Outdoor Dreaming

Our little family is moving into a new apartment next month. Its sunny and bright and will suit us beautifully. . . but my favorite thing about it? It has a lovely large terrace off the living room. Its spacious enough to really extend our space outdoors and give us room to lounge and eat meals and enjoy company in the fresh air. I want to transform it into our own urban oasis of sorts, a place my children love to be. And I see it full of plants and candlelight and fluffy pillows. We have two outdoor chairs ready for a transformation and I'm on the hunt for a bench seat that can be positioned in the corner and a small table to center them all around. For the first time in five years I'm also on the hunt for potted plants (squee!) 

As an ode to Spring, and the promise of warmth to come to those of us in the north, here's some of my favorites inspiring my outdoor dreams. I'm also posting more ideas for our new place and all my home decor fantasies over at Pinterest. Happy Wednesday! 

For the Corporate Wife

I would love nothing more than to invite you to sit across from me at our table. We'd sip wine, chat about what we've been reading, what we've been wrestling with, what excites us, and what funny antics our children have gotten up to lately. There is just nothing like sharing the table to knit hearts together.

It's like this in a family too, isn't it? The table is where we gather to share and experience community. It's where we are known and nourished. Books and blogs and experts all tell us that the table is the stability that our children need to be healthy and whole, that coming together is what ties heartstrings and builds character. When that time is missing, they tell us, the absence will be felt, a gap known and bleeding, the consequences evident throughout our children's lives and society.

So we mothers, we who long to cultivate life in our homes and desire children who look fondly on these years with us? We scurry to make our tables lovely and full and good. Entire magazines and blogs and networks revolve around supporting our efforts, and offer images of the comforts of our family seated round. Together we share how even in the mess of whatever season of motherhood we find ourselves in, it can all be beautiful.

But some of us skirt around the conversation. Have you noticed the ones staying silent? They are the ones left wondering if their ideals and reality will ever actually sit down together.  

Their dinners won't look like the ones they pine after or dream of because their puzzle looks different than the patterns strewn across the web. They ache to know they are doing enough and being enough and that somehow, the simplicity of the odd shaped table they set will be enough to nourish hearts. 

I'm one of the silent ones.

I'm one of the moms questioning if I should mention that my husband won't likely walk through the door until seven, on a good day. I'm one of the ones who knows that seven is early, and rare, and a delight for us both. That I'm so grateful when he can kiss foreheads and sing lullabies and tickle little tummies before lights out. I'm one of the moms who desperately needs to be reminded that having a man who works hard and long is a grace and a gift, that even though dinner around my table won't look like the ideal family meal, it is enough. It is our portion. It is good. 

I've questioned whether to talk about the unique challenges of being a corporate wife here because, well. . . because I suppose my man could quit his job. I suppose we could move to the country and change it all up. I suppose we could quit everything that we have been handed, and also happen to love, so that we could be around the table together every night. Some people might even say we should.

But when you are the wife of a man with a clear calling to the corporate world, when you see the way his eyes light up when he talks about his work, when he advances his field forward, when he leads and innovates . . . when you see his faith and work intersect and breathe life into his being and into our culture itself? Well, then you fight like mad to keep him there. 

I know I haven't been silent alone. I know there are many of you who fit the same mold I do, and when there is a gift of a career for our spouse, it's easy to feel guilty about our own worry and our struggles. It's easier to stay quiet than risk being an archetype; to whisper that you fear a wonderful job that provides so much, might actually leave you feeling like you have so little. Because other people? They have real problems that break your heart, and leave you numb and shaken. It feels wrong to talk about being spread so thin in a house full of kids, when you know how very blessed you are, and when at the core, your puzzle is to figure out how to be ok with your man 'out there' doing something amazing that you are proud. It's hard to share that you're not sure you can hold down the fort.

And so we stay quiet, and it becomes more comfortable than speaking up and crashing into the ideals we feel like we aren't meeting. It's easier than admitting we're scared we'll miss the slow bleed if we don't carry on like the experts tell us we should: all of us, gathered around the table. But being a corporate wife, or an odd shift wife, a med-school wife, or a military wife, is making peace with our questions and doubts and puzzles. And not just at dinner time.

It's the soccer practice and the ballet lesson, while we help with homework and rinse hair gently in the bathtub. It's the witching hour when you just aren't sure if you can pull it all together to shine joy to your children in the final hours of their day because you are just. . . you. And you are so tired. 

It's the aching need for a nanny or a housekeeper to make the logistics of your day not come undone. It's finding a good one, and crying sobs unexpectedly when she knocks on the door, as you realize, right in that moment, how much you really did need her, and how thankful you are that she is there in the flesh to be on your team. It's the prayers prayed as the only grown up at the table, and the conscious effort to throw resentment and discontent across the room. The thieves that want to slither in and steal the beauty of who and what you've got sitting there have to be ousted daily.

It's the knowing that when your husband walks through the door, his arrival is not the bell that dings for you to have a break, but rather the second shift beginning. One of nurture and care and the keeping and feeding of this man who has missed you and your children all day long, something fierce. It's the loving of the husband who needs to exhale and be at home in your home. It's the guarding of the calendar and even of your own heart, so that you can hedge support and prayer and safety for him.

It's seeing the sacred in being a wife. In being a comfort, in being a safe place. It's catching a glimpse of what is true- that maybe this is what you were made for, as your form feels full and real. Not weighted down but lightened up, dancing and swaying to the rhythm of being a help.

It's coming to know that your table will never fit in a box, but also that what you pour out and gather in is just too big to fit, and knowing that family life can take a million little ways to get to beautiful. Whatever way you're walking on today? I pray you know you are not alone. You.are.not.alone. I pray you see the beauty in the way you shape your days and innovate your hours. I pray you know that there is One who covers over every ideal with his very self. He takes what feels lacking and makes it enough. He's known for taking meager offerings and displaying wonder and he'll do it again right where you feel weak today. I pray you know there is beauty in the life you are making. There are no cracks that he can not seal as he holds you in grace.

I'm cheering for you today,


What I Learned in February

I love love love the idea to share about what we learned, gleaned, thought about and discovered at the end of each month. Emily over at Chatting At the Sky is hosting the sweetest link up to do just that and I'm so excited to take part for the first time! I'd love to hear what you've learned and loved this month too. Let's reflect and share with purpose and encourage one another, wherever we may be on the journey! So let's recap, shall we?

What I learned in February

1. It is possible to become depressed after losing a big football game.

I've never been much of a sporty girl, but the way these boys played their hearts out and then just before clinching the title win had it all slip through their fingers? It was painful. I am also so fascinated by the way cheering for the home team unites you to friends near and far. 

2. There is no such thing as too much Trader Joe's Jalepeno Greek Yoghurt dip.

I may have traveled 20 blocks out of my way on multiple occasions to refresh my stock.

