Friday, January 31, 2014

The Longer Way Home

I’ve been ferrying the note around in my purse for months, hoping to see him. I suppose I’ve been carrying around his story too, hoping for a different ending. Turning it over, studying it, weighing it. And putting it back, waiting to share in this space until I could tell you of a prodigal returning home, a conversion, an adoption. Something hopeful. Something beautiful.

But sometimes life doesn’t spin the direction we want; and I’m trying to lean into a God still good, regardless of which way our life spins. And to remember that hope and beauty aren’t dependent on a happy ending.

See, I still often find myself turning to take the long way home. Driving through unfamiliar neighborhoods, searching facial planes and swaggering gaits in all the places I think I might find him. It has been months now since we’ve seen him. His grandma tells us oh he’s doing much much better honey – he comes home now every few days to shower and wash his clothes.

Six months ago now, we had him in our arms. And I wonder what we could have done differently to stop him from walking away.

Adam drove home from camp this summer to sit at his hearing, and my heart pounds as I wait for his phone call. I wrote Sabo while he was in jail. A two-page, typed-letter (because you know I’m anything but concise), filled with my hopes for him. My belief in him. Our love.

When my phone finally rings, I hand Caden to a counselor, and whisper for Jayci to play with the kiddos. Finding an empty cabin, I close the door behind me and stand in the dark. Adam says: I have Sabo. We are coming there.

What? I ask. I need details, never Adam’s strong suit (it must be a boy thing). Adam says the first thing Sabo told him was that he got my letter. In fact, he clutched it with a grin throughout the hearing. He told the judge that we believed in him, that he would do better. And so the judge released him on house arrest, except that he could go with us. He could come to camp to work and help. We already discussed this possibility; spoke to camp leadership, who agreed he could come.

So for the next hour while we wait, I set a space up for him. A mattress on the floor, fresh sheets, clean towels, a brand new pack of Nike socks. I pray while I sweep sand from the floor, and watch Jayci dance in circles singing Sabo is coming! Caden repeats her refrain, although I am certain he has no idea of whom he sings.

And then he’s there. He carries Jayci everywhere on his shoulders. He helps break up a fight, sharing his new socks with some of the kids. He laughs and teases and he and Zack spend all their time together. The counselors cant quite believe that this is the Sabo who just got out of jail, the one we told and warned them about. My nerves feel taught as I wade cautiously in the tension: wanting to believe in change, and waiting for it all to fall apart.
The sun beats relentless on my back. I hold a wriggly Caden in the lukewarm pool water, and watch Sabo splash Jayci while she giggles and climbs on his back. In my deepest heart, I want to believe that he has reached the turning point, and I know that God can do it. But I’m just not sure he has. I feel a pit in my stomach, waiting for the bottom to drop out.

I see one of the campers say something to Sabo and his whole body stiffens. Quickly, I clumsily splash over to intervene. The camper wont back down, and Sabo gets angrier. He calms himself down, but his anger simmers below the surface, rippling in his 16-year-old shoulders. I lead him gingerly, far away from the pool and the heckling camper. Depositing him with Adam to work at the lake, I take the kids up to the cabin for naps.

Things unravel quickly from there. I sit with Jayci on her bed reading stories, and we hear Sabo’s shouting before we see him. Jayci cries at his demands to go home. He yells profanities, trembling with anger carried in curled fists and pacing steps.

We cannot force him to stay, and we cannot risk the safety of the campers and our own children. So I find myself driving with tears trickling quietly down my cheeks, following twisting roads back towards the city. Sabo’s body still shakes with anger. He is sinewy crossed arms and narrowed eyes. I pray for words and for wisdom, driving silent, my own body quivering with the gravity of his choice. I am witness to the tug-of-war in his heart.
And I turn the music down to say it: Look, I understand completely you don’t want to talk about it, but you need to know that there is no point in this drive too late for me to turn the car around and go back. We aren’t mad at you, and we don’t want you to leave. We still love you.

He stumbles over his words as he uncovers the root of it all: but if you guys actually knew everything I’d done, you would never ever still believe in me.

No amount of reassurance from me will change the stubborn set of his jaw. He wants to go back to his corner. They know him, know the worst of everything he has done, and they don’t care.

And don’t his words echo all of our greatest fears and deepest desires tangled up together? That we are incapable of being fully known and still fully loved.

