Those 12

This post should probably be otherwise titled, That Post When I Reflect Too Much.

However, I want you to actually read it. 😉

Exactly 364 days ago, I set some goals, which you can read here. (Or you can just scroll down, too.)

Time to see how I did! (And to look forward to all that 2013 holds…which I very much hope includes some brown and tan paint over some purple walls. Do I get bonus points for choosing the colors at least?)

Spoiler…oops. Sorry about that. 😉

Here we go!

1. Start…and finish…the canvas painting for Maelie’s room. Check. No drama here. I just painted it one Sunday afternoon, hung it on her wall that night, and that was that. :)

2. Redecorate our front living room. (The purple needs to go! Soon.) Well, friends, the purple still needs to go. We actually bought the paint in October, but between life and more life, the living room is still an unfortunate shade of purple.

3. Start an Etsy store so I can sell my jewelry. Ok, so I’m not selling jewelry. But selling hats on Etsy counts, right? 😉 

4. Take some kind of lessons…guitar, voice, djembe…still deciding, but leaning toward djembe. I went with guitar and started in April. It’s good…am learning a lot and even played a real bar chord, though it wasn’t pretty. :) 

5. Complete a marathon. (Edit…1/2 marathon.) Didn’t happen. Though a half marathon is on the list for this May, and then we’ll see. I don’t have any plans to run a full marathon yet…to be honest, though I love running, four hours straight of running does not really sound even remotely enjoyable. I think I need my marathon-running friends to give me a little push here. :)

6. Run a 5k in less than 30 minutes. This actually happened several times during the year, which was a boost. I broke 30 for the first time in May and am now running my regular 5k around 28:00 flat, give or take. My fastest clocked one was around 27:15…factor in a few stops for cars that don’t yield to pedestrians (or runners). I’ll take it. :) Would still love to hit the 26’s…we’ll see. :)

7. Continue blogging at least three times a week once January 24th has passed. Yep, got that one covered. :)

8. (Re)Learn how to sew and make a bag out of some of my Indonesian batik I still have. Nope. I thought about pulling out the sewing machine several times but never actually did it. I love to teach myself new things, but sewing scares me.

9. Finish the rough draft of my book, Lessons From Indo: On Life, Love, and Squatty Potties, and submit it to at least one publisher. Am late on this one, but the plan is to be done by May. Extremely grateful for the chance to be part of the God-Sized Dream Team…these women are such an encouragement as I navigate something that is really new. It’s one thing to write a blog…it’s a completely foreign place to write a book. Really praying it will happen in 2013!

10. Continue developing discipline in my life by spending time in God’s Word each day…whether two minutes or two hours. This one could be a post all on it’s own. I’m not sure why I even set this goal because for me, it was unattainable. Don’t misunderstand me…I love my Father and His Word. But, honestly, I didn’t read the Bible every day. I don’t know if that makes me a bad Christian or just an honest one. Maybe I’ll hash this one out more later. :)

11. Guest write for another blog at least once. (The Patch doesn’t count.) I didn’t pursue this one like I should have…I found myself most content just writing at my own place and linking up other places, which provided some new bloggy friends. To me, that’s worth it. :) But I do have a guest post coming out next month on (in)courage…not sure of the date but will let you all know when it’s up! This one, in particular, was really a blessing because one of the editors wrote and asked me if they could use something I’d written. I must be doing something right. Thank you, God. :)

12. Go on an actual vacation with Tobin (and no Mae) to celebrate our 10th. We stomped our feet (well, not really) through Marbella, Spain; Tangier, Morocco; and Paris, France. It was a crazy adventure, as all trips we take together seem to be. We missed Maelie, but it was good time to spend together, and we had a really memorable time. Spain gave us our time to relax, Morocco was an insanely crazy adventure that left me dying to go back and explore more, and Paris was a dream come true, complete with bread. (We even kissed under the Eiffel Tower!) 

It was a wonderful 2012, though not everything turned out as I had first pictured. In many ways, it was better.

Here’s to a wonderful 2013!