3. Surprises come in all shapes and sizes, with glory and with grief and my response to each matters much.

I signed a contract for a dream opportunity (more on that soon!) the same week I found out we had to move unexpectedly. One brought elation, the other  tears, but the constant need to trust and rest in each experience proved to be the testing of my character in both instance. Praying that I can embrace steady days, a steady heart and thanksgiving in ALL things each day and in the days to come.

4. It doesn't matter how often I listen to Taylor Swift's new album, it just never gets old.

Is there anyone else who is not a teenager out there who feels the same way? 

5. When you've been living each day in a "feels like" temperature ranging between -6 and 16 degrees, when the thermostat hits 28, it feels like Spring.

True story. Don't ask me how I know. 

6. I love to read books set in Europe in the mid 20th century.

I realized this as I took a look at my recent reads: Maisie Dobbs, The Flavia DeLuce Mysteries, Beautiful Ruins and now All the Light We Cannot See.

Click below to get your own copy of any or all of these treasures! I can't say enough about each and every one!

7. Speech Therapists might save the world (Or at least my world).

I had no idea what an amazing resource a speech therapist could be. We are beginning sessions with one for three of my four kiddos for various issues that I didn't even understand were in their scope of expertise. I am beyond impressed, and so so encouraged.

8. I underestimate my children.

Its registration time already for my children's  online private school, and so they have had to go endure difficult placement tests on top of their regular school work. I am amazed at what they accomplished and what learning they have mastered. Its a hard road as a homeschooler always seeing the gaps in my own work with them and wondering if its ever really going to be enough. I can struggle with that often, but this month? I was just so comforted and so proud.

9. School is not what it used to be, you guys!

I was thoroughly schooled by my daughter's guidance counselor this week about how her coursework lines up with what is needed for her college applications. I should mention she is a freshman. Yeah....it starts that early. Who knew that the PSAT was taken in 10th grade and I need to sign up soon? Yeah, not me. The requirements on these kids? Cray. Years ahead of what was required of me 20 year ago. And the pressure? Its crazy too. So if you know a high schooler? Hug them. They need it. (Maybe hug their moms too?)

10. Acetone is the key ingredient in nail polish remover.

All this "acetone free" business I used to buy? Not getting the job done. You know when you go for a great manicure and they just whip your nail polish off? That's because they know where to get the good stuff. And now I do too...on the bottom shelf, hidden from me all these years. (And perhaps dangerous and flamable? Although let's get real, I really don't care at this point.) Game changer.

11. Google Shopping Express is changing NYC.

This has been around since the summer in NYC, but this month was my first time trying it and I'm hooked. While Instacart is still my go-to for grocery items, Google Shopping Express delivers all my staples and non perishables, from Fairway, Costco, Target, Staples, Walgreens and more, straight to my door the same day. If you live in one the cities able to take advantage of this, its beyond lovely!

So how about you friends? What have you learned, big or small this month?


A Winter Getaway At Woodloch Pines

Oh friends, I'm so excited to share with you about our Winter getaway today! I've written before about how this time of year often feels dreary as the days are a little darker, the school work a little more tired and all the mamas grow a bit weary. We were feeling it and we were ready for some LIGHT. So, when The Moms asked us to join a crew of bloggers at Woodloch Pines Resort in the Poconos to explore and adventure, we answered with a resounding "yes." So with no further adieu, here is my recap of all Woodloch has to offer. I hope it will prompt a visit there for your family or if you live far away, that it will inspire you to get outdoors and enjoy one another any way you can.

When we arrived our children literally leaped out of the mini-van. The view from our room was so dreamy- it overlooked the frozen lake, where our west coast selves saw ice fishermen for the first time ever. I could have sat and gazed all day, but of course the kids couldn't wait to play in fresh snow.  There were so many areas to explore: from tubing runs, archery, go carts and just as many indoor activities. We started with a good old fashioned snow ball fight followed by a lunch meet up with friends in the lodge. 

The dining experience struck a great balance between fancy and fun. Our servers got to know our children well over the weekend and there were options for all of my picky eaters. After our first meal, they even started to bring Josh and I larger coffee mugs and took to leaving the carafe on the table for us (coffee drinkers unite!) The meals were each 4 courses and while they were beautifully plated and offered heaps of variety, the atmosphere felt comfortable and cozy enough for our children to really enjoy themselves and not worry about getting crumbs everywhere. Also...the hot chocolate was a major hit! Dinner time was complete with some of our children's favorite characters from movies and real life, who were all more than happy to pose for pictures.

One of our favorite events of the weekend? Cake Wars! We had 30 minutes to create a themed design out of a given set of ingredients, just like on the television show. Woodloch had several events like this throughout the weekend: a singing competitions, bingo- all kinds of themes to bring families together and participate in things outside their element. Also? Never again will I judge the impulsive decisions made on those shows- the time whizzes by.

The rest of our first day was filled with the Go Kart track and the shooting range, where our kids surprised us with their need for big competition and their skill with a paintball gun!


  Woodloch is a pretty vast property, so in all seasons they offer a complimentary shuttle service to get around. It was so helpful for us in freezing temps as we moved between activities, but it also allowed for our older kids to get around safely on their own or with friends.

We were surprised though, at how easy it was to find things to do ALL together. With the ages of our kids spanning from 6-13, its a rare thing to find activities to enjoy where all of them are engaged. Usually, one or more is on the sidelines, too big to enjoy what we are doing, or too little to participate safely. It was so refreshing to be in a place where there really was "something for everyone" and, even better, that it was all inclusive and all planned by someone besides mom and dad. A huge hit all weekend long was the bumper cars. Our youngest proved to be the most likely to take out other family members and was delighted by that!

The evening had so much to offer between indoor play at the Rainforest, basketball games and Broadway quality shows. We had a hard time deciding what to take part in, but finally landed on a Magic Show. It was definitely the right choice for our family! Jones was pulled on to the stage as an assistant, and even now, almost a week later, is still talking about levitating tables, the wallet that was on fire and birds and rabbits that appeared out of nowhere. This was so full of humor and fun for the adults in the crowd too and it left us each amazed!

With the temperatures much warmer on our last day, we decided to spend more time outside, tubing, hitting the go Kart track again and enjoying the petting zoo.

This awesome weekend away was made possible by our sweet friends, The Moms, who are leading trends and discussions about Modern Motherhood.

This trip was also sponsored by Vaseline® Intensive CareTM. We were asked to put Vaseline to the test in cold temperatures on this trip, and we certainly did! Vaseline's products were sensitive enough to use even on my kiddos with diagnosed excema (such a rare feat in my experience with prescription lotions and salves!) So here's the skinny on Vaseline: 

Their range of lotions go beyond basic moisturization to deeply moisturize to heal dry skin. With daily use, skin is kept in a lasting and healthy state of moisturization.

