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!) 😉

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. :)


The Skinny(er)

So I’m sitting here with a too-late cup of coffee, deciding how to do this.

But I promised you all, after the pics yesterday, and so here’s the skinny…or at least the skinny(er). 😉

So, I’m sure most moms can relate to the extra poundage that hangs on after having a baby.

For some reason, I had it in my mind that the 44 pounds I gained with Maelie would just magically disappear once I started breastfeeding. What I hadn’t anticipated were difficulties with latching, making it necessary for me to pump around the clock for months. (Ugh…there I go reminding myself.) And for whatever reason, the weight, which was supposed to come off…didn’t.

In the fall after Maelie was born, I started running again. It took me a long time to build back up the endurance I’d had before I got pregnant. I set a goal to run a 5k that November, and I did run it…but there’s no way I’m sharing my time with you all! :) During that time of running and training, I continued to eat whatever I wanted.

I think, in some ways, food became that stability. It wasn’t like I was gaining a lot…I just wasn’t losing anything. But at a time when everything was new…city and neighborhood (COUNTRY, for that matter), friends, church…at least there was always chocolate and Chicago deep-dish and pretzels. (And a lot of other things.)

Last summer, I finally got serious (or, at least thought I did) and joined a Biggest Loser competition with some friends. I worked out religiously…5-6 times a week. However, I didn’t?

Stop eating whatever I wanted.

At the end of  the summer, after losing only a few pounds, I knew I had pinpointed a problem.

Food had started overtaking me.

Gosh, that’s hard to admit. I’m really, really struggling with hashing this out for you all…just being honest.

Tobin, Maelie, and I went to Mississippi for a week in September to see some good friends. While we were there, I found some inspiration in the form of my friend, Sarah. She had worked really, really hard and looked fantastic…after having three kids in less than four years, no less. She told me a few things that had worked for her, and I decided I needed to do something.

I came home, joined another round of the Biggest Loser, got rid of the bad food in our house, and got serious.

I counted calories…1,000-1,200 a day.

Plus a workout or two each day. (I let myself take a day off every week.)

It worked…in nine weeks, I was down 22 pounds and just 14 shy of my goal weight.

I survived the holidays, only gaining a couple pounds back, and joined yet another round of the BL.

Ten weeks later, I was one pound from my goal. (Which I did eventually reach.)

Yeah, so I totally realize that if I stop here and post this as it currently is, I do sound like a brat.

So, bear with me, ok?

This journey was a good one for me. I needed to get myself into better shape. I needed to be healthy. I needed to stop squeezing my size 14 into a size 12. 😉

I needed to feel better about myself.

Yes, it was a good journey. (And it’s not over! My goal now? To stay here!)

But, it was also a hard one.

I battled through a lot…I learned a lot. I was humbled a lot.

And maybe sharing this will help someone.

I learned…

First and foremost, that no amount of weight loss and skinny can make a person truly beautiful. One day, after an especially frustrating morning in which I was NOT a good mommy, I caught myself staring at my reflection in the mirror and thinking about how good I looked. But the truth is? I. Felt. Ugly. I’d said things, done things that day that didn’t honor my Father and didn’t show Maelie that I loved her. I was reminded that morning (and am being continually reminded) that having a beautiful heart is so much more important than having a beautiful body.

Also? That any obsession apart from my Father is wrong. There were days when I was SO focused. I HAD to get that second workout in before I went to bed. I HAD to burn this-many calories before I could end the day. And those things? Got in the way of time I could have spent in His Word, in prayer…growing in Grace. There is nothing wrong with having a goal, but when that goal takes away from what’s really important, then it needs to re-evaluated.

I have to admit to you that I continually work on that one. Sometimes it’s hard to miss that workout or run because of something more important.

God also taught me something that I never thought I’d share here…but I feel like I should.

He gave me a glimpse of what it was like for someone who struggles with anorexia. Because I think, at one point, I was headed down that road. Every waking thought was about food. I obsessed to the point of not eating enough and working out too much. All I could think about was clothing sizes and being “skinny”…and it began to overtake my mind.

Thankfully, I recognized it…and that was totally from God. I had a pretty tough conversation with a friend, who was really gentle with me but also pretty honest. After talking with her, I knew I had to recognize the fact that this obsession could potentially be dangerous.

I don’t think I ever reached the point of anorexia, but I honestly don’t know. What I do know is that I asked two friends to keep me accountable. To ask me if I’d eaten enough…and to check in on me. I needed that.

Since that time last November, God has been really good. He’s teaching me to find balance and ways to stay healthy without overly obsessing if I miss a run or eat a cupcake. (Or twelve!) 😉 He’s working on my heart in ways that are painful but necessary. He’s teaching me so much about loving what He’s created and being satisfied in who I am.

That doesn’t mean I’m there at all…but He’s working on me.