He leans back his chair, closes his eyes, clutches his arms across his chest, and falls quickly into the kind of sleep that escapes from a world altogether too dark.

I drive with both hands clutching the wheel, my own heart racing shaky. This feels far too momentous, bigger than me. I am ill-equipped, and certain that I am not enough for this task. And so the car drips with thick silence; our breathing matched, each locked in our own uncertainties and fears about who we are and who we think we should be.

I breathe prayers for courage, for words, for wisdom. Finally, I pull the car into a Mellow Mushroom, gently tapping Sabo awake to tentatively ask if I can buy him dinner before bringing him home. He nods slow, rubbing his eyes. Finding seats, we order our food and I turn to small talk. We laugh over memories of Zack’s face smeared with pizza grease at the Braves game. Of the first time he held Jayci, tiny in her pink burrito-wrap-swaddle. I tell him about seeing Dexter last week: He looks like a grown man; he scared the crap out of me! I exclaim, and we make eye contact over a laugh. His muscles relax slowly as he sips his Sprite and we split a pizza.

Pray-without-ceasing seems more reasonable now than ever. Except perhaps at Caden’s bedside. I suppose matters of life-and-death bring clarity to our neediness. To our inadequacy and His great grace.

So I swallow pizza and gulp Diet Coke. He refills my cup for me, and when he sits back down, I take a deep breath to begin. As easily as this conversation went in my imagination, words come far harder when answered prayer becomes reality, and I am terrified of screwing-it-all-up. And yet, his eyes don’t drop below dark lashes. They hold mine, fierce but open.

I ask if he remembers when we prayed together at camp, over six years ago, for Jesus. He nods almost imperceptivity, and I swallow deep before continuing. Did you mean it? I ask him gentle. He nods again, his eyes never lowering from mine.

Then Sabo I say it brave, my voice refusing to shake as it stands in the truth: God looks at you and he looks at me and he sees exactly the same thing – the righteousness of Jesus.

Sabo laughs a little, shaking his head. Truth be told, it’s a little bit of a hard pill for me to swallow too. How can we be the same when I’ve done so many GOOD things and he has done so many BAD? But the gospel stares me in the face, with deep brown eyes and a stubborn set to his jaw. Because ALL sins nailed at Golgotha. Not just mine, not just his. All of them. And the ground stands surprisingly level here at the foot of the cross. I grab his hand across the table, and continue:

I know you think you have done too much, gone too far. I get it. But when I told you there was no point too far into the trip for us to turn around? I meant it. And God means it too. There’s no such thing as too far down the wrong path to turn back and let Christ set you on the right one.

And you’re right Sabo, I don’t know everything you have done, and frankly I’m not sure I want to. Because all you have to do is ask and it’s forgiven. And even beyond that, forgotten. God limits Himself and says He will remember your sin no more. Not just my sin Sabo, yours. All of it.

Deep breath.

And we love you no matter what. Because He does. Oh, my dear Sabo, I know your life hasn’t been easy or fair. I know it’s hard to imagine a loving Father and forgiveness when you’ve never experienced it. But you made a choice to belong to a God who will pursue you relentlessly. And He does not disappoint, nor does He give up.

He picks up his Sprite and drops his eyes. But does not let go of my hand.

And here lays exactly the point I wish I could pivot the story on a different trajectory. One in which Sabo changes his mind. One where he runs towards an ending where he knows not just in his head, but also in the deepest recesses of his heart the love and grace of God.

But that’s the thing about loving people, about bruised hearts, and hoping alongside the hurting. Sometimes things don’t end how you want them to. And I don’t know why some cycles continue. I don’t know why Caden runs literal laps around our home while the baby in the bed next to him lays in the ground. I don’t know why Zack currently resides in a bedroom in our house, while Sabo resides in a “trap house” smack in the middle of the biggest open-air heroin market in the nation. I dont know why the ones we love the fiercest and hope the most for, sometimes make the biggest mistakes of all. Willfully turning their backs on grace in favor of having more babies they cant raise, or making money no matter the means. I don’t know why some hurts fester while others heal.

I don’t know.