Each of the powerful formulas have been designed to combat dry skin with a special blend of humectants (to draw water into the skin), and healing micro-droplets of Vaseline® Jelly (to lock moisture in). Like original Vaseline® Jelly, these micro-droplets are highly refined, and 100% pure. Together, the humectants and Vaseline Jelly micro-droplets in the lotions work to deliver on a range of moisturization needs. 

Thank you for giving us such a wonderful weekend!

Grow Together


So. . . Marriage. The great adventure that has changed me and been one constant in all the courses and seasons of my adult life.

After fifteen years ? We love to say we “grew up together” because in so many areas of maturity, this is true!  We have  experienced extreme sadness and disappointment in our circumstances and in one another, as well as greater joy together than we had ever known apart.  We have changed in our appearance and tastes, even in our desires for the future, but somehow by God’s will, we are walking as “Heirs in the Grace of Life” side by side.  As life wears thin in patches and the inevitable stress and difficulties come, each of us, makes a choice. And whether you married young or old, your capacity and strength to choose well will define your future.

 Will we grow together or will we grow apart? Will we keep building something beautiful, or choose our own way? 

Marriage isn’t passive. Marriage might actually be the fight of your life.

More thoughts on life together at For the Family today. You can read the rest HERE.

TEN. . . Lately

I'm back.

Vacation is behind us and I'm caught up in that hazy fog and culture shock that always accompanies a return to the city after extended time away.  I so enjoyed having a bit of a blogging break over the holidays to work on other projects outside of this space and to just be with my people. Today we are tucked inside after the blizzard that just hit the northeast and  I thought I'd catch you up on all the things with an old school TEN post. Remember those? Photos and thoughts to gather up and share. Internet randomness at its best and a little peek into one another's hearts and minds. 


The lake is still my favorite spot on the face of the earth. It is always peaceful and utterly charming in summer or winter, but there is something magical about standing on the shores with family and building a bonfire in the snow. It is safe. It is an anchor to my childhood, to my history and heart year after year and its the place I get serious with God about the way he wants to move in my life each and every summer. Being there feels like sacred ground. My soul is simply at home here. Do you have a place like that?


I escaped to the bathroom to hide from my people when all of it got to be a little too much for me over the holidays. Apparently I still wanted some interaction, because I decided to instagram it and this was the most highly commented on photo I have had in recent memory. Lots of you were even hiding in the bathroom along with me and we supported each other through the craziness that is Christmastime. Are you all doing ok now? The interesting part about this is that I come off as an extrovert to everyone I meet. My personality is a lesson is contradictions. My sweet husband has been studying Myers- Briggs profiles for a couple of months and we have found such insight into understanding one another, our quirks, our parenting styles, who our children are and on and on that we can't stop talking about it and begging to test every one we love. That probably means I'll be writing about it more soon. If you want to learn more about your own personality, check out the simple test at 16personalities.com.


Friendships take heaps and heaps of hard, intentional work. This may have always been the case, but I feel it most deeply now, and I feel the sting of those relationships that have drifted or just faded over time. Is this a symptom of my late 30s? There are dear people in my life that I am horrible at connecting with. I get caught up in my daily rhythm and forget to reach out, I get lost in my head and forget to share. I know I have hurt them in all my flaky seasons, and in my bruised up ones when I tend to retreat. I have also known the fight to build bridges, to forge common ground together, to work side by side and cultivate a partnership steeped in respect. What a gift to walk this life with such companions. Those who are near and far and on our team. And the grace of those who stick by your side through all the seasons and all the things? Wow. I'm so full to bursting with the gift of their life and love. May I be such a friend. 


The last five months have been spent working to market and launch my sweet friend and mentor, Sally Clarkson's, book, Own Your life. Beyond being floored by the words she shares among its pages, I just returned from a weekend at the Denver Mom Heart Conference, where she shared messages out of the book with the women gathered. It was incredible. My journal is full to the brim, and big questions about how to invest my time, in this generation and the stewardship of my heart and my children are all over the place in my head right now. I'm realizing that this life is too short to not be a woman of action and strength, and that I have been held back by fear for a really long time.

So, what would you and I do if we were not afraid? What would we STOP doing if we were not afraid?

Oh yeah. Big ponderings. 


But God has not left us alone, He has fashioned for us, the Hero. -Kierkegaard

Oh how often I fill my children's head's with instruction and forget the power of story in their hearts. To equip them, to build them up, to strengthen their will and give them someone to admire and pattern their life after. So, we are reading hero tales, stories of spiritual giants, defenders of the faith and those full of characters that face battles with courage. Our current favorites?


Crisp white is my favorite. Chic, fresh, quiet. There is something about fresh fallen snow that makes the light dance and fills my heart with calm. I'm thankful that winter holds as much great beauty and possibility as its sister, Spring. That the hope and possibility of life ready to burst forth under the surface, even in the bareness of it all can speak to the state of my own heart and all that is waiting to come alive.


I love to walk and move and listen to music. I'm trying to get out each day with the kiddos or solo to mix up my rhythm and just move. No agenda, no where to go, just pure movement to enjoy the neighborhood, to hunt for inspiring vistas in the architecture or among the trees. Its the simplest of pleasures to just get outside and take in the world. I don't want to neglect this practice. It makes me feel alive and at home in this place.


This image continues to inspire me. I wrote a post last year about  Awakening Wonder in the midst of mid-winter dryness as a homeschooler. I didn't realize how much I would need it myself in this season. Do you ever find yourself in that place? Longing for your days to be filled with meaning and creativity and struggling to get out of the fog? Wondering if what you are committing your days to will ever be enough? Yeah. Me too. I'm writing a bit more this week about living in that place and finding beauty there.


Speaking of awakening wonder, I find winter to be a season again and again that awakens my soul. I cling desperately to candlelight and ideas while we're hunkered indoors and the days fade early. My heart tends to feel most vulnerable this time of year and I know I need encouragement! So I'm reading lots intentionally and listening to podcast archives from my pastor (you can find them to download HERE).


Some favorites on my bookshelf right now? 


I'm writing a book. I have no idea what will come of it all, but I'm taking the first steps to just doing the work. I've been praying for a long time for God to give me the words for the warble that has been in my head for so long and as I pray and write each morning, He has been faithful to give clarity, to help me see what needs to be stripped and what needs to be strengthened in the story He would have me share. It has been both frightening and invigorating! I'll keep updating here throughout the process, but I'm excited to be on this journey. My writing times lately are the sweetest I have ever spent with Jesus lately and that alone is worth the work.

Thanks for reading here. I am so blessed by your presence.