I never understood people who struggled with eating disorders before this journey, and perhaps He gave me this glimpse to help me to be more empathetic. I get it…or at least a small part of it…now.

So often, we focus on becoming what society has termed acceptable. We have it in our head that a number on a scale is what’s most important. And it’s not. Because I’ll tell you that that number goes up and down a little. And if it goes up by two? I can’t let it ruin my day. Or my week. I just have to keep going.

I can’t think of a way to end this.

Maybe by having a good cry? (Because I could sure go for one about now!) 😉

Maybe just to encourage you…to keep your focus where it needs to be. And if part of it is on losing weight…that’s OK. As long as you don’t forget about the other things that are important, too.

I’m really thankful for the last eight months…and for me, the hardest part is yet to come. Because, as with any goal, sometimes when you “arrive” is when you start to slack. I’m working hard to not do that. I’m also really thankful that, on this earth, we never “arrive” spiritually…He continues to mold and shape our hearts if we’ll let Him.

God is GOOD, isn’t He? Find some time today to thank Him for what He’s done. :)


Five-Minute Friday: Community

Today I’m linking up with Lisa-Jo at The Gypsy Mama for Five-Minute Friday.

Join me!

The rules: Write for five minutes. No editing, revising, or overthinking. Just write. :)

Today’s Topic: Community

The morning I stepped into that foreign room in a place that made my heart pound, I had no idea that it held the friends who would become my community.

The place where we’d dig deep, share, laugh, sometimes-cry, always-love.

They made me feel so welcome from the first moments…this new girl struggling through the harsh realities of relocation once again, new-mommyhood, and mega identity-crisis. The perfect combination. 😉

It took a few weeks, but slowly the walls started to crumble, I allowed the tears to fall, and my heart began to soften. And as my story…and their stories…began to intertwine, I knew that God had given me a gift in this group of women.

In this community.

Thursday mornings are a cherished part of the week for me. Whether we study for the entire hour and a half or we talk first for the first hour, that time spent with these beautiful sisters is so good for my soul and my heart.

Because despite differences and preferences, we can all come together and love, laugh…and just be.

Which is so, so important in community.

They make me feel valued, loved, appreciated…and I hope I make them feel that way, too.

I just love them. So much.

This community…is so much my life. And for it, I am thankful.

And…this is what I’m doing tomorrow. It’s still not too late to register and tune in! For a cool $10, they’ll send you a shirt, a pack of greeting cards, and you’ll get access to some pretty incredible sessions and speakers. A friend and I watched the Friday sessions this afternoon, and they were great. Think about it if you’ve got a few hours to spare tomorrow! :)



I had kind of an aha! moment the other day.

Well, at least it was aha! for me…and maybe you can relate. Or maybe not. Either way, I’ll share. :)

So, a little background…

When I signed up for facebook several years ago, I was pretty tight with my security settings. And over the years, my hubby has made sure that I keep them updated.

That’s because I don’t want people knowing everything about me.

In fact, if you go and try to find me on Facebook, chances are you won’t just by typing in my name. (Unless we’re already friends.)

That’s because  I don’t want to be found.

I thought about that the other day as I searched for a friend on facebook and couldn’t find her.

I often put up walls. I have for years. In my mind, I think that if there are walls and people can’t get in, then I’m safe. This has worked well in the Facebook world, for the most part. In real life,  I have really tried to let them down and have succeeded, for the most part. I want those relationships…those friendships.

But what about in my relationship with my Father?

Over the past few days, I’ve stopped to consider those walls that I’ve unintentionally (or, sometimes intentionally) built to keep Him out, to keep His Word from penetrating my heart.

I attended a Baptist Bible college for five years.

A small glimpse of what that entailed: more Bible classes than non-Bible classes, intense study of the ten main doctrines, hundreds of memorized verses, chapel every day, many papers, hours upon hours of Bible reading, sometimes weekly.

To be blunt, all-things-Bible were crammed down my throat.

And that led up to me building some serious walls around my heart.

The Bible became my textbook…and therefore, was anything but what I wanted when I actually had some down time.

That makes me really sad.

And I noticed a pattern, as I left the Bible college world and went out on my own.

It became easy to gloss over verses, never really taking them to heart. It was even easier to scan a chapter to “say” I’d read my Bible for the day. It was easier than ever to have an emotional moment with a few verses and then move on, forgetting what made me think, going on with my day.

That’s been my problem for the last ten-or-so years…

I’ve put up walls, never letting my Father in.

And in some ways, by putting up those walls, I ran from Him, never wanting Him to find me. To assure me of His love and compassion and grace and sovereignty and power…and, really, the list could go on.

I feel weak admitting these things…knowing in my heart that it’s been a much bigger battle than I’ve ever let on.

But I also know something…that He is bigger than those walls. And despite the fact that I ran, He always held me…keeping me in His care even when I didn’t always want to be there.

