Tuesday, April 19

Adventures in London and Beyond

      If you had asked me several years ago if I would take three kids, all under the age of 10, on an international flight to England for a week I would have told you that while I loved the idea of doing such a thing, that in theory it sounds really great, that I'd like to be the kind of person who would do something like that, really at the end of the day, with the 5 hour time change, it might just be easier to stay home and go out for ice cream. Maybe we'd pull up some pictures of Big Ben on the I-pad from the ice cream joint.

     So, when this idea slowly became a reality about a year ago (when Scott's twin brother Mark formally proposed to his English finance and announced that they would be getting married outside of London in the spring of 2016), I had it in my head that of course Scott had to go, but that if I wound up going it would be only if we could find someone to watch the kids, which I knew was going to be a challenge because the only person who has ever stayed with the kids for an extended period of time (Scott's mom!) would also be in England.

     Ahh well...we'll figure something out, we have time, I kept thinking. But as it turns out, there wasn't anyone who could really watch extra kids, even though they're super cute. In the end the question came down to, "Do I stay home with the kids while Scott heads off to the wedding (and get crabby while I'm cooking chicken tenders in the kitchen...again...and he's sending us selfies in front of Big Ben!), or do we embrace the adventure and all go as a family?"

     Scott was pro-family the whole time.

      I, on the other hand, was thinking about a 2-year-old on a plane for seven hours-- knocking over juice cups, shrieking, refusing to put her seatbelt on, obsessively putting up and pulling down tray tables, needing to constantly visit the minuscule airplane bathrooms (EWWW!),  and many kicks to  the back of the seat of whomever the poor, unfortunate soul would be sitting in front of her.

    I wasn't sure I was pro-family on this one.

    But then I started to think about our big girls, who are 8 and 7, and realized what an amazing opportunity this would be for them to see the bigger world. How it would likely shape them, at some level, for the rest of their lives.  I thought about them getting to see a real, brick and mortal, 800 year old castle. Not the Disney kind, but the kind you read about in ancient legends.

    I thought about us all being offered a 'spot of tea', biscuits, or even just pizza (anything, really!) by someone with a real British accent.

    When I considered all of this, and also the idea of the girls getting to be a part of their Uncle's wedding (a special day indeed), I found, that despite my fears of flying and traveling and all of the other things a mom thinks about, that we couldn't say no.

    So, off we went. This momma, who has needed xanax to get through international flights in the past, armed herself with prayers (lots of them), no pills of any kind, and walked forward in faith that we were going to embrace this journey and enjoy it every step of the way.

     My grandmother, who is 87 and who has never flown on a plane in her life, alluded to the fact that our choice was ridiculous. "That's an awful lot to take on, don't you think?"

     "I don't know, Gram. I think it might be fun."

    "Ok, well I hope that all works out for you," were her parting words.

    And, so besides wanting to embrace the adventure, I think there was a little piece of me that wanted to buck the generational perspective on sticking close to home, and living a lifetime full of conservative and "safe" choices.

     So we went and returned, and we're all safe and sound, tucked back in at home. We created amazing memories, took lots of pictures (over 600 to be exact),  had a blast, and feel like we all grew a little bit as a family.

     Guess what? God was absolutely, positively with us all along the way. I felt his presence, His safety, the confidence of moving forward and enjoying this journey as a family without much of the anxiety that these kinds of trips can often cause. Praise God for that!

    Being on the other side of the experience now I can wholeheartedly say, I'd do it all over again. I would encourage anyone considering a big family trip, but wondering about whether it might be too much of a hassle, to reconsider. I'm glad we were nudged into this one, and I now know we will take others.

     Below is a bit of a round-up of our trip. Just a few short summaries of the highlights. Feel free to skim through and check out the photos. I hope that in doing so you might be inspired to consider where, if you could, you would take your family. Start dreaming it up...and leave a comment, if you have a chance, about where that place might be!

Trip Highlights  

The airport and flights to and fro:

 Ahh, a seven hour plane ride with a 2-year-old...It went just about how you'd think it would go. Apple juice and water bottles spilled, crackers were crushed precariously into the seat, tray tables moved up and down faster than I could say...well, anything. I visited the minuscule bathroom more times than I'd like to count and tried to lay down as much toilet paper as possible to make the seat acceptable.

