All the Way From Madison

Tonight I’m writing you from our downtown Madison (WI) hotel room.

It’s a very cool room, at least I think so.

:) Tobin’s cousin is getting married tomorrow at the Capitol, so that’s the occasion.

And since this is a home football weekend AND the Farmer’s Market is going on, I am not regretting for a single second the fact that we splurged on a hotel room a block from the Capitol building.

The festivities kicked off early this morning with Mel squeezing in more than is humanly possible before we left.

From the time I rolled out of bed at 7:15 I managed to go for a run, shower and get ready, do three loads of laundry, pack for myself and Maelie, run to Target, Starbucks, and church, come home with time to feed lunch to Maelie, grab some for myself, and get out the door by 12:05.

Yeah, I’m good.

I know you’re all extremely impressed.

And, yeah, my Super Woman cape is in the mail.


Anyway, we’ve already had a fun and crazy afternoon/ evening with family.

Tomorrow is mostly wedding with a little a.m. Farmer’ s Market thrown in there, and

some more family time on Sunday.

It’ll be a good (but busy) weekend. So if I don’t write much, that’s why.

Tomorrow there just might be a picture of Maelie in her Uh-Dorable dress, though, and that’ s worth coming back for!




Just Being

Just a little thought for y’all tonight.

..mostly ’cause it’s late and I have barely started the FOUR mongo loads of laundry I need to finish before we leave at noon tomorrow.

Can we say procrastination?

All together now…


Ok, you get the point. :) Anyway.

Today in Bible study we were talking about Job’s friends and how they came and sat with him for seven days after he’ d lost so much.

They didn’t say anything…they just sat near him and gave him permission to grieve as he needed to…and to be.

My first thought was, Yikes! Seven days? That’s insane!

I’m not sure I could sit with someone and be quiet for that long.

However, it was an interesting concept to think about in terms of this week.

I don’t know if grief is the right word for what I’ve been feeling.

I guess, in some ways, yeah.

I’m grieving the loss of a friend I connected with online.

I’m missing her already.

I’m aching for her family and those closest to her.

It hurts…and there’s definitely a void. That hurt hasn’t consumed my thoughts continuously, but it’s been there in the back of my mind since she died.

And there’s nothing wrong with feeling any of that.

While I am in no way comparing myself to Job, the concept of just needing “to be” hits home

right now.

It’s interesting how that happens sometimes and how we respond to it.

For me, just being means needing a lot of time to process. (Maelie took awesome naps this week.

:)) I’m generally a talker, and while I’ve shared what I’m feeling with a couple friends, most of my processing has been either through the blog or internal.

It also means pulling back on life and taking things slower. For me, being less social, whether I want it or not.

Maelie was also sick this week…three d ays in

a row at home. Not what I would have chosen, but that time gave me a chance to think. (And sleep. I did take a couple good naps this week. :))

It also means weird things like working out at 10 p.m., which I did three times this week when I had a sudden burst of energy. Or cleaning out my closet because I have the sudden motivation to do so…can’t say that cleaning is ever at the top of my list, though! 😉

I think sometimes we all need that in our lives…a chance to just be. No expectations, just time to process.

Does that make any sense?

I’m not sure it does, either, but it’s where I am tonight.

Thanks for reading, friends.



Sorry…I just couldn’t resist.

LOOK what I found at the grocery store today!!!! Just look at it!!!!

REAL Indo Mie. Made in Indonesia and everything!

I can die happy now.

Well, today, at least.



A Promise

My poor Mae isn’ t feeling great.

The antibiotics are starting to kick in, but she was definitely not herself this morning.

It was a cranky few hours, we didn’t have the van, and it’s raining…so you can imagine I was MORE than ready for her to go down for her nap by 1:00!

After she ate lunch, we played for a little while, and I could tell she was getting tired. So I m ade her a bottle and took her upstairs to read her a story while she drank it. We finished our book, and I looked across her room to see a little pillow propped up on her bookshelf with the words,

Jesus Loves Me.

I held her close and sang the song a few ti mes as she snuggled me. I know it’s probably the most oversung song in the history of Sunday School, but at the same time, those three words hold such a promise.

A promise I want my daughter to know and believe with all of her heart.

Jesus Loves Maelie,
Jesus Loves Maelie,
Jesus Loves Maelie,
The Bible tells us so.


