She’s Two. WOW.

I’m not sure where time went…really.

How is my baby girl TWO already?!?!

But we celebrated her tonight, and like I said before, she’s not really into posing for the camera lately. But we did manage to get a decent shot of the three of us. :)

And then…she sat on the top of her “new car” and posed with some of her favorite friends, too. :)

She may be two…and she may be teaching me a lot of patience…but I…no, WE….are all truly blessed to have this little girl in our lives. I think she’s pretty wonderful. :)

Maelie girl, my Maelie girl. I love you so.
May Jesus’ love shine through you, no matter where you go.


Little Blessings (Pt. 40)

:) Sunday afternoon naps.

:) Gatorade and feeling better.

:) Father’s Day and being able to celebrate my favorite guy! (And…not only did he like the shirt I bought him, he wore it to church today. I love him. :))

:) Squirt gun fights in the pool.

:) Watching my daughter sing at church today. (Ok, I use the word sing loosely…but t’was extremely adorable.)

:) Volleyball tournaments and coming in 2nd…behind a pretty tough team. We’ll get ’em next year!

:) Playing games with some cool 2nd-4th graders for a week. (Thinkin’ maybe I shoulda been a P.E. teacher… ;))

:) Birthday celebrations for the most fabulous little girl on the planet.

:) Hearing I love you, Mommy. Oh. Melt. My. Heart. Every. Single. Time.

:) God’s promises…all of them. And that He keeps them.


How Do You Choose???

Today, I went to this website.

Definitely not the first time I’ve been to that site, but the first time I’ve gone with the intention of finding a child to sponsor.

One of the missionaries we currently support is no longer on the field; in talking where we wanted that money to go, we decided that sponsoring a child through Compassion International was a good choice.

When I pulled up the website today, the child on the front page, waiting for a sponsor?

Was from Indonesia.

I had figured we would probably choose one from Indo, but seeing her huge, so-familiar, brown eyes staring back at me was almost too much. My heart melted, and I was sure she was the one. But by the time Tobin had gotten home from the store and we could talk a little more, she had already been sponsored.

Which is a very good thing, even if I was a little bummed. :)

So…I had the site do a search for all the kids in Indonesia waiting for a sponsor.

Big mistake.Huge.

Eighty-two. EIGHTY-TWO!Β 

How do you even choose between them?

I looked at ages, at names, at birthdays…and narrowed it down to two. I prayed, and I really can’t decide between them. My heart hurts…

So I’m going to pray it through tonight and wait til tomorrow. I’m hoping one of them will be taken so the decision will be easy. :)

So I know I have blog readers, whether or not you guys comment or not. :) If you’ve ever wanted to bless the life of a child who truly needs it, here’s your chance.

No pressure.

Just an opportunity. :)


Birthday Fun

So this is a day late.

And Maelie is seriously in the I-wanna-look-at-the-picture-on-the-camera stage, even if we haven’t taken it yet! So, despite multiple efforts, this was the best mommy/daughter photo we got yesterday.

It’s still worth sharing. πŸ˜‰

Golly, I love my girl…even if she drank over half of my lime freeze. :)

Happy weekend, friends!


To My Daughter on Her 2nd Birthday

14 June 2012

My Maelie,

This is a letter that I don’t want to write.

I mean, I do want to write it…to continue the tradition of documenting my thoughts on your birthday each year. Who knows? Maybe these letters will contain words you come back to over and over in the future.

Most of the reason I don’t want to write it is because you are growing up too fast. You are TWO!

The past year has truly been a pleasure to watch…

Last June, you were crawling and standing but still over a month shy of your first steps. Today? You run everywhere, and I do mean EVERYWHERE! You run with abandon, you love to be chased, you love doing the chasing, sometimes you love to run from mommy… :)

A year ago, you said words…several. This year, you speak sentences. You always have something to share, and I believe you might be a storyteller like your mama…I’m excited to watch!