     Fortunately, the big girls were completely entertained by the on-flight television, their Nooks and the frequency of flight meals and snacks. They were great big sisters, helping Aubrey from time to time and acting very "big girl" and independent. I didn't read any of the books or magazines I had stashed in my bag, but I did have the chance to watch Nigella cook up some fabulous fare, and the newest Jurassic Park movie.

Being a tourist:

Yes. Yes. We did all the touristy things. The red busses, the London Eye, Windsor Castle, dinner in pubs, Trafalgar Square, Kensington Palace, taking photos next to stately dressed guardsmen and more photos in red phone booths. We ate french fries (oops, chips!) next to the Thames and watched a handful of guys whirring around a skateboard park. We watched street performers and put money in their hats. We tried to blend in, but that's hard to do with three kids, cameras, a map, and heavy American accents. Ah well. We played the tourist role well!

Funny foods:

The food in England, fortunately, is not too far off our beaten (American) path (this was helpful for the kids, I must say!). I could try good Indian food, while the kids ordered chicken tenders. The girls tried hot cross buns, and stripey pudding, welsh cakes and "flake" (the yummy flakey chocolate that goes on top of desserts or can be eaten on its own). Scott, of course, enjoyed trying the many English beers, and I enjoyed, well, not having to cook as much. Honestly, I think you could have stuck any hot meal in front of me and I would have been wholeheartedly praising its culinary excellence!

English Pubs:

There are lots, and lots of pubs. Some from the 1600's. Some that look like you're walking into someone's dank, stone basement. Cool and secretive. Some on street corners serving decent food and lots of beer.

Some that don't let children in after 5 p.m. (leaving you and the rest of your mostly adult crew wandering around London at dinnertime looking for a place to feed three small kids!).

Some that say children and dogs allowed!

All of them with copious taps and pints flowing, many with beautiful hanging baskets, and always full of an eclectic group of people, mostly with British accents to fulfill my people watching quota for the day.

Lots of tea:

Let's be honest, you can't go to England and not drink lots and LOTS of tea.

Quite frankly, sometimes finding a good cup of tea was far easier than finding good coffee. And the tea, is very, very good. I once remembered an elderly British woman telling me that American tea was like cloudy water and thought she was being just a wee bit coy.

Guess what? She was right. We are accustomed to drinking murky water and calling it tea.

We brought a big box home, and even Scott, one of the world's most avid coffee fans, enjoys it. Fortunately, you can order just about anything on Amazon these days, including British tea (;

The churches. Oh, the churches. They are just stunning. Take your breath away stunning. And old, old, old! Like a thousand years old. And yet they stand, with their spires and turrets reaching high into the sky proclaiming their prominence, beckoning you to see them, and making you feel more reverential just by walking through their doors.

While I love my contemporary church here at home, there is something about the commitment to building these cathedrals, at a time when everything was carved by hand, and made of stone. I  know that God doesn't ask that we build alters, or require large buildings for us to meet him in, but I couldn't help thinking that the decades long act of crafting some of those churches, one stone at a time, must have felt like a job honoring God for His beauty, creativity, and sovereignty over all things.

The wedding:

The wedding was lovely, delightful, a total blast. Ava and Ella danced their socks off until 11 p.m. (an evening when we had the time change working in our favor) and Ava asked, "Are all weddings this fun?"

"No, Ava, many of them are fun, but this one was special for sure."

The ceremony was held in a small country church that was reportedly, hundreds of years old (or parts of it were anyway). Scott was honored to be asked to play the song Iris (Goo Goo Dolls) on an acoustic guitar as Anna walked down the aisle, and joined his mother in a beautiful acoustic duet singing Amazing Grace towards the end of the ceremony. The big girls, in matching blue and white dresses handed out programs to the guests, and Aubrey made it all the way down the aisle to the front of the church and then cried into my shoulder (but she made it!).

The vicar overseeing the ceremony was quite funny as he and ran back and forth between overseeing vows and the ceremonial components, and then played double duty as the organist.

A lot of weddings are fun. But, this one was special. Probably because it was Scott's brother and we are thrilled for him and his wife Anna. Probably because it was in England. And, because, the location was picturesque...something out of a movie, really.

Time around the dinner table and the breakfast bar:

The reality is, that for all of the fun we had at the wedding, in our travels, sightseeing and visiting new places, when we got home and started flipping through our photos, the images that prompted some of the most excited and emotional responses were the one's of us sitting in the kitchen, at the breakfast counter of our most gracious and hospitable guests, Mark and Sarah Wilson (Anna's parents).