But here is what I DO know: God knows my heart needs to love Sabo right now. To cry with Jayci when she asks why we haven’t seen Him. He gave me Sabo as a gift, and I don’t know the ending because God’s ways are not mine. But the story cannot be finished, because His kingdom has not yet come. And so I wait with hope, my fingers twitching with the reminder that Sabo heard my words and held my hand. That perhaps the snow that falls across our front yard right now will blanket his corner, his street, with white. And remind him of truth. The truth that fresh starts and clean slates aren’t only found in storybooks or in nice-white-neighborhoods. But that Jesus specializes in new beginnings, in forgiveness, and in starting over. And I hope that truth will carry him home. Maybe never to us. Or maybe one day to us. But either ending, whatever the ending, I know that Sabo belongs to a Savior who will redeem and pursue. And I rest in the release that comes only from relinquishing my hold on that which never belonged to me in the first place.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Feed your soul

The cold seeps through the crack in the door, but I cannot bring myself to get up from under my warm blanket to shut the door more tightly. The space heater blows the room toasty and I lock Maverick in his crate because good-gravy but he drives me crazy with his wanting to go outside all the time. Particularly because he doesnt actually need to go outside and use the bathroom. Nope, he wants to escape the fence and roam the streets in search of chicken bones (which he is certain to find). Y'all, I cant even make this stuff up.
The weather channel warns of snow this afternoon, and I'm surprised they didnt cancel school on the threat. Adam (bless him) took Zack to the gym this morning, then to school. He also picked up another one of our boys who didn't have money for Marta to get to school, and then brought him home and fed him breakfast before bringing him to school as well. And then, he took our kids to school AND promised to pick them up too. Sigh, I knew I married him for a reason (also, because this).
But seriously, Adam's selflessness resulted in hours of uninterrupted alone time for me. And today is quite possibly the best day I've enjoyed in a long time. I'm ignoring the laundry, and the dishes, and every single one of the things I should be doing. And I'm feeding my soul.

Y'all, I highly recommend feeding your souls.
That said, here's a few things I've read/watched/listened-to that have fed my soul today. You're welcome.
Choosing the One You Least Expect (Chatting at the Sky)
Bootstraps and Safety Nets, some thoughts on generational poverty in America (Rachel Held Evans)
Moving Downward, in spite of the safety net (by my amazing friend Annie for D.L. Mayfield)
How to get through the dark places (Holy Experience)
It is expensive to be poor  (the Atlantic)
Social Media as Sacrament (Experimental Theology)
On Parenting and Faith and Imperfection
*The sermon I told you about in list week's links, it's available to listen to online now.

Finally, want to waste spend hundreds of minutes feeding your soul? Try The Work of the People. It's my favorite discovery of the day, possibly ever.  Want some specific places/videos I particularly loved? Try anything (anything!) by my hero Father Greg Boyle. Especially Kinship and Kingdom. Or All is Grace from Brennan Manning. Or Grace: Past, Present, and Future by another hero (John Perkins). 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Life Unfolded

Unfolding is the easy part. Just ask my kids, particularly the smallest one, who can impressively unfold in mere minutes a stack of laundry that took me two full episodes of Mindy Project and one New Girl to fold up properly.

Perhaps that’s why unfolding to me feels dangerous, subversive even: it's far-too-likely to make a big mess.

After all, think of all the time and energy I have spent, tucking away my ragged edges and tears. Carefully folding over to hide the corners and stains. Creasing and flipping, precise and careful, until I am small and uniform. So I will fit in on the shelf with all the other good moms and housewives.

I learned young, I suppose, the importance of fitting in. If you don’t want to be ridiculed, I discovered, dress this way and talk like this and wear your hair like this. And, especially if you’re a girl, certainly don’t be too loud or too smart. Fold yourself as small as possible, make yourself less. Pleat, tuck, starve, do what you must, and then sit nicely with all the other girls.

I think about this fitting-in and folding-up as I put away the laundry this morning. Let me tell you, if there’s anything I hate and loathe but also KNOW because, good gracious do we generate a lot of it around here, it’s laundry. Honestly, rarely does it all get put away; more often it sits in baskets clean and wrinkled, or sometimes clean and folded. Or perhaps it gets left in the washer for a few extra days until it mildews. Sometimes, it stays in the dryer until we have no choice but to take it out, because all our dirty laundry hampers are overflowing and it is time to do laundry, seeing as at this point we have no clean underwear. I’m not even, as it turns out, a very good folder-of-laundry. I’m not precise or neat. And heaven forbid I should have to fold a fitted sheet. I’ve Pinned and poured over the tutorials and videos and I try to emulate, really I do. But inevitably I basically flip the thing in on itself into a semi-neat-ball shoved in the bottom of our linen closet.
This past summer, Adam’s aunt stayed in our house while we were at camp. And she washed and folded everything with a kind of precision that quite-nearly blew my mind. When we came home, we found our linen closet (which, bane of my existence, has no door) arranged in perfect stacks of sheets and towels by size and color. I literally could not tell the difference between a fitted and flat sheet. I’m still not really sure how she accomplished such a magical feat.