The Art of Lounging

CT couch copy.jpg

"There remains then a Sabbath Rest for the people of God"


Its quite a mouthful of a word, even when one is a fluent in the german language. Perhaps that is appropriate because in this tiny word, there is so much to be found- so much wonder squeezed into those 13 letters. Although we don't have a word quite like it in English, in German it means, "a space or situation that is warm and cozy, that induces a cheerful mood and peace of mind without a need to hurry or worry, and with a connotation of belonging and social acceptance." It sounds a lot like Home.

In the winter months especially, this warm and cozy atmosphere is sought out and crafted in Germany, as well as the Scandinavian countries that also bear harsh winters. Candles are lit, fires crackle in the hearth, tea kettles whistle often and families recreate indoors and out, intentionally, together and with cheer. Its as if the entire culture has recognized that to survive the months ahead, they must light a candle in their darkness, cultivate beauty and seek out meaningful community. They know warmth must be made, rest must be had, and that they ought not to be alone.

In North America, we are pretty horrible at resting. We are a people of extremes and we hate to slow down. We struggle to cease striving.

And yet, in myself I can feel in my very bones a crying out for sleep, for rest, for renewal. I long for the new life promised in the Spring, but I struggle to allow a season that is fallow to have any place in my life. The thing is? Without rest, nothing great is going to grow. Without that time underground, soaking up nutrients, building strength in the dark, those bulbs planted in the fall are never going to burst forth as glorious daffodils. Quiet seasons intentionally investing in our inner life matter greatly. They bear beautiful blossoms in due time. 

Read more about what I'm sharing about rest today HERE.


You Don't Have to Go It Alone {and A HUGE Favorite Things Giveaway with Suzanne Bowen Fitness!}

I am so excited to be teaming up with some of my favorite bloggers in a Round Robin Style, Favorite Things Giveaway this week!

One of you will win a one year membership to Suzanne Bowen Fitness!

 Sometimes the internet feels like the loneliest place on earth, like a big pretend world, and yet, it can also be the place where the sweetest friendships are forged. For me its often felt like both, but mostly the latter.

The life of a writer can be pretty solitary. To work, I need my brain, my notebooks and my trusty laptop. I love what I do. I mean, I really love it, but sometimes, I can get stuck in my head full of questions about how I'm working, tools I'm using, technology, trends, ideas... I crave that water cooler talk with others, where we share experiences and learn from each other. Enter my "mastermind" group -a group of bloggers joining together to collaborate and share ideas. One big brain. Joining this group has become a beautiful way to connect with others and cultivate community.  Its one way to begin traveling together and reject the idea of going it all alone, and it has become the sweetest of gifts.

If you are a blogger, or working in any field and feel isolated, I would highly recommend joining or starting a group like this of your very own. If you're wondering how to begin, check out this amazing podcast from my dear friend Kat over at How They Blog :  How to Start and Run a Mastermind Group. The most important thing though? Don't be afraid to ask others to join you! You'll find most people will be excited for opportunities to link arms and join you and be encouraged that you reached out!

So now to the fun part- gifts all around!

All week long, you can visit and enter and win some wonderful prizes at each of our blogs linked below. Here at Hope With Feathers I am so excited to share my all time favorite fitness resource and introduce you to someone who has become a dear friend, Suzanne Bowen of Suzanne Bowen Fitness! 

Suzanne has got to be one of the sweetest women I have ever met. She is kind, encouraging,  has an incredible passion for helping others and has been featured in countless magazines and television shows to share her BarreAmped method. She is truly an expert in her industry. You can read more about her story here: Meet Suzanne

One thing about me and fitness? We don't naturally go together. I was a dancer and a swimmer growing up and never really thought about self care until after I became a mom. It was easy to stay fit and healthy without thinking about it. In the last five years though, after facing some serious health issues, increased stress, two miscarriages, grief, and some depression- being healthy in my mind and heart, as well as my body has become a daily battle. I didn't know where to begin to get healthy or how to fit it into my life.

My friend Summer shared SBF with me a little less than a year ago and I thought... I could do this. I really could. SBF was life-changing and accessible to a busy mom at home or traveling. It is an incredible workout, but also very wholistic in its approach to my body that was healing. There are over 200 barre, mat, interval, cardio and core workouts to stream from SBF on any device 24/7. Suzanne is encouraging and real in her videos and super intentional about answering questions through her comments section and face book page. She has truly become a personal trainer and friend that is actively a part of my life. SBF also offers an online community on Facebook, seasonal challenges, and beautiful food guides designed by a certified nutritionist. Its kind of amazing to be able to have the gym come to you, not by just popping in a workout video, but in a way that is more personal and includes a level of accountability and support.

I am so thankful for what Suzanne brings to my life, and I am so excited that she is offering her program to one of you!! We don't have to go it alone, girls. In work, in health, in life...we can team up to be better, together. I will choose two winners, one for the year long SBF membership and one for a selection of SBF BarreAmped DVDs. (These are coded for North America, so friends in the EU and elsewhere will need a compatible DVD player).

To Enter, use the Rafflecopter below and don't forget to visit the other bloggers linked below! Some of the things they are offering will knock your socks off! 


We are so thankful to share our favorite things with you- but most of all, thankful for community and that you are here with us! You don't have to go it alone, friends.


Happy Thanksgiving

Hi friends! Just popping in to say Happy Thanksgiving! I woke this morning feeling unprepared and a little unfurled. This past week held work on marketing projects that started to eat up my calendar and my babes were struck with high fevers and up for hours each night. All the crafting I had planned didn't happen, all the historical readings I'd laid out remained still on their pages. My baking efforts resulted in one very simple apple pie and none of the Pinterest worthy cinnamon bun and bacon turkeys I'd dreamed of waking my children up with this morning.

The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is currently trumpeting just blocks from here and we are home, missing it.

Pretty much, this Thanksgiving feels like a big 'ol giant flop.

And yet somehow I woke today with hope bursting. I just had to share it. The reality of this day just hit me. . . . hard. Maybe more than ever because of my feelings of weakness and failure.

I've been pondering how interesting it is that it is this day that ushers in the holiday season. It is with a heart of thanks that we prepare for Immanuel.

To offer thanksgiving today means that we recognize that a gift has been given. 

To give thanks, first we must receive.

So, we enter into Advent this week, the season of waiting for the nearness of God, in anticipation for the greatest gift ever given, with hearts and lips fresh full of thanks.  

Do you know the gift?  

Have your hands opened and taken hold of the generosity of God? He has given us his very self and to live every day in the grace what has been offered to us in this season orients our hearts to a Person whose very nature breathes thanksgiving through us every day of the year.

Friends, may our thank you's today, be the first step in receiving 'God With Us.' He is here, even when we fall apart, even when we fail to meet our own expectations. He never fails us.

Happiest Thanksgiving to you and your families!




My Favorite Land's End Outerwear Picks {and Giveaway!}

The search for the perfect winter coat seems to be endless over here. As my older girls grow and develop different tastes and an affinity for wool (like their mama!) and my littles are adding in more adventurous activities like skiing and snowboarding to their winter line-up, our needs for outerwear are changing and expanding. 

