Tuesday, November 25, 2014


In the midst of the deepest pain is when we see the true character of a society. The full depth of love, compassion, and basic human regard has the strongest possibility in the time when pain’s echoes can be heard in shrieking screams.

The recent events that have occurred in Ferguson have split our society in halves for various reasons. We all like to think of ourselves as intelligent and wise, disregarding that there are truths that we cannot fully comprehend due to our lack of circumstances and experiences.

Yes, there is a divide and yes, people will continue to juxtapose whom is “right” and what side has the “real evidence.” However, I hope we don’t get so caught up in the details that we fail to see what’s truly happening right before us.

When righteousness is so resounding that it bleeds out compassion, we all have lost.

Only God knows the exact unraveling of events and the true heart and intentions of those involved on that heartbreaking day but we all know that there is much lost in this tragedy.

The happenings in Ferguson stood for much more than the death of one; it was symbolic of a system that is imperfect and unjust. It propelled the realities of racism into our forefront and onto our television screens, tablets, and smartphones.

No matter how much we would to like to deny its existence, racism still occurs in varying degrees to a multitude of people.

Ferguson stands for the pain of being treated differently based on one simple factor, the color of one’s skin. It is a representation of what has occurred over and over again for more generations to count.

Regardless of who is “right” in this instance, there is a tremendous amount of pain shed from other’s tears. We can pour salt into those wounds with hateful words and our mind’s own righteousness or we can show compassion and empathy to those who suffer just as Christ does.

Romans 12:2

Saturday, November 22, 2014

dear Jj: ten years of marriage

I've always had an idea, an ideal, of what marriage and love and life was supposed to look like. You, or more accurately, the idea of you always weaved in and out of my mind: what you'd look like, what you'd be like, what our kids would look like.

Yes, I've always been "that girl" that dreams bigger than her life with love positioning itself right in the heart of it all but you know that, you know that too well. Just as you've always been "that guy" with your sweet disposition and laid-back attitude without a bullet-point plan.

By comparison and the standard of most, it didn't take long for me to meet you. But you see, my soul had spent the entire compilation of my existence, a very long 18 years, looking for you. So you, you, my sweet babe, you couldn't come fast enough.

I remember the day too well. Basked in the middle of my high school years and the start of the rest of my life, the horizon seemed infinite as the summer light gleamed, and on the very first day at my new job, there you stood.

A smile warmed across my face, my gaze laid upon you, and as you failed to return the gesture, I simply assumed a friendship would lack an existence. I see now what other's rarely have the immense pleasure to glimpse - the true depth of your thoughts and emotions. I know now that you hide the recesses of yourself only for a very select few. Thus, never in a million years could my first impression of you ever be a true depiction of what and who you really are because of the impossible concoction of your trust and first meetings.

You've told me since that you noticed me first, thought I was beautiful, and you really did love my smile. Ten years later, you still think I'm beautiful and you still love my smile but what I love most is now you really see me as I am. You see the intricacies of my soul, the repressed oddness I find myself most at ease, the varied passionate emotions I hide from the world, my extremity in nurturing compassion and zealous optimism that you often put in check through sheer necessity and sanity. You see my many faults and short-comings and still love me.

You see me as clearly as I see you.

Today marks our ten year wedding anniversary, and ten years and some six months since our very first day.

Time is a strange thing, isn't it? It feels like we've filled ten years with a lifetime of memories and yet, it all seems like every fleeting moment in our lives happened just yesterday.

Thank you for the last ten years, for your love, and for allowing me to share my life with the most amazing person I've ever met. I'm incredibly grateful to God for placing you in my life; I'm certain the core of my being could never remain intact without your love, the kind of love that let's my wild-eyed dreams take flight and holds me when the world gets a little too cold for me to bear. I love you so very much.


Monday, July 7, 2014

why foster care?!

"Nearly half the world's population, 2.8 billion people, survive on less that $2 a day."

Tha magnitute of that fact doesn't escape me. Sure, I worry about when we're finally going to be out of debt, when we're going to buy a piece of land to call our own, but the accumulation of our blessed wealth is staggering in comparison to the world.

Spoiled. Blessed. Privileged. And unbeknownst, entitled.

I most certainly am.

