…am listening to silence. Poor hubby, who was at work until 2:15 a.m. and had to be back at 7 a.m., is in bed. I don’t blame him a bit.

…wonder if it’s going to rain during my run tomorrow morning. Part of me really, really wants it to. I heart running in the rain but not what it does to my hair. 😉

…hear the gentle breathing of a dog, asleep at my feet. My sweet Andre boy turns nine tomorrow. Nine. What absolute love he brings to our lives.

…see purple walls. The next time I talk about them, one of you needs to come over here and force me to paint them. Though the purple is almost starting to grow on me. Oy…

…want this pair of TOMS that I really can’t justify. So I am not going to buy them. Someday, maybe.

…smile every time I see my daughter. I just love her so much…the way she laughs, repeats everything I say, finds JOY in everything. I want to be more like her.

…feel like it’s been such a strange paradox of a week. Some really, really low points and some pretty amazing ones, too. I’m still blessed. :)

…worry that I’m impacting my daughter in a negative way. In our Thursday morning Bible study we’re studying a parenting book, and we were challenged to think of the thing we need to change RIGHT NOW. I can think of so many more than just one. Really praying for wisdom…I want to be the kind of person she’ll want to emulate someday.

…cry when I think of the people I know who are hurting right now. I’m praying that God will hold them close and heal their hearts.

…laugh when I think of praise team practice tonight. A special thank you to those who made it so entertaining and…um…oh-so-memorable. So thankful for friends, music, and Moroccan scarves. :)

…miss sleeping in on Saturdays sometimes. And then I think of the trade-off, and I don’t miss it anymore.

…say that I don’t drink as much coffee as I really do.

…dream BIG. I always will, even when people laugh at what I say. You know what? I really, really, really want to be a regular contributor for a certain blog out there. I think I’d be a good fit, and I’m not afraid to tell them that. :)

…try to go to bed early every night. (Early, as in by 10:30 p.m.) Almost every night, I fail. Miserably.

…am thankful for my hubby and how hard he works to take care of us. It’s one of the qualities in him that I admire the most.

…am praying tonight for a lot of things. A lot of people. A lot of hurts. A lot going.

…rest in His promises. Jesus, I am resting, resting in the JOY of what thou art. I am finding out the greatness of thy loving heart!


Little Blessings (Pt. 32)

Oooh, and this time, you get pictures! Today’s your lucky day. 😉

:) A sunny, not-too-cold, morning run and two cups of coffee.

:) Heart spilling and a morning where I can bask in new mercies.

:) Being able to pray for others.

:) A new book. I started Crazy Love by Francis Chan, which I was ever-so-fortunate enough to nab free for my Kindle a week or so ago. I can tell it’s going to be good. Really trying to fill my brain with things that are worthwhile.

:) This…my hubby saw one and made me one. (That’s even better.) Should you want one, too, let me know. He’s already making two more for people who saw it and wanted one. I’m totally cool with sharing my awesome jewelry hanger with the rest of the world. 😉

:) Ice cream dates and smiles.

:) Going to bed early because I can.

:) Road trips and a chance to see friends I haven’t seen in a very. long. time. Will be fun. :)

:) This. I’m really looking forward to it…two friends are even joining me! So incredibly thankful for community…both in real life and online.

:) The way God answers prayer through simple things…encouraging words, a chat with a friend, a smile, a laugh with my girl. He is so Good.


A Heart Spill

I just started a pot of coffee. (It’s 9:15 p.m.)

It could potentially be a long chat tonight. (And if it’s not, hey…hubby will have iced coffee in the morning. ;))

So for the last few days…I’ve kinda fluffed my way around the blog. I didn’t really write junk…I just wrote things that didn’t make me think too hard. The fact is, I’ve been thinking a lot lately.

But putting those thoughts into words on a blog is much more difficult than the actual thinking. (I write some pretty great bestsellers in my head!)

I’m not sure how to process this…so I may just let my thoughts spill and see where they go. I apologize, in advance, if you hopped over here for Mel’s witty take on life. Maybe tomorrow. :)

By the way, you may have noticed that the blog is different? Yeah. I’m in the middle of updating some things and figured…if I can’t change the past, at least I can change my blog!

So I really hate those nights when I KNOW I need to share something. (Or a million somethings.)

It has been a really discouraging week. I can’t count the number of times that uninvited tears have overflowed and made my eyeliner run all over the place. Or how often I’ve felt so exhausted and drained that doing anything has felt impossible. Or how often, out of sheer exhaustion and impatience, I’ve raised my voice at Mae.