We were thrilled to recently join Land's End  at an event hosted by The Moms, to try on some of their new looks for this season! Their Snow Flurry boots for kids have been a long standing favorite around here- I love the side velcro functionality and ease in pulling them on and off over snow suits. They are my secret winter weapon for mamas. My kids really don't like puffy coats that are too bulky to move in comfortably and I'm a crazy person about whether they can be worn safely under a seatbelt, so in recent years we've found the Land's End Squall jackets to be warm enough for skiing and playing in the snow, but sleek enough to meet our picky standards. 

And the wool jackets and car coats? Beautiful. These are my favorites. You can click on individual images for more a direct link to each one over at Land's End.

The best part? One of you is going to win a $100 gift card towards a purchase of your own at Land's End! 

You can enter below in the Rafflecopter until Friday and be cozy with a new coat by Christmas! ***THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED***

Good luck and happy shopping friends!



Have You Entered the Silent Years of Parenting?

Have You Entered the Silent Years of Parenting?

Somewhere after diapers but before going out alone to the movies with friends, discussions about parenting took a turn...

Somewhere along the way we all started sharing less. 

The fervor to share all that we had experienced in our new days as parents was replaced by silence as our children grew into their tween and teen years. Perhaps as we grow in parenting, we learn that we never really knew as much as we thought we did, perhaps as children grow and struggle or even voice negative opinions, we don’t feel deserving of sharing much of anything. Perhaps we parents of older kids simply want to honor their privacy and to share our questions or concerns feels like a terrible breach of their trust. Right now? I'm in the thick of the Silent Years.

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Mapping the Geography of our Hearts and Affections {Remembering the Girl Who Sings}

I'm often asked if I want to return to the West. If the pressures of city life have squished us too far, if we have tired of apartment living, of navigating the urban grid and all the challenges that come with city life in general. 

Do I Ever Just Want to Go Home?

The answer is yes. Every. Single. Day.

And  the answer is no. Because somehow my life has become much greater than my own preferences and affections- and I'm even forging new ones.

The video shown above is my valley. It feels like home. Always. It is constant and full of my history- full of my family's history for several generations. Those mountains? They orient me. I never realized how much I relied on them to know north and south, east and west. I never realized how much I relied on them to know myself. . . . not until I'd left and seen that most of the world offered an endless expanse of flat land. Directionless. 

The geography in this valley is my comfort. Plucked from it, I have experienced a sense of loss, of being lost even. Without a compass, without sign posts and markers to map the way- how does one orient their heart? 

Where is our true north?

Taking a good look at what we long for is a great indicator of what we put our hope in, of what we cling to, what we defend at all costs. . . . . and where we direct our affections. I've had to ask myself what holds my affection most- what is my first love? Often, the answer has been whatever is known. In my past, in places I hold dear, in people I love. Then the whisper comes. . . "love the Lord will all your heart." Is Christ my first love? Is my home and rest and hope and satisfaction in him? 

There is only one love that will truly fulfill and make me sing. Our voices, our personalities and our passions are squelched when our hearts are restless, chasing after anything else to be anchored by.

We will never be free to say yes, to venture, to embrace, or to journey with God, until we let go. The prayer of my heart has become a song lately. Embrace and let go is the rhythm beneath the melody.

"Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, where we walk upon the waters, wherever you would call me. Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander. . .that my faith would be made stronger in the presence of my Savior." -Oceans

I want to live wildly, and among the wild, because that is my calling- it's part of my story. 

I must choose whether to orient my heart to the past or to the story God is writing for me- however uncomfortable that makes me! 

This song has me asking- can I be called out to live in wild places for the benefit of others? My son also makes an appearance as the little boy running through the woods in this video. . . Thanks times a million to Andy Mineo for inviting him to take part in sharing the message of your music!

And that I may never forget that where I am right now is exactly where God has me. And maybe you too friend? 

What do you long for that keeps you from living life fully right where you are?

Where can we give thanks together for where God has you right now? What might the Spirit be nudging you to release to him so that you can take hold of something greater?

Praying that we may each rightly embrace what God has given us today-and let go of what grips our hearts and keeps us from a song of freedom. It's in that space that our true home starts to be seen to us as beauty. 

So thankful you are here,



Its Time for us to Dress Like Daughters {Remembering the Girl Who Sings}

I come from a family of musicians. Although I am the least skilled among them, its a requirement that we all sing. We share memories and and sayings and inside jokes through songs and quips. When we pass butter and tongs getting the Christmas table set, when we peek in to whisper good morning to our children (or want to embarrass them in public!), when we ask a blessing each evening over a shared meal. . . there is always a tune in the air.  Musicals are our jam- and we know all the words and hold heated convictions about every version ever made. We mark seasons of the year by which musical befits it: Meet Me in St. Louis is always for Autumn, while the Music Man is thoroughly enjoyed in the Spring. This will either endear you to us, or annoy you to bits, because we just can't sit and watch- we have to participate and sing along! With this background, it was impossible to experience childhood without Eliza Dolittle at center stage. Her story captivated me.

The cockney girl who dreamed of being a fine lady finds herself the object of a bet between two gentlemen, Colonel and a prideful linguist, who believes he can transform anyone from an urchin into something elegant, with enough skill to fool even royalty. And so begins the story of My Fair Lady. . .

Henry Higgins taught Eliza Dolittle how to pose and pretend. He fancied up her speech and walk, the rhythm of her days and with all his might squeezed out every ounce of un-refinement that he could. He never said much about who she was before, he just moved her toward being a lady , something better. And so a girl pretending, and nerves shaking and a mind racing to do everything just so was presented and passed off as something grand. 

The cockney though? It bubbled there right under the surface, always ready to pop out at the wrong moment, always bringing a measure of fear to dear Eliza's outings. Would today be the one where her control would buckle? Where she would be found out for what she really was? 

This was a girl who had no wild dreams for herself. Her mind's greatest imagination had been a dream of being a girl selling flowers in a real shoppe. . . never to be so important as to stand among kings, never to be noticed.

But then she put on that dress.

Heads turned. Kings called. Men and women of consequence beheld beauty in her. She had their ear and attention. She, only she, had to believe it was all true, that it was all real. That she was real. She was the last and most impossible to fool- she had to believe she wasn't the street dweller she knew she was. She had to believe she was fine. She had to believe that her clothes had transformed her.

We are, each and every one of us an Eliza. And its all true, every bit- the clothes do make the man. . .  and the woman.

So what are you wearing?

What clings to your skin and sways when you move? What sashays and twirls when you dance with joy and wraps round you and tickles your cheek like the softest scarf?