I confessed this to you…but I also want to be honest and say that in our searching over the past, almost-two years…God has changed me. I can’t explain it all in a day…I can just tell you that He’s more real than He’s ever been. He’s teaching me about Love and truly living for Him.

And in His power, I’m trying to do those things.

I don’t have it all figured out…but today I know I’m found by Him.

The truth is, He never really lost me.

And that’s pretty amazing.


Jesus, I Am Resting, Resting

I’ve always loved this hymn, but this version of it is even better. We sang it at church today, and I think I have a new favorite. :)

What amazing promises from our Father.

Have a listen. :)


Late Night Coffee

It’s been far too long since I’ve sat down with a cup of actual coffee while I write.

Tonight, at a quarter to ten, I’m gonna pour myself some and spill my heart…for at least as long as it takes me to drink it. 😉

I’ll let you know tomorrow how late it kept me up…though I’m tired enough that I’m not sure it will make too much of a difference.

Really random…but you know what I looooove? When coffee is at that just-perfect temperature and it kinda burns your throat as it goes down. Yeah, that’s awesome. 😀 (And I think I just solidified in all of your minds that I am a total dork. But, really, that’s ok. If you haven’t at least thought that by now, then you probably don’t know me well enough yet. But you’ll think it soon enough.) 😉

So I know I talk about Mae a lot on this blog…she is the majority of my life, after all. 😉 But it’s been amazing to watch her the last few weeks. Words are turning to sentences, she understands and follows directions, she’s able to tell me when she needs or wants something. It’s all kinds of crazy…and all kinds of happy. I just love her and the little person she is.

Sunday was an especially sweet day of Maelie memories. When I was singing on praise team that morning, I looked out and saw her pointing at me, saying, Mommy! Mommy! Oh, how part of me wanted to run to her and grab her and bring her back up on stage with me! After church, when I finally got to see her, I was walking around with her, and she was passing out hugs to everyone. It was the cutest thing. Then, that night, we went to watch the Super Bowl with some friends, and she was just so full of love and cutie patooty-ness. Really, that’s her every day, but I can brag on her, right?! I just love my girl!

So, barring an actual training program, I started training for my ten mile in May. That translates to hopping on the treadmill and running until I can’t anymore, or in the case of today, running until I’m out of time and have to do something else. I managed to pull a little over four miles, and I was happy with that. Now I need to work on my pace, which can’t be done with our treadmill.

I have finally separated a good treadmill from a not-so-good one…besides price. The good ones actually go faster than 10:00 pace. So I will have to wait til it warms up a little and I can run outside. But it does feel good to keep my running up through the winter. Not sure I’ve ever done that before.

And possibly the best news is that my runner’s knee doesn’t seem to be flaring up as much. I’m trying to keep my distance running to every other day and mix cardio and strength on the other days. That and ibuprofin seem to be helping a lot. Praise God.

By the way, who’s running with me? I’ve got a couple friends…I need a few more. And those of you who don’t run with me

? Should come be my cheerleaders ’cause I’m gonna need ’em!

Ok, I’ve devoted far too much of this to working out…on to new topics.

I’ve been in crazy, I-miss-Indo mode. The other day a friend who is still there told a story on facebook of driving her motorbike, hitting a bump, and her bags of groceries flew off the bike and landed in the river. And a nice, old, Indonesian grandpa-fisherman helped her get them out.

You all laugh…I smile.

And that story actually makes me MISS it.

Almost like I wish it had happened to me!

And all this missing Indo reminds me of home and all that it is. Just a year ago, we weren’t sure what home would look like for us. God was so good…and we got to stay.

We love it here. We are blessed times a million. But when I think of home, I remember that my heart will always have two earthly homes.

There is no way that Indonesia will ever leave my heart. I can rejoice all I want that my house is cockroach-free (HALLELUJAH!!!!) and that I don’t have little lizards popping out of my toaster.

That traffic is, for the most part, orderly, and I can usually get to my destination without stopping to wait for longer than a minute or two. That my grocery store has every possible food I could ever want…and the idea of getting by without brown sugar or Lucky Charms? Is no more.

And yet, the lessons I took away from Indonesia are still there. They have changed me…and are now part of who I am.

And so I guess the word home is relative…no matter if I own my house or not.

The good news? We own our house, and we’re really happy here. :)

Just a random tangent. :)

I’m thankful.

It hasn’t been an easy few weeks. Like I said, I’m learning to appreciate winter and the hidden growth that it brings. But at the same time, my heart is heavy and my eyes are puffy and red.

I’m learning that thing I mentioned yesterday. Trust.

I know He is GOOD. And I know that I can trust Him.

And when my heart aches, I can give it to Him, knowing He will hold it and heal it.

That amazes me sometimes.

No, it amazes me all the time.