For all of the hullabaloo and planning, and everything else they had going on, the Wilson's wholeheartedly welcomed us into their home. They made dinners for us, they made beds for us, they made tea for us. We sat around in the evening eating cheese and crackers, jellies and spreads, and learned more about the land in which we were briefly staying. Thank you Mark and Sarah for your most gracious hospitality.

Our children left England feeling like they had gained not only perspective on the greater world, but friends, who felt as close as family...an extended family of sorts. We joked about sending the girls to their house in high-school as exchange students. Who knows, maybe we will.

I know that they would be in good hands and well cared for, and perhaps they would get to see Miss Sarah's most glorious English garden, which at the edge of an early Spring was not quite in bloom, but which looks like a snippet of a Monet painting, even in the off season. I bet it's absolutely stunning in the summer months.

The girls also urged me to share with you the many words they added to their vocabulary. Learning that a shopping cart can be called a "wheelie", that knickers are in fact women's underwear, that "pants" are children's underwear, (I'm still a little unsure what you call men's underwear!) and that "trousers" are indeed what we know as pants. You should also know that the "loo" is the toilet.

And, just in case you are a potato chip and french fry lover, please be advices that potato chips as we know them are kindly referred to as "crisps", and that if you ask for chips you might just get french fries!

In conclusion, we came home feeling a little bit...different. Stretched, in a good way, as a family. Full of memories, and new ideas. Brimming with laughter and smiles about all that we had experienced and the lovely people we met along the way. It was a good, good trip. The most stressful part of it was the coming home, opening my calendar and trying to re-engage with our daily schedule of who needs to be here, and there and everywhere and how is it going to happen.

Well, and maybe the fact that Aubrey was waking up before 4 a.m. for several days after we got home telling us that she was hungry, because it was in fact breakfast time in England. But, after a trip that great, you hardly mind and realize that even some lost sleep was worth it.

So, yes Grandma, it was all worth the hassle. And, since I know you won't be getting on a great big airplane anytime soon,  why don't I come over, make you a cup of tea and we'll wander through my photos together?

Saturday, March 26

An Anchor for My Soul: Celebrating Easter!

I started writing a blog post recently, and then stopped.

And then started another one...

And stopped.

I went back to the first one...spent more than an hour on it, and never hit publish.

It was about lice, and stitches, sickness and dislocated elbows. About backed up plumbing, and the shenanigans that left us spending $900 on lice treatments and and another $500 on Urgent Care visits in the last four weeks.

I offered all of the nitty gritty details. It was about how I found myself laughing, instead of crying, because when life becomes that ridiculous it really is hilarious.

But, then I thought, No one wants to read this!

I  mean, maybe you would like to hear the stories. I have told some of you when I've seen you at ballet, or school pick up, or in the foyer at church. I've texted others, and you've been so encouraging in your responses, feedback and prayers. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you! Your prayers have meant the world!  I'm learning that sometimes it feels like the smallest thing you can do for someone, but really, those prayers, they're the biggest, best, most important thing you can do. 

(I mean, sometimes a casserole, or babysitting helps, but only if it's in addition to real, intentional prayers!)

The reality is, the material of my family life would make for a better stand up comedy routine, than a blog post, and I'm no stand up comic. So, if you want to hear the whole story, you can ask me next time you see me...and the rest of the material, well, maybe I'll save it for that book I'm going to write someday...you know, when I'm not picking out nits and sitting in the Urgent Care waiting room (;

But, in the meantime.

In the meantime...Easter is this week!

What is important this week is that we remember the Easter story.

The real story. The one about the cross, and the thorns, and the massive stone that was rolled away. What is important this week is how that story, that moment in history, changed the trajectory of the world over 2,000 years ago and is still changing my life, bit by bit, today. What is important is how it can change your life too.

This story, the one that you will hear if you walk through the doors of a church this Sunday, of Christ's death and resurrection, it is not just a parable, or nice metaphor to contemplate while we eat extra chocolate and dye eggs in vibrant pastel colors. It is truth that will permeate your soul if you spend the time to meditate on what it really means.

As I've been reading books about Easter to the kids, listening to worship music on my I-phone, and thanking God for the many, many blessings in  my life, I have been reminded that my faith in Christ and my belief in his ability to actively work in my life, has been a comfort and an anchor to my soul...no matter what my circumstances are.