I've spent far too many days wearing fear. Wearing insecurity. Wearing comparison. I leave the house hoping no one else notices my sooty parts- I've been a great pretender. And perhaps none of us can pretend quite so well as Eliza, but the beautiful part of our story- the foundation of our entire identity, is that for us, there is no need to pose. We are daughters of the King. We must be enveloped in the garment he has wrapped us in. White as snow. Sheer beauty. Loveliness. A new identity clinging to us, becoming us.

If we're really ready to dress like daughters, we must clothe ourselves in Christ.

When we put him on, we wear our new clothes forever. Never to fade or be mended, just glowing white and starched beautiful forever. No matter how tattered the girl beneath the petticoats may feel, no matter how often she wonders if she will be found out, the dress sets her before the King. Her clothes make her.

As we dive in to the foundations of who we are- who we can be as a girl who sings- let me ask you, Have you put on Christ? Do you know that your whole self is set right, your whole status and being and refinement and and beauty rest squarely on his shoulders? 

Ask him to show you today where you can cling to him. Ask him to show you that you are his daughter. The daughter of a King, welcome in his court, one who may hold his attention, one who he sees as beautiful.

For reflection today- perhaps to write out, to ask God to make alive in your heart?

Galatians 3:26-27; Zephaniah 3:17; Psalm 91:4; Galatians 4:7


Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day With Jennifer Garner {and a Movie Giveaway!}

We all have those days. The ones we want to just put to sleep. The ones filled with alligator tears, with unimaginable mishaps, with impossibilities that make us feel like the universe is conspiring against us! 

Here are a few snippets from some of mine.


On the left, meet Maia and Jones circa 2007. They hid in the bookshelf. My pregnant self fell asleep on the clock and couldn't find them anywhere. We missed their big sister's piano lesson, burned dinner and were a puddle of tears by the time daddy got home. . . . but hey, we have a really adorable picture now.

On the right? These are my little sweeties in 2010. Daddy was out of town and mommy decided to take on big projects in the apartment. This was after our third trip to Home Depot to buy supplies to repair my "improvements." I thought buying a plant would make me feel better- instead it made us a pariah to all cab drivers and we waited here, hungry (albeit together) for nearly an hour while a street parade barred us from public transportation. Fun times.


This right here? This was our best attempt at taking a Christmas card photo back in 2009. Family closeness right there guys. I have no words. . . 

Perhaps that is why we resonated with this movie so so much! We all adore one another around here, but we struggle to walk through those days where everything seems like its against us. It was charming to see another family who love one another and are for one another experience a level of crazy all of us can understand. We laughed out loud....a lot.

After the screening, we had the joy of getting to talk to Jennifer Garner about life, motherhood and making movies. She is so delightful and was laser focused on making the kids in the room feel special. Her wise words on how to make it through a bad day? Be okay with feeling lots of things at once. Its ok to feel sad about moving on from something you loved, and also be excited about what is new.

And that messy tension is what makes movies like this full of such beauty. Our own bad days always hold hope all swirled together with the mess- and sometimes we can't see the grace, or beauty or hilarity in those moments until we look back on them later. 

Clinging to grace and a little laughter today too sweet friends,



Have a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day story to share? Snap a picture of your craziness and sound off on Instagram with the hashtag #verybadday for a chance to win tickets to see the Alexander movie opening day! The winners will be chosen at random and contacted on Instagram. ***THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED***

The God Who Visits A Second Time {Remembering the Girl Who Sings}

Y'all. Y'all. I'm not even from the south and I have no other words. I had no idea my 31 Days of writing would begin this way. Sheer mayhem. With company from out of town, with illness striking, with a spur of the moment adventure to the country....what a whirlwind this past week was, and what a gift. I'm not convinced I can do anything well on a tight deadline and even though the bones of this series are written, I couldn't give the final push this past week to publish posts here. And do you know what was swirling in my mind while I let things fly off the rails and couldn't be in this space writing?

Psst. Psst. I knew it would go down like this. I knew you couldn't share your story well. Couldn't be consistent, couldn't be faithful. Do you even have anything worth saying?

Lies. Every one. And you know what takes a girl with a song in her heart straight down into a deep pit of hopelessness? Listening to any of 'em. In my ideal series, a different post would hold this Day 2 spot, but you know what? I think my week went haywire so I wouldn't miss this word for you today. A word I hadn't counted on sharing that wedged its way in to the narrative because I needed to feel it and know it and remember it again too.

So here it is girls. . . . .

God's plan will not be derailed when we blow it.

It just won't.

Do you feel like you've blown it?  My guess is that if you are here with me to Remember the Girl Who Sings, you have the sense of having lost her.  Maybe you wonder if you even deserve to have her back- to be full of joy again. Maybe you feel like you missed your chance to flourish because of poor choices or unbelief. Maybe you've never even known what it looks like to experience the joy of the Lord, to sing a song of purpose and freedom and hope, and so you are reading here today because you long so, so much for something more. Maybe you wonder if a life lived fully and passionately is even within your grasp.

You know what truth I can't escape when I read my Bible? The people God choses are very seldom the people we would choose. They are typically arrogant or lack faith and are almost always insecure. They have made mistakes again and again.  

For a long time, my least favorite person in the Bible was Jonah. The dude just could not pull it together. I think reading about him and judging him made me feel better about myself (true story). So, Jonah opposed the will of God, and ran away to avoid speaking to the people of Nineveh, because he didn't think they were worthy of God's mercy. These people were a brute force in Jonah's time and he had likely seen destruction in their wake. He did not want to see them experience God's favor. . . the favor that he clung to, the favor he thought came from all the ways he was living his life the right way. 

You can probably already see why I don't like him. I see just a little too much of myself in this guy. Poor Jonah, it took being swallowed up in the belly of a fish for three days before he obeyed. Yet even after seeing with his own eyes the people he despised come to repentance, after seeing God's will complete, Jonah's heart didn't soften. He went to whine about it all under a tree.

Moses on the other hand has always seemed so heroic to me. But if we take a closer look, the truth comes out that he was pretty brash and arrogant, at least at first. The book of Acts tells us that he had a passion for God's call on his life, to identify with his people, to be the one to free them from their oppression. He thought he would be welcomed as their rescuer by asserting himself. Nope. Moses jumped the gun. 

“When Moses was forty years old, he decided to visit his own people, the Israelites.  He saw one of them being mistreated by an Egyptian, so he went to his defense and avenged him by killing the Egyptian. Moses thought that his own people would realize that God was using him to rescue them, but they did not." -Acts 7: 23-25

 So he ran. He hid in the desert for forty years. 

I've hidden too.  

But we serve a God who visits a second time. 

He came again to Jonah. After three dark days that must have felt like death, our God came again. He wrought mercy on a nation that was wretched. 

He came again still, only this time, God Himself anguished for three days of death. 

He brings mercy to me.