But here’s the thing: when it came time to put sheets on the beds, I couldn’t figure out which sheets I needed without unfolding them.

And this is what I’m discovering about living all folded up: we can’t discover our purpose without unfolding.

I’m realizing, finally, that God has made me a certain shape. My frame was not hidden from Him, even as He wove me together in the depths. And too, He has written my story. He has authored all the ragged bits. He knows intimately the spills and faded places; He knows where I am threadbare and worn out. He sees even the deepest-of-places, which I have tried to tuck away a million times over. We spend a hundred hours and two thousand minutes origami-ing ourselves into the shape we think He wants from us, when all He really wants is life opened-up, pressed firm into the shape we really are.

Jayci came down with a nasty virus this week. Wracking and fever-ish, she spent hours on the couch sleeping during the day, and nights awake coughing in her bed. I have lain beside her and cancelled my plans. Missed field trips to art museums, cancelling play-dates for her and game nights for us. And together we lay while I run fingers down her back and pushed hair back from her flushed cheeks. I have been reminded of just how deeply and fiercely I love my sweet girl. And, even at five years old, I see the ways she notices things and begins to fold up.

And how I ache for her to live unfolded. To both know her identity and shape, and to embrace it. More like a linen flapping wild and free on a clothesline than a carefully folded up sheet in a stack of other good girls. I watch her perform concerts and make cards for our friend Milton on the corner. Because I watch her love the kids in our neighborhood and I watch her craft gifts for her friends. I see her shape and her smarts and her voice, and I think she might just change the world. Or not, and that’s ok too. But either way, she has things that need to be heard.

And yet, she cant learn to live unfolded unless she watches the women around her. Until she hears strong women living free; leading and living out their purpose and shape. Until she watches them live unfolded. And so, I think, perhaps for her sake I’ll risk the unfolding.

But here’s the thing I am surprised to discover: I might have something to offer too. I might have a voice and shape that matters. I might not actually be too loud or too smart or too anything. In living unfolded, I am true to myself, beautiful even.

If I’m honest, it feels a little scary. But by-golly I’m going to do it anyways. Because all the most beautiful things in my life have walked hand-in-hand with fear. So I am kneeling and unfolding myself, laying my life down like Gideon’s fleece and waiting for God to show up.

“I want to unfold. Let nothing in me hold itself closed. For where I am closed, I am false. I want to be clear in your sight.” - Rilke

*From a prompt via Story Sessions

Friday, January 24, 2014

Writing my Story

I set my alarm for 6:00am this morning, assuming this would provide me a solid hour for writing and reading before the kids emerged from their respective bedrooms. I even, surprise of all surprises, got myself in bed by eleven. We had spent most of the day at the doctor and lounging in pajamas, telling the kiddos who knocked on the door that we were in quarantine, mostly to watch their eyebrows raise as they slowly backed away from the door. Jayci had a sky-high fever and a nasty cough, diagnosed as a nebulous virus, with the suggestion of honey to remedy the sore throat. We sip tea sweetened with extra doses of honey, and Jayci and Caden toast each other occasionally, with Caden triumphantly declaring he will "dwink my healfy healfy tea!"

So I suppose I should not have been surprised to hear coughing and yelling for mommy that started at around midnight and continued fairly unabated until nearly 5am. Somewhere around 3:00am, I listened to Adam's even breathing against the back-drops of Jayci's pathetic coughs. With a sigh, I turned over and switched off my alarm, putting my feet back on the ground to respond to Jayci's cries before I even had a chance to swing them up into bed.

I decided, laying in the dim light, to write my story differently. To write it with fingers run through blonde locks framing flushed pink cheeks. With cool fingers tracing circles on her back at 2:39, and again at 4:15. To write it snuggled under her blankets, the ones she has cast aside feverishly.