Last June, your hair was just starting to grow. Today, we did piggies, and though I still have to bribe you with fruit snacks to wrestle those pigtails in, you tell me you like them. And you sure do look like a cutie pie with them! :)

There are a thousand other things that have changed over the past year.

But there are also things that have not changed, but just grown even more.

You are beautiful. Daily, you shine…not just on the outside, but on the inside, too. I watch you giving hugs, stopping to “talk” with everyone around you, flashing smiles, laughing with that so-sweet-I-want-to-bottle-it-up-forever giggle. You have JOY in your heart, and God uses that JOY to remind me each day how truly blessed we are.

You are independent. We joke that you came out of the womb that way, which isn’t entirely untrue. But your independence is a wonderful thing…watching you learn and discover and grow has been such a huge part of our year together. You know your ABC’s, your numbers, many of your colors, and you have a lot of your books memorized, too.

You are loved. People surround you, Mae. They love you…to play with you, laugh with you, sing with you, talk with you, just be near you. We are unbelievably blessed by our family of friends…and you are always showered with love.

God loves you. My deepest desire and prayer for you is that you walk with your Father for all of your days. He loves you, He always has, and He always will. And He loves you with a love that is infinitely stronger than the love your daddy and I have for you…which is so hard to fathom but so wonderful to imagine.

My favorite part of our days has become bedtime. Most nights after story and teeth-brushing, you snuggle up to me, and we sing. Jesus Loves Me, All Through the Night, One in a Million, He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands…those are some of our favorites. After we snuggle and sing, we pray…always, that you will grow up to love God.

My precious daughter, I love you to the moon and back…plus infinity.



Still (Part 2)

So last night I shared a song. :)

Tonight I’ll talk a little more and attempt to tie together my very scattered thoughts. :)

I’ve known for a long time that we’re blessed. Though Tobin and I don’t have a lot of extra money, whenever I take the time to sit down and look around me, I know we’ve been given so much.

I see it everywhere.

And I’m not talking about material possessions.

We moved to Illinois with a teeny-tiny, baby girl on a hot, July day in 2010. I remember that day, as we sat on the front porch waiting for our realtor to arrive with a key, how completely unsure I was of the life that swirled around me. I was scared of what it might take to find friends, worried about being accepted into a community.

I specifically remember, that day, being so fidgety and nervous to the point of feeling like I needed to sprint a few laps around our new house. (I didn’t, though, because who runs laps six weeks after a C-section? ;)) No, I just needed to move and shake out some of the uncertainty that plagued me.

Because I truly wondered what kind of chapter God was writing for us.

Most of you know the story…in almost-two years, we’ve seen just about every emotion multiple times. There have been some pretty high mountains and some pretty low valleys. Many amazing blessings and a few I didn’t view as such. Times when we anticipated the future with excitement and other moments when we had no idea how to move forward.

And, yet, when I think of these words…

Hide me now, under Your wings. Cover me within Your mighty hand…
When the oceans rise and thunders roar, I will soar with You above the storm.
Father, you are King over the flood, and I will be still and know You are God.

Perhaps being still…those lessons in silence and waiting and wondering and praying, those things which all lead to TRUST…is what He had for me in these years.

And? What He is still teaching me through situations that don’t go as I expect. Perhaps, that JOY is given regardless of circumstances if I’m willing to surrender to His will.

This past Monday afternoon, we were hanging around church after VBS had ended. I stood there chatting with a friend and was amazed…COMPLETELY…by the number of people surrounding my daughter. Hugging her, talking to her, playing with her, chasing her up and down the aisles, (…ahem) showering love on her.


On that July afternoon, as I fed Maelie her bottle and let my tears drip down onto her onesie, I never even dreamed we’d be given something so precious.

A community of believers who have become family.

As I processed that thought and continued to watch people love my girl, my heart felt like it was going to burst from complete JOY.

And when I stop to think about those moments of unknown two summers ago, I am reminded that there will be more. And, just as He has given so many blessings, there’s no reason for me to think that He won’t continue doing just that if I keep walking with Him.