He came again to Moses. He said, I AM. I am the author of it all. I am transcendent. I am holding all things together. I am enough. He rescued a people.

Then he came and was I AM in the flesh. He was enough. 

He rescues me.

The greater Jonah emerging after three days of death has come. The greater Moses, delivering us from bondage, is with us.

He not only comes again to use us, now he dwells with us. In us.

He is the God who visits a second time and a third and a fourth. . . . his plan will not be derailed by us, by what we think we have lost or have left behind, because his plan is really not about us at all. Its about Him. 

He has called you to find your voice, to seek him. . . to sing. He is visiting you again. Nothing is going to blow that. 

Singing with you with great hope today and clinging to him as we study together this month,


31 Days to Remember the Girl Who Sings

31 Days to Remember the Girl Who Sings

The last few years have been hard- I've been stretched beyond what I thought I could bear, questioned who I was as and what my life was all about. There has been grief and crises, a big move and plain old normal life issues all piled together and in wading through, I began to just cope and react and not really thrive. When you begin to emerge from difficulty or particularly harried  seasons as mom with young children, its sometimes hard to even recognize yourself. So when a moment of delight comes, when you find yourself singing your heart out or fully embracing beauty, it can give you a little jolt. Perhaps like me, you've found yourself in a moment of joy, reclaiming a bit of your true self and said, "Hey, don't I know you?"

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What's For Dinner?

The question that has haunted me for so long each and every day is often. . . . "Hey mom, what's for dinner?" 

I would love to tell you that being organized, having a plan of action and whipping up beautiful dishes is something that comes naturally to me, but the reality is that cooking three meals a day for a family of six wears me out. I've tried so many ways to streamline my kitchen time, collected a myriad of cookbooks and amassed so many yummy recipes on pinterest, but its still so hard for me to bring all the pieces together. 

Today, I'm sharing over at The Better Mom about what's working for our family right now and what I LOVE about the Whole Foods Bi-Weekly Meal plan put together by my friend Kelly at The Nourishing Home. I feel like I have gained the skills of a nutritionist and family logistics expert in the meal plans that are available and I am also spending a third less on our grocery bill! 

If you're looking for a way to simplify and be able to focus on JOY at the dinner table, I can not recommend this resource enough. Did I mention its absolutely FREE? Come find out all about this offering of grace intended to help mamas thrive. You can read all about it HERE.

All the Good Stuff Holds Steady

I could also have titled this post: How I'm Coping with the Arrival of Fall, or perhaps: Why oh Why Does Summer Ever Have to End?  I've already been in denial for weeks. If you're struggling like me, with the official end of the season of bliss this weekend, read on friends!

We closed out our summer vacation with the bright colors of Coney Island- all the sticky hues of cotton candy and mustard dripping off corn dogs, lemonade slush and sunshine glinting off the aqua blue of the shore became our eye candy. I really wasn't sure which way to look as we walked up and down the boardwalk. I felt an overwhelming sense of awe to be at the beach with my children, to hear them giggle and race to the next ride or roller coaster, I never wanted to leave that very moment- I had this urgency to imprint their faces and hands and little feet just as they were right then in my memory forever. 

The idea of a never ending summer isn't anything new. I know I'm not the first mama to want to freeze time, to dream of extending our days of leisure and rest on and on and on. They are just so very delicious and sometimes we feel that we just can't get enough. This summer? Its been a good one. Sunshine reached all the way to our itty bitty toes and we have basked in canoe rides and campfires, marshmallow roasting and blueberry picking before breakfast, firecrackers and card games by the light of the moon, back yard relays and croquet, laps in the pool and floats down lazy rivers- I could have lived this summer forever.

When things are sailing along beautifully, I just want to hold on with all I've got. I'm always doing this. Grasping with all my will, all my might to the things I love, to the things I want to control, to my ideals and children and seasons and stages. Maybe because we've had so many, but transitions are not among our families strong suits (ahem).

When Maia was four years old, she loved the summer time so fiercely that when Autumn rolled around she refused to take off her swimsuit. It had been her summer uniform and she went from pjs to swimsuits everyday with nary another piece of clothing on her skin, except for the occasional sundress over top. She was so full of freedom and light that summer I think she was scared to let it go. Until close to Halloween when her costume obsession kicked in, she wore a swimsuit over her skivvies and under her clothes every single day. 

My girl was so afraid that if she didn't cling tight, the good stuff was going to fade. Oh how I find myself doing this very thing. How often do I forget the generosity of my God?

Rest, real rest, is only found in the letting go, the leaning in, the trusting, the abiding. The trees outside in Central Park look heavy in these early September days. They're weepy and full and tired and a bit over grown. The branches are swaying low and its clear to look at them that they need a break. They need a season of respite. The arborists will begin to visit soon, paring the branches back, thinning out all they see that needs to be cut off so that the growth can be healthy again next Spring. The work of the trees will be in secret now; beneath the bark and twigs until the buds burst forth to reveal months of labor coming to fruition. 

My work seems mostly internal too. This is the season where I fight to wake each day with intention, to sharpen my will, to gird my home with beauty for the long days of homeschooling that lay ahead. Its deep, sweaty, soul work and I don't often see how it will all work out until the Spring. I've been known to wonder if the blossoms will ever really come. There is a pruning too- of my liberties, of the care-free days I crave- but this pruning bears fruit in harvest time.

My days are shaped by the shears of time and attention, but there is fruit ready to be picked and eaten in these early days. All the planning that filled the corners of my summer is actually happening, its animated within the walls of my home, coming into being this season with laughter and music and even the struggle to master new concepts. These are the days I have put my heart and soul into dreaming of and preparing for and they are really here today for me to take in every moment. 

And the pruning back of all those beautiful branches outside? Its not to hack them away without intention . . . Its to let in more light!  In the cold days ahead, the Light will always hold steady. In the routines that can squelch our creativity, or limit our sense of freedom, the good stuff is still there. 

As our day at Coney Island drew on, my little guy, blew us all away with his bravery. First on a small roller coaster, then next on the dipping airplanes, the log ride, and then finally, by announcing he was ready for the Thunderbolt. The stuff of legend, The Thunderbolt is Coney Island's swirly whirly new installment to the boardwalk that has made grown men cry. Its a re-creation of the original from nearly 100 years ago. You guys, I was terrified. I actually kissed his head and prayed over him. My fears were kicked into hyperdrive, I had a million reasons to deny his request (and would have, quite honestly, if my husband hadn't sported a giant grin and sprinted toward  their shared experience!) 

My boy rocked it.

Screaming with all his might and holding on for dear life, I have never seen him come so alive.

I want to be like my son. I want to welcome the light shining through into Autumn just like he blazed through the climbs and falls of the Thunderbolt. Eyes wide, arms raised in the air, just a little terrified and yet, thrilled at the prospect of what is before me. The Good Stuff is waiting.