I look at my life and see a safe, quiet bubble that I've conveniently diverged myself into. I've failed to get my hands dirty and rarely, concern myself with anyone other than myself, my husband, and our children.

The last few months have changed my core. I didn't just accept Jesus into my life but I want so desperately to allow him to change my very core.

Do I know how crazy that sounds to non-Christians?


I was there, myself, looking quite strangely at those people who say they don't have a religion but "a relationship with Jesus."

Say, "whaaaat?!"

But I get it now. I totally get it. 

Jesus, His teachings, the life we're called to have makes us yearn for something bigger than ourselves. For a life outside of just what we can see.

Which leads me to: why do I want to foster?

I don't want to live a life concerned merely about myself and conveniencing myself. There are children who need help and I want to help.

More than anything, I feel like it's a calling from God and we're suppose to be someone else's parent ... if only for a short time, if not, forever.

Sure, I want Ali to have a sister - for the rest of her life.

But I don't want to just take a child, any child, away from their parent(s). Reunification is the goal in foster care - I think it's God intention for children to live, be loved, and raised by their biological family. I want that. I desire to want what's best for "this" child.

I'm not devoid of emotion and I'm acutely aware of the pain that loving and losing a child will have on me and my family but loving a child, biological or otherwise, is never, never about possession.

Love is about putting someone's needs before yourself and sacrificing for the betterment of another. My pain may be that very sacrifice.

As for the effect this may have on our children? Of course, I wish to shelter them from the realities of this world but I care more about the people they'll be and the character they'll have over the loss they may encounter.

I don't want them to fear doing the right thing, the kind thing, because of the sacrifice they will have to make. Truly, how can one serve another when no true sacrifice has been made? How big of a difference can you make if nothing from your life actually changes?

I want my children to learn to be selfless and compassionate. I don't want them to worry about every conceivable negative consequence that can and may occur when they love and serve others, when they show someone else God's love.

How can I teach them that?

Well, I see no other way than to do so myself.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

in the thick of this mess

It's 11:20 on a Friday night and the dishwasher's still full from dishes from the day before, tonight's dinner and dishes are skewed on every "free" counter space available, I have three loads of clean laundry that need to be "ironed" (ahem, straightened out by another run in the dryer), sand and crumbs layer the carseats and floor in our SUV from our recent outings, and I still need to find room in the fridge for the 2 new gallons of milk (basically, clean out the fridge), pack the husband's lunch because six/ seven day work weeks are his norm, and wake up early because I'm pretty positive the older boys are in need of antiobics (aka I need to get myself and four kids ready for the doctor early in the AM).

A simple, "I'm busy," doesn't begin to explain my life. "Overwhelming" hardly begins to scratch the surface. There are moments I yearn for empty hands and the possession of time as my own but I know that right now, at the peak of this season of exhaustion and busyness, I will never be more happy, content, and fulfilled.

The dishwasher's still full because last minute, I got invited to the ultrasound to find out if I'm going to have a nephew or a niece - during naptime (aka a parent's time to get anything done). Btw, it's a nephew!! Dinner wasn't cleaned up right away because I firmly believe ice cream always taste better when you go out to get it. It's a fact, actually. Laundry's so behind it's embarrassing because we've been out this week: family farm, the beach, and I squeezed in a date with the husband. Sure, the date included an oil change, renewing our auto tabs, and buying Ali a birthday dress with a near expiring coupon. Minor details. The point is I spent time by myself. with my husband. when the sun was actually out!! Miracles, ya'll, miracles.

I'm slowly and progressively learning to  prioritize. Clean houses just don't mean as much to me now as they use to because my kids are growing up and time is so incredibly fleeting. I mean, let's be real, I'll probably sleep half of a credited doctor's nightly suggestion of sleep because I'm still a bit of a neat freak ... but I've learned to let go.

I mean, Aiden hardly busts a move now because he's older and cooler. Tristen doesn't cuddle with me half as much as he used to. Ali's word-to-screaming ratio is widening in a good trending way. Thank goodness. And Carsen, my baby, demands to be treated just like the rest of the kids.

They're growing up. But even more than just growing up, they're changing. They become new people almost every day.

Quirks and traits that you used to define them slowly dwindle away until one day you realize they haven't done or said that thing in weeks. The sweetness of the words they can't properly pronounce is replaced with boring, regular speech. "Gankey" suddenly becomes "blanket." "Puppy-dog" is now adamantly a "dog."