How I Live

On Monday nights

I usually work out with a group of friends.

But tonight, it was rainy and two of my friends weren’t feeling well, so it was canceled.

I already had my workout clothes on so I decided to go for a rainy, almost-in-the-dark run.

While I enjoy running with a friend, I also love a good put-my-headphones-in, crank-my-ipod-up, run by myself.

I always use the same playlist when I run…it’s a mix of praise and worship (mostly) and a lot of the songs have some good beat because that makes me run faster.

(At least I tell myself that. :)) And I leave

it on shuffle, so I never know which song will be next…from my list of 100 or so songs.

Tonight I started running, and I was feeling pretty blah. It rained most of the day, it’s been an emotional weekend, and I spent a good part of the day either at the doctor with Mae or waiting (too long) for a prescription to be filled.

The first song that played was one that, to be honest, I usually skip when I hear it start. I’m not even sure how it ended up on my playlist…kind of random.

But I love how random to me is planned to God.

Here are the words.

How You Live.

(Point of Grace)

Wake up to the sunlight
With your windows open
Don’t hold in your anger or leave things unspoken
Wear your red dress
Use your good dishes
Make a big mess and make lots of wishes
Have what you want
But want what you have
And don’t spend your life lookin’ back

Turn up the music
Turn it up loud
Take a few chances
Let it all out
You won’t regret it
Lookin’ back from where you have been
Cuz it’s not who you knew
And it’s not what you did
It’s how you live

So go to the ballgames
And go to the ballet
And go see your folks more than just on the holidays
Kiss all your children
Dance with your wife
Tell your husband you love him every night
Don’t run from the truth
‘Cause you can’t get away
Just face it and you’ll be okay

Turn up the music
Turn it up loud
Take a few chances
Let it all out
You won’t regret it
Lookin’ back from where you have been
‘Cause it’s not who you knew
And it’s not what you did
It’s how you live

Oh wherever you are and wherever you’ve been
Now is the time to begin

So give to the needy
And pray for the grieving
E’en when you don’t think that you can
‘Cause all that you do is bound to come back to you
So think of your fellow man
Make peace with God and make peace with yourself
‘Cause in the end there’s nobody else

Turn up the music
Turn it up loud
Take a few chances
Let it all out
‘Cause you won’t regret it
Lookin’ back from where you have been
‘Cause it’s not who you knew
And it’s not what you did
It’s how you live

‘Cause it’s not who you knew
And it’s not what you did
It’s how you live

I needed to hear that song today. As I jogged along, I soaked in the words, knowing full well that God intended for me to hear and process every single one of them today.

I’ve been thinking a lot about Gitz and how she lived.

She lived the words of this song and so much more.

Her life was about living fully and loving completely exactly as the person God created her to be.

That’s such a leg

acy to leave.

Several of her friends are getting tattoos with the words, Choose Joy, in her handwriting.

I love it. I even begged Tobin to let me get one, but I know how he feels about tattoos…and, well. I choose to honor him.

And I choose to remember her…in other ways.

And after hearing that song today, I know without a doubt that the best way any of us can honor her memory is by how we live. Living completely for God, loving people well, and running the race until it’s over and we get to hear the words that she heard Saturday night.

Well Done.

Sweet Sara, thank you for how you lived.


Contemplating Joy

My sweet blogging friend, 10 cheap generic mg nolvadex”>Sara, passed away late last night.

She is at peace, in the presence of both her earthly fat

her and her Heavenly Father, pain free, and dancing.

Dancing…I’m sure of it. :) There are so many reasons to find joy though  my heart aches for her family and friends.

Please keep them in your prayers this week as they say goodbye.

This morning I went to sign in to my blog to find out it was

hacked. Big time. What a mess.

Yeah, it stressed me out, but I was able to leave it alone and go on with my morning. Maybe thinking about Sara just put things in perspective…it is only a blog.

And five hours later, it was back up.

I realized when changing Mae’s diaper right before I had to leave for church that her rash had gotten worse and that she now had it by her mouth and on her feet as well. No church for the girl…home with daddy it was.

Despite her rash, though, Mae was a really happy girl today, full of laughter and giggles…and joy.

And I went to church this morning, discovering all three of these things within less than an hour of when I had to be there.