In the midst of many unexpected moments, I have found myself reminded that while I didn't anticipate any of it, God's sovereign hand was in all of it. His grace has been the silver lining, and my faith in him has anchored my heart and my mind.

When I start to feel tired and weary from the day to day my soul has whispered, "Come to me all who are weary and I will give you rest."

When I start to wonder why nothing seems to be going as planned, I hear, "I know the plans I have for you...plans for a hope and a future."

When I feel irritable and incapable of all that is required of me as a mom, the whisper says, "My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness."

And, when I wake up in the morning and that sense of panic about all that the day may require of me threatens to overwhelm, my soul proclaims, "THIS is the day that the Lord has made. I WILL rejoice and be GLAD in it."

An anchor prevents a craft from drifting, it is a source of security and stability. One description I read recently said, "the anchor is a symbol for both hope and steadfastness. When a ship raises it's anchor it is leaving on a new adventure, when it drops its anchor it is securing itself."

In the sea of life, I so often need that security. I need something to connect my heart, mind and soul to. Something steady that I know will not shift, no matter how high the water may rise, or how far from shore I feel.

I hope you have a blessed week. I hope that, even if you haven't been in a church since Christmas, or in years for that matter, that you would allow yourself to wander through the doors this week and let God speak to your soul. Let Him anchor you to something more solid than anything this life has to offer.

If there is any week to start something new, it's this week. So, if church is new for you, no excuses! It is spring, a season of new life. We are celebrating Easter, the story about life overcoming death. Wiggle your way into a church pew or seat and let the story transform your heart this weekend.

Our church, The Chapel, has four services you can attend (7 am, 9am, 11 am, and 1 pm).

If you are a steady church goer, and have been on this faith journey for a while, allow yourself some extra time to meditate on the truth of the Easter story and how it has impacted your life. Read the stories to your kids, paint pictures of new life, make resurrection rolls (they're yummy!), and point out the new life springing forth from the ground as the crocuses start to push through.

Hope. Life. New beginnings.

It's good stuff.

Happy Easter!

Thursday, February 18

When We Miss the Marvelously Mundane

Just a few mornings ago my two year old grabbed my hand and begged me, implored me, nudged me and eventually tugged me away from the kitchen where I was wrapped up in the usual morning grind with unrelenting perseverance to finish the tasks at hand (just one clean spot in the house, just one!) .

"Come on, Mom! Come upstairs with me. I want to show you something!" she said, looking up at me, as her small hand grabbed first at my leg, pulling me away from the sink, and then reached up for my hand.

I held my ground for a minute. I kept my foot firmly planted in front of the sink and almost muttered those words that all mommas utter more than they mean too..."Not right now honey...I have to finish this first."

Oh, but one look at that face. That face! She gets me every time. The dancing blue eyes, the cheeks, the persuasive smile, the way she so eloquently expresses herself at 2 1/2...She was being incredibly persistent, not backing down. Momma, you're going to pay attention to me now! every part of her seemed to be saying.

"Momma, I have something to show you!" is what she said instead...a game we often play.

Sometimes the "something" means she cleaned her room (well, kind of). Sometimes she has lined up her stuffed animals. Sometimes she has pulled every last thing out of her bed, or every book off of the bookshelf and has thrown them into a haphazard pile on the floor. Those are always the funniest "surprises".

"Wow, honey...um...wow. That's...a...That a great great pile you've made there!" I'll stammer as she beams proudly and I conjure up how we'll gracefully clean this mess up at some point later today...maybe.

On this particular morning, the "something"  was a carefully constructed pyramid she had crafted out of a set of Melissa and Doug puzzle blocks. The blocks were carefully stacked, six at the bottom, then five, four, three, two, all the way to the one at the top. She and I had made block towers before, but she had never done it by herself. It was quite impressive, actually.

I was delighted to have seen it, and simultaneously reminded myself that I had almost missed it. 

I almost said no.  I almost told her that I needed to finish the dishes first. By that time she would have been onto other things, or would have knocked it down, or would have forgotten about the thing all together.

While a block tower is not monumental by any means, it was significant in her day, and it was a moment she wanted to share with me. A moment away from the grind. A moment to focus on her playfulness, her creativity...a moment that said, without a spoken word, that she IS absolutely more important than the dishes. 