Blessings to each of you, and thanks for being part of my barefoot journey!

God is so Good.



Is it bad to tell you that for the last week writing has been about the last thing I’ve wanted to do?

I especially felt guilty about that as I’d read the blogs of friends…they were all so inspiring and beautiful as each writer managed to take something profound from the birth of Jesus and apply it to life now.

I mean, it’s Christmas, after all. That’s when bloggers are supposed to pull out their best writing.

Not me.

And I suppose it’s not that way for everyone. It’s just how I feel. How I felt as I labored, literally, over each word in the last week, trying to pull beautiful out of seemingly nowhere.

And as I opened my laptop tonight, part of me just wanted to go to bed and do some more non-writing.

Which, I guess, is the opposite of writing.

Which makes me a genius for figuring that out? 😉

At any rate, yeah.

Life is just a strange collision right now.

In some ways, that’s not a diversion from the normal of life. There are always ups and downs, joys and sorrows, things that make me laugh and others that make me cry, times of being surrounded and times of loneliness.

I usually have no problem processing those things, but for some reason, it feels almost impossible to scribble out anything worth reading lately.

That’s why I post pictures like this one. Hey, when you have a cute little princess dancing for the camera, who needs words? 😉

But if I’m being honest, life is a mix of crazy confusion and big blessing right now.

I’m supposed to be in the thick of book-writing right now, and instead I’m wading through a swamp of doubt and fear and insecurity.

To be blunt…it sucks.

Not only does it just suck…but it’s suckING me down, slowly.

I’m questioning purpose, the right to dream, and if I’ve actually got what it takes to follow through. It’s discouraging, at-times depressing, and just feels…wrong.

It feels wrong to be even feeling those things when there are so many blessings surrounding me.

Because there really are.

Friends, family, community, church, sisters and dreamers…all good things. And there are so many more.

I know I am blessed, but I am also reminded that any journey toward a goal isn’t without challenges.

Most of you know that I’m writing a book with the goal of being finished by May. (I’m shooting for much sooner, but well see. :)) I could use prayer.

Prayer for focus…that I will keep my eyes on what I’ve set out to accomplish. And that I’ll keep them on my Father and what He’s asking me to do.

Prayer for balance…because I’m still a wife and mommy, and those two titles take precedence over “writer” each and every moment, as they should.

Prayer for wisdom…that God will guide my words and help me to speak Truth without being culturally offensive. (This is a big fear of mine because some of my writing deals with life in another culture.)

Prayer for love…that each word will be just that.

Thanks for reading my collision of words tonight. Blessings to you all as you close out 2012…can you believe it?! Time just zips by.

Love this quote I found today…maybe it will add some inspiration to your day, too. :)


Friday Photo

Dance like no one is watching.

My Maelie girl, you are amazing. I love you so much!


‘Tis the Season

Just being up front here…I celebrate Christmas ’til New Years. K? 😉

That’s why when my girl crashed for the night at 6 pm (really), I decided to make myself a mocha and curl up on the couch under my favorite flannel blanket to do some writing. I think the Christmas tree lights are inspiring. :)

We had a great Christmas.

Really great.

It seems that the last few we’ve spent here have each looked different, but they’ve all been good. This year we spent Christmas Eve with some sweet friends from church, and then we spent Christmas Day just the three of us.

It was nice. :)

This was the first year that Maelie really understood the concept of baby Jesus and Christmas presents…it was so much fun to see Christmas through the eyes of a little girl. She slept in, and once she was up we took our time with gifts. She’d open one or two, play for awhile, we stopped to make breakfast, read a few stories, opened a few more gifts, played more, opened the rest, and then finally opened our stockings. I think we finished around one in the afternoon, and it was perfect. :)

A few pics of the fun. What a cutie. :)

Santa brought a “Cinderella toy”, just like she wished for. :)

Her “very own iPad!” (her words ;)) Though she doesn’t have the concept yet, she will soon enough, and Mommy and Daddy shout out a huge “thank you!” to Grandma Rose and Grandpa and Wilma O for making road trips more enjoyable. :)