I was full of anything but joy…but I was aware of it, and I prayed that God would give me that joy.

I found a friend right before praise team practice, let some tears flow, and moved on, determined to smile.

Friends, it is true that God gives joy, even on the bad days.

There were So. Many. Reasons. To. Smile. today.

:) Time at church that left my heart happy.

:) I really, really love to sing. And we sang my very favorite song ever today. That was special.

:) Absolutely gorgeous sunshine, which defied the weatherman for the second day in a row.


:) Time to get a few things done and to…ahem…cook. (Still not sure if I find joy in cooking, but whatever.)

:) A sweet end to the Packers/Bears game.

:) Good friends (and Bears fans!) to watch the game with.

:) All of us laughing hysterically at the antics of Mae…there will be a picture posted very, very soon of her toddling around in her too-big footie pj’s. So, so funny.

It did my heart good to laugh that hard!

:) A bit of reflecting and realizing what a gift Sara was to so, so many people. I will miss her but am so thankful for the piece of her heart she left with each of us.

God is Good.

And He gives Joy.



Random Things I Love

I love it when it rains in the morning and I get to run in it. ‘Cause that’ s ju

st fun.

And then I love it when it clears up so Pumpkin Days can still happen. That was fun, too.

I love it that my girl got to play in the jumpy today and that she really had no idea what to do. She just crawled around, giggled, fell over a few times…and made us laugh.


I love it that sometimes the smallest word of encouragement can make my (or someone else’s) day.

I love chocolate. Really. But I have survived the week without it with the exception of my chocolate FLAVORED protein shakes. And I’m still alive.

I love to juggle. But I found out today that I cannot juggle rings. Bummer.

I love to do laundry. Well, kind of. The truth is, I can’t stand it when dirty clothes sit around the house; they kind of stink. Therefore, I do a lot of laundry.

I love my man. While I sometimes get frustrated that I have to do all the dishes right now, he still vacuums for me. That’s really nice of him.

P.S. I love him for a lot of other reasons, too.

Just sayin’.

I love that I don’t have to go grocery shopping again for awhile.

That’s a very good thing.

I love lounging around the house in sweats.

Someday soon I am going to have a wear-my-sweats-all-day day and not leave the house.

I love fall. But my toes are cold in flip flops.

I finally caved today and put on real shoes. It was quite sad.

I love looking back and smiling when I see all that He’ s done for u


Life is just really, really good.

I love it.


Little Blessings (Pt. 8)

:) A little girl who finds great joy in pushing her stroller and shopping cart all over the house. She is easy to keep entertained.

:) Hearing her vocabulary just explode over the last two weeks. New words include baby, book, and…purse. Tear. I am so proud.

:) The Brewers clinched their division tonight.

I could care less about

baseball, but Brewers doing well = happy hubby. So definitely a blessing.

:) Finding ways to choose joy…and in choosing it, feeling it too. That’s cool. :)

:) A really thought-provoking video at Bible Study yesterday that I’ m still thinking about.

It? Was about choosing joy, too. God definitely knows what I need this week.

:) Making caramel apples with friends tonight for Pumpkin Days this weekend.


:) Good hair. I am ALWAYS in

a good mood after a haircut.

:) Weekends and coffee.

:) Friends I love.


Chattin’ on a Thursday Night

Hey friends.

I’m sitting here with my Diet Pepsi, wondering how long my eyes are going to remain open.

It’s been a busy day. Bible study and awe som

e, made-me-think-too-much video; hanging with the girl and squelching some crabbiness (thankful for naps!); getting some things done around here including making dinner for hubby and Mae; picking Tobin up from work; hair appointment; praise team.

Whew. I’m tired.

It’s been an emotional week.

Good stuff…some of it.

Some not so.

I’m hurting. I’m trying so hard not to dwell on the impending death of a friend.

I can’t believe the ache and tightness I feel in my chest when I think of her family and friends surrounding her, walking her Home. And letting her go. On the flip side, I truly smile with JOY when I think of her pain free, body completely healed, in the presence

of her Savior.

It’s a strange paradox to smile through pain.

And Sara consumes most of my thoughts and prayers these days.

I am thankful for that and what He is teaching me about JOY when things are hard.

When we don’t understand. When we can’t see but know that He can.

So I finished my song…the one I’ve been working on for two years.