Thankful you are here with me friends,


What Would You Give For True Joy?

Recently my sweet friend Misha asked me if I'd write about Joy over at her blog- more specifically "What I've learned about joy." I have loved Misha's writing for years and when we transplanted our crew to New York City, her own family's story was a huge encouragement to me! I was flat out honored that she asked me to share with her readers. The pursuit and internal fight for joy in my life has been a major theme for me the past two years and I felt that her invitation was a chance to bring all my thoughts together and spend some time reflecting on What I had actually learned. I knew I'd been in a thick process, but I honestly hadn't taken time to get all my thoughts on paper and form conclusions about the big lessons that had emerged.

I wrote an article and was ready to ship it off to her and then, in our sweet little hometown where we retreat for the summer, crises hit. Wildfires raging every summer is nothing new here, but this year the damage has been beyond what any of us who see "fire season" as the norm have ever experienced. All my thoughts shifted and I started to pour out something new in my journals. Misha was so gracious to let me send her something new, something birthed in the midst of fire that describes my heart so much better than that first draft! I'd love for you to join me at her blog, The Offense of Joy and read my thoughts about fighting for it. Then stick around and explore Misha's writing- it is such a gift!

Here's the direct link to my article: Finding Joy in the Middle of Fire

A Mom's Manifesto for Soaking Up All of Summer {Plus a Giveaway from Miraclesuit to Make it a Little Easier!}

I've been gloriously absent from the internet for a while, soaking up family time at the lake, enjoying lazy days playing cards, building forts, and watching my babies run through glistening sprinklers in the sunshine. Three weeks of bure bliss. . . . and then, as all things do, it came to an end. My husband had to fly across the country and get back to work, and while the beauty that he had three solid weeks to spend frolicking with us is not lost on me, I have found my self in quite a slump the last few days. 

The thing is? The end of vacation is not the same thing as the end of summer, it has so much glory to still share that is ours for the taking! 

I can keep slipping away into long days with little meaning or I can soak them up for all their worth, build into them with intention, and make a plan to enjoy the rest of this season to the hilt! To encourage myself, I wrote a little manifesto. I thought I'd share it for any other mamas needing a bit of mid-summer moxi. Plus, using the word manifesto makes me feel serious and professional- there's no messing with a manifesto, you know? Its all about legit goal setting right here. So without further adieu, I give you:

A Mom's Manifesto for Soaking up All of Summer

 1. I Will Not be Afraid to go Slow.

I will not fight, but will instead, savor, the quieter rhythm of these days. I will enjoy my coffee in small sips, and remember that it is a luxury not to have to warm it at least twice in the microwave (whereby it loses a bit of its coffee bean soul each time.) I will welcome pajamas and tousled hair and jelly on faces and delight in my children's pleasure of the freedom this season brings.

2. I Will Not Sit on the Sidelines.

I will put on my swimsuit, despite my curvy edges and squishy tummy that make me blush now and then. I will show my children that mothers are strong and courageous, that we are proud of the bodies that bore them. I will show them that I am fierce and playful and theirs, and that diving for rings and holding my breath in a contest to infinity is much more precious to me than hiding all the jiggly parts of myself. 

3. I Will Become an Explorer and Lead My Children toward Adventure

In the simplest of moments, I will guide them into wonder. I will hunt for it, for the sake of my own heart and theirs. We will frolic in the cool grass and picnic, we will collect insects and sketch flower petals and spend as many afternoons as we can deciphering the pictures of the clouds. We will howl at the moon and stargaze, and build forts and sandcastles- and I will be okay with the dirt that will surely cover us because it is the sign of a day well spent.

4. I will Not See the Summer as Half Empty

It may be mid July, but I refuse to dwell on the idea that the summer as nearly over. Instead, I will embrace the mid-summer dream, ala' Shakespeare and see this day as one of the fullest, where the sunshine lingers longer than any other time of year, where whimsy abounds and where I have the opportunity to show my kids that I am ALL in for ALL of summer (not just the first half where I was full of energy and ideas, ahem).

5. I will Not be Afraid to Let Fun Reign

I will let the popsicles drip, let my kids stay in their swimsuit all day long, let a sprinkler count for bath time occasionally and be perfectly ok with only serving chips and salsa for dinner every once in a while. I will recognize that the blessing of these days comes in the form of something other- in a rhythm that is loose and in the bug eyed looks of amazement from my children when their mama says "yes, let's do that!" more often than any other time of the year.

6. I Will End These Days Well

I will close out our days with a with songs and beautiful books and back rubs, with soft sheets and cuddles and words of delight. Even when I am drained, I will let the last thing they see before closing their eyes, be a smile from me and a whisper for an invitation to play again tomorrow. Because, I only have one summer with these little people at these little ages in my home. This is it and I'm going to choose to love every moment.

Miraclesuit Giveaway- Valued at Up to $200!


As we talk about soaking up all of summer, I have to be honest about one thing that has held me back in recent years- putting on a swimsuit. I'm fighting hard to be strong and restore wellness in my life (and the life of my family), but in the place I have found myself in recent years I've been left feeling all shades of self conscious.

Recently I had the chance to meet the amazing PR team at Miracle Suit. It only took knowing them for about 30 minutes to bring me to tears. These women were so encouraging, so life giving and ALL about empowering women to feel beautiful. I was chosen to model a suit at the MomTrends Trendy Travel Event in Manhattan and was a little nervous about the idea of wearing a swimsuit in front of fellow bloggers and the press! I was given several suits to try on and, truly, I couldn't believe what I saw when I looked in the mirror. I couldn't believe how great I felt. I had to touch up my makeup before pictures because I cried hugging the Miraclesuit team. I knew that I could soak up this summer with my kiddos with confidence- and I really hadn't recognized how much that mattered to me until that moment.

Miraclesuit is known for making swimsuits that make you "look 10 pounds lighter in 10 seconds," and its a magical moment when you see that happen for you in one of their suits. What I was more impressed with though? The amazing quality and structure. I absolutely love their styles- they are fashion forward and always on trend, but these suits stay put. I can literally run all day, run on the beach or dive in the pool again and again with without worrying about any slipping or sliding or adjustments to be made in order to preserve my modesty. As investment pieces, these suits will last- no more buying a suit here and there every year and hoping it will get me through the season- I will pull out my Miraclesuits for many summers to come.

I am beyond thrilled to be partnering with Miraclesuit today to offer one of their suits to one of you! Squee!!! I don't know if I've ever been this excited to share something with you. Its a big kiss to my readers from the middle of summer sunshine. You can enter using the rafflecopter below until Friday at midnight EST. You can even enter multiple days in a row by sharing on social media or get multiple entries by commenting. The winner will be connected with the lovely team at Miraclesuit (the sweet ladies that brought me to tears) and able to have the suit they love best delivered straight to their home next week! 

Good luck friends!