Yesterday we trekked (not really…it’s an easy, just-over-an-hour drive) to Janesville to see some dear Indo-friends who now teach in Peru but were home for Christmas. I love these reunions, and we have been blessed with many of them. We also got to catch up with more friends who were passing through the area…it was just a great, big Indo-reunion. So fun. :)

Today we just took it easy. Did a Target run as a family…the kind where our hilarious (read: possibly slightly dramatic) daughter completely chilled out in the cart and kicked her feet up. Oh, I love her and the countless ways she brings a smile to my face…and to my heart. :)

It was a busy afternoon of princess-playing and Tinkerbell-watching and cookie-munching, (hey, I said I celebrate ’til New Years!) and by five this afternoon, she’d had it. She snuggled up close for a story, a few songs, and went to sleep.

And I smile.

I love the traditions we’re beginning as a family.

I feel so loved.

Life is just really, really…blessed.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. Thanks for stopping by tonight!


Merry Christmas!

Wishing you a joyous celebration of the birth of our Savior!
Blessings to each one of you!


Silent Night

Silent Night.

And I breathe.

It’s almost 11 p.m.

The presents are wrapped and under the tree, except for the ones from Santa, of course. (I expect he’ll be showing up any moment now.)

The house is presentable, though there is a bit more picking up that needs to be done.

A little girl is (finally) sleeping soundly upstairs.

Our hearts are happy and full from a Christmas Eve spent with some wonderful friends.

And my feet are tired, but they’re propped up at the moment, so all is well.

I told my hubby this morning that it doesn’t seem like it should be December 24th today. I’m not sure where the month went or where my heart went either, for that matter.

It felt like, at times, chaos reigned in my life instead of my Savior; that busyness instead of reflection took over my moments.

My daughter will have a beautiful Christmas day tomorrow, I know that. But I want it to be beautiful for the right reasons…not because (hypothetically, of course) there has been an explosion of Disney Princess love in the living room. 😉

She’s starting to connect already…Baby Jesus and Mary and Joseph, and I never want the importance of what happened on that Christmas so long ago to leave her heart or her mind.

I want her to understand that the baby born in a stable was truly the greatest gift the world has ever seen. Not only that, but on the night he was born…he was born to love her.

To die for her.

Of all the things that her daddy and I can give her for Christmas, modeling that love for Jesus is the greatest of all.

It’s nice to have a silent night…after the busy and the sometimes-crazy.

Wishing you all blessings as you celebrate the birth of our Savior with your friends and family.

Silent night, holy night.
All is calm, all is bright.
Round yon Virgin Mother and Child,
Holy Infant, so tender and mild.
Sleep in heavenly peace,
Sleep in heavenly peace.

Silent night, holy night.
Son of God, Love’s pure light.
Radiant beams from Thy holy face,
With the dawn of redeeming grace.
Jesus, Lord, at thy birth,
Jesus, Lord, at thy birth.


What She Treasured

I have to admit that often, especially around this time of year, the passage from Luke 2 tends to become habitual routine.

I hear it read and will mentally recite the words along with the speaker, allowing them to scatter to the far corners of my brain rather than collect in the center of my heart.

You know, where I could ponder them. Treasure them. Let them fully sink in as they were, and still are, intended.

As I heard the oh-so-familiar but no-less-beautiful account of the birth of my Savior recited once again last week, I was reminded of that girl.

You know, Mary.

Though her circumstances deemed her a woman by all accounts, she was a girl. A girl handed some things that I’m not sure anyone else on the planet would have handled so graciously or obediently.

And so I had to go back and read about her again.

Mary listened. She obeyed. She did those with a heart for her Father with complete trust. That amazes me.

But I also think about how she experienced so much that was completely out of the ordinary. Not only was she a virgin giving birth, but she gave birth to a King. How overwhelmed, awestruck, in disbelief, and inadequate…she must have felt sometimes.

Yet she cradled the King in her arms and continued her faithful obedience to the path God had planned for her.

And in all of that, she took time to ponder those things and treasure them in her heart.