(That bold line above is directly from it.) I was literally waiting on the bridge for two years, and it finally came two weeks ago.

I have to admit that I’m happy with how it turned out.

There are two people I want to hear it…then maybe I’ll post it here.

But I also admit to you that I’m not a songwriter or, really, a singer for that matter. I’ve wrestled with why I was even writing it for a long time because I have no intention at this time of doing anything with it.

I think it may have been part of the healing process for me in dealing with the losses through our failed adoption and miscarriage.

My heart feels more ready to move on now, if that makes sense. 😀 (Yeah, there’s a smile. A big one. Because I’m choosing JOY today.)

In “finishing” it, (aka: being able to chord it on the piano and sing it at the same time…yay for multitasking!) I feel like God is preparing our hearts to start praying about the adoption road again.

Two years ago, we swore we’d never repeat it…and yet, time does heal.

And He heals.

Praise God.

We really have no idea what the future holds for us as a family, but we know that our Father does.

And that’s enough. So right now, we’re praying. Just praying. Taking things slowly and waiting on His timing.

Thanks for praying for us, too, friends. :)

And because this is getting way too heavy…

This week I got rid of all the bad food in the house. (Ok, I need to rephrase that.

There’s still a little in the house because the other two residents need to survive!) I’m drinking protein shakes, eating a LOT better, and treating myself with the occasional Clif Bar.

Four days later my pants are already looser.

Woot woot! (However, I do not want my weight to become an obsession, so we’re not going to talk about it

too much on here. If you’re that interested, e-mail me. ;))

I will say, though, that I am very thankful

that I somewhat enjoy working out and eating things like rice cakes and zucchini. True story.

This has been a random collision of emotions tonight. Thanks for riding along.

Some nights my thoughts are allowed to be all over the place, right? 😉

G’nite, friends. You bless me.


Choose Joy

To be honest, I’ ve tried to write this post about twel

ve times.

The words just aren’t there…because sometimes, there are none.

L ast J

anuary I started a blog. And in starting that blog, I also looked around.

Found a few blogs. (Or more than a few…ahem.) Have visited them several times a week since then.

I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, I’ve gotten angry a few times…but it’s been so good to be a small part of this kind

of community.

And one of the blogs I stumbled upon was written by a woman named Sara.

(aka: Gitzen Girl) Gitz’s blog immediately became one of my favorites. She has a way of sharing her heart, her faith, her JOY… through her words.

In fact, she chose the title Choose Joy for her blogand I truly believe that she has demonstrated

that through her life.

It was only after reading a few pieces she’d written that I poked around her blog a little more and found her story. Sara isn’t just a writer with a gift; I found that she is a writer with heart, and through her words allowed her readers, her friends, to share her life and her struggles.

Sara suffers from Ankylosing Spondylitis. (You are really better off reading her explanation. :)) She hadn’t left her home for years. She missed her own father’s funeral. She missed out on so many things that are part of normal life that each of us take for granted.

And yet, she didn’t complain.

She just loved.

It was what she did so well…for all of us.

Even those, like me, who never got to know her in person.

But we still knew her because she wanted us to.

Last week Gitz found out that her battle is almost over.

She’s on her way Home.

When I pulled up her blog yesterday and began to read, the tears just flowed.

Then they turned into sobs, and I realized just how important this online community of friends is.

We may not be physically next to each other to offer a hug or a listening ear or a shoulder to cry on, but we offer so much more…

Just as Gitz did.

We offer our lives and our hearts…out for the world to see.

A chance to know us just a little.

Or a lot.

I never had the chance to meet Sara, but I can tell you that she is leaving a huge hole in this circle of friends. Not only will I miss the JOY she shared each time she’d write….

I’ll miss her.

My sister in Christ.

And my friend.

Sara wrote a beautiful piece that I actually read a few months ago when she first wrote it. For a girl searching for “home” for the last year, I guess it met my heart where it was at the time.

And now, it takes on a completely new meaning.

Eight months is not a long time to know someone, and yet Sara has passed on a lifetime of wisdom to each of us.

And that wisdom is simple…no matter what,

Choose Joy.

I want to hang on to those two words for the rest of my life and never, ever forget them. Never let them leave my heart or my life. I will choose to find the joy that surrounds me each and every day.

Thank you, Gitz, for all you are.

I will miss you, my friend.