The bitterness and sweetness of raising children is children just don't grow up, their very core changes. And if I spend most of my time cleaning my house and occupying my time with other things, I'm going to miss all these quirky, amazing people that grace my life for such short periods of my life. Right now, I'm digging the lego-obsessed kid that says, "this is the best. day. ever!!" at least twice a week, the shy kid that idolizes his older brother and will seriously ask us, "why we not sleeping?", the little girl that likes to "cheers" with her cup every time we eat and "pound it" immediately followed by an explosion sound, and the man-baby that has a crazy obsession with food and an even crazier dislike with the notion of sharing his mommy (jealousy is a legit thing).

Sure, I'll still love them when we start engaging in "adult talk" and I'm just as excited for them as they will be about growing up but right now, they're so dang amazing. And their love and need for me is overwhelming ... in the best. possible. way. I'm in the thick of this mess and I already miss all of it.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

foster to adopt?!

we're made the beautiful and terrifying decision to foster-to-adopt. i'm a bit of spontaneous, wild dreamer of a girl. my eyes have always widened at possibilities and new beginnings. saying yes to a boy that i only dated for 3 weeks hardly made me bat an eye and deciding to start having children when we had less money than zero never fazed me. optimism and the promise of love always gets the best of me.

but this absolutely, terrifies me in a poetic desperate way. i am going to fall in overwhelming, all-encompassing love with a child that may leave our lives in a moment's notice. how can anyone not fall in love with a child they care for? especially i? i rarely do anything half-way, let alone, love. i never do love with anything less than both feet in, head first, propelling as fast as gravity can take me.

i am terrified of a broken-heart.

but i know better. i know my fear is simply my selfish ways exemplified. because love does not love begging nor demanding for something in return. love simply exists, regardless of circumstances, reactions, approval, and gratitude.

God calls us to love others. period. He doesn't call us to love others only if they can stay in your family forever or if they bring you back something wonderful in return.

we're here to love.

jarod and i will start the process in a few months and we'll see if we get approved, if our landlord agrees, if our home is big enough, if our large family isn't too large, or any other reason it wouldn't work exists. please pray that things work out just right and we complete the foster care process and we can bring a little girl into our home to love.

. . . and please pray a little harder that she'll remain in our lives forever :)

Sunday, May 25, 2014

My Hands, My Life

Furious streams of heated tears fell down my cheeks.

I don't want this anymore. I'm exhausted. I frustratingly thought to myself.

Ashamed at the knowledge God knew my thoughts, I prayed for patience and to be better than myself. To be more like God. To love so effortlessly and so self-sacrificially like God. Like Jesus.

My heart ached in pain.

I never thought of myself as selfish until I became a parent. Motherhood demands all my waking moments and a decent amount of moments I'd prefer to be asleep.

I desire so fervently to give my heart and soul to my children but burn-out hits me ever so often that an emotional release weeps out of my being.

I need to get out more. I need time away from little voices that demand answers to every question imaginable and from little souls that deserve and beg for patience and understanding.

In God's perfect timing and in a few short hours, I heard a man's testimony about how a distracted anesthesiologist's negligence caused him electrical surges of crippling pain from his spine and would in a few short years bring him to eventual paralysis. I watched as his facial expression and body posture mimicked joyful elation and slowly turn to anguish. As rolls of sweat dripped down his forehead, it became abundantly clear the dire physical toll it took for him to stand upon us. His spirit sustained him as though he knew there was a much bigger struggle that needed more healing than the pain that resignated from his core.

He further talked about the struggle he lived with and how his life-changing journey went from bad to worst. The physical toll cost him his employment, his health insurance excluded his condition, and due to the fact that another doctor caused his condition many other doctors were prevented from treating him whatsoever due to their policy. The very threshold of his former life slipped beneath the soles of his feet and solid ground ceased to exist.

He further explained how easy it would have been to be angry and to lean on our own understanding of the ways of God. He confessed he had his moments of frustration and angered questions that simply demanded the answer to, "why?"

Yet, I watched this man stand for over half an hour in excruciating pain to bear witness about how amazing and faithful God is. He glorified God with his spirit and his words helped heal my own.