And taking time to be still and know that He is God.

He’s SO Good.

And I pray that He will remind me of that every day of my life.


Still (Part 1)

I’m gonna do something a bit different tonight.

I’ve had several nights of deep(er) writing, and though I have lots of thoughts for tonight, I’m going to break them up a little and finish tomorrow.

For tonight, I’m going to share a song. I was singing it to myself earlier today, and then I remembered it was one of the songs we sang our first Sunday visiting what would become our church.

As I thought about the words to it, it took on a deeper meaning and puts into words so well the story of my life the last two years. And I love it that, in a way, this song was the beginning of a wonderful chapter in our lives. :)

So here it is…and I’ll be back tomorrow.


She Sleeps. A LOT.

Why, yes is it Monday night.

And, yes, I did work out, though not as hard as I usually do. (Stupid hip=less running.) Bummer.

And…yep, I bet you totally guessed this one…I AM having coffee. But just one cup because I need to sleep tonight.

So my precious daughter, the one who did not want to take a nap today, went to sleep around 5:00 tonight.

She is still sleeping at 10 p.m.

We are hoping to squeak through this time and praying that she sleeps through at least most of the night. The poor girl was so exhausted from a busy morning of playing with her buddies in the nursery and then after VBS with some more of her favorite friends. There was lots of running involved.

I was sure she’d take a nap, but she protested loudly.

However, I needed a nap. So I plopped her on our bed, pulled up Veggie Tales on my kindle, and she watched that while I took that much-needed snooze. It is times like these that I am so very thankful I can be certain of the following two things…

One, that I can sleep through goofy songs sung by talking vegetables playing too close to my ears.

And two, that my daughter will not move from the bed as long as Veggie Tales is going.

Extremely true.

Though not the preferred method of getting a little break in the afternoon, today it worked.


I plopped her in the crib for a few minutes around 5:00 because I desperately needed to get something done, and when I finished and went to rescue her?

Totally out.

Tobin and I tried to get her up around six, but she wanted nothing to do with it…so we let her sleep. It remains to be seen if that was wise parenting on our part or not.

All I know is I miss her hugs…and can’t wait for one in the morning! (But hopefully not before then!) πŸ˜‰

So it’s VBS week at our church.

Man, I love this week.

I’m game leader for 2nd-4th grade, which basically translates as time to hang out with some cool kids, get to know them, teach them some (mostly) fun games, laugh, and show them Jesus’ love.

I think it could be one of my favorite weeks of the year.

And it’s Maelie’s birthday week, too, which is just fun. We have some good plans this week…swimming with friends tomorrow and Wednesday, lunch with another friend on Thursday, volleyball tournament on Friday, though that doesn’t involve Mae. (I’m just really excited about it! :D)

And, yeah…good stuff. I like to be busy.

I’ve been tossing around a few ideas in my head that might help keep me more occupied during the next school year. We’ll see if anything comes from them. Of course, my first priority is always to be Maelie’s mommy, but it would be nice to use my down time in the afternoons for something a little more productive. (Just, fyi…90% of my blogging happens late at night. I felt you needed to know that…I do consider it productive. Usually. ;))

So I am still watching that video of Mae singing the Veggie Tales theme song. Over and over. I can’t get enough of it. She just makes me smile really big, and my heart gets that little flutter in it, reminding me of how blessed I am to have such a wonderful little girl.

A wonderful little girl who is still sleeping. :)

I’m gonna hit the hay a little early tonight, I think. You know, just in case she decides that she doesn’t want to sleep until 7:30.

Hope your Monday was a good one. :)


Indo Changes

Tonight I was outside around dusk sitting under a tree.

Just thinkin’.

I do that sometimes. :)

Actually, while I was thinking, I was trying to catch lightning bugs, too, without actually getting up and chasing them, but only a few came within arm’s length, and I missed them. Bummer. Since they were clearly avoiding me, I just sat and watched bats fly over my head. Ok, not a lot. But there were batS…plural.