So I was thinking about all of this during the sermon this morning, and it stayed with me throughout the day.

I think about what God asks of me. Some days, it’s easy to be joyful and obedient. Other days not so much…because what He’s asking me to do, I don’t want to take and TREASURE or PONDER.

At times I would rather pitch them out the window.

And I’ll argue with Him.

God, I’m not the one who’s wrong! Why should I be the one to apologize?

Ok, God…I’m not really understanding this latest medical issue. Why me?

God, no. This wasn’t what I’d planned. My timing is better.

Instead of just taking my situations and what they bring…and pondering them and treasuring them as what He’s planned for me.

When I thought back to Mary again, I was pretty much blown away. (again ;)) She took it all…trusting that God had His very best for her…and treasured it.


Father, forgive the many times I don’t trust. Lack faith. Refuse to believe You are good. I have so much to learn. May each mountaintop, valley, circumstance, and situation bring an opportunity to praise You…and may I take each one and ponder it. Treasure it.


Christmas Favorites

Song? Hope is Born Again (Point of Grace)

Movie? Prancer takes the cake. But closely following it are Home Alone and It’s a Wonderful Life. And for some reason, I associate The Sound of Music with Christmas, so although it’s not technically a Christmas movie, it still makes the list. :)

Book? Would you believe I just started reading A Christmas Carol for the first time two nights ago? Determined to finish it by Christmas. :) But I also love The House Without a Christmas Tree and The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, two books I read over and over as a child.

Drink? I hate eggnog…just throwin’ that out there now. 😉 Apple cider and coffee with holiday creamers.

Food? I don’t know that I have one favorite. Love the cookies. Love ham and all the yummy things that go with it.

Childhood Memory? Probably when I was nine years old. I had asked for a scooter, and when I came downstairs (at around 5 a.m. I’m sure!) it was under the tree. But it was so cold and snowy that I rode that scooter around the basement until March. :)

Most Unique? We spent Christmas of ’06 in Thailand with our friends, Becky and Andy. On Christmas morning, we exchanged stockings, ate breakfast, and then went to the Grand Palace in Bangkok. That night we went out for an incredible Italian dinner and finished the day with a little shopping in the market. Definitely a Christmas to remember!

Tradition? Now that we have Mae, I love the little things we are doing to give her traditions and memories…like our Advent calendar (which we always forget to do!), buying her an ornament each year that represents something significant from her life that year. As she gets older, it will be fun to do things like gingerbread houses and decorating cookies.

Giving or Receiving? Giving.

Tree…Real or Fake? Fake, out of necessity. I need to be able to breathe. 😉

White Christmas? Yes to the movie. The snow, I can go either way…so it’s win-win.

Lights? Yes again, but only white. Not a fan of multicolored.

Memorable Gift? I went a year and a half in Indonesia without my wedding ring. (Long story.) One Christmas Tobin picked out a white gold ring for me with three little diamonds. I loved it, and I love that he picked it out himself. :)

Wish List? It’s more fun to wish for Mae. :) But call me a dork…I asked for leg warmers. Really. If they are in my stocking on Christmas morning, I’ll be a happy girl.

Perfect Day? One spent surrounded by my family and/or friends and filled with laughter and love.

Feel free to join me and leave your answers in the comments. 😉 Hope you’re all enjoying the Christmas season…it’s a busy one, isn’t it?


Little Blessings (Pt. 57)

:) Staying warm inside the house when the winds are blowing outside. (I was gonna talk about my slippers but think maybe I’ve overkilled that one. ;))

:) Cookie parties.

:) A heart to heart with a friend.

:) Decorating an empty wall.

:) Pretty incredible news that I’ll share with y’all soon. 😉

:) Dozens of colored lights and beautiful reminders of my Savior’s birth.

:) Handbell-ringing. I am still not good, but it’s still fun. 😉

:) A good workout after a nine-day hiatus. (Nasty cold. Feeling better now. :))

:) Perspective and moments to hold my daughter close.

:) The beautiful way that God is continuing to build community for me. (More on that soon!)


A Day of Silence for Newtown