Well, my coffee cup is empty, and I really should crash for the night.

Thanks for stopping by. You bless me. :)



I love music.

I just got home from praise team practice, and I’m too tired

to think.

But it was a good practice. :)

So, here are a few lines still in my head from some of the songs we’re singing…maybe they’ ll inspire you.

Or make you sing along.

Or both. 😉

How glorious is Your love; if I could sing forever, it’s not enough.

One day, every tongue will confess YOU are God…one day EVERY knee will bow!

You are my strength when I am weak…

Your grace has broken every chain…my sins are gone, my debt’ s been paid.

You gave, You gave Your life away for me.

In the desert of my need, You’re the fountain that I seek.

You’re the Living Water I keep running to…

Jesus, You are the Answer; Jesus, my debt You paid; Jesus, You are my Savior; Jesus, You’re the One, You’re the Way!

Really looking forward to Sunday. :)

Have a good sleep, friends.



What Did YOU Do Before Church Today?!

So…we woke up today.

A little late, too, which was so nice.

I love the days when Mae sleeps ’til 8…it happens often on Sundays.

But that’s when our Sunday morning normality ended.

The short story is that we’ve been looking for a second car. Tobin found one that we were sure would get snatched up immediately, and the price was so good that we decided we needed to see it.

Before church.

Which starts at 10:45.

And the car was 25 minutes away.

Enter…let’s get ready at lightning speed. (Translation: I didn’t even look in a full length mirror ’til I got to church.)

We got to the guys’ house at 9:45.

Tobin looked at the car, drove it a bit, made an offer.

At 10:00, we drove to the bank which, thankfully, was literally around the corner.

At 10:15 we returned with cash to pay for the car.

At that point, I left in the van with Maelie in an attempt to get to church on time…no worries, friends, we made it w

ith five minutes to spare.


Tobin missed the opening praise but was there by 10:55.

It’s funny… that we woke up, bought a car, and went to church.

In that order.

What did YOU do before church today




Living Love

So I’ll be the first to admit that the blog has been a little dry the past few weeks.

Like I said before, I’m not exactly uninspired…just lacking good sentence structure, maybe

? 😉

Or the emotional ability to be transparent.

It’ s been an overwhelming week.

Exactly one week ago, we were facing a very busy eight days before leaving for vacation and talking about how much time we’d need to spend on the fence to get it finished before we go. (This was to make life easier for the people taking care of our dogs. Two crazy dogs + no fence = no fun for anyone.)

Then? Less than an hour into the project…

It snapped. (Literally.)

On the second fence post hole, which my husband was using a power auger to dig, he hit a rock, it jerked, and broke his wrist. Tobin actually finished the holes and did some more work on Sunday, too, but by Sunday night, we knew that he needed x-rays.

Monday morning it was confirmed that his wrist was broken, and we spent that day wondering how on earth this fence was going to be finished in time.

That’s when Jonny, our friend and neighbor, told him not to worry…that the fence would get done.

During the past several days, Jonny and his son have spent countless hours at our house, finishing the fence this afternoon.

And I have to admit to you that I had a hard time accepting this kind of generosity at first…how on earth do you return this kind of love


Because that’s what it is, friends…LOVE.

I have been so challenged this week by that word and all it carries with it.

Because Love

is a Verb.

And this week we’ve seen that Love.

Living Love.

It’s so, so easy…to say it, to believe it…

But to actually demonstrate it?

Well, when it’s shown…it reflects Christ.

And that’s what we’ve seen this week.

.. through our dear friends.

Some people have questioned the changes in our lives this past year…including joining a Lutheran church. But as we returned from Indonesia last year and began searching for a new church, we pretty much threw out denomination as a deciding factor.

The two deciding points for us were that the church lives the Bible and that we see the love of Christ in the people of our church…not in the words they say but through their actions.

It’s humbling; at times, it’s difficult to grasp; but it’s genuine.

And we’re learning to accept it…as a gift from people who love us, knowing that it’s not possible to repay. Just to love back.

And if this lesson in love weren’t enough, yesterday I came home to see that our yard had been cleaned up. (We have a dozen raccoons living in our trees who had made quite the mess.) I found out later that our sweet neighbors, who are in their 80’s, had come over that morning while Mae and I were gone and cleaned up the yard.

Five big lawn bags worth.

Living Love again.

I can’t look at my yard right now without tears filling my eyes.

Because…we’re loved. Not just by our friends and neighbors but by

our Father.

The One Who sent His Son to live out Love on this earth and give us that perfect example.

Exactly what we’ve seen this week.

I know I have a long way to go, but if there’s one thing I want for myself, for my husband, for my daughter…it’s the capacity to Love just as we’ve seen this week.

To Live Love.

Our clean yard.


Jonny working on the fence and helping Mae put her handprint in cement. :)

What about you

? How have you seen living love in your life?