On Saturday (following several days of this), Tobin and I knew we needed to get out of the house, and the three of us went to Menards. Mae did fine for the first part of the trip and started to get fussy toward the end. While we were waiting in line to check out, I gave her a tiny sip of my coffee to calm her down. (Judge me now. Enough people in line were doing it.) I could feel their eyes burning at me, and to make matters worse…that one sip only made her want more. She started screaming, Coffee! Coffee! Coffee! After a few seconds, when it became apparent that this wasn’t going to stop anytime soon, I picked her up, took her outside, and carried her across the entire parking lot to our van while she continued her rant.

I could feel people staring at me, and it only reiterated the thought that I’m a bad mommy.


Add to it the fact that for some reason, Indonesia keeps coming back to me…and not in good ways.

Here’s the thing. We loved it there. (Most of the time.) But we also struggled, and it was no secret to anyone that we were ready for what was next. I don’t believe we left on bad terms, though I do know that God definitely had something else for us and that He moved us on at the right time.

Lately I’ve been seeing pictures on facebook and hearing stories of how great my former students are doing…and I’m filled with questions and, often, regret. Don’t misunderstand me…I completely loved them and am thrilled that they’re thriving. But it makes me wonder…

Did I do enough? Did I love them enough? Did I let them know how much they mean to me? Was I a terrible teacher?

More lies.

Tobin and I have been through one of our more difficult seasons of marriage recently. The details don’t belong here, we’re working through things, and we really are ok even if there are tough days. But there are also those times when I look around the house and see a total disaster…a sink full of dirty dishes, clothes thrown around the bedroom, a nursery floor covered with books and toys or we exchange less-than-kind words…and I start believing that I am bad at this wife thing.

You know, the lies are really starting to get to me.

It’s been a silent week. The kind where friends are busy and plans don’t happen like I thought they might. My phone has been pretty quiet and my social interaction pretty limited. For an extrovert who thrives on being busy and social, this is possibly the worst kind of week. And even though I know it’s not me, I start to believe that my friends don’t want me.

I’m ready to squash satan’s lies.


The fact is that I know, as a mommy, I have my days. We all do. But I also have DAYS…the ones when Maelie and I have the best time ever together and we laugh all day long and have adventures and soak up every moment of this precious, mother-daughter bond. We make memories that will be etched in my mind forever and, hopefully soon, in hers.

That’s truth.

It’s also fact that, though Indonesia wasn’t perfect, it was still time that wasn’t wasted. While we don’t know the kind of impact we had, we know that we were impacted and left there feeling completely blessed for having the chance to be part of what God is doing there. We got to love some pretty amazing students and grow with some incredible friends.

More truth.

I believe with everything in me that satan will try everything to destroy a marriage. Tobin and I aren’t perfect and we’re fully aware of that, but we love each other, and we love our Father. We’re both guilty of letting things like a dirty kitchen and selfish moments take over our days…but at the end of those days, we love each other and we’re committed.

Complete truth.

And while I’ve had a lonely week, sometimes I forget that being alone isn’t necessarily a bad thing. One thing I don’t do well is be still…and maybe that’s a lesson He’s trying to teach me. To take those times I feel alone and let Him fill that void. My first instinct, rather than to grab my Bible, is to grab my cell phone. He always meets me exactly where I am, with exactly what I need for the day.

He is Truth.

I guess I share all of this to ask you to pray for me. Please pray…

…that I’ll be able to throw regret out the window and live fully in the present.

…that I’ll choose to ignore satan’s lies and walk in Truth.

…that I’ll strive to live a life that pleases Him every single day. 

He’s Good…and His Truth is just that.


Thanks for listening. :)


Today’s Creation (That I Borrowed) :)

I made these today.

No-bake energy bites. They look kind of gross but they’re not. Promise. 😉

Seriously, I could eat them all in one sitting.

No, not really…because I won’t let myself. I’ve just been looking for recipes that are healthier than the tasty treats I’ve come up with in the last couple weeks.

Like these.

And these.

Neither of which I’m sure are classified under healthy. 😉

They. Are. Good.

And a HUGE thank you to whoever brought them to our Bible class yesterday ’cause if you hadn’t, I might have gone my whole life never knowing of their existence. That would be sad.

Now you won’t need to be sad, either. (I think I’m bordering on dorky tonight…)

Here’s the recipe. I adapted it from here. (By the way, she’s a new blog discovery for me…I’m intrigued, just by this one recipe. Will definitely be reading more!)

No Bake Energy Bites

1 c. dry oatmeal
1 c. coconut flakes (I used a little less coconut, a little more oatmeal. As long as dry ingredients equal out, you’re good.)
1/3 c. honey
1/2 c. peanut butter
1/2 c. mini chocolate chips
1/2 c. ground flaxseed (I only had whole…it still tastes fine, just adds a little extra crunch.)
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix all ingredients well and chill for an hour. Form into balls. (I’m keeping them in the refrigerator.)