As she led me up the stairs, holding tightly to my hand, I found this question rattling around in my mind...How often does God, in the same way beckon me away from the grind. How often does he say, "My love, I have something to show you, come this way."

How often do I actually miss what he wants to show me because I plant my foot on the floor just a little bit harder and play the mommy martyr card? "But these dishes, and this laundry, and these floors, and the grocery lists, and the lack of sleep, and the dust, and the very dirty mudroom...God, did you see the water marks on the hardwood floors in that mudroom... from the gritty, grimy snow boots that have been in and out ceaselessly this week? I must not stop!"

Sometimes He is extra gracious with me, and persistent. He tugs at my leg and then takes my hand and pulls me away, and I am always, always, thankful for it.

But sometimes, I wonder if I've missed it. 

Missed the chance to take in the snowcapped trees, and their massively reaching arms that seem to be reaching out to the sky in praise. Or, the chance to have a meaningful conversation with a mom I kind of knew, but hid from, in an aisle at Target. Maybe I missed the chance to hear one of my children sing, or dance spontaneously because I was tirelessly pursuing productivity. Maybe I (gulp) squelched someone's desire to sing when I pushed us all too quickly to move onto the next thing, rather than just...staying...in...the...moment...just...a...little...bit...longer.

I know I write (and talk!) a lot about this very topic. Sometimes I'm tired of hearing myself say the same things over and over again...the broken record spinning in my head. I hope I don't sound entirely like a broken record to you. If I do, forgive me.

Maybe, just maybe, one of these days I'll get it. I'll be that lady who can write about how she  takes in every magnificent moment of the day, from the sun slowly peaking up over the horizon in the morning, to the gloriously beautiful sight of those sleeping faces, innocent and sweet, that I pray over before I go to bed at night.

Someday I'll arrive at the zen, the focus, the true practice of the presence of God as much in the middle of the overtly glorious as in the microscopically minute and mundane moments of the day. 


But, until then I'm a total piece of work. A piece of work in progress, which is, ultimately and hopefully, a good thing.

I'm a slowly sanctifying, fitfully faithful, blissfully blundering, hot mess of a momma on many days who is trying my best to manage this thing called life and motherhood as gracefully as humanly possible.

And, I suppose if I had it all figured out, I wouldn't have much to write about...and that wouldn't be any fun after all (;

Thursday, February 11

When Momma Blows Her Lid!

Oh friends. You should have seen me last Saturday afternoon.

No. Actually, I'm really glad you didn't see me last Saturday afternoon.

I lost it.

Blubbering, crying, slamming doors lost it.

If you're thinking, Oh my goodness, she doesn't look like that type. The blubbering, lost it, slamming doors type! You'd be right...most of the time.  I credit my faith, God's grace, and a somewhat consistent prayer life for helping me to hold it together most days.  I'm relatively patient with my kids. I don't do a lot of yelling because I am starkly aware that I DO NOT want my girls to remember me that way. And I rarely, if ever, slam a door in the house.

But, life got the best of me on Saturday. Actually, the house, the cleaning, the STUFF!, got the best of me.

I had spent the entire morning cleaning the house-- picking up toys, putting laundry away, cleaning the kitchen, and sorting through CD's, DVD's and books in the living room. The CD/DVD project took longer than I expected, and Aubrey (as 2 year olds are prone to do) started to dump other stuff (her toys, puzzles, games) all over the back of the living room. At this point I was still holding it together though. Ok, ok. I've been preoccupied, this is not her fault. She's just playing and doing what two year olds do. Lots and lots and LOTS of what two year olds do.

I continued my organizing project, eventually sent the girls up to clean their rooms, which they did half-heartedly in about 10 minutes time, we ate lunch and the girls settled on the couch to play a Wii game.

It was getting late in the afternoon and I knew that I still had errands to run--for Birthday parties, Valentines stuff, grocery items-- more to do than I realized I had time for.  The tension was starting to mount. I was still purging and organizing the back of the living room and our window seat, whose internal contents had become a haphazard dumping ground for puzzles, games and toys, and was feeling increasingly frustrated.

It was about this time that I started to think about how little time I have to do more pleasurable things (anything aside from cooking, cleaning and managing stuff!), and how much time I spend managing other people's schedules and stuff.  In my frustration this is what went down...