Sometimes we examine our own pain and hardships so microscopically that it becomes all we see. It becomes a monstrosity in our imperfect minds and often when we compare our own tribulations with others, we begin to see clearly that ours are quite minimal in comparison.

Raising four young children all under the age of six is difficult and my heart will forever go out to a mother of small children. But tonight, I realized how truly blessed I am.

The only hardship God has placed in my life is the joyful exhaustion of raise four beautiful, amazing children.

I do not have an ache that will never cease. I am mercifully free from physical pain. I do not need the assistance of others to care for my basic necessities.

I see now that God has chosen my hands, my own life, to be available. I can either be in need to help. Or I can be helpful. I can be an instrument for others to show God's love. Or I can be an instrument to show other's God's merciful and faithful love.

My job, a mother's job, a Christian's job, is more pressing and consuming than simply raising good, law-abiding citizens.

Our jobs are bigger than that.

We are commanded to shed our old self and demonstrate God's wonderful, patient, merciful love to others, our children exceptionally included.

And yet, the beauty of a commandment is our obedience forces a growth in our hearts and by miraculous design, we become more like the one we fervently admire.

Our hearts mold.

Our souls change.

And we become more and more like our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


Have you ever gone through the ebbs and flow of your daily life and feel that life has not changed much, yet life feels so extraordinarily different? This post is going to be one in which some will nod their heads in agreement and others may roll their eyes into the back of their heads.

As a (humbly self-professed) "writer," I dare to stay clear of those glorified cliques of life when I write. But this time, I can't.

The only words that filter through my thoughts and onto this page is, "I once was blind and now I see."

I've not only accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior but have fully allowed the fruition of the Word to mold my heart and my life.

My life has completely been turned upside down and yet, life remains the same. My perspective on time, life, family, my marriage, God, and the meaning of life has changed.

I'm happier than I've ever been and possess a peace that I've failed to know.

I'm incredibly thankful that this new path has also been accompanied by my husband, Jarod. I'm guilty of previously skeptically nodding my head in politeness when hearing other Christians say that if they focus on Jesus their marriage grows stronger.

Uhh huh, suuure . . . crazy.

And now Jarod and I have joined the "crazy" group. If this is crazy, I never want to be "sane" again.

So thankful for it all. God is amazing.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

i've changed.

It's been weeks since I've written on here. I've spent the last few weeks really evaluating my life, myself, and consequently, this blog. What do I want in life? Who do I want to become?

As you can see by the enormous weight of these questions, it hasn't been an easy feat. How do I write about my day-to-day life when so much inside of me was changing? I couldn't.

I considered shutting this blog and erasing it from the world. I bought a notebook journal and thought, maybe, I'll keep my thoughts to myself. But writers, myself included, have words and the incessant desire to be heard. Who would read my story trapped inside a closed journal that will one day be thrown into the back of my closet? No one, for it never even had a chance.

Also, I love the exchange of thoughts the internet, blogging, and vlogging so easily allows us to exchange. There are bloggers and vloggers I've read and watched for years; somewhere down the line I've grown a fondness for them as if I actually know them in my real-life. There's a craziness that's equally beautiful in sharing your life with other people, even strangers, on the internet. I believe sharing your story can help others, even if only by allowing one person to not feel so alone.

Nathaniel Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter helped me heal some deep-rooted pain simply because I read a story about a woman who remained true to herself even after experiencing crippling isolation and rejection from the world around her. A book written by a man, written in 1850 was powerfully therapeutic to my soul. I will never meet Hawthorne but it is to his credit that I am not a bitter, hateful person.

Words are powerful. The simple ability to enter the mind of someone who has long gone or you will never meet is astonishing and only possible through the use of mere words.

But my main point is I came to the conclusion that I will keep this blog up. 

But another problem posed itself: what would I write about?

This blog started as a mommy/ family blog but as my oldest inches to the age of 6 and heightened reading ability. I question how much of my kids' lives I should put on here. There are stories I wish I could share, especially of a certain someone's first love, but I can't.

And then there were posts where I felt like I just b*tched and moaned a whole ton but that now goes against the better person I'm striving to become. I figure if I spend my valuable time, because all of one's time is invaluable, doing something, doing anything, should be productive, positive, and beautiful.

Thus, the direction of this blog is changing because I'm changing. I hope you'll stick around :)