With tiptoed footsteps and bathroom-breaks without flushing, before slipping back between sheets gone back cold. Pressing icy toes into Adam's muscled calves for heat, turning the clock backwards so the numbers dont taunt with orange glow cast on heavy eyes.

To tell my story with coffee brewing while water boils for tea and the kids watch The Incredibles for the fifth time this week. With answering the door to icy blasts and please and thank-you from under-dressed-for-the-cold-teenagers.  Pulling on worn boots with my pajama pants and a hoodie. Granola bars and bagels and driving three boys to school, a ride just long enough for the car to warm up as I pull back in through our gate.

Writing my story with knees on the floor scrubbing baseboards and sinks, shiny white and lemon mingling til the chrome finally gleams like new. Folding Anteaters uniforms, only after twice-through-the-washer, because it takes as much to extinguish their distinct odor of teenage-boy-sweat.  Letting the kids wash the dishes, not bothering to re-do them myself before piling cups into cupboards and clattering forks in the drawer.

Writing in fits and starts between trips to shush Caden's boisterous songs from his crib. And padded footsteps to Jayci's room, pressing a cool washcloth to her hot forehead, the room emanating body heat, while she shivers and pulls blankets up under her chin.

And so today I write my story in cuddles and stories, and a piece-meal lunch of noodles and sweet potatoes and left-over fruit salad from Chick-fil-a. The story might not be deep, or feel important, or life-shattering. But it is real. And true. And hard and beautiful, somehow entangled together more firmly than the necklaces we strung back onto hooks earlier this morning. My day dissolves into entropy, all the best-laid-plans for naught, until I settle into the story I find myself writing with my very life. The story that God speaks more loudly sometimes in the little choices than the big ones. In scrubbing toilets and breathing grace. In time-outs and shared tasks, in paying bills and taking out the trash. Because sometimes loving the least and encountering Jesus there may not be what I expect, but it's exactly what I need.

Monday, January 20, 2014

MLK, recommended reads, and 365 update

"I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant." ~ MLK

Today was one of those days both lazy and busy, crowded and sparse. Finally now, both kids have grown quiet in their respective rooms. Adam and I sit book-ended on the couch, laps topped with our laptops. We eat ice cream from the carton with spoons, while Adam watches videos of figure skating. In other words, I have a minute before midnight/bedtime, so I thought I'd share a quick 365 update (along with some links I loved this week).

Ann Voskamp for Catalyst, The Cure for Burnout - "The only way to lead a symphony is to turn your back to the crown, the critics, the court."
In Which I Disagree with Candace Cameron Bure about "Biblical Marriage" - Sarah Bessey
Save Your Relationships - ask the right questions - Momastery

Oh Honey! Come Here, I Think Your Privilege is Showing (from one of my favorite new-to-me-blogs) Shalom in the City (Osheta Moore)
Faithful Slaves and Fugitive Whites - How do you remember the past? Caris Adel

This. Love.

One last thing: This Sunday at church was bananas-good. Seriously, as soon as they get that message up online, y'all should take a listen. For now, here's a clip from the spoken word Adan Bean did to wrap up the sermon both beautifully and powerfully.

Ransomed Random by Adan Bean from Renovation Church on Vimeo.

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.  The true neighbor will risk his position, his prestige, and even his life for the welfare of others.  In dangerous valleys and hazardous pathways, he will lift some bruised and beaten brother to a higher and more noble life.” – MLK Jr.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Audacious Hope

Drizzle and clouds drape the city, and we drive through a landscape both crowded and barren. Hand-painted signs for mechanics and fried fish point to windows long since covered over by graffiti-scrawled plywood. Corner stores, metal grates across their doors, boast crowds of huddled bodies under small overhangs, seeking solace from rain and cold alike.
Right here, she points to a garish yellow sign reading Title Pawn, and I pull in next to a flashy BMW. She runs inside and Caden wails that he wants to go in with her and get some wunch!

When she climbs back in the car, we drive across town so she can pay her rent. Temperatures dip below eighteen degrees and she explains she had to keep the heat on somehow in a poorly insulated house with a too-small HVAC, busted out windows, and a landlord who offers the consolation of a small space-heater. She laughs, she says, only so she doesn’t cry. Her husband moved out of state to find work, because no one would give him a job. And she works double shifts at minimum wage, dropping out of culinary school to keep the water turned on.