I could eat them every day…and probably will. They’re a good alternative for a chocoholic like me who canNOT and will NOT cut chocolate out of her diet even if I am watching what I eat. 😉 They even taste like dessert…really, what’s not to love?!?! So I made a double batch. (And froze half of them because, well, we WILL eat them all way too quickly!)

Oh, and here’s my little helper. Her “helping” consisted of standing on the chair, watching me, and about every thirty seconds begging for a bite of “Cookie! Cookie!” Hey…if she spends her whole life thinking this is a cookie, I’m ok with that! Was too cute not to share.

G’nite, friends!


Thinking About Home

I spent too much time today looking at photos like what you’ll find here.

Last night my hometown was devastated by a tornado, and seeing pictures of the damage is surreal. I’m sure it’s much worse in person.

I found out about the tornado the way everyone finds about things these days…by logging into facebook last night around 10 pm. Once I let my brain wrap around what had actually happened, I grabbed my phone and immediately tried to get ahold of someone, just to know that my family was ok. My mom didn’t answer, and so I called my brother…thankfully he answered and said everyone was fine even if the town wasn’t.

Even though rumors swirl, all official reports say that there was no loss of life…an amazing miracle. My best friends’ parents lost their garage and a car. There’s a lot of damage, but their house and, more importantly, everyone in it…are fine. Countless stories of how God’s hand of protection was clearly there have been shared over and over.

Houses are completely gone while others, just meters away, sit untouched. Cars are flipped over and totaled, lines are down, debris is everywhere, the hospital is a mess, other buildings near it are a total loss…by all accounts, there should have been fatalities.

But God is Good…and he spared people.

And for the few minutes when I had to wonder without knowing, I remember thinking…as long as they’re fine, nothing else matters. We can build new houses and buy new things, but home is


And their hearts.

And while I may not call Creston, Iowa, my home anymore, there are people there who are part of my heart. The same with Ankeny, Nekoosa, Brooklyn Center, Bandung, and now, Carpentersville…each of these places have a piece of my heart and are a little of my home. (Or a lot. ;))

It makes my heart heavy to look at those pictures. If you would, please say a prayer for the people of Creston and other towns and cities who were hit badly by tornadoes over the weekend. There’s a lot of cleanup and rebuilding to do…but they’ll do it. And come out stronger in the end.

Feeling pretty blessed today.


Six Minute Saturday: Goodbye

Once in awhile I link up here for Five Minute Friday.

I love her, I love her blog, I love how what she comes up with in five minutes stirs my heart for five days and inspires me to open up rather than to guard myself.

Unfortunately (or, not so much) yesterday was epic and needed to be blogged. 😉 (For those of you interested, there was another ponytail today. If possible, she was even cuter. ;))

So, today…in keeping with the necessary alliteration…I bring you “Six Minute Saturday”.

The rules are simple: Write for five (today, six) minutes on the given topic. No editing or changing anything. Just write from your heart.

Six Minute Saturday: Goodbye

Goodbye is a word I have said over and over, more than I ever thought possible, in the last decade.

It’s a word I know extremely well.

It brings with it tears…promises of keeping in touch, of visiting, of always being there for the other person despite the miles, possibly oceans, that will separate us.

It also brings heartache…the kind that comes from knowing that something has ended. Things will never be again as they were, and while there is always hope for a future, there is a grief that comes from an ending.

It brings with it anger…I. Don’t. Like. To. Say. Goodbye. Ever. In the changes and spins and circles of life, I want to continue packing my suitcase…allowing it to grow bigger with each goodbye. I want to take each person who is so loved with me to that next phase. But that’s just not how it works.

But the word “goodbye” also brings something else…something that gives hope for new beginnings and friendships and love. It’s called


That one little word that can make a new beginning really, really beautiful.

So I’ll say goodbye for a chance at hello.



T’was a slightly epic day in the Schroeder house.

Can we say, PO-NY-TAIL?!?!

I know I’m biased, but isn’t she SO adorable? Awwww…

Oh where, oh where has my baby gone?!? (And please ignore my messy closet…)

Hurray for ponytails!


Little Blessings (Pt. 31)

:) Thursday Bible studies that make me think.

:) Watching Maelie’s imagination take off. Yesterday she staged a little conversation between her two stuffed bunnies. It was too precious. :)

:) Beautiful sunshine.

:) Guitar lessons on the back porch.

:) Playing my FIRST EVER BAR CHORD!!! (Seriously, folks, that’s HUGE!)