"Ava, Ella!" I shouted, as I pulled dozens of games and puzzles out of the window seat and started throwing them into a pile on the living room floor. "I need help!"

They completely ignored me and continued to play Mario Brothers.

"Girls! This is NOT MY STUFF! I spend all of my life sorting it and I'd like some help!"

"Mom," Ava said, somewhat sarcastically, "It doesn't ALL need to be done on Saturday!"

And that's when I blew my lid.

"Turn that video game off now and get back here and help me!"

They did't turn it off fast enough. I marched over, hit the power button on the television, sent Ava up to her bedroom and then proceeded to pull the rest of the games out of the window seat, throwing them on the floor, one at a time while my six year old watched with her eyebrows raised.

Oh my goodness, I'm damaging my six year old for life, I thought as I continued to angrily throw puzzles.

I finally sent her upstairs, more calmly, because she at least asked if she could help. I realized I needed time to cool off without bystanders.

But before my cooling off would commence I marched my angry self up the stairs behind her, told Ava to never, EVER talk to me like that again and then slammed her door shut.

I went back down to the mess of games and puzzles, sat on the window seat, and cried a few crazy mom tears before Scott found me and tried to talk me off the ledge. He reassured me that,  a) I wasn't crazy, b) we don't have a ton of time for ourselves, c) this parenting gig IS harder than we ever imagined it would be, and d) that he supported my efforts to purge and to ask for help in the process.

Thanks, babe!

Scott invited the girls back downstairs where they apologized for not helping and for their snippy tone about the house cleaning. I wasn't ready to apologize for my door slamming (that would come later), and simply accepted their apologies and offers for help.

Sadly, my tone sent Scott on a grumpy, downward spiral for the rest of the day. Just about the time that I started to regain my composure, patience and stamina, he was throwing paint brushes around the kitchen and barking about his own (understandable) frustration.

The day felt like an epic family fail.

This was not how we  envisioned our lives as parents, or how we thought our family Saturdays would go down.

The reality is that sometimes we just have bad days. Sometimes the pressure cooker of parenthood pushes you to your limits. Sometimes you collectively throw puzzles and paintbrushes all on the same day.


 But, God...God is good. He redeems the mess...the figurative and the literal and can turn it into good.  

We pulled the pieces together that night; apologized to the girls, apologized to each other and made promises for a new, good and better start the next day.

The next morning, while the girls were still sleeping and I was fixing my morning coffee, I happened to glance up and read this verse that has been taped to the side of our kitchen cabinet for months.

It was a convicting reminder. I laughed at the irony that I had boldly tapped it to the side of the counter during a time when the girls bickering with one another was getting out of control and I was tired of being a constant referee.

Perhaps God knew it was I that would actually need the reminder several months later...

I called my husband, who was on his way to church to play on the worship team that morning..."Babe, I just read this verse! The last line...it got me. Remember last night how we said we felt like we were not living the lives we wanted to live...we weren't!"

When the girls got up that morning I read the verse to them and apologized, again, for my angry behavior the day before. I explained that it's ok for mom to ask for help, and that they need to be respectful in their responses, but that my choice to slam Ava's door in anger is never, EVER what we do when we're mad.

"Girls, was that a good choice or a bad choice...the slamming of the door?" I asked,  somewhat sarcastically and in my best teacher voice.

They smiled. "Bad choice, mom."

We had a much better day on Sunday (:

I realized I had been slow to listen and quick to speak during my Saturday purge. The reality is that a family of five does need to work together, and Ava, of course, should help when I ask (and not be sarcastic!), but there was a bigger picture lesson going on here.

In the midst of the mess, and the busyness, and the striving to get it all done, I let my focus on a clean house take me away from my focus on a clean heart...one that accepts that "full" and "messy" are part of this season we are in, and gracefully works through the details of decluttering and cleaning one day at a time,  often at a pace much slower and more laborious than I would like!

The reality is, and I can hardly believe I'm saying this, that Ava was probably right...It did't all need to be done on Saturday.

We did finish our living room purge and I got most of my errands done. And, better than all of that, God was doing a deeper work in my heart that day...I vowed to never, ever slam a door again (I'm hoping I can hold true to that one!), and to listen more and say less.

So, we venture on. One messy, grace filled day at a time. Digging deeper into what really needs to be purged (the living room or our hearts!), and are thankful for grace in the process.