I know it’s goofy and not very relevant to life as I now know it, but seeing those bats and watching with fascination reminded me that living overseas has made life different from what it once was.

For starters, it cracks me up that I can watch bats with. fascination. And those bats kinda made me miss Indo, too.

So pardon me while I take a little jaunt down recent-memory lane.

Tomorrow some of our dear friends are making the long trek back to the States after nine years in Indonesia. It’s bittersweet for us, and we’re not even there going through it. They are some of the last friends we have left at the school and are also the last real tie we have with our pembantu, Ibu Sari.

It’s crazy how a place changing so much can make my heart bleed.

I grieve what was…and what was so wonderful. A time we can’t have back but one that will be etched forever in our hearts. It brings an ache and longing for heaven and with it a hope that we will see our beloved house helper and her family there, too.

You can pray for our friends to have a safe trip and a great summer in the gool ‘ol U.S. before they begin their next big adventure on another continent in about six weeks. Seriously, I know they’d appreciate your prayers a lot.

You can pray that Tobin and I find a way to keep intentional communication going with Ibu Sari and her family. We still have a good friend at BAIS who is a national, and we know he’ll help us out however he can. It will just be harder than it was before.

So much going on in my mind and on my heart…and it may only make sense to me, but it’s where I am tonight.

So thanks for reading. :)


Saturday Chatting

Hey there, friends.

So I’m definitely in a chatty mood today. In fact, I talked so much today I think I drove my hubby crazy. Maybe a good Father’s Day gift would be earplugs?!

No, seriously.

Sometimes I get in those spurts where there’s SO much swimming around in my head that I can’t talk enough! I just have to process it ALL! Whether or not the person on the other end of the conversation wants to hear it or not.

I believe that’s a characteristic of the classic ENFP.

I don’t have anything earth-shattering to share tonight…just what He’s doing.

God has really been challenging me lately to just soak up the NOW and the blessings that come with it. To wake up in the mornings ready to embrace the little things that make up the wonderful in a day.

Like today…which started with a 5k run. It was a tough run for everyone…I’m suspecting that the 70+ degrees so early in the morning had a lot to do with it. My usual running partner and I were at different paces today so I ran most of the time alone, and it was good. The running path we use is mostly shaded and just…pretty. It really is a nice run if I have to be working out. Just me…processing sometimes-aloud and talking to God. :) And as a bonus, there were no chipmunks falling out of trees today! (Did I tell y’all about that? I’ll have to go back and look. ;))

I headed home, and it was such a gorgeous morning and our backyard is shaded until afternoon, so we spent most of the time outside. Tobin ran out and picked up some breakfast, and we all ate out on the patio and enjoyed Mae and her exuberance. (And her attempts to steal my Diet Coke. Yes. Because that IS what I drink with my breakfast on Saturdays. :))

We spent about an hour with Mae in the pool after lunch, and that was really fun, too. She laughed and splashed and repeatedly threw the diving rings for us to grab for her. Just good times. She is at such a curious and busy, but FUN age, and I’m truly trying to enjoy each moment.

Even the ones involving sprawled-on-the-floor temper tantrums. Because she IS almost two.

Golly…in five days.

Sniff, sniff.

And there were other joys…naps, time to read a “fun” book, pizza for dinner, a walk through the neighborhood to visit and chat with some of our friends, bedtime stories and songs, and a sweet reminder.

Tonight, as Mae and I were singing He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands, God have me a glimpse of His Love and Power…things that I needed to be reminded of. Sometimes situations seem out of our control, and all we can do is place them in His hands. And, really, that shouldn’t be my last resort, as it so often is. I should trust His Love and His Power enough to give it all to Him.

That’s so hard, but something I definitely needed to think about tonight. :)

I am extremely blessed.

Remind me of that if I ever forget it. Ok?

G’nite friends. Thanks for being here. :)