:) A gorgeous (even though it was freezing…) morning run today.

:) A new flavor of coffee creamer…mmmmm. White chocolate macadamia. Anyone wanna come over for coffee?!

:) A migraine…and the strange and wonderful ways God can work through something so icky.

:) Grace and the freedom it gives.

:) He is risen! He is risen, indeed! Alleluia!


Living Life

When I look at my daughter, I just…

Smile. Really. Big.

She is SO…Mae. Just crazy, lovable, full-of-spunk-and-life, soaking-up-the-simple-but-lovely, WONDERFUL Mae.

I have no doubt in my mind whatsoever that God gave us the sweetheart He did because He knew exactly what our family needed. She is more than a beam of sunshine…she IS the sunshine!

And living life with her is all kinds of complete JOY. From the morning greetings through the monitor that announce to the household that she is, indeed, awake and ready to greet the day…to adventures on slides at the park…to splish-splash baths in the middle of the day thanks to an unexpected mac ‘n cheese shampoo…to the nighttime cuddles when closeness is all either of us want.

Oh, I love her so much. SO. MUCH.

Here are some pictures…just life. Living it with people we love.

Oh, what beauty this life is.

The proper way to push a stroller…wearing daddy’s work gloves, of course!

One of her very, very favorite activities! “Ride, ride, ride!”

Stopping to smell the flowers.

Of course, no outing is complete without a stop to visit our favorite friends across the street and their sweet doggie, “Sissy”.

Holding hands while we cross the street…actually, looking back to say one more goodbye to our friends!

Time for a quick picture with mommy at the Easter egg hunt. Too fun! :)

A visit from Aunt Kris after church on Easter. (Maybe we should have taken the picture before we let her eat crackers!) Ooops! Oh, well, I still love her smile…she looks too grown up. 😉

To say she loves “swimming” is an understatement. I can hardly wait to see her joy when she sees what’s going to show up in her backyard this summer! 😉

Good times!

And, of course, swimming is never complete until we splash mommy really, really good! So fun. :)

And even if I did post this a few days ago, it’s worthy of a repeat ’cause I think we’re adorable. Yep. I do. 😀



If there were ever a day I didn’t want to blog, I think today might be that day.

I think that means that maybe I will blog every day until I die?! (Just so you know, I did not commit to anything here…)

Just sayin’. :)

Blogging feels like that part of my day that’s necessary, the part that’s good for me. Right now, I need it. Maybe a day will come when I don’t, and as strange as that sounds…I need routine and familiar and all that is what my life is. For now.

I hate dark days. I hate them when I’m on the verge of tears, and the more I try to distract myself, the more those tears come.

It wasn’t a bad day. It really wasn’t…I was determined to find some sunshine in it. The problem is that it was so dang cold, even though the sky was blue and the actual sun was shining.

It should have been a day to go to the park and get lost in the swings and the slides and the little animals that she can’t quite balance herself on. Yet. To walk through the neighborhood singing songs like we always do. To sit in the backyard playing with the dogs and the sandless sandbox and the slide and maybe do a little guitar strumming and tune-belting.

But at a whopping 41 degrees, it was NOT a day for any of those JOY-producing things.

Instead, we went to Target to get coffee because I used up the last of it this morning. I figured it would be a good diversion and get us out of the house for an hour. We’d barely walked through the door when we saw a friend from church. We chatted with him for a bit, he shared his coffee with Mae 😉 and then we were on our way.

To do what, I don’t know.

I walked that store for what seemed like forever. I had a list of a few things I needed, but I mostly just wandered aimlessly. It was the most frustrating, confusing trip to the land of familiar that I’ve ever had in my life.

It felt like I was there for a purpose, but I couldn’t figure out what it was.

And then I thought about it…how this journey of mommyhood has been just that. And I mean the whole shebang…from adoption to no-adoption to heartache to JOY to finding a way to grieve and be full of that JOY at the same time.

It truly feels like aimless wandering sometimes.

And as I was strolling and pretending like I knew what I needed, I looked down at my girl who was, for once, patiently sitting in the cart. She stared at me, almost as if she were searching my eyes for answers.

I had none. Instead, my eyes filled with tears, and as she stared at me, hers started to fill, too.

I think through those tears, God gave me an answer.

Maybe that there isn’t one.

Sometimes life just stinks. And we cry and we grieve and we hurt. And then we go to bed and wake up…and we have a new day with new mercies and new blessings and new chances at JOY and sunshine and a little less hurt.

We took time to remember her a little today. Ice cream and some smiles and some wondering, but not too much.

Because we don’t truly need answers when we know Who holds us.

Looking forward to the bright hope that is tomorrow.

He is Good.