In a neighborhood with corner stores and gas stations offering alcohol and gambling machines and not much else, signs for Title Pawns, rent-to-own-furniture, and Bail Bonds pepper the landscape like banks and Starbucks in the ‘burbs. But I swallow down the lecture I’ve heard from my dad and Dave Ramsey alike, the one about making wise decisions and how Title Loans and what-have-you only entrap in cycles impossible to claw your way out from. We chat instead about marriage and husbands who are forgetful, and the impossibility of keeping your house clean with so many teenage boys tromping through. Because in a place of desperation that I cannot quite wrap my mind around, poor-decision can look and feel a whole lot like only-hope.

Adam works long hours this week so we can pay our own bills. I drive neighbors and kiddos all across Atlanta and back again, herding children, feeding them dinner, and packing a lunch for the one who wont eat his school lunch because someone found a cockroach in the food at his lunch table. An actual cockroach. Meanwhile, in the backseat, Jayci leans her tangled blonde locks enticingly in front of Caden until he yanks them, then shrieks and yells MOM CADEN IS PULLING MY HAIR! I sigh and feel fury alongside unkind words rise in my throat. They taste bitter coming out, and I berate myself for once again failing to act like the mom I wish I could be.

Sometimes, I cannot even conjure the hope of being a better mom. My sinfulness is too big, my attentions too stretched; my pride only comes before a fall. And once we get beyond the beginning here in our hood, cycles seem entrenched and behind every single door lining our streets, stories and problems loom. I get weary, and hope feels distant, perhaps non-existent.

But the thing I love most fiercely about hope is just how audacious it can be. Powerful and weak; tiny and huge; both/and.

When they are done shrieking in the backseat, Caden yells WOOK! He points out the window at the moon, barely a tiny round disc in a bright blue afternoon sky. Da moon follows us! He says it while forming his mouth into a matching O. I giggle and abandon any hope of explaining the moon’s ways, simply agreeing with his assessment of the smallish-sun-reflector following our trash-laden car with dogged determination.

Later that night, Adam finally gets home from work and I opt to let him wrangle the children into beds, offering kindly to drive Zack home. On the way back, I turn the music off and relish silence, the first I’ve heard in weeks. And I think about only-hopes. About barren places and desolate wildernesses, where the Creator-God hovers and creates hope; even, or perhaps especially, when we cannot.

I think of how easily we misplace our only-hopes, piling expectation onto things like lotteries and new jobs and motherhood. Only to find they crumble under the weight they were never designed to carry. Because the only-One who can carry our only-hopes adequately must be the One who embodies all hope to begin with.

I drive around the block to avoid going the wrong way down our one-way-street. Turning the corner on our street, I gasp to see the moon hanging low above our house. It glows orange, huge and swollen, casting a warm glow over even that darkest corner where prostitutes huddle and drug deals get passed.

Under the light of that pregnant moon, hope springs easy. But the same moon dangles small and bright during noon-time, when hope feels far too far. And the moon really only points us to the sun anyways. The source of all light and life, and of every hope. And so even when I don’t feel like it, I keep moving and praying; and hoping by the light of the moon.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The best three and a half minutes of your day

You guys, seriously. This video of my children dancing and singing, and also possibly fighting a little bit, while the boys play cards completely oblivious? Perfection.

Let it Go from Becca Stanley on Vimeo.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

It's a new year: 365 and links

Here's the thing about 2014 so far: it's not awesome. I had to travel for work to Dallas, and now Adam is working full-time at Americasmart for the week. And single parenting is not for the faint of heart. Quite honestly, I'm not sure we're going to make it. Pray for me. My children are bringing me again and again to the end of my quickly-fraying rope. Bless it.
So all I have for you today are these links to some things that have moved, encouraged, and/or blessed me this week. Also, some pictures from the first few days of 2014. Huzzah!
Raising World Changers and Relational Repair for "The Difficult" from Jen Hatmaker

These pictures from Chris Arnade are kind of rocking my world right now . . .

5 ways to secure your happyish ever after and Messy and Beautiful from Momastery

Have American parents got it all backwards? 

Sickness like a highway

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Because every new year needs a dump

Because I'm sure that all of you want to see a million pictures of our Christmas festivities. Christmas eve, Christmas pageant, Christmas morning, North Carolina, Christmas at camp . . . Because I have to remember all these adorable memories somehow, right?


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