place to stay, people to love me.

He brought our dogs safely back to the U.S.

He gave us a car much nicer than anything we dared to hope we might be able to buy.

He gave us a beautiful daughter. (Sorry, that one deserved to be in bold. ;))

He gave us precious time with friends and family in Minnesota before we moved.

He gave us a house and neighborhood that are beyond what we could have even dreamed.

He provided amazing friends and a great church during a tough transition to a new community.

He’s slowly giving us a place to belong.

When I look back at the last year, there are things that make me cry and remember…and that’s ok. There’s a time for that.

But there’s also

a time for rejoicing and giving thanks. And we’ve got plenty to be thankful for.

God, you are Good. So, So Good.


Easter Blessings

This morning was: 1) the first time we’d been in church on Easter in six years; and 2) the first time we’d been in a Lutheran church for Easter.

I have to say Amen! to both.

Here’s why.

The six years thing was our choice and boiled down to several reasons which I will not go into here.

We have always celebrated Easter, just not always in a church. Today, being among hundreds of people who were worshipping and celebrating the glorious Resurrection was so, so wonderful.

My heart was ready for that celebration, and I can’ t begin

to describe how emotional it was for me to watch the cross being carried down

the aisle.

Each church and denomination has its own traditions regarding Easter, and each tradition is a blessing

in its own way…today just really spoke to my heart.

Watching the cross being carried in and out of the church while we sang. Responding multiple times to Pastor’s He is risen! with He is risen, indeed!


Each time we said it, I felt love rising up within me more and more.

He is Risen!

Because of that, sin no longer has power over me.

I can live with the full knowledge that I am Forgiven…and I am His. Forever.

That’s incredible!

Today was such a blessing.

And even aside from church, the blessings just flowed over the weekend. A spur-of-the-moment movie night with friends and chocolate chip whoopie pies…mmm. :) Our dear neighbors brought over a little stuffed bunny for Maelie.

Our sweet friends across the street gave Mae an Easter basket that brought me to tears.

(And if she was old enough to understand, Mae probably would’ve cried, too. Well, if she ends up with her mommy’s emotions.) :)Β A last minute invitation to join some friends for dinner today…great food and good conversations…and even an evening swim for me and Mae…her first time in a pool. And she LOVED it!

So blessed.

He is Risen! He is Risen, indeed! Alleluia!



I hold my daughter a little tighter.

And give her more kisses.

Give her extra cuddles and upside-down flips.

Rejoice in her laughter…and in her screams.

Smile through the dirty diapers

And the nap-protests that occur daily.

Linger a bit longer on the porch in the late afternoon, jabbering baby-talk back and forth with her…even though the neighbors can hear.

I catch her gleaming eyes as she sails through the air in a swing and thank God her lungs can breathe the air.

I’m extra patient when she fights me at feeding time.

And I wrap my arms around her and whisper, I love you

Over and over,

Thanking God from the depths of my heart for my girl today… and every day.

And praying for a precious sister in Christ whose heart is aching from those depths today.

Father, You are near to the brokenhearted… be near.

Oh, please, be near.



He Did It With Love

On Wednesday Tobin bought me flowers.

Beautiful, vibrant, orangey-red gerber daisies.

My favorite.

We’d had a disagreement the day before, and I can’t say I had my most beautiful moments

during it.

I most definitely didn’t deserve flowers after it, either.

But he brought them home anyway, put aside his pride, and gave me something I didn’t deserve.

And he did it with love.

A little extra love for him crept into my heart that day, too.

And for the past few days they’ve been on our dining room table, brightening up the room and making me smile when I see them.

And reminding me of Christ.

Of how he freely gave me the ultimate gift of Love, despite my sin and many, many less-than-beautiful moments.

Of how he put aside his pride and endured the most humiliating, painful death just so I may live.

Even though I most definitely don’ t deserve i


And he did it with love.

That makes me smile.

And love him more, too.

Thank you, Jesus, for a gift I can only receive and never repay.

May I live each day to reflect your love.


Just One Espresso Shot Today…

So today’s coffee is gonna be short and sweet.

If you came over today you’d find me vegged out on the couch, pretty unmotivated to do anything.

The house…ahem…is a wreck, and I’m going to have to muster the strength and motivation to pick it up be fore

my hubby gets home. Maybe.

And I’m actually cheating today…no c offee, just working on a BIG refill

of Diet Coke.

I needed the caffeine today, which is doing absolutely nothing for the killer headache that crept up a few hours ago.

It’s Holy Week…and Tobin and I have spent some time talking and reflecting and attempting to figure out some stuff. It’s been good to take that intentional time to focus on Christ.

But it only makes sense that during a week like this satan has made his very unwelcome presence known.

I feel defeated.

I feel discouraged.

I feel…I don’t know what I feel.

I so want a place to belong, that’s what I want.

I’m so tired of waiting…and I don’t even know what I’m waiting for.

I’ m just struggling with still being in that transition


Having a place to live but being unable to completely live here. Having a church but wondering where exactly we fit into it.

Having the desire to serve but not knowing what to do with it.

It hurts.

I just long to be settled.

And since that was kind of a depressing espresso shot, check out the new photo on the sidebar of my blog that Tobin took today. I needed a new one anyway, but it’s actually for something later. I think it’s cute…well, cute for me. πŸ˜‰